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Searcy Eyeing Sales Tax Election in Early 2014

The Searcy City Council will hold a special meeting Tuesday to decide whether to advance a one-cent sales tax to voters early next year.
SEARCY, AR -The Searcy City Council will hold a special meeting Tuesday to decide whether to advance a one-cent sales tax to voters early next year.

Searcy mayor David Morris says the council will decide between either a permanent sales tax increase or one that ends after ten years.

The penny tax would generate $6 million annually according to Morris and be dedicated to city infrastructure needs in streets, drainage, sanitation, fire and police needs.

Searcy Fire Chief Bill Baldridge says he hopes to move one of the city's three fire stations to a location better served to meet the needs of the city's east side.

"This is your service, we're not really trying to beef up things other than if I could beef it up, I'd say we're trying to save your lives and your property," Baldridge says.

The Searcy Police Department hasn't purchased a new vehicle since 2011.  Officer Steve Hernandez says a voter approved sales tax would allow the department to purchase ten vehicles annually to replace an aging fleet.

Morris adds the election would likely be scheduled for early 2014.  If approved, Morris says, the additional tax collection could begin in July 2014.

"Voters supported us with a 15-month sales tax for road improvements," Morris says.  "We're hopeful they'll see the need and do the same this time."

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