As the special election in Mayflower draws nearer, city officials are encouraging residents to get out and vote.

The Mayflower City Council proposed in May a one half of one percent (0.5%) sales tax increase be instated to bulk up the city’s general fund.

Money generated from the tax would benefit the police department and also create a reserve fund to be used during emergencies.

“This special election for a [0.5%] (one half cent) sales tax increase has been presented as an increase to boost the general fund,” Mayflower Communications Coordinator Angela Patterson said. “While this is true on its face, we would also like for the public to be aware that the police department operating funds come directly from [the] city’s general fund at this time and under the current budgeting structure.”

Having the additional revenue stream would benefit the police department greatly, Police Chief Robert Alcon said.

Monies generated through the sales tax would allow the department to give its officers raises and better maintain its fleet, he told the Log Cabin Democrat on Wednesday.

Against rumors that the department collects a large sum of money through courts fines and fees, Patterson said that is not the case and wanted the public to understand money collected through fines and fees is distributed through the district court system.

“With Mayflower being part of the Faulkner County District Court System, the monies received from this source is divided up and distributed once it is finally collected in a number of different places,” she said. “This would also not include felony-level criminal charges, etc., which is a whole different ball game all [of] its own.”

Should the tax increase pass, Patterson said it would “make a substantial difference to the city as well as the Mayflower Police Department’s daily operating funds.”

Money that would be collected via the sales tax increase would also help re-build the city’s reserve fund.

Currently, the reserve fund is running on “less than a week’s” worth of funds. Financial Director Dale Carter said the city hopes to build a safety net with its reserve account that can be used when national disasters and other emergency situations transpire.

To be comfortable, he said the city needs to have at least three months worth of its financial obligations on back up in the reserve fund. The fund, which needs about $180,000 to $200,000, would also be used for matching grants to help the city expand its amenities.

The city’s current sales tax rate is 2%.

If residents vote in favor of the proposed tax increase, the rate would be 2.5%.

Officials expect the increase to generate around $16,000 each month.

Mayflower Mayor Randy Holland previously told the Log Cabin he has hight hopes the proposal will pass.

“I want to get the reserve up … for disasters,” he said. “I’m going to try to establish a fund for matching monies for these grants. You have to have that money in the bak.”

Early voting in the special sales tax election began Tuesday and continues through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Early voting will also be held Monday. The special election will be held Sept. 10.

The polls are set up at Mayflower City Hall.

Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached at mhicks@thecabin.net.