MAUMELLE, Ark. -- A new year could bring new development to Maumelle if the city passes new tax initiatives in an upcoming special election.
Maumelle Vision for the Future, the group rallying behind the special election and passing the proposals see it as a chance to grow the city's tax revenue and in turn, grow the city. Those against it, however, fear growing the city's debt, and the low turnout a special election usually nets.
Standing on the newly-built extension to Counts Massie Blvd., Maumelle Vision for the Future spokesperson Marion Scott-Coney pointed out the road's nickname.
"The road to nowhere," she laughed. "And of course, that is the big concern."
But Scott-Coney also sees a path to potential, should the measures her group is pushing for pass. That includes a half-cent sales tax increase to fund two major projects: a sewer system near the Morgan-Maumelle exit, and an interchange connecting Counts Massie to Interstate 40, creating a new way in and out of the city.
Scott-Coney says approving both proposals would pave the way for Maumelle to annex new land for development on a voluntary basis.
"We don't have a palette for hostile takeovers," she explained. Multiple property owners on the east side of I-40 have committed to annexation, should the interchange be built.
Another half-cent sales tax hike would replace the city's community service fee. Proponents feel it's a more equitable source of revenue, as the community service fee puts all burden on homeowners and not others who may come to Maumelle and use its services and functions.
Alderman Steve Mosley for Ward 1 is against both the tax increases themselves, and the special election set to decide on them. His fear is that special elections net low turnout, which could give the issues an unfair chance of passing. He also has concern with the improvement projects that would add $18 million to the city's debt.
"That would almost double our bond indebtedness here in Maumelle," Mosley said. "That's a big thing."
But where Mosley sees a big debt, Scott-Coney sees the big picture.
"We envision an extension of Maumelle providing entertainment and shopping," she said. "Someplace for people to come and, according to our motto: live, work, and play."
While Counts Massie may currently be a "road to nowhere"...there's hope it may one day lead to somewhere.
A town hall meeting will be held on January 18, 6 PM, at First Baptist Church in Maumelle for those with questions and concerns about the proposals.
The special election is set for March 13.
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