Garland County, Ark.’s proposals to raise the sales tax rate to build and operate a new jail in Hot Springs received a 64% favorable margin at last week’s election. More than 10,300 votes were cast, and the plan prevailed in 40 of the county’s 42 precincts.
The total increase will be 1%, with 0.625% to support $42 million of sales tax revenue bonds and a separate 0.375% increase for operations at the proposed 476-bed facility.
The county currently levies a 0.5% sales tax. The state sales tax rate is 6%.
County officials had said the jail project would not go ahead without approval of both increases.
The tax hike supporting the bonds for construction will go into effect April 1 and will expire in 2018 when the county expects the bonds to be retired.
The operations tax will go into effect in 2013, and is permanent. It’s expected to generate $5.6 million a year. Voters overwhelmingly turned down a 0.5% sale tax hike to build a new jail in 2008.