NLR: finagling in the dark | Arkansas Blog

Friday, December 12, 2008

NLR: finagling in the dark

Posted By on Fri, Dec 12, 2008 at 12:32 PM

NLR Commodore Pat Hays on Monday announced a public hearing Dec. 22 on a proposal to, as the D-G put it, "combine" three existing tax increment finance districts to divert school property taxes into a bond issue to build a parking deck.

If the mayor and city attorney can be believed in responses through an emissary to my FOI request, not a single scrap of paper yet in existence in city hall embodies the proposal on which there is to be a public hearing in 10 days. Neither the mayor nor city attorney have had time to call me on this issue in a week of trying. Even their assistants are too busy to be of all-day assistance to my request to inspect public information. The public must schedule its visits around their busy schedules, I'm told, though the state FOI law allows no such obstacles to inspection of records not in active use.

Here's the problem as I see it: The  Constitution says explicitly, twice, thatTIF districts may only be set up to finance improvements WITHIN the districts. And TIF districts must consist of contiguous land according to a 2005 statute. As best we can tell so far, Cmdr. Hays wants to round up school taxes from three non-contiguous TIF districts to build a parking deck in one district that is not within the boundaries of the other districts. I don't think they can do this. They could create a new, larger TIF district encompassing all this land. But, if they did that proess anew, they'd have to create the district with property tax values that reflect current value of The Enclave apartments and the Argenta Place mixed-use development. The old districts were established before those projects were completed and that's the point at which values were frozen for existing tax recipients. Taxes from increases in value can then go to building infrastructure. Using the new values would reduce dramatically the amount of school taxes that Hays could pilfer to help a hotel developer. He likely wouldn't have enough to build the parking deck.

Perhaps I'm wrong on all this. I've tried to get countervailing explanation from NLR officials, but the phone just doesn't ring. I hope the NLR School Board is ready with some good questions Dec. 22 on this latest raid on their existing tax base.


Sign up for the Daily Update email
Favorite

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Arkansas Supreme Court refuses to rehear invalidation of marijuana act

    The Arkansas Supreme Court today denied a request to rehear its decision invalidating Issue 7, the medical marijuana initiated act.
    • Nov 3, 2016
  • French Hill votes against disaster aid to Puerto Rico

    Republican U.S. Rep. French Hill alone among Arkansas's House delegation voted last week against a measure that provided $36.5 billion in disaster aid, a portion  for hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico as well as money for wildfire response and to support the flood insurance program.
    • Oct 14, 2017
  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Slideshows

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation