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Pulaski County panel OKs sales-tax election sites

Official says he expects 6,000-11,000 Little Rock voters to cast ballots by Joseph Flaherty | July 17, 2021 at 3:25 a.m.
A roll of stickers awaiting distribution to early voters sits on a table at the check-in station at the Pulaski County Courthouse Annex in Little Rock.

The Pulaski County Election Commission in a meeting Friday acknowledged receipt of a Little Rock ordinance calling a special election Sept. 14 for voters to authorize a sales-tax increase.

In a separate motion, the three-member commission approved a list of seven early-voting sites and 52 election-day voting sites proposed for the special election.

The two motions, one acknowledging receipt of the ordinance and the other designating polling locations, were approved in voice votes.

Commissioners read the Little Rock ordinance out loud in its entirety before voting to acknowledge receipt.

A Pulaski County elections official, Shawn Camp, told commissioners there are roughly 120,000 voters in the city of Little Rock. He suggested officials could expect somewhere between 6,000 and 11,000 voters in the upcoming special election.

[RELATED: Full coverage of elections in Arkansas » arkansasonline.com/elections/]

Camp told commissioners that eight early-voting sites in the city of Little Rock were used during the November general election. One of those locations, the Hillary Rodham Clinton Children's Library and Learning Center, experienced low turnout when officials used that location for the first time in fall 2020.

The early-voting location has been removed in advance of the Little Rock special election.

"It was a test. We don't think it worked out very well," Camp said.

The Little Rock Board of Directors last month voted 6-3-1 to call the election on the "Rebuild the Rock" 1 percentage-point sales -tax increase proposed this spring by Mayor Frank Scott Jr.

Scott had initially asked board members to approve a July election, but city directors balked when faced with the version of the sales-tax package under consideration at the time.

Because of an expiring city sales tax of three-eighths percent (0.375%), if voters give approval this fall, the local tax rate would experience a net increase of five-eighths percent (0.625%)

The sales-tax increase would take the city's overall rate to 9.625% when accounting for state and county sales-and-use taxes.

The increase would take effect in January and sunset at the end of 2031.

City officials expect the tax to generate $53 million in new revenue annually. A non-binding framework adopted by the city board recently said the funds would go toward park improvements, street resurfacing and public safety initiatives, among other projects.

The commission meeting Friday adjourned with commissioners scheduled to meet again Tuesday evening.

Print Headline: Panel OKs sales-tax election sites

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