HUNTSVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Mayoral and judge candidates for office in Madison County gathered for a forum in Huntsville on October 13.

The biggest talking point on the agenda for the meeting was the proposed sales tax extension to fund a new county jail.

The four candidates, two for mayor and two for county judge, expressed their thoughts on the tax initiative.

“I’m gonna vote for it,” said Huntsville mayoral candidate Charles Coger. “But, we’re gonna have the highest sales tax in Arkansas. Which is bad, and lots of people are going to trade in other cities.”

“I personally am going to support the tax, and I’m personally going to vote for the jail,” said Travis Dotson, another Huntsville mayoral candidate. “But, I also am not going to get angry if it doesn’t pass.”

“I’m not opposed to the jail in any way shape or form,” said Jeremy Updegraff, Madison County judge candidate. “I just can’t see, right now, us being able as a community to handle the taxes. I think it’s going to have a negative effect.”

“I just think everybody needs to understand how important this jail is and what it means to the county,” said Larry Garrett, Madison County judge candidate. “Not just to our sheriff’s department, but also to our EMS.”

The Madison County sales tax rate is 2%. The proposed increase would see that bumped up by 1.75% to cover the cost of building and operating the new jail.