FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — When voters in Fort Smith head to the polls, they’ll be deciding whether or not to keep the city’s 1% sales tax.
25% of that tax money is split between the parks and fire departments. The other 75% goes toward the Fort Smith police and utility departments.
Doug Reinert is the Fort Smith Parks director. He says this sales tax generates about $2.5 million a year for the city.
Reinert says the funding from the sales tax goes toward updating and improving Fort Smith’s aging infrastructure.
He also says continuing the sales tax allows for new projects and improvements. “If we want to continue to grow, and expand, and improve our quality of place, and improve our quality of life, then this sales tax is important to make those things happen,” Reinert said.
Fort Smith utility director Lance McAvoy says if the sales tax is discontinued, residents will have to pay about 60% more for wastewater services.
“We can either spread it out over multiple people that come into the city — people that don’t live in the city that come up during the day to shop and play and eat — or again, it would be up to the citizens who pay their sewer bill to cover that cost,” McAvoy said.
Mcavoy says the utility department will use the money to replace damaged pipes and upsize some existing ones to reduce the number of overflows in the city.