Lincoln County court considers seeking tax increase

The Lincoln County Quorum Court on Monday, in a split vote, agreed to start the process for getting a proposed 1-cent sales tax increase on the ballot in November.

Lincoln County is currently receiving only 1 percent in sales tax.

County Attorney Phillip Green said the lengthy process to get the proposal on the ballot must be completed at least 70 business days before the Nov. 6 election or by July 31.

Justices Edwin Branson, Kip Dutton, Brad Henley, Burl Dean Robertson, David Rochell and Phillip Thomas voted to have the ballot ordinance prepared, while Justice Paul Carter voted no and Justice Drew Steed abstained, which has the same effect as a no vote. Justice Lee Spikes was absent.

The tax increase debate began because Lincoln County, like many other smaller communities in Arkansas, has had their state funds slashed. The county was forced last month to lay off five employees with another having her hours cut in half.

County Judge Charles Capps said on Monday that a 1-cent (or 1 percent) sales tax increase in Lincoln County would bring in about $580,000 per year, depending on a number of factors.

Capps then explained the court would need to act quickly if they wanted the issue on the ballot and they would have to have a special meeting before July 31 to consider the ordinance prepared by Bowman.

“I don’t think nobody wants to hear the words ‘tax increase,’ but the future holds that we’re going to be in a terrible crisis, so we have to look at it,” said Rochell.