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Courthouse tax discussed at Southeast Fire Dept.

By Stephanie Harris Smith, 02/13/20 9:58 PM

A group of around 20- 25 people gathered to listen to Hempstead County Justices of the Peace and Judge Jerry Crane continue the quest to gain votes in support of a sales tax increase that will solve the issues they are facing with the current courthouse problem. Local business owner Kris England attended with concerns that the tax would affect his business,Karma Korner on Rosston Road in a negative way. England asked the JPs if they had considered renting a facility to get the workers out of the unhealthy environment in which they are currently working. The county was sympathetic to England’s concerns and came back with answers about moving equipment that is contaminated and how that wouldnt be an efficient method. They said number one they don’t have the money to do that and it would take money away from the current project. JPs informed that they expect renovations to the new courthouse building would take 10 months.
Also there was a great concern that the federal and state institutions could force this done in a way that could effect property taxes and that that tax would stick. In other words, the county wants to do this and with this method before it falls into the hands of those who could cause the situation to worsen for the public.They could mandate a property tax, according to JP Ed Darling. Attendee Jerome Underwood asked how the one percent sales tax would break down. He was told It is penny everytime you spend one dollar. It was pointed out that 20 to 30 percent of this will be paid by people are are just traveling through and make purchases .Detailed brochures are also available at all the meetings that answer any question that may come up. Its an extensive report done through the University of Arkansas.
The question was also asked if legally they could seal and lock the old building and walk away. They answered yes. Attendee Cindy Martin said she wouldn’t think twice about a one cent increase. The County also emphasized again that they want to make Hope a better place.