Fayetteville’s sales tax up for election Tuesday

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — An extension of the city’s 1-percent sales tax is on the ballot in the city of Fayetteville.

Special election day is Tuesday, August 10. Chief Financial Officer for the city of Fayetteville, Paul Becker, said the sales tax is important for the city’s operations.

“It’s very critical,” Becker said.

The sales tax generates about $22.5 million in revenue annually, according to Becker. $13.5 million goes into the general operational fund and $9 million goes to the capital improvement fund.

The sales tax was first enacted in 1993 and voters approved to extend it in 2002 and 2011. If the sales tax passes, it will continue into 2033. Becker emphasized this is not a new tax.

Becker said a lot of city services rely on funding from the sales tax.

“Ongoing capital supports things such as our trail program, and the our street overlay program for basic street maintenance,” Becker said. “It also is used partially for drainage issues as they come up.”

Fayetteville Police Department and Fire Department also receive funding through the sales tax for staffing and equipment. According to Becker, the police could lose 48 positions and the fire department could lose 33 positions if the tax does not pass.

Cpt. Brian Wandstrat with the Fayetteville Fire Department said losing firefighters could affect how long people have to wait to get help.

“If we don’t have the guys to staff the fire truck or fire station that can affect response times,” Cpt. Wandstrat said.

Overall, eliminating the sales tax could jeopardize more than 130 city related positions, Becker said. If the tax does not pass, the city does not have any other funding sources to make up for it currently.

You can view the sample ballot and find your polling place here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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