SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Siloam Springs voters will decide if they want their tax dollars to help fund the city’s public safety departments in November’s General Election.
If you live in Siloam Springs then you already pay a two percent sales tax, with one percent of that being permanent. The City Administrator, Phillip Patterson, said the sales tax started back in the 70s, giving money to the streets and the city’s general fund.
In 2013, voters chose to divide the sales tax revenue, even more, giving police 20%, fire 20%, streets 40%, and the general fund 20%. Now, voters can decide if they want it to stay that way permanently.
Patterson said that sales tax brings in about $5 million each year, which would give fire and police $1 million each if voters keep the current revenue split.
“Any city our size is always trying to update and maintain their streets and that’s always a struggle, but at the same time, if we lose that revenue for police and fire, we’re going to slowly fall back to where we found ourselves in 2013 needing revenue for police and fire,” said Patterson.
Patterson said if approved, police could use that money to get officers body cameras and firefighters could keep their training and personal protection gear current.
If it fails, the revenue will no longer go to fire and police and revert back to giving 80% of the money to improve city streets and 20% to the city’s general fund.