Walnut Ridge council to consider sales tax

Would be Primarily for Sewer Upgrades/Sanitation Department

WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. – At this month’s Walnut Ridge City Council meeting, discussion will center on the possibility for two sales taxes which would equal one-percent, if passed. The taxes would be used for sewer upgrades and sanitation department costs.

Under new business, item E, an ordinance call for an election for a city sales tax – 3/8 of one-percent – was listed on the agenda provided by Mayor Charles Snapp to media outlets on Tuesday, Jan. 9. This ordinance, if passed through council, will set in motion a 3/8 of one-percent sales tax election to be voted on by the residents of Walnut Ridge during the March 22nd Primary. In an effort to allow larger numbers of registered voters to vote on the issue, an emergency clause will be presented on this ordinance to have the paperwork done in time to make the primary ballot. This ordinance, if approved and passed by voters, would avoid the need to add an additional $8.05 to the current sewer rates, to cover the five-million dollar bond payment.

Another item, F and G, focuses on the remaining 5/8 of of 1-percent. Funds from this (5/8 of 1-percent) sales tax, if passed will designate 20% of the funds go to the water & sewer department. This would allow the water board to set up a “Short Lived Asset Reserve Fund” as required by the USDA to insure the sewer upgrades and repairs will last a full 40 years. Funds could also be used for other such repair and expansion needs by the water board. The remaining 80 percent of the funds derived from this (5/8) offering would be used to manage and operate the sanitation department, the mosquito program and the remainder of the money would be used for street overlay and repairs.

This ordinance, if approved and if passed by the voters, would allow the council to remove the current monthly charges of $12 for trash and $1.50 for mosquito program currently being collected on the water bill. It would also allow the residents to avoid an additional fee anticipated to be $2 per month that would need to be added to sewer cost, to cover repairs and maintenance on the system.

A State of the City address is also expected at January’s council meeting.

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