Siloam Springs Asking Voters To Extend Sales Tax For Water Treatment Plant Improvements

SILOAM SPRINGS (KFSM) -- The primary election is less than a week away and the city wants to extend an already existing sales tax.

This sales tax has been in place since 2006 and has been used to pay for improvements to the wastewater treatment plant.

Siloam Springs wants to move the funding to pay for much needed improvements to the water treatment plant.

“The last updates were done in 1992. Before that updates were done in the 1960s maybe late 50s. So with that everything is just very old, very outdated making repairs and repairs very costly, very inefficient,” Josh Napier said.

Water Treatment Plant Superintendent, Josh Napier said manufacturers for a few of their pumps no longer exist, like the manufacturer of a raw water pump that the city had taken out and sent to be fabricated earlier this year. This pump brings water from the river to the treatment plant.

“When things do breakdown it kind of takes away some redundancy that we have as a water treatment facility, so in the instance of this raw pump that we were talking about, it could directly impact the community if we can't get water to the city and storage facilities,” he said.

Siloam Springs Finance Director, Christina Petriches said for every $800 you spend in the city, only $5 of that is this sales tax.

If this sales tax extension does not pass that means resident`s monthly water bills will double.

“It is a better option for tax payers, especially for citizens in the city because the nice thing about a sales tax is everybody that comes through the city is going to be paying that tax, so all of the financial burden is not being added to the water bill,” Petriches said.

If voters don't approve extending the sales tax, it will expire at the end of June.

The plan is to build a new water treatment facility south of where the current one is. The other option on the table is to update the current facility.  The final decision will be decided once the city's budget is set.