Searcy, Arkansas, residents have created a campaign to support the renewal of the 1-cent sales tax, aiming to show others its importance and encourage eligible citizens to register to vote for the Nov. 9 election. The last day to register to vote is tomorrow, Oct. 9.
The campaign — called “Moving Searcy Forward” — is led by a group of Searcy residents who saw the long-term benefit of the 1-cent sales tax. Bear Davidson is a member of this group and has been organizing door-to-door and phone banking events to make Searcy residents aware of the election.
“This election has a major impact on Searcy, specifically on our police and fire departments, sanitation service, parks and infrastructure,” Davidson said. “Sales taxes are one of a handful of revenue sources that cities use to fund day-to-day operations and projects … It’s important to know that the City of Searcy has about $800 per year, per citizen, to provide all the services it provides to its citizens.”
Davidson said if the 1-cent sales tax expires, then Searcy’s revenue will reduce to around $575 per year, per citizen.
“How can we expect our leaders to continue to provide quality services to our citizens if we don’t allow them funding for our police, fire, sanitation, parks and infrastructure?” Davidson said.
Registering voters for this election is an important tactic for the Moving Searcy Forward campaign. The Daily Citizen quoted the campaign’s letter, written by Will Moore, to the Searcy City Council in an article.
“As we move closer to the Nov. 9 election, our group will raise private funds to help educate voters on why we feel the passage of the 1-cent renewal is the best option for Searcy,” the letter said.
Part of educating voters included high school students who are eligible to vote. Betsy Bailey, school/community coordinator for Searcy public schools, said educating young voters is imperative.
“Young people must take ownership of their community and work toward bettering it not only for themselves, but also for their neighbors and those who are considering making Searcy their home,” Bailey said. “Educating young voters is imperative because our young people are the voice of the future.”
Moore was the spokesperson for Moving Searcy Forward. On Oct. 5, Moore wrote a post on the Moving Searcy Forward Facebook page explaining why he and his family are voting in favor of the 1-cent tax renewal.
“Even with the 1-cent, Searcy’s sales tax rate is below average, and our property taxes are nearly the lowest in the entire state,” Moore said. “Without revenues from the 1-cent, Searcy will lose approximately 27% of its operating revenue … We want to see Searcy thrive, not fall behind because of inadequate funding for these core municipal functions.”
Davidson said the committee for Moving Searcy Forward is a diverse group of people who all came to the conclusion that the 1-cent tax is beneficial to the City of Searcy.
“Our consensus is that extending the 1-cent sales tax is the only logical way to ensure our community remains the amazing place that it is,” Davidson said.