Faulkner County justices of the peace on Tuesday night adopted without discussion a resolution opposing an increase in the state’s natural gas severance tax.
County Judge Preston Scroggin said during a Quorum Court committee meeting last week that passage of the tax referendum could mean the end of the natural gas industry in Arkansas. He asked JPs to officially oppose a tax hike through the resolution.
The proposed referendum would increase Arkansas’ severance tax on natural gas from 5 to 7 percent.
Former natural gas executive Sheffield Nelson of Little Rock received ballot title approval from Attorney General Dustin McDaniel in January to place the severance tax issue before voters. The tax hike could raise as much as $250 million a year for Arkansas highways, proponents say.
Nelson and the Arkansas Municipal League are working to gather 62,507 voter signatures by June to qualify placing the proposal on the general election ballot in November.
In other business, the court approved:
• A resolution authorizing a contract with Central Arkansas Planning and Development District Inc. to conduct an environmental review for an ACDEP Water or Wastewater Infratstructure Improvement grant from the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission. The review is for a new water system for the Rocky Gap community.
• A resolution designating Central Arkansas Planning and Development District Inc. as project administrator for the Rocky Gap community block grant.
• An appropriation ordinance to amend and supplement Faulkner County Ordinance 11-27 regarding various county accounts and their estimated balances, total projected revenue, recommended fund reserve and total revenue available.
• An appropriation of $1 million from the county road sales tax fund to the road department for asphalt.
(Megan Reynolds is a staff writer and can be reached by phone at 505-1277, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. To comment on this story and others, visit www.thecabin.net)