City Council Sets Sales Tax Election to Fund Proposed Convention Center

April 18, 2006-- Posted at 11:00 pm

JONESBORO--The Jonesboro City Council was in shock Tuesday night as Wallace Fowler, chair of an ad hoc committee to develop a financing plan for a proposed convention center, recommended pulling the resolution to call a special election in the the city for a one percent sales tax to finance the project.
 Fowler said after seeing the proceedings in the council meeting, he thinks the tax will not be approved...saying it would be hard to convince the public of a convention center the Council seems to have some unexpected questions about.

Fowler feels strongly about the addition of a convention center to Jonesboro.

"We're the largest city in the state without a convention center and why? Why is that?" Wallace Fowler asked.

After months of preperation by the mayor and numerous city officials, the council finally approved a June 13 special election for the sales tax to fund the center, but it was comments by the council that caught Fowler off guard. Thus, he recommended pulling the resolution in fear the public would never approve a convention center without the council's support.

"It appears we do not have council support. Without their support to the general public , it does not send a message that I think is clear," Fowler says.

Fowler recommended the mayor pull the resolution, but Mayor Doug Formon decided to let the public decide. He will move forward with the council's decision to put the tax to public vote.

"We hoped they'd support it but we never said it's important that you tell the public if you're for or against it.
The only thing that suprised me is that some of them were not familiar with the resolution that in different shapes and forms for the last two months has been out," Fowler says.

Fowler says he  thinks the way the proceedings went  last night was not good for a campaign with the public.
 He says without showing the public the facts, he suspects the vote will fail.

"I'm very disappointed because we..I thought had breifed the council one-on-one and given them presentations and all the facts. And I was suprised that we were then picking it to pieces," Fowler said.

Fowler says he is very supportive of the mayor, whom he says has researched and been open to the prospect of a new convention center.