Meeting offers in-depth look at proposed street improvement tax

The city of Conway will host a public hearing regarding a proposed sales tax for street improvements at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the McGee Center.

 

Voters will be asked to decide whether to levy a three-eights of 1 percent (0.375 percent) sales and use tax that would cease on March 31, 2023 during a special election Nov. 14.

The tax would generate $5.1 million each year and the city would start receiving the funds in April 2018.

Mayor Bart Castleberry said he would recommend using the $5.1 million on collector and arterial streets and use the $1.4 million the city receives in state turnback funds for neighborhood streets.

The city has a list of potential projects that could be funded with the tax on its website, www.cityofconway.org.

Opponents of the tax say the city should exhaust all other options before raising taxes. They also expressed doubts that the tax would cease in 2023.

Street and Engineering Director Finley Vinson said that if the tax were approved, streets that are classified to be in critical condition would be the priority in an effort to save the city money down the road.

“The next stage down from critical is called lost and it’s called that for a reason,” he said. “It means you can no longer fix that street with an overlay and it becomes five times more expensive to fix it because you have to rebuild it.”

Overlaying a street extends its life by at least 10 years, he said.

Residents who want to hear more or give their input are encouraged to attend the open meeting. The city will host a final public hearing on the matter at 6 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Don Owen Sports Complex.

 

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