NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- North Little Rock wants to provide safer homes, better streets, and a prouder city, but said it's impossible without a revenue boost.
The city is asking residents to vote yes to a proposal of a 1 cent sales tax increase in August.
"I like that they are actually trying to keep us financially sound,” said Ambre’ Pownall, an area resident.
“It's all about helping the community out,” said David Johns, a local business owner of 40 years.
If you live in this city, you could soon be digging deeper into your pockets.
“Listen, nobody likes to pay taxes. But we have a choice here,” said John Owens, President of the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce.
Residents have a choice to vote yes or no. The city currently receives one cent in sales tax.
“They're asking for that to be increased to two pennies, which will make us more competitive with other cities all around the state of Arkansas,” Owens said.
After 5 years, those two pennies will reduce to one and a half cent. Owens wants the city to be a fun place to live and work for everyone.
“This picture behind me is a piece of property that was owned by the city that was recently sold. It’s going to be behind Dicky Stephens Park,” he said describing a display of what the city’s future could look like.
The new entertainment project is just one of the ways the city is trying to move forward. It will serve as hotel, office, and restaurant space. Right now, North Little Rock’s expenses outweigh revenue.
“You know if we get a little more police help, it helps keep the crime down,” said Johns.
Increased taxes will fund new police and fire stations, road improvements, and drainage.
“Right now I'm a little undecided,” said Pownall. “I would really like to see our public safety increased.”
She’s lived in the city for 7 years. She's most concerned about petty theft in the area.
David Johns has owned a popular t-shirt shop in Levy for decades and he’s active in the community.
“I would like to see the streets done a little, they keep up with them as best they can. I’ve seen a lot worse,” he said.
Johns thinks the increase could be a positive step in the right direction. No matter what side of the fence you’re on, your vote counts on August 8.
“If the city goes under and we have to start losing services, that just puts us at a disadvantage. I want us all to be proud of the city we live in,” Pownall said.
North Little Rock’s police station was built in 1960 and the oldest fire station was built in 1938. The city said major roads are in decent condition, but to improve neighborhood streets they need this increase. Early voting starts Monday, August 1, at the Laman Library. Election day is Tuesday, August 8.
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