North Little Rock voters last week turned down Mayor Patrick Hays’ proposals to increase the sales tax rate by 1% to provide more funds for operations and capital improvements.
The propositions included a permanent 0.5% tax divided between operations and capital improvements and a five-year, 0.5% tax dedicated to capital improvements.
North Little Rock currently levies a 1% city sales tax on top of Arkansas’ 6% tax and Pulaski County’s 1% tax.
Both proposals failed at 16 of the 25 polling places, split at another, and never won by more than 33 votes at the others. Almost 15% of the city’s registered voters turned out for the special election.
The additional 1% tax was expected to generate $15.5 million a year. The city said it planned to use the operational levy to hire 10 police officers and 13 firefighters.
The proposed capital improvements outlined by Hays included roads and other infrastructure, as well as $20 million for the acquisition of 200 acres of land.
Hays said the site could be used for a business park or as a new home for the Arkansas State Fair.