Proposed Business License Fee Would Generate Money For Fort Smith Police

FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- A proposed business fee would pay for more police resources, but some business owners in Fort Smith have mixed emotions.

This all comes as the city works to finish its 2018 budget.

"It feels like that as a new business, that every time we turn around there is another fee or expense through something," Kelts owner Daniel McMillen said.

McMillen and his wife opened Kelts more than a month ago. He said he is torn about the business license fee. If passed by the board of directors Tuesday (Dec. 5), every business in Fort Smith would be required to pay a $100 annual fee.

"That additional money will go toward the police department," City Administrator Carl Geffken said.

Owner of Creative Kitchen Jami Coleman supports police, but said taking another $100 out of her budget would be tough.

"I don't think we should take anything away from the police, but let's just look for a different avenue," she suggested.

The city administrator said the proposed fee would generate around $485,000 per year, designated only to the Fort Smith Police Department.

"Vests and helmets, you know that all costs money," Geffken said.

The city is also planning to add 13 police officers and increase their starting salary pay by six percent.

"Gee they really need that," McMillen said. "I wish they could find the funds somewhere else."