Van Buren Voters to Consider 1 Cent Sales Tax

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Van Buren voters will head to the polls Tuesday to vote on a proposed one cent sales tax increase. Money from the tax will fund a new police station, fire station, senior center, and improve city parks.

“Even though it’s just a penny we know a penny saved is a penny earned,” said Mark Shaffer, who opposes the tax.

“We can’t afford to do these projects without this tax,” said Lt. Stephen Staggs, with the Van Buren Police Department.

Van Buren police say they need a new building. The current facility is cramped, small and old. The building sometimes floods when it rains. “The commodes won’t flush. We have to take employees up to the Quickie Mart to even just use the restroom during the flood,” said Lt. Staggs.

City leaders say if the tax does not pass the fire department may lose their insurance rating and cost home owners more for their premiums.

Opponents argue city taxes are high enough already. The economy is bad and some say not everyone can afford the increase. “Right now I think any economist would tell you in the middle of a recession one thing you don’t do is raise taxes,” said Shaffer.

About 400 people participated in early voting.

The polls are open Tuesday from 7:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.