- Associated Press - Thursday, February 23, 2017

BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. (AP) - City leaders in Blytheville have approved a special election for voters to consider a half-percent sales tax increase to support public safety efforts.

The election will be held May 9. If approved, proceeds from the tax would pay for raises for police and firefighters and the construction of a new justice center.

Mayor James Sanders says the 10-year tax would generate about $1.4 million per year.

Now, Blytheville patrol officers are paid a starting salary of $29,000 to $30,000. The mayor says the increase is needed to retain police and firefighters in the northeast Arkansas city.

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