The continuance of the Crawford County one-cent sales tax will highlight a meeting of the Leadership Crawford County Alumni Association Monday, March 2.
County Judge John Hall will speak at the LCC alumni educational series meeting at 6 p.m. in the Razorback Room at Western Sizzlin’ in Van Buren.
Crawford County Quorum Court voted to hold a special election May 12 to extend the tax, set to end Sept. 30, another eight years. The tax has been ongoing since 1999, when it was first voted in, and renewed in 2007, according to Hall.
Revenue from the tax is distributed to all cities and the county based on population.
Hall said several rural towns without their own city tax, such as Cedarville, Rudy and Chester, rely on the countywide tax.
"This half-cent is the only sales tax out there that benefits everybody," Hall said. "If we do not have it, there will be a hardship on all of the county and cities, alike."
Crawford County collected nearly $6.4 million in tax revenue in 2014, with $2.88 million going to county services.
The county road department receives 45 percent of the county’s tax portion after 5 percent is put in a reserve fund. Another 40 percent goes to public safety, and 15 percent goes to the general revenue fund.
A road department budget of the tax monies shows a majority of its total $1.2 million portion goes for road maintenance. Another $60,000 will be tied up in a construction project this year.
Public safety will get nearly $1.1 million this year, distributed between the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department, Department of Emergency Management and rural fire departments.
When the sales tax was passed, Crawford County had 15 fire stations and nine fire departments, only one with an ISO rating lower than nine, according to Les Jenkins, Crawford County fire services coordinator.
By using the money to expand existing fire stations, build 17 new stations and purchase new trucks, tankers, gear and equipment, Jenkins said the departments were able to provide service to more residents and bring their ratings down to seven - for the most rural - and lower.