The Brantley-Stodola letters | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Brantley-Stodola letters

Posted By on Sat, Mar 31, 2012 at 10:00 AM

Max, while "vacationing" this week, sent these questions to Mayor Stodola about the millage extension that the mayor proposed Tuesday:

1. What date are you pointing toward? 2. Will the city be specific about how it plans to spend money in first years? 3. Will the tax be used to support a bond issue? 4. If there is a bond issue, will there be an RFP process for bond counsel and unnderwriters? 5. Will any of the money be used for the technology park?

6. Will any of the money be used for a fund to provide taxpayer support for construction related to private business?
7. If the answer is you don't know, will you pledge NOT to use the money for the tech park or private business assistance? 8. Will the Chamber again run the sales tax campaign? 9. Will the Markham group again be the hired consultant to run the campaign? 10. Will you insist that whoever runs the campaign to operate by what the state Ethics Commission has said was was the intent — if not the technical letter — of campaign finance laws? That is, will you insist on disclosure of campaign spending commensurate with transparency in campaigns by individual candidates?

The mayor's response:

Hi Max——-3:25 am??? I hope I am not keeping you awake at night. Welcome back.

I don’t have answers to several of your questions as the issue has just arisen. I can tell you that the election, if called, will be before November when then County passes the ordinance setting the millage rates to be assessed for the upcoming year. Bruce and I had hoped to call this in 2013, but legal counsel insists that it has to be this year.

It would be a bond issue that is estimated at the reduced millage rate of 3 mills instead of 3.3 mills, to generate $105 million dollars over the length of the bond which may be issued in a series.

As far as I know staff has always gone through an RFQ process for the selection of bond counsel and underwriters and will do the same in this instance.

I have already publicly stated to Leslie that I believe the money should be used for streets, roads, and drainage, citing the $700 million dollars in needs that have been identified as problems. Those problems do not include the Tech Park and I don’t believe the money should be used there. That is absolutely not the intent. Money has already been allocated through the sales tax revenues for the Tech Park.

In 2004 when this millage was renewed there were 9 questions on the ballot. The BOD will ultimately determine the specific uses, but you now have my recommendation on this. This election is to continue a millage for capital improvements that has been in existence since 1958 with a reduction, not unlike Bobby Robertson’s [sic — he means Roberts'] library millage reduction election.

I know you dispute this, but the chamber did not “run” the sales tax election. Several in the business community supported the tax as part of a broad based coalition and contributions came from several sources, not just the business community. The chamber will not run the millage election and I have not had conversations with Jay, Dickson Flake or anyone else you perceive to be in the business community about the millage election. Also, I have no details on your other issues nor any idea who is going to run the campaign.

Other matters:

Thank you.

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