NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Shoppers in North Little Rock may start paying more in city sales taxes.
The mayor is hoping voters will agree that it’s needed to move forward as a city. Wednesday, he held a town hall to answer questions. Several more town halls are scheduled to happen before voters will decide to pass the sales tax increase or not on August 8.
“I’m concerned about the city of North Little Rock. I want to see it continue to grow,” said Earl Carter who supports the increase. “A city this size ought to have a very adequate reserve fund.”
North Little Rock has a one cent sales tax now and that's lower than most neighboring cities. Little Rock’s is 1.5 percent, Jacksonville is two percent, and Bryant has three percent. Mayor Joe Smith is hoping to double the current tax in his city putting it at two percent.
“It’s necessary for us to be a progressive city. We've just got to have more money," said Smith.
Half of the new funds would expire in five years, going towards the police department, fire department, streets, and drainage. The other half would be permanent, put towards everyday expenses.
“Our expenses have gone up tremendously the past 10 years and our incomes been flat. I don’t want to cut services," said Smith.
Not everyone wants to see this pass.
“At some point they’ve got to live within a budget," said Cal Dring. “I think that the tax level, not only locally but state wide and nationally, is getting about as high as it needs to be and I think there needs to be more diligence in how its spent."
Voting will be held August 8 with early voting starting August 1. If the tax increase doesn't pass, Mayor Smith says the city may have to start charging a sanitation fee and cut payroll funding from each department.
List of upcoming town halls:
Town Hall #2 Thursday, June 29 at 6:00 p.m. at the Sherman Park Recreation Center located at 624 Beech St.
Town Hall #3 Thursday, July 13 at 6:00 p.m. at the North Heights Community Center located at 4801 Allen St.
Town Hall #4 Thursday, July 20 at 12:00 p.m. at the Patrick Henry Hays Senior Center located at 401 W. Pershing Blvd.
Town Hall #5 (Facebook Live Event) Thursday, July 27 at 6:00 p.m. at the William F. Laman Public Library located at 2801 Orange St.