After a year, the plan by Mammoth Spring Mayor Jean Pace to keep the Mammoth Spring Revenue Office open seems to be working.
Last October, the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration said 33 revenue offices statewide would have to be closed and Mammoth Spring was one of them. The closure of the offices would have reportedly saved the state $640,000 a year.
Mayor Pace immediately sprang into action, submitting a plan to the state that would allow the Mammoth Spring office to remain open.
"Our revenue office is located in a portion of City Hall, so there is no rent and no utilities. I sent a proposal to Little Rock where everyone that uses the office would pay a $3 donation," the mayor said. That was the first of December last year. The state agreed to let the office remain open on a trial basis and a year later there have been few problems.
Pace said it costs $437 a month to keep the office open. She said some months the office makes close to that amount but some months it is a lot lower. "We have had very few people refuse to make the $3 donation," she said. "Residents using the office need to realize this is not just for the people of Mammoth Spring. People from between here and Hardy and between Salem and Mammoth Spring use this office," she said.
Of the 33 offices planned to be closed last year, Mammoth Spring was one of the busiest offices, with 1,762 people using the office last year.
"We need to try to take care of our people the best we can. We have a lot of elderly people in this community that are safe to drive our city streets but are not safe to drive to Salem. They would have to hire someone to drive them, and with the cost of gas these days that would cost more than the $3 donation," she said.
The office has been so successful that the hours at the revenue office have been extended. Last year the office was open on Tuesday to 2 p.m. and now it stays open till 3:30 p.m.
Pace is pleased with the operation of the revenue office and is glad she made the proposal to the state. "People who use the office need to understand how important it is to make the $3 donation. At present we are OK, but if it gets where the city is having to pay hundreds of dollars a month to keep the office open we will have to close it because the city cannot afford it," the mayor said.