Ward 3 Alderman Justin Tennant is hoping voters approve an extension of the city’s 1-cent sales and use tax during a special election set for Oct. 11 in Fayetteville.
OK, maybe ‘hoping’ is an understatement.
“If you love living in Fayetteville, many of the reasons why you love living here are at risk if this renewal doesn’t pass,” Tennant told members of “Vote FOR Fayetteville.”
The recently formed citizen group kicked off its campaign to pass the sales tax renewal at a press conference Wednesday afternoon in front of the Fayetteville Fire Department’s Station 1 on Center Street near downtown.
The 18-year-old penny sales tax — which must be voted on every 10 years — accounts for about $15.4 million in Fayetteville’s general and capital improvement funds and goes towards a variety of uses, including city employee payroll, street and sidewalk work, and trail construction.
Tennant warned those in attendance Wednesday that basic city services would be threatened if the extension is not passed.
“A vote ‘for Fayetteville’ would help keep approximately 148 jobs that would be likely eliminated,” he said. “This would include, unfortunately, up to 55 police department employees and 38 fire department workers.”
Although Tennant is the only alderman formally listed on the “Vote FOR Fayetteville” committee roster, he wasn’t the only council member in support of the referendum.
Alderwomen Adella Gray (Ward 1) and Rhonda Adams (Ward 4) encouraged those in attendance Wednesday to contact their friends and family to educate them about the October 11 ballot issue.
Another council member weighed in weeks ago.
“You don’t see me voting for taxes very often,” said Ward 3 Alderman Bobby Ferrel at an Aug. 2 council meeting, “but this is a rededication.
“We’re charged with fiduciary duties in running this city and this amount of money is critical in keeping it going. I think if you look back the last time this was rededicated, the citizens understood that.”
According to county officials, voters approved the tax in April 1993 by a vote of 3,675 to 619. The tax was extended in 2002 by a vote of 2,531 to 789.
Should the extension pass, it would remain in effect until June 2023.
Vote FOR Fayetteville members
Jay Amargos – managing director, ALPFA
Jeff Bishop – general manager, Northwest Arkansas Mall
Jody Dilday – executive director, Single Parent Scholarship Fund of NWA
David Erstine – VP to partner, Sage Partners
Greg Goggans – co-owner, The Goggans Agency
Justin Tennant – Ward 3 Alderman, Fayetteville City Council
Bill Waite – owner, Dickson Street Liquor