City Considers Committee For Street Tax

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) – City leaders have a big decision to make Tuesday (June 16) as they consider creating a new committee. If all goes as planned, that group would decide how to prioritize projects funded under the city’s newly approved street tax.

The proposed ordinance would establish the Capital Improvement Plan Advisory Committee. City leaders said the committee would be in charge of reviewing and recommending projects categorized under the city’s 1 percent tax for streets and bridges, as well as drainage projects around the city.

The committee would be made up of seven members. All of them would be appointed by the Board of Directors.

At-Large Director Tracy Pennartz called for the new committee and said the thought behind it was to give citizens a better opportunity to voice their thoughts about certain projects.

However, other city leaders remain split on whether a committee is actually needed. Some said the committee could just be another tool used to micromanage the street and bridge projects.

Other members said they’re concerned that if they have to go through this committee as well, it could just slow down the entire process. This means projects wouldn’t get completed as quickly as they could without jumping through the extra hoops.

The street tax renewal which was approved by voters back in May has been in place since 1985. It was renewed in 1995, and again in 2005 before this last vote.

Even though voters approved renewing the street tax, they shot down an additional measure which would’ve have allocated 5 percent of the tax income to putting in more trails around town.

The meeting starts at 6:00 p.m.  at the Fort Smith Public Schools Service Center on Jenny Lind Road. Also at tonight’s meeting, city directors will be presented with a 2014 financial audit and will discuss naming two neighborhood parks in the works.

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