Council vote ensures nonprofit groups keep receiving block grants
Money provided for ‘housing rehab’
SPRINGDALE — A federal program benefiting residents in a variety of ways has been renewed.
The City Council voted Tuesday to approve the action plan for use of Community Development Block Grant Fund.
The block grant provides money to several nonprofit organizations.
“We do this every year,” said Melissa Reeves, public relations director for the city. “It does a lot of things. It’s a program that does housing rehab. It removes lead-based paint.”
The city has been participating in the program
“Residents from all around the city have benefited,” Reeves said.
The program even helps residents who rely on public transportation, such as getting a taxi voucher to make it to a doctor’s appointment, Reeves said.
Grants totaling $840,882 will be provided through the program. General Program Administration will receive $35,000. Housing will receive $702,882, $609,882 of which will go toward housing rehabilitation. Public Services will receive $103,000. House of Hope Rescue Mission and 7 Hills Homeless Shelter are two of the area’s public services receiving grants, with the former receiving $12,500 and the later receiving $15,000, according to the City Council agenda packet.
The city received $830,595 in block grants last year, Reeves said.
The City Council approved 6-2 to support federal and state legislation to ensure the proper assessment and collection of sales tax from all Internet/online sales. The State House of Representatives in April voted against a bill to collect online sales tax. The bill would have required companies without a physical presence in the state and that make either more than $100,000 in sales annually or at least 200 transactions within
the state, to collect and remit sales tax.
Mayor Doug Sprouse and Alderman Colby Fulfer both said the issue would likely go before the Supreme Court. Amazon started collecting sales tax in Arkansas in March.
Sprouse said sales tax not being placed on online sales is unfair to brick and mortar stores, putting them at a 10 percent disadvantage to the online market.
Fulfer said people have to pay enough taxes already.
“I haven’t spoke to many people who want to see this done; it’s a very unpopular thing,” Fulfer said. “In trying to represent the people of the city, it would be going against the majority sentiment.”
Fulfer said the council’s vote on the issue wouldn’t impact state and federal law. Sprouse said the vote still has a purpose.
“My hope is that we will send a message to our Legislature. I respect Colby’s argument and the way he brought it forward. We just disagree on the process,” Sprouse said.