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Team Jonesboro is a grassroots organization who sent a proposal to the City Council calling for a special election for voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax.The 12 year tax would generate revenue to go toward two categories. Half of the funds would go to support the city's first responders--police and fire departments. The other half would go toward funding new public improvement projects (quality of life). These are the stories that go into the details of the tax and what supporters and opponents have said.The special election for the sales tax takes place on September 10.---POLLING LOCATIONS FOR SEP 10---Election Day 7:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. at the following locations:ASU FIRST NATIONAL BANK ARENA (LOWER RED ENTRANCE), 217 OLYMPIC DR.ALLEN PARK COMMUNITY CENTER, 3609 RACE ST.EARL BELL COMMUNITY CENTER, 1212 S. CHURCH ST.FOREST HOME CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE, 2403 RITTER DRIVENETTLETON BAPTIST CHURCH (FORMERLY NAMED CRAIGHEAD COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS), 7001 JOHNSON AVE.PARKER PARK COMMUNITY CENTER, 1522 N. CHURCH ST.PHILADELPHIA FIRE STATION, 106 CR 307VALLEY VIEW CHURCH OF CHRIST, 4500 SOUTHWEST DR.WALNUT STREET BAPTIST CHURCH, 1910 SCENIC RD.All Election Day locations are polling centers. Voters can select any location to cast their ballot regardless of the location of their residence. ---EARLY VOTING TOTALS---As of 9/6 (Courtesy of Craighead Co. Clerk Kade Holliday's Office)Jonesboro - 1,262Lake City - 3Total - 1,265Total Jonesboro - 4,861Total Lake City - 19Overall Total - 4,880Update with new totals Monday, polls will be open from 8am-5pm at the Jonesboro Election Annex and Lake City Courthouse.

Jonesboro Sales Tax Proposal Fails By 211 Votes


211 votes are all that separated those who wanted a one-percent sales tax increase in Jonesboro and those who did not.  The sales tax proposal, pushed by Team Jonesboro, would have been split in half.  One half of the one percent would have gone toward police and fire department future funding, and other half would have gone toward projects deemed “quality of life” needs; those include bike and pedestrian trails, museums, an amphitheater for outdoor events, an aquatic park, and more.  The proposal failed 5,016 to 4.805 votes. 

“Obviously we are disappointed,” said Brian Richardson with Team Jonesboro. “We are appreciative of those who worked on the campaign and we are not going to give up on this movement.  We are parents and neighbors who want to see better things for our children and our children’s children.”

There had been discussion at one point of separating the initiative and having citizens vote on the issues separately. Team Jonesboro did not go for that proposal, saying the issues would remain as one.  Iris Stephens with Citizens Taxed Enough, said a proposal for just police and fire would have passed “2 to 1”.  She said this initiative was confusing because voters did not know for sure what they were voting for.

“When you voted, you didn’t know what you were voting for,” said Stephens.  “All you were doing was giving the city $200 million but there were no projects selected yet.  Most people want a more manageable number of projects.  We need to take care of our police and fire departments.”

Stephens hinted a permanent tax dedicated to just police and fire could come before voters by the May primary.  As for the other projects, Richardson says he is not sure where funding would come from for the quality of life projects.  He says there will be discussions about what to do next to move forward in the process. 

Early voting and absentee numbers usually tell the story in an election.  Here, the numbers showed it was going to be extremely close.  Early and absentee numbers had 3,225 voting against the tax, while 3,109 voted for the tax.  Those voting for the tax never led, and the numbers widened a little as boxes came in through the night.  After the last box from Nettleton Baptist Church was tabulated, the election ended.  There is not expected to be a recount.  The numbers are unofficial and will be certified in 10 days.

Johnathan Reaves is the News Director for KASU Public Radio. As part of an Air Force Family, he moved to Arkansas from Minot, North Dakota in 1986. He was first bitten by the radio bug after he graduated from Gosnell High School in 1992. While working on his undergraduate degree, he worked at KOSE, a small 1,000 watt AM commercial station in Osceola, Arkansas. Upon graduation from Arkansas State University in 1996 with a degree in Radio-Television Broadcast News, he decided that he wanted to stay in radio news. He moved to Stuttgart, Arkansas and worked for East Arkansas Broadcasters as news director and was there for 16 years.