City considers possible sales tax increases to pay for upgrades

(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT) - One city's mayor offered up a "quiz" in a post discussing a possible sales tax increase vote for the future.

Walnut Ridge Mayor Charles Snapp posted questions on the city's Facebook page Wednesday.

One asks, "Do you want $10 a month more added to your water & sewer bill?"

It is followed up with asking if residents would instead vote for a half-percent city sales tax to pay for sewer upgrade costs.

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality has said the City of Walnut Ridge must upgrade their sewer system.

"We have to do this repair," Snapp said. "It's anticipated to cost $5 million is what we're expecting. We do not qualify for grants because our rates are so low compared to the rest of the state."

The city has to submit a plan to the agency by April.

Snapp said the sewer upgrade committee wants to give the citizens a choice on how to pay for the upgrade.

The first option is for the sewer rate on Walnut Ridge residents' water bill to go up by $10 each month.

Another option the sewer upgrade committee is suggesting to the city council is to put a half-cent sales tax on the primary election ballot in May.

That half-cent would pay for the sewer upgrades and maintenance for over 40 years.

"It would also develop a fund to where 25 years from now the city's not facing this problem," Snapp said. "The money would be there to repair the building, repair the pumps that are worn out and things like that. We don't have that privilege right now. That fund was never set up 25 years ago."

The committee discussed putting a second half-cent sales tax up for a vote as well.

That money would be used to pay for trash pickup and mosquito control that is currently paid for by residents on their water bill.

Those bills would be reduced by $13.50 with those two charges taken away.

"Any revenue left from that second half would go into an asphalt fund to increase the amount of overlay that we're able to do on the streets," Snapp said.

If both taxes were passed, they would add one additional cent on every dollar spent in Walnut Ridge.

The city currently has a one-cent sales tax.

If approved by the city council, Snapp stated it would be voted on by May 22, 2018.

"It's their town, let's give the people a choice of what they want to do," Snapp said.

Below is the entire post on the city's Facebook page:

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.