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GENTRY -- The city council in Gentry on Monday passed on its third and final reading a proposed increase in Gentry's sales and use tax from 1 1/8 cents per dollar to 2 cents per dollar. An emergency clause was also passed so that the measure can be included with the November general election ballot for voter approval.

Passed on their final readings were two ordinances connected with seeking to raise the sales and use tax in Gentry by 7/8 of one percent. One ordinance authorizes the additional tax if approved by Gentry voters, and the second ordinance places the measure on the November 6 general election ballot.

The fate of the proposed tax increase will be determined by Gentry voters in a special election held in conjunction with the November general election. If approved by the voters on Nov. 6, Gentry's sales tax will be the same as the tax rate in Siloam Springs and numerous other local municipalities. The state tax rate is 6.5 percent, the county receives 1 percent, and the city currently receives 1.125 percent. The increase would raise the total sales tax rate in Gentry from 8.625 percent to 9.5 percent.

The dedicated breakdown proposed in the ordinance is 1/8 cent for street improvements (including sidewalks and parking); 1/4 cent for public safety (police, fire and ambulance services); and 1/2 cent to the city's General Fund, to be used (though not specifically dedicated) for the evolving park master plan as needed for phases and for other city projects.

"Once the 'plan' is addressed, the half-cent will be utilized to support the operation and maintenance of the new system and our efforts to provide an excellent quality of life and a great sense of place for our community," Kevin Johnston, Gentry's mayor, said at a town hall meeting last spring.

The council passed ordinances in 2014 to levy the additional tax, but the voters failed to approve it in the general election in November 2014. The 2014 bid for an additional 7/8 cent sales tax was defeated 347 to 252.

General News on 08/08/2018

Print Headline: Gentry council approves sales tax increase

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