Wednesday, January 2, 2013

UPDATE: North Little Rock tax district settlement

Posted By on Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 12:01 PM

THE PRIZE: New property taxes on this complex, The Enclave, were the object of a tax district created by former NLR Mayor Pat Hays. New Mayor Joe Smith plans to undo the district.
  • THE PRIZE: New property taxes on this complex, The Enclave, were the object of a tax district created by former NLR Mayor Pat Hays. New Mayor Joe Smith plans to undo the district.

I mentioned earlier today that new North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith had made news when he was sworn in yesterday by saying he intended to end a dispute with the North Little Rock School District over a tax increment finance district created by former Mayor Pat Hays to capture some school property taxes for downtown development projects. A parking deck for a new hotel was high on his wish list.

The TIF project was pushed through the City Council in the waning minutes of 2008 so as to get it on the books in time to capture the "increment" increase in property taxes on The Enclave, a new $30 million apartment project. The property went on the books as a completed project in 2009, after being taxed at its former mostly undeveloped rate. A lawsuit by the school district, joined by others, challenged procedures used to create the district by combining and expanding three existing districts by linking them via surface streets to reach the apartment project. The gerrymandered district was necessary to meet the required "contiguous" land requirement of Arkansas TIF law. The lawsuit has long looked like a winner, but Hays wouldn't let go, a factor in where some voters lined up in the recent mayoral election.

Smith brought in School Board President Scott Teague to participate in his inauguration and said he'd solve the issue, to widespread surprise, including on the part of other school board members. City Attorney Jason Carter tells me he talked to the mayor about the announcement this morning.

"The mayor expressed to me that he wants to end conflict with school district," Carter said. "I advised him the most direct course would be to repeal the project plan that diverts money to the TIF District and he directed me to begin work."

Carter said a proposal could be prepared for City Council consideration as early as next week. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit would have to sign off, though they'd undoubtedly not object to seeing a return of escrowed money to the schools and other taxing entities who's money has been escrowed.

There is a complication. In the course of the litigation, Carter has raised a question about how a recent School District vote to make all its millage available for dedication to bond issue repayment might affect another, unrelated TIF district in the Baring Cross area. As the law allows, school millage in excess of the 25-mill base state charge and money pledged to bonds has been diverted on increased property values in the district to infrastructure work. Carter's question is whether a change that makes all millage available for pledging to bonds puts that millage off-limits going forward to the existing TIF district. He said resolution of the pending lawsuit might have to leave that question open for guidance from the court, but that district has never been a source of controversy.

Tags: , , , ,


Speaking of...

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Thursday's open line and the daily video

    Here's the open line and the daily video.
    • Oct 27, 2016
  • UPDATE: Ted Suhl gets seven years, $200,000 fine for bribery

    Ted Suhl was sentenced this morning by federal Judge Billy Roy Wilson on four counts of attempting to bribe a state official to help his mental health business supported by Medicaid money. He received 84 months and a $200,000 fine and is to report to prison in early January. He will appeal.
    • Oct 27, 2016
  • Question raised on Dallas Cowboy gift to NLR cops

    Blogger Russ Racop raises an interesting question, as he sometimes does, about Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones' gift of free tickets for North Little Rock cops to attend a Dallas Cowboy football game.
    • Oct 27, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Foster family disputes key statements from Justin Harris

    Craig and Cheryl Hart were the foster parents of the two sisters who were adopted by Rep. Justin Harris and his wife Marsha and later "rehomed." The Harts say that the adoption was allowed to proceed over the objections of the foster parents and local DHS staff due to pressure exerted by Cecile Blucker, head of the Division of Children and Family Services, on behalf of Justin Harris.
    • Mar 7, 2015
  • War. What is it good for? Tom Cotton has an idea

    Twenty-four hours after meddling in President Obama's talks with Iran, hawkish Sen. Tom Cotton scheduled an off-the-record meeting with defense contractors, who'd be happy to supply goods for U.S. armed incursions in the Middle East.
    • Mar 9, 2015
  • State Board of Education chair says school legislation a surprise. Also: Walton-paid lobbyist introduced to facts

    A KUAR report on the pending legislation backed by Walton-funded lobbyists to allow private companies to run parts or all of the former Little Rock School District includes some second thoughts from Little Rock lawyer Sam Ledbetter, chair of the state Board of Education.
    • Mar 12, 2015

Most Shared

  • Issue 3: blank check

    Who could object to a constitutional amendment "concerning job creation, job expansion and economic development," which is the condensed title for Issue 3 for Arkansas voters on Nov. 8?
  • Little Rock police kill man downtown

    Little Rock police responding to a disturbance call near Eighth and Sherman Streets about 12:40 a.m. killed a man with a long gun, Police Chief Kenton Buckner said in an early morning meeting with reporters.
  • From the mind of Sol LeWitt: Crystal Bridges 'Loopy Doopy': A correction

    Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is installing Sol Lewitt's 70-foot eye-crosser "Wall Drawing 880: Loopy Doopy," waves of complementary orange and green, on the outside of the Twentieth Century Gallery bridge. You can glimpse painters working on it from Eleven, the museum's restaurant, museum spokeswoman Beth Bobbitt said
  • Ted Suhl loses another bid for new trial; faces stiff sentencing recommendation

    Ted Suhl, the former operator of residential and out-patient mental health services, has lost a second bid to get a new trial on his conviction for paying bribes to influence state Human Services Department policies. Set for sentencing Thursday, Suhl faces a government request for a sentence up to almost 20 years. He argues for no more than 33 months.
  • Football and foster kids

    It took a football stadium to lay bare Republican budget hypocrisy in Arkansas.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation