Should the 5/8th-cent sales tax be extended?
May 22 is the primary election. On the ballot is a critical issue for Siloam Springs -- a proposal to extend the 5/8th-cent sales tax, which has been in effect since 2006.
The original purpose for the tax was a $20 million bond issue over 20 years time to upgrade the waste water treatment plant. The city has been able to retire that debt in 12 years. The extension request is for $31 million over 20 years to upgrade other sections of our water facilities.
The fresh water treatment plant has not been upgraded since 1992. New technology to increase the efficiency of the operation is planned and a change from chlorine gas to sodium hypochlorite, which is deemed safer.
The other pressing need is replacement of water lines. The pipe system which brings water from the Illinois River to the plant was laid in 1956 -- it's 62 years old! There's no backup line, so we're risking a very serious situation.
Since this tax has been in effect for several years, the extension will not be felt as a tax increase, and spending by those who come in from outside the city will be contributing to the tax revenue. The language in the proposal as it appears on the ballot is explicit -- all revenue from the tax is designated to retiring the debt, and cannot be used by city officials for any other purpose.
This work must be done and must be paid for. The citizens of Siloam Springs have the opportunity to choose the payment method. How big an increase in your water bill would be required to repay $31 million?
Also on the ballot will be candidates for important State offices, some of whom I recently heard speak.
Secretary of State -- Trevor Drown. One responsibility of this important office is the security of our voting system. Trevor is currently a State Legislator, was an active duty Special Forces Green Beret, now in the Guard with a top secret security rating.
State Supreme Court -- Judge Kenneth Hixson. Currently a State Circuit Court judge. Very wide experience and knowledge of the law. Current justice Courtney Goodsen, has raised questionable issues in her personal life.
Governor -- Asa Hutchinson. Asa is well known to most Arkansans, a conservative with wide experience including the U.S. Congress. His opponent is Jan Morgan, who has no experience even running a government agency. Formerly a reporter and owns a gun range. Her goals would turn state government upside down.
Siloam SpringsEditorial on 05/09/2018
Print Headline: Letter to the Editor