Group forms to discuss importance of Cherokee Village sales tax

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tammy Curtis

Staff Writer

The importance of Cherokee Village passing a one percent sales tax has led supporters to form a group of Cherokee Village citizen's called, "Citizen's for Sales Tax." They will be meeting every Tuesday at 10 a.m. at Cherokee Village City Hall, until the Sept. 13 special election. The group is comprised of private citizens who are not affiliated with city government.

The group is trying to emphasize that Cherokee Village is the only area city which does not have a sales tax to help fund city needs.

Other cities already have these taxes in effect. For example, Hardy has a one percent tax, Highland has a one-and-a-half percent tax, Ash Flat has a one-and-three-quarters percent tax and Horseshoe Bend has a two percent sales tax.

The sales tax vote is not the same as the proposed hospital tax which is not yet on the ballot for a special election and is in fact, still in the discussion phases. The proposed city sales tax is only for Cherokee Village and will be utilized to raise revenue for the city. The special election for the sales tax will be held on Sept. 13.

The group wants the public to understand the importance of the tax being passed. The city suffered $265,000 in losses last year from a loss in shared Suburban Improvement District (SID) revenues. This is due to property owners who have defaulted on their taxes.

Many homeowners take the Homestead Credit if their homes are valued at under $70,000. Other reasons cited for the city's loss of revenue includes loss of residents due to the aging population of the city.

The group would like the public to be aware the city is already operating on a shoestring budget, with many departments having already cut 20 percent.

The group realizes if the tax is not passed, vital services such as police and fire protection will be cut, as well as the road department, leading to roads in disrepair and lowered emergency services.

They also addressed ways the tax will bring much needed revenue to the city.

They stated in a handout the tax is better than raising fees, because it falls equally on all residents.

While higher property taxes discourage relocation to Cherokee Village, a one percent tax is minimal and not more than any of the other cities.

One audience member questioned the cost of increased utility bills.

In comparison, group member Jerry Adams said, if a water bill is $500 bucks a year, the tax is minimal and would only by $5 for the entire year.

The tax will also generate revenue when citizen's purchase items from other cities and have them delivered to the city.

An advantage the group highlighted was the paperwork process for collecting the proposed tax would be provided by the state.

The Citizen's For Sales Tax group urges any Cherokee Village residents who are interested in promotion of the tax prior to the special election to attend one of the Tuesday meetings.

Even if residents are not certain of their position on the tax, the group would like them to attend the meetings with questions or concerns.

There will also be a public forum hosted by the Spring River Chronicle on Aug. 25 at the Cherokee Village Senior Center, in which the public is urged to come and share their opinions in a public meeting regarding the tax.

Meetings are held at 10 a.m. every Tuesday prior to the Sept. 13 election.

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