Sales Tax Brings In Dough For Craighead County, Up 36% Year-to-date

by Michael Wilkey ([email protected]) 155 views 

The sounds of off-road trucks driving into the new Love’s Truck Stop in Jonesboro may not mean much to some folks.

But the impending sound of cash registers ringing has Craighead County officials hoping for continued success.

“It is amazing to see that amount of revenue,” Justice Garry Meadows, R-Jonesboro, said during the county’s Finance Committee meeting Monday night.

Craighead County Treasurer Terry McNatt also spoke to the committee about the county’s financial picture.

McNatt said the county’s sales tax numbers were up 36% through June, compared to January-June 2014.

The county’s sales tax revenues were up 7.99% alone in June, bringing in nearly $1.5 million for the month.

County officials have been at a loss for the past several months as to explain why the increases have happened.

However, McNatt said several things including the weather, more retail opportunities in Jonesboro and lower fuel costs have contributed.

Meadows, who owns his own construction company, said his offices are down the road from the truck stop just off Arkansas 463.

On a normal day, trucks are lined up to get fuel at the truck stop, Meadows said.

“I’d bet they sell 20,000 gallons of fuel a day,” Meadows said.

As for retail, Jonesboro city officials have said there has been an increase in the number of building permits issued in the past year or so.

Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin said last week the city had $14.6 million in permits issued during June, with 64% of the permits being commercial.

Another part of the puzzle was announced late Monday when city officials announced that Krispy Kreme will be building a store in Jonesboro.

The store will be built on Highland Drive up the street from Centennial Bank, content partner KAIT reported.

While most of the meeting dealt with revenues, there was discussion over expenses.

Committee chairman Ken Stacks, D-Jonesboro, asked about funding for the 911 program.

There has been some discussion in recent years over the program, which is run by the city of Jonesboro.

Currently, the city covers about 74% of the cost for the program with the county paying the rest, Stacks said.

However, Stacks suggested that the city and county put funding into one “pot” and use the funding to offset costs for the program.

McNatt also spoke to the committee about reimbursements for cities and school districts to cover election costs in the past.

The county’s election commission recently sent a $33,000 bill to each of the eight school districts in Craighead County to cover their share of the costs, McNatt told the committee.

Officials are now looking at the costs owed by the cities, McNatt said.

Then-election coordinator Sandra Taylor resigned earlier this year after questions arose over her work with the commission, KAIT reported previously.

Jennifer Clack was hired earlier this year to serve as election coordinator.