JONESBORO, Ark. – At its 5 p.m. Friday deadline, 59 residents had applied to be members of the City of Jonesboro’s Oversight Integrity Council, charged with proposing projects to be included on the 1-cent, 12-year sales tax initiative that will go before voters Sept. 10.
This Council, whose mission will continue if the initiative is passed, will be composed of nine members, including the Advertising and Promotions Commission chairman and two City Council members. If the tax is approved by voters, new members could rotate onto the panel over time.
Others will be needed to serve on subcommittees for specific projects, A&P chairman Jerry Morgan said.
The nine initial members will be nominated by Mayor Harold Perrin to the City Council at its Aug. 6 meeting. Pending City Council approval, they will begin work almost immediately: 1 p.m. Aug. 7, and again each of the following two days.
“This is something that has to be done promptly because voters will want to have some idea of proposed projects before they go to the polls,” Perrin said. “This is a group that would exist simply to present to City Council its research and recommendations. None of this revenue would be spent without City Council approval, and none of it could be used for anything else.”
Perrin said the initial makeup for the committee “will be a difficult decision, because I already am hearing that a lot of brilliant, community-minded people have applied.
“We will nominate two council members and six others from the community who represent a qualified, diverse and dedicated Oversight Integrity Council. We will definitely need more, if indeed this initiative is passed by the voters, for subcommittees on specific projects and to serve on the Oversight Council as current members roll off in coming years.”
According to the ordinance passed by the City Council, the Integrity Council would “identify, research, investigate, review and prioritize potential future capital improvements of a public nature … ”
Half of all receipts from this initiative would by law be “used to fund the acquisition, construction, repair, equipping and improving of capital improvements” for Jonesboro’s police and fire departments.
The ordinance requires the other half-cent be used for “acquisition, construction, repair, equipping and improving capital improvements of a public nature for the arts, aquatics, beautification, libraries, museums, park facilities, recreational facilities, sidewalks and trail systems, and for operation, maintenance and staffing of such improvements … ”