FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — Voters spoke out Thursday (Jan. 31) night about a proposed temporary sales tax increase to pay for the U.S. Marshals Museum in downtown Fort Smith.
For months it has been a source of controversy.
Fort Smith residents say they are looking for answers as to why the sales tax increase is the answer.
“I just know that our utility bills are high and I want to know more about why they’re going to raise taxes," said Fort Smith Resident, Jim Button.
A spokesperson with the U.S. Marshals Museum Foundation says they understand peoples concern, but the tax is temporary.
"This tax will end, this is a non-renewable, non-replacement sales tax," said Alice Alt, U.S. Marshals Museum Vice President of Development.
Some people have their doubts.
“I’m all for the museum for what it brings it, but I’m against the sales tax cause there’s never no temporary sales tax," said voter Chris McCoy.
The foundation maintains since 2007 this project was always meant to be a public/private partnership.
Residents disagree they argue the perception has always been that the museum would be privately funded.
“The city has more urgent projects like fixing roads, fixing sewers, having clean water, and that U.S. Marshals Museum should live within its budget," said Maryanne Meyerriecks of Fort Smith.
The museum foundation is hosting its own community meetings.
The first is scheduled for February 13 and another will be held on February 27.
Early voting for the special election starts March 5.