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.


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

  • Ad man Heathcott sues CJRW for damages in ouster

    Gary Heathcott the long-time ad and PR man who now lives in San Antonio has sued CJRW, the major ad and PR firm, over its severing of a consulting deal with him last year and asks $1.3 million in actual damages plus unspecified punitive damages.
    • Dec 18, 2018
  • Court dismisses ethics complaints against Kavanaugh

    The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed numerous judicial ethics complaints against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh because the law exempts Supreme Court members, even for acts committed as a judge covered by the law. In short: Bart O'Kavanaugh is above the law.
    • Dec 18, 2018
  • In face of blowback, state will slow down assisted living cuts

    Brett Rains of 40/29 is tweeting from the Capitol that the Department of Human Services is slowing its push for cuts in reimbursements for home health aides that critics have said could force many people into more expensive nursing home and force companies that provide the services out of business.
    • Dec 18, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Slideshows

  • Arkansas vs Ole Miss at War Memorial stadium in Little Rock, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. After leading for much of the game, Arkansas lost 37-33 when Ole Miss scored the game winning Touchdown with less that 2 minutes left. 
  • Margaret Clark Adventure Park
    New sculptures, preschoolers play area dedicated in Riverfront Park in Little Rock.

Most Recent Comments

 

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