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Jonesboro City Council approves hotel tax increase and lowering speed limit on two major roads

Jonesboro Municipal Center
Brandon Tabor

The Jonesboro City Council has given approval to an ordinance that would raise the taxes on hotel occupancy. 

The measure was passed unanimously on Tuesday, December 7 by the council. It would raise the existing 3% hotel occupancy tax to 4%, which is the state maximum. 

Funds raised from this tax would be used for an indoor sports complex in Jonesboro. 

The additional funds would go to the Jonesboro Advertising and Promotion Commission for the designation of a facility. 

City officials say an indoor sports facility would generate millions of dollars in economic impact for their communities.  Those against the tax say it hurts businesses trying to recover from the financial strains of the pandemic. 

In November 2021, the council passed a 2% so called "hamburger tax" on prepared foods that will also go toward the sports complex. That tax will go into effect January 2022.

Meanwhile, the council also approved a resolution that could reduce speeds on two highly traveled roadways.

Members approved a proposal that would ask the Arkansas Department of Transportation to reduce the speed limit to 35 miles per hour on East Johnson Avenue from Red Wolf to Main Street and on Highland Drive from Distributor to Barnhill.

The current speed limit posted on both roads is set at 45 miles per hour.

Officials behind the resolution cite a high number of crashes on the roads as a reason for lowering the speed.