Maumelle OKs 2 of 3 tax issues
Interchange, public safety get nod, sewer extension rejected
A slim majority of Maumelle voters said yes to a city sales tax increase to pay for a new interchange and public-safety needs, but voters rejected issuing sewer bonds in Tuesday’s special election.
The sales tax increase will be 1 percentage point, raising the total tax to be charged on purchases to 9.5 percent. The total tax includes a 6.5 percent state tax, a 1 percent Pulaski County tax and a 1 percent city sales tax already in place.
One-half percent of the new tax — approved by a margin of just 18 votes, unofficially — will be to support a $15.59 million bond issue for the interchange to connect Counts Massie Road with Interstate 40 and draw traffic off an often congested Maumelle Boulevard. That portion of the tax is to expire when the bonds are paid off.
The one-half percent public-safety tax, to be permanent, will help fund city fire and police operations and replace a community service fee charged for public-safety costs. Collection of the new tax begins July 1.
Below are the unofficial vote totals for each ballot issue, with all eight precincts reporting.
A one-half percent sales
sales tax that now is split 5050 between roads and law enforcement needs. That 10 percent could go toward helping the shelter raise about $400,000 a year for operating expenses, and any additional revenue could go wherever the Quorum Court believes it is most needed, she said.
Asked about the impact of that proposal on the sheriff’s office, Sheriff Tim Ryals said, “We are already scraping the barrel. … We try to be as frugal as we can. … It would be devastating.”
Ryals said after the meeting that the lease agreement for the sheriff’s office to use the South German Lane property would take effect April 1 and require a $20,000 annual payment to the shelter fund.
Committee Chairman Randy
Higgins said he thought the justices of the peace would be “good stewards” of the taxpayers’ money if they can agree to operate a joint shelter with the city, thereby avoiding duplication of some expenses.
“[The city] hasn’t said no,” Higgins related. But the city needs more information on the county’s plans, he said.
“I know we need an animal shelter, and I’m for it,” but it needs a revenue stream for operating expenses, another justice of the peace said.
Clawson told the justices of the peace that they can solve the problem.
But she said, “If you knock it down the road two more years, you still don’t have a revenue stream.”
It would be best, she said, if the sheriff stays at the South German Lane site and the county builds a shelter from scratch instead.