The Conway City Council may continue discussion tonight of ways to address the low expectations this year’s sales tax slump has set for the 2010 budget.

Townsell said he may raise the issue during the council’s committee meeting, which is held before the regular meeting, but traffic signal coordination is also up for discussion during this time.

"We’re just kind of weighing the possibilities," Townsell said on Monday. "We’re just showing the council where and how much they could expect to raise by doing various things."

One of the measures Townsell said he favors is increasing the franchise fee charged to city utility provider Conway Corp., which would, in turn, pass the charge onto customers.

Townsell said that working off 2008 Conway Corp. figures, raising the electricity franchise fee to the maximum allowable rate of five percent and also charging five percent fees for water and wastewater utilities — which currently are not the subject of franchise fees — would generate about $1.4 million per year and cost the average residential Conway Corp. user about $31 per year.

Another revenue-raising measure would be levying a five-percent tax on by-the-glass alcohol sales, which Townsell said could generate about $150,000 per year. Townsell said he was confident that the council would approve an ordinance to this effect.

Establishing a business license system may also be on the table as 2010 budget talks progress. Such a system would need to be implemented gradually to be successful, Townsell said, and wouldn’t generate a great deal of money at first.

Something that could immediately generate as much as $2.3 million would be increasing city property taxes, Townsell said, but this measure would likely meet great opposition.

(Staff writer Joe Lamb can be reached at 505-1238 or by E-mail at Send us your news at