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Local & Regional News

Jonesboro Says No to Tax, Brookland and Lawrence County say Yes

Jonesboro residents overwhelmingly shot down two sales tax proposals in a special election yesterday, while Brookland and Lawrence County saw their respective tax proposals pass.  Jonesboro’s sales tax proposal was split in two parts, and both parts were defeated handily.  According to unofficial numbers from the Craighead County Election Commission, 3,968 voted against the sales tax for road improvements, while 2,709 voted for the proposal.  4,143 voted against the economic development sales tax, while 2,526 voted for the tax.  Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin’s reaction to the numbers.

“Obviously I didn’t think it would go this way.  The people have spoken.  As mayor, I have to go out and present a vision and I don’t regret that at all.  We will move forward and work for the best of Jonesboro.”

20 road improvement projects were identified as being the highest priority in Jonesboro.  Perrin says most of those projects are on hold now, expect for the Highway 18 overpass.

“We will go back to the drawing board.  Obviously, these are major projects and I think that we will do what we can with what we have by way of money.  On the Highway 18 overpass project, we should be able to see that project go to bid in the middle of 2016.”

He also commented on the failed economic development proposal.

“We always said that we felt that roads and jobs go hand-in-glove.  If you have got good roads, that will help in recruiting industry and other people in our town.  We believe that is important to put the two together, because they go hand-in-hand.”

Harold Perrin, who did suggest a similar issue could be brought before voters again in the future. 

In other numbers from last night, a two-percent sales and use tax that would be used for building a new water tank in Brookland passed by a margin of 79% to 21%.  146 people voted for a two percent sales and use tax in Brookland and 37 voted against.  For the water improvement bonds, 144 voted for, 40 people voted against.

Lawrence County will now get to build a new county jail, after a one-cent sales tax proposal passed last night, which is split in two parts.  844 people voted for a 3/8-cent sales tax, which will be putin place for 22 years to help pay for over nine-million dollars in bonds that will be used to build a new jail. 597 voted against.  834 people voted for the second part of the proposal, which is a permanent 1/8-cent sales tax that will be used for the upkeep of a new jail.  611 people voted against.  County officials said the new county jail is needed because of the state of the current county jail.  Construction on the new jail could start next year.