Dogtown doings | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dogtown doings

Posted By on Wed, Dec 17, 2008 at 9:08 AM

The mayor and city attorney of North Little Rock don't take my calls. They don't like my questions.

For example: How can they say they advertised Monday's sham public hearing on a TIF district flimflam 15 days in advance when the proposition has changed since it was first proposed and is still not in final form?

How can they say they've given adequate public notice when they have not yet released the maps of the proposed new TIF district, which Hays is attempting to create to work around legal obstacles to the mayor's plan to steal tax revenue not created by a TIF district from schools and give it to a hotel developer blocks away?

(The legal obstacles -- in statute and Constitution -- were cited by me. I should have kept my mouth shut and let Hays proceed with his patently illegal original scheme. It would have been an easier legal challenge.)

Among the new questions: Isn't the mayor's new combo TIF plan really a NEW district, and thus subject to start anew the notice and comment procedures in state law?

The law, for example, says parties should be afforded a reasonable opportunity to express views on a district "and its proposed boundaries." The law goes on to say that notice of the hearing shall be published in a newspaper 15 days prior to the hearing. Mayor Hays proposes to substantially increase the size of the hotel TIF district at Broadway and Maple. He has not yet released the boundaries. How can he and City Attorney Jason Carter argue there's been adequate public notice of this for Monday's hearing? And have they sent a notice of the new boundaries, as law requires, to heads of all taxing authorities and the school superintendent?

I'm also looking for the TIF project plan on expenditures for Hays' folly, which is supposed to include an accounting of tax revenue diverted from schools and the county. I don't think they're that far along.

The odor of Hays' grab of school tax money from the completed Enclave apartments and Argenta Place mixed-use project is strong. Will NLR school officials stand up and object to Hays' plundering? Or has his recent re-election made him politically invulnerable and does his penchant for getting even with political foes silence critics? He acts like this is so. The good news is that Pat Hays and NLR voters don't control the entire judiciary.

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