Arlington shows strong support for streets measure

ARLINGTON — Voters in the city have approved a sales tax increase that will add 2 cents tax for every $10 spent on goods and services in Arlington to pay for improvements, maintenance and preservation of city streets.

The proposition was winning voter approval Tuesday night by 1,140 votes, or about 66 percent of the vote. People voting “no” numbered 590, or about 34 percent.

The tax increase will bring in about $650,000 of additional revenue and will last 10 years. Sales tax is not collected on most food items. The total sales tax rate would rise to 8.8 percent, from 8.6 percent.

“What a blessing the community gave us on this one,” Mayor Barb Tolbert said Tuesday night. “We did this the right way. After examining the revenue situation, the City Council said, ‘Let’s ask the voters.’ And now, we are going to fix the streets.”

Arlington City Council created a new taxing district in April with the hope of taking care of the 126 streets that have been deemed failing or nearly so. City Council members could have implemented a $20 vehicle tab fee. Council members agreed, however, that a tab fee increase would create an unfair burden on Arlington residents.

Arlington has many more people in town during the day who are not residents. The sales tax increase would be shared by all people who shop or do business in the city.

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