Library tax collection overturned CORRECTION | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Library tax collection overturned CORRECTION

Posted By on Thu, Dec 17, 2009 at 12:57 PM

The Arkansas Supreme Court today overturned Pulaski County's hurried-up collection of a new property tax on Little Rock residents for the Central Arkansas Library System. The ruling was unanimous. A circuit court had upheld the plan.

A lawsuit argued that the tax -- a half-mill for maintenance and one mill for debt approved in a December 2007 special election -- couldn't be included on 2007 tax bills. The ruling doesn't overturn the tax itself . A lower court will consider the remedy.

CORRECTION: I wrote originally that a refund wouldn't harm the library because the increase was held in escrow. That's incorrect. The bond portion of the tax increase, about $2.8 million, was in escrow. Loss of that money will add to the repayment period of the bonds but have no immediate financial impact. But the operational millage collected improperly, about $1.4 million, will have to be repaid in some fashion. Plaintiffs have suggested a tax credit, but a circuit judge will decide.

The library has about $1.2 million is in reserves. Library Director Bobby Roberts said about a third to a half of any refund will come from those reserves. But Roberts said the rest will have to come from the $15 million annual operating budget. Percentagewise, that's a big cut, perhaps 5 percent. "It will be a tough year in 2010," he said.

Book purchases likely would have to be cut and personnel expenses also will have to be trimmed. Roberts said he'd put his suggestions out to the public and see if other ideas emerged. The library board will discuss it Jan. 28. Some pay has already been frozen and some positions will be frozen and left unfilled, he said. The good news is that the cuts will be necessary only to make good on one year of repayments and the increased millage will continue to produce additional revenue..

Said Roberts: "It's a slip, not a fall. We have resources to get through it. We just have to make some tough decisions." He added jokingly, "Keep checking out books because we need the fine money."

The 2007 tax rate was levied in November, before the special election. County Judge Buddy Villines ordered the rate changed in early 2008 to reflect the election results. The Supreme Court said that change had to be authorized by a vote of the Quorum Court. Lawyers at the time thought an order of the judge was sufficient. The blow here is that the court seems to have said that the problem was a procedural failing, not the mere fact that the rate was increased after the annual levy of property taxes in November.

From the ArkTimes store



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Open line and Civil War update

    More Confederacy defenders were on hand in Bentonville against imagined threats to a one of hte Confederate statues put up long after the Civil War to spin a narrative about the noble Lost Cause.
    • Aug 20, 2017
  • Three dead in WLR

    Three dead in suspected double murder-suicide in West Little Rock.
    • Aug 20, 2017
  • One dead in shooting at Buffalo National River

    KTHV reports a man was fatally shot Saturday at the Buffalo National River in Searcy County in what is being called an officer-involved shooting. No other details at the moment.
    • Aug 20, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Jason Rapert vs. Wikipedia

    Sen. Jason Rapert against the world: Wikipedia edition.
    • Jan 23, 2016
  • 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
  • Judge anticipates punishment of lawyers in Fort Smith class action case

    Federal Judge P.K. Holmes of Fort Smith issued a 32-page ruling yesterday indicating he contemplates punishment of 16 lawyers who moved a class action lawsuit against an insurance company out of his court to a state court in Polk County after a settlement had been worked out.
    • Apr 15, 2016

Most Shared

  • Take yourself there: Mavis Staples coming to LR for Central High performance

    Gospel and R&B singer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples, who has been inspiring fans with gospel-inflected freedom songs like "I'll Take You There" and "March Up Freedom's Highway" and the poignant "Oh What a Feeling" will come to Little Rock for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High.
  • Klan's president

    Everything that Donald Trump does — make that everything that he says — is calculated to thrill his lustiest disciples. But he is discovering that what was brilliant for a politician is a miscalculation for a president, because it deepens the chasm between him and most Americans.
  • On Charlottesville

    Watching the Charlottesville spectacle from halfway across the country, I confess that my first instinct was to raillery. Vanilla ISIS, somebody called this mob of would-be Nazis. A parade of love-deprived nerds marching bravely out of their parents' basements carrying tiki torches from Home Depot.
  • Lynchings hidden in the history of the Hot Springs Confederate monument

    Hot Springs twice erupted into the kind of violence that has its roots in the issues left unresolved by the Civil War, and both times, it happened right where that monument to Confederate soldiers stands today.

Most Viewed

  • Open line and Civil War update

    More Confederacy defenders were on hand in Bentonville against imagined threats to a one of hte Confederate statues put up long after the Civil War to spin a narrative about the noble Lost Cause.
  • Arkansas-linked Charlottesville marcher identified, apologizes to those misidentified

    A man who says he's a former University of Arkansas student now living in New England has identified himself as the person wearing an "Arkansas Engineering" T-shirt in the Friday white supremacist march in Fayetteville. He apologized for involving UA in the story and to the professor misidentified as being the person wearing the shirt.

Most Recent Comments



© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation