State of the City | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

State of the City

Posted By on Wed, Mar 31, 2010 at 1:24 PM

Bottom line from Mayor Stodola this a.m. in his address at City Hall: Revenues down 6 percent. Holding our heads above water thanks to the infusion of millions in state funds to lure private business and federal Recovery Act funds for police, roads, neighborhoods.

State of the City addresses are never particulary titillating, but politicos in the audience said afterward they'd hoped to hear more from the mayor about where we're headed rather than where we've been, and what he suggests we do to make Little Rock a better place to live.

One observer praised the mayor, however, for not shutting the door on raising Little Rock's tiny sales tax from .5 percent. "I'm not advocating a sales tax in the midst of a recession," Stodola said, but if Little Rock is to thrive, new revenue streams and privatization possibilities must be examined.

Other points:

--He's doing "everything I can in my power" to keep the State Fair in Little Rock, but noted that it's not up to him but the Fair's board of directors to decide what its future will be.

--He's got two locations "known only to me" that the city might be able to use for a homeless shelter. He just needs $700,000 to make the much needed shelter a reality.

--The state Department of Correction will make inmates available to the city to help clean up parks, and Stodola is proposing a "volunteer park ranger" program to encourage folks to adopt parks and keep an eye on them for vandalism and clean-up needs. More good news about parks, he said: War Memorial will get a $2 million redo -- without losing any golf holes, he stressed -- and La Petite Roche in Riverfront Park will be dedicated May 26.

--The mayor said "personnel changes" at code enforcement and more proactive officers would answer the need to rid the city of neglected properties.

The mayor's address should be on the city's website tomorrow.


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