Mountain Home and Baxter County sales tax initiatives unofficially pass

Although the numbers won't likely be officially released until Friday, the unofficial numbers for the sales tax proposals by both the City of Mountain Home and Baxter County have been released and indicate both measures will pass. After the polls closed at 7:30 Tuesday, the earliest the official results are allowed to be released is Thursday evening at 7:30 and no later than ten calendar days from the election. Absentee ballots have not yet been counted.

Voters in Mountain Home were asked to consider levying a 3/8 percent sales and use tax that would benefit the city's fire and police departments. Voting numbers show 1,167 were in favor of the initiative and 271 voted against.

Voters countywide said yes, with 2,846 in favor and 1,232 against, to levying a one cent sales and use tax for eight months beginning March 1, 2018. Net proceeds from the tax will be used to expand the Baxter County Detention Center, as well as furnish and equip the new portion, and provide for the operation and maintenance of the jail.

Voters also approved levying a countywide one-quarter cent sales and use tax beginning November 1, 2018, following the expiration of the one cent sales and use tax by a vote of 2,723 in favor and 1,318 against. The one-quarter cent tax would be ongoing.

According to Baxter County Clerk Canda Reese, approximately 4,050 voters turned out for the election with 1,670 of that number voting early.

Mountain Home Professional Fire Fighters Association President Travis Dover says he's happy the hard work put into the campaign has paid off.

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Dover say he is anxious to show the citizens of the city what the approved tax will do in terms of emergency services.

Baxter County Sheriff John Montgomery says going into the election he was cautiously optimistic.

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Montgomery says he appreciates the confidence voters have placed in him and the staff of the Baxter County Sheriff's office and the support the community has shown as partners in supporting law enforcement.

The tentative plan is to let bids go out in May and to start construction of the new facility shortly thereafter. He estimates construction for the new jail will take a year.

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