SEARCY,AR–Searcy city leaders voted to put a sales tax increase before the voters during a special meeting Monday night.
Under the current tax, the mayor says Searcy is lagging behind with outdated equipment and infrastructure problems. The city’s current half cent rate was set in 1994 but is no longer enough according to city leaders.
The mayor says the city is falling behind others across the state and failing to maintain city streets and drainage problems. The city engineer says the streets are being repaved so slowly that it would take 75 years to take care of each street in the city once.
City leaders approved the election for the sales tax increase saying this will help the city become more progressive while some voters say they want to know more about how the funds will be prioritized.
“We want our streets to be better, parks and recreation to be better. We always want a better city, we always strive for better in Searcy,” says resident Larry Nokes.
“Quality of life in this town, it could use some improving but not by the government,” argues Victor Woldridge.
Many people said they wanted to see the city outline exactly where the money will go so they can vote with that information in hand. The mayor explained that all city department heads have submitted information concerning needs and proposed projects in their areas but those details were not apart of the ordinance approved by the board.
The election for the sales tax is set for February 11th, 2014. If passed it would go up by one percent, making the city sales tax 1.5 percent. The mayor says the new tax would bring in roughly $6 million a year for the next 8 years.