City Looks at Capital Improvement Projects

October 26, 2006--Posted at 6:15 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR--Pay now or pay later. That was the dilemma Jonesboro officials put themselves in several years ago in regard to a number of improvements. The former city leaders selected pay later on most of those projects and now it's time to pay the bill.

Problems aren't fixed overnight, however the city of Jonesboro believes it has a tentative five year plan that should make crucial capitol improvements to local streets, facilities and drainage.

"We have the land fill we have to deal with, fire stations, new city hall facilities and drainage. Some of the 12 drainage hot spots to be addressed," said Alderman Darrel Dover.

Making these necessary improvements won't be cheap. Preliminary estimates show a price tag in excess of 60 million dollars.

"The plan here isn't to raise any additional taxes. We're going to use the money the citizens have already given us and we're going to plan very well and be very efficient use of the money, to do all these things," said Dover.

Currently the money in the capitol improvement fund and the funds earmarked for that fund from Jonesboro's one percent sales tax, over the next five years only amounts to around 50 million dollars.

"We definitely know based on the short list we have now, there is a shortfall in the money we have coming in over the next five years," said Jonesboro mayor Doug Formon.

With a budget shortfall, some of the projects will be put on hold. That's a decision the city hopes you will help them make.

"The council wants to make sure we have input from the citizens and this is the citizens' plan, not just something we put together, but this is what we want to do over the next five, six, seven years," said Formon.

While public input will be key in the process, some projects will take precedence in the five year plan including the city's fire rating and the need for another fire station.

"We know for sure the fire issues are there facing us right now. Animal control is facing us and of course obviously the closure of the landfill," said Formon.

At the next council meeting aldermen plan to set a public hearing for citizens to have their input on projects involved in the five year plan.