City Asks Voters to Approve Sales Tax Rededication on Feb. 14

The City of Conway is asking voters to approve a rededication of a quarter-cent sales tax. A special bond election will take place Feb. 14.
Initially approved in 2006, the quarter-cent sales tax currently is dedicated to paying debts from the police station construction bonds. If the rededication passes, one-eighth cent of that sales tax will retire the existing bonds issued for the police station. This one-eighth cent also will be used to issue bonds for two additional capital expenses: the modernization of the city’s fire truck fleet and the acquisition of sanitation vehicles and equipment.
The city will reallocate the other one-eighth cent to the general fund for operations.
“Having a financially stable general fund will remedy having to borrow money when the need arises,” Mayor Tab Townsell said. “Reallocating the quarter-cent also will allow us to develop a capital budget for public safety and create a true reserves fund – all without raising taxes or creating new taxes.”
Townsell said that with Conway’s population increase has come an increase in the city’s operation costs.
“We have the needs of a growing city, but we have had no change in expenditures in six years,” he said. “We have not hired new firefighters or police officers in three years, and we have never had a capital budget for public safety.”
If voters approve the quarter-cent sales tax rededication, the Conway City Council has committed to purchasing new police vehicles annually from the existing Pay-As-You-Go quarter-cent sales tax. It also plans to invest in two new ladder fire trucks, three new pumper trucks and new digital radios for the fire department.
“We will have more police officers on the street more often, and our fire department will be better equipped to respond to emergencies,” Townsell said.
The City Council also has resolved to commit $500,000 annually into a true general fund reserve. The goal is to create a $2 million reserve by 2016.
Early voting will be available Feb. 7-13 from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. at the Faulkner County Courthouse. Voters will be able to vote at their precinct on the Feb. 14 election day from 7:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.
For more information about the special election, contact the Faulkner County clerk’s office at 501-450-4910.