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Sebastian County voters greenlight 10-year extension for 1% county sales tax

by Thomas Saccente | August 9, 2023 at 12:10 p.m.
Mickie Matthews sets out I-Voted stickers for voters to take Tuesday at the Creekmore Park Community Center in Fort Smith. The center is one of the polling locations for the Sebastian County sales tax election on whether or not the county can continue to levy a 1% sales tax for the next decade. The measure passed. Visit for today's photo gallery. (River Valley Democrat-Gazette/Caleb Grieger)

FORT SMITH -- About 75% of the people who participated in the Sebastian County special election Tuesday voted in favor of continuing the county's 1% sales and use tax for another 10 years.

3,313 total votes were cast in the election, according to unofficial results taken from the Sebastian County website. Early voting began Aug. 1.

The unofficial results as of 8:18 a.m. Wednesday were:

For 2,494

Against 819

Sebastian County has 72,446 registered, eligible voters, according to the County Clerk's Office.

County Judge Steve Hotz thanked the residents who supported the sales tax on Wednesday. He said the extension will allow the county to continue moving forward.

"With an overwhelming vote of support, the citizens are saying they want to keep progress moving forward in the River Valley," Hotz said. "Many good things are happening in the county, and this will certainly help us maintain the pace."

County residents voted to implement the 1% tax for the first time in 1994. They went on to renew the tax twice since then for a decade each, with 2013 being the last time.

Hotz said in April the tax would sunset in June 2024 if voters didn't approve extending it. Sebastian County received more than $4.8 million of the more than $33.7 million total the tax generated in 2022. The rest was divided between the 11 cities and incorporated towns in the county. The size of the allocations is based on population.

Hotz has said the county would have had to curtail services to some extent if the tax wasn't continued. The voters' decision will also have an "extreme impact" on the county's smaller municipalities -- such as Bonanza, Mansfield and Midland -- because the tax is a significant income source for them, he said.

The county's share of the revenue will be committed as follows per a resolution the Sebastian County Quorum Court approved April 18:

Operation of the county jail: 54.5%

Operation of the county Juvenile Detention Center: 9%

Funding and support of three Sheriff's Office patrol deputies providing law enforcement services in unincorporated areas of the county: 9%

Capital projects: 11%

Improving county volunteer rural fire departments: 5%

Supporting Sebastian County Emergency Medical Services: 2%

Improving services provided by the senior citizens' centers the county supports: 1%

Improving the programs of the Scott-Sebastian Regional Library, including building expansion as necessary: 0.5%

County employee health care and worker's compensation: 7%

Operation of county parks: 1%

Print Headline: Sebastian County sales tax extension clears Tuesday special election


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