Voters say 'Yes' to sales tax increase in North Little Rock

Building a better North Little Rock could mean paying more for everything you buy in that city. THV11's Meredith Mitchell has the story.

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) – Building a better North Little Rock could mean paying more for everything you buy in that city. North Little voters headed to the polls on Tuesday to vote on a proposed one cent sales tax increase.

While some say to support the community, others say no more taxes, but what is certain is the city says it needs more money to keep up with expenses.

"Different exhaust systems that have been put in place, different ventilation systems put in place," said Nathan Hamilton, Director of Communications for North Little Rock. Hamilton said the city has stretched and patched failing infrastructure to its max.

“50 to 60-year-old hose and equipment, uniform dryers here.  They fight fires in all kinds of weather and when they come in and they're about ready to go back out again.  This stuff is giving out, we're patching and repairing it almost every single day.  This stuff has become inefficient," he said.

The one-half percent tax for capital improvements is projected to generate over the next five years. This includes $20 million for a new police and courts building, $10 million for streets and drainage and $10 million for fire station upgrades.

"It does take a lot of money to keep operations running in a city. This seems to be needed here. Infrastructure is so important and they help keep all that together," said voter Larry Grayson.

Grayson feels the city needs more money to keep up with expenses.

"I'm not actually campaigning for it by any means, but I think it's something where revenue needs to be made for the city," he added.

Opponents like Cal Dring argue city taxes are high enough already. He believes they’re overtaxed already, and by spending tax dollars a little more judicially can achieve the same goal. Dring has spoken with the mayor about his issues with the proposed sales tax.

"As we all have to, as you do and I do, we have to live in our budgets and I think that's what the city needs to do," he told THV11.

The vote generated a higher voter turnout than normal special elections. More than a thousand North Little Rock residents voted early.

Around 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday the special election was called and the votes said 'yes.'

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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