City votes to extend sales tax

The residents of Siloam Springs have voted to extend a 10-year addition to the city sales tax.

The sales tax is 3/8 of a cent, according to the Siloam Springs city website. This extension will not raise taxes for city residents, as it has been in effect since 2006.

“From 2006-2014 this 3/8 cent sales tax has generated apporoximately $8.94 million,” according to a report on the city’s website. “The estimated 10 year total projection for this existing tax is approximately $13.7 million.”

The previous use of the tax was utility improvement, including electric and water/waste-water projects. The master plan, where half of the revenue will go, launched in 2014. The master plan is a five-to-seven-year implementation plan.

“The purpose of this plan is to continue preservation and improvements in downtown’s built environment through infrastructure and facility planning, to ultimately realize a more vibrant urban core,” according to Main Street Siloam’s website.

Steve Beers, member of the Siloam Springs board of directors and vice president of student development at John Brown University, said, “I am excited to see the community get behind quality of life improvements to our town. I was also pleased to see that it passed with a great margin, elevating confusion about what our citizens really want. The city board and the city now have the honor of maximizing the tax proceeds for our community.”

Bob Coleman, member of the city board of directors, said, “I am delighted that the voters of our city gave overwhelming approval (74 percent), for the extension of our 3/8 cent sales tax.”

“This tax will be divided 50-50 between infrastructure maintenance and improvements and quality of life improvements,” Coleman said. “It is exciting to know that, not only will we be able to maintain the high quality of our water/sewer/electrical infrastructure, but also we will be in a position to begin implementation of many of the improvements recommended in our recent Main Street/Downtown study.”

Coleman also stated that through this tax, “words like sidewalks, trails, connectivity, splash pad, amphitheater, farmers market [and] street diet, will now come off the page and take on reality.”

Carol Smiley, another board member, agreed.

“This extension allows the City to continue upgrading and maintaining Siloam Springs’ infrastructure [that] our citizens deserve and need, and to begin the quality of life  improvements to our parks, sidewalks and trails and improvement to downtown that the city has been working towards for several years,” Smiley said.