JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - A group in Jonesboro is pushing for a new sales tax to help first responders and improve the quality of life in Jonesboro.
Region 8 News was first to report Thursday of the push through an email sent to past and current members of the Citizens Police Academy of the Jonesboro Police Department.
According to the email, a group of citizens called “Team Jonesboro” will present their idea for an ordinance that calls for a one-cent sales tax.
Half the tax would go towards public safety agencies like the police and fire departments along with E911. The remainder of the tax would be used for quality of life projects. Those projects may include additional parks, trails, sidewalks and more. The exact details of the ordinance were not immediately available.
The group has also created a Facebook page looking at some of the issues they support.
Region 8 News recently highlighted the quality of life concerns in Jonesboro through our special series “Jonesboro Vs. Fayetteville.”
Police Chief Rick Elliott is a proponent of the proposed tax.
"I cannot stress the importance for this tax, we are at the point that we need additional manpower and equipment to keep up with the increasing needs of this community," Elliott said in the email to members of the Citizens Police Academy.
Elliott pointed to the previous sales tax that was allowed to sunset several years ago. He said after it was allowed to sunset, the city lost millions of dollars each year.
"With the city funds being cut, every department in the city has tried to maintain the services that they provide, but with less money," Elliott said. "We are at the point it is no longer doable."
The city tried to pass a new one-cent sales tax in 2015 to fund road projects and an establish a public economic development corporation. Voters overwhelmingly rejected the proposal.
A copy of the new proposed ordinance calling for a sales tax vote was not yet available online on the city’s website.
However, Jonesboro council members are expected to hear a presentation from Scott McDaniel at 5:30 p.m. May 21 on the issue, according to a copy of the council’s agenda posted online.
The council will be meeting at the Municipal Center in Jonesboro.