Fort Smith City Board To Consider Temporary Tax Proposal To Help Complete U.S. Marshals Museum

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- It will soon be decided if Fort Smith residents will get a chance to vote on a nine-month one-cent sales tax increase to help complete the U.S. Marshals Museum.

The Marshals Museum Foundation is proposing the increase to help meet its 50-million fundraising goal.

If city directors say yes on Tuesday (Dec. 18) night, Fort Smith taxpayers will have a chance to decide the sales tax increase in March 2019. The Marshals Museum Foundation President Jim Dunn says it's a must have to completely finish the project.

"We are ready to move to complete the building, and we can't let the building be vacant, but without certain support, we cannot begin to cause the exhibits to be finished and all the interactives to be fabricated and installed," Dunn said.

City Director George Catsavis says he doesn't have a problem supporting the museum itself, the main problem he has is a special election.

"If the board doesn't pass this special election, then they need to go get their 29-hundred signatures and put it on the ballot in November," Catsavis told 5NEWS.

Catsavis said another problem is why the increase is needed.

"It was supposed to be properly funded, the keyword properly funded, now we need taxpayer help, and that's set a lot of people off."

Dunn says if the vote is set, they will rely on the project itself to sell the increase.

"Our educational programming, our ability to spur economic development for downtown revitalization, River Front development, those issues are all key to Fort Smith's future. We just need to let the museum sell itself."

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