NLR sets sales tax election UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Friday, September 16, 2011

NLR sets sales tax election UPDATE

Posted By on Fri, Sep 16, 2011 at 11:18 AM

I ranted earlier about North Little Rock's hurryup City Council meeting this morning to call a penny sales tax election to grow NLR spending by $15 million a year.

David Goins of Fox 16 is sending periodic tweets, including an observation that Mayor Pat Hays' introduction clocked in at 31 minutes. He just added this:

Resident Jason Henry calls sales tax special NLR council mtg "rushed and lack of public notice is a failure of leadership."

UPDATE: The Council, without dissent, voted to put the tax proposals on the Nov. 8 ballot. Two aldermen, Murry Witcher and Maurice Taylor, were absent, but both sent word that they endorsed calling the election.

Perhaps before Nov. 8 the mayor will favor us with how — specifically — he plans to spend the $15 million if voters approve. He's listed some projects, but well short of a specific list.

UPDATE II: I got a quick phone interview with Mayor Hays. He says the Council approved resolutions that generally outline spending on police, fire, streets, drainage and business development purposes. These will not be on the ballot and thus not strictly enforceable. But Hays said the resolutions amount to a "moral commitment."

He said as much as $20 million would be needed of the roughly $60 million raised for capital projects to buy land for the business park and possible fair site. That cost could rise if the city has to finance the purchase, which it may do over five years without a public vote.

Hays added, by the way, that mention in other reports about contributions to school construction were based on some earlier remarks he'd made but there's no money promised to schools in this package.

The resolutions are not on-line yet and won't be until at least Monday. But I got copies and scanned them myself.

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