Little Rock's 2014 budget: Slow growth | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Little Rock's 2014 budget: Slow growth

Posted By on Wed, Nov 27, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Little Rock's   for 2014  of  $184  million  —  considered somewhat optimistic by some of the City's Board  members — is evidence of slow growth in city revenues. The budget, presented last night at an agenda meeting of the City Board, predicts a rise in revenues of under 2 percent, for an increase of about $3.2 million over the $180.8 million budget in 2013. Even that rise was questioned by skeptical board members, especially Director Gene Fortson, who cited city and county sales tax increases in 2013 of only five digits. 

Mayor Mark Stodola struck a more optimistic note, saying last night that the city would see additional sales tax revenues from the Bass Pro Shop that recently opened in Otter Creek. He calculated that amount today at around $600,000, dollars he said would come from new sources rather than money that would have been spent anyway elsewhere. 

Public hearings are set on the budget in the next two weeks, at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2, at the Southwest Community Center at 6401 Baseline Road; 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, at Highland Valley United Methodist Church, 15524 Chenal Parkway; 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, at the Dunbar Community Center, 1001 W. 16th St.; and 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11, at the Northwest Police Substation at 10001 Kanis Road. 

The budget includes salary increases for non-uniformed, non-union employees of 1.5 percent, and 2.5 percent raises for police and fire. The 2.5 percent raises were negotiated previously.

Some directors complained that the budget presentation was late, giving them little time for policy discussion on spending. Stodola, however, said the budget does not have to be approved until January, leaving "ample time" for discussions.

Director Ken Richardson raised one of those issues, asking why $500,000 had been budgeted for demolition, and whether there were a more constructive way to spend the dollars. Stodola said demolition is necessary to remove blight and the same amount could not build enough homes to make a difference. 

Another area of concern was the Little Rock Zoo's plan to raise admission from $8 to $9, a move defended by Director Brad Cazort, who is liaison to the zoo. 

The sales tax has added about $50 million to the city's budget, dollars obligated to increase staffing at the police and fire department, pay for uniformed employees hired under grants and certain capital obligations, like the new fire station, cell tower for public safety, new fire trucks and so forth. There's not a lot of wiggle room, thanks to budget "staples," the mayor said. 

The mayor noted today that the city is losing $1.8 million a year thanks to Internet sales. Those sales are supposed to be taxed, but there is no mechanism to collect such taxes. Stodola noted that Congressman Steve Womack of Fayetteville has sponsored legislation in the House that would require Internet merchants to collect taxes and remit to the state, but that it has gone nowhere. 


From the ArkTimes store


Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • No Red Cross number on the wall? For shame, Planned Parenthood

    It would be interesting to know why Arkansas Department of Health inspectors have, for the first time, been concerned whether there is a Red Cross phone number posted in clinics that provide abortion services.
    • Dec 14, 2017
  • No more net neutrality: FCC votes along party lines in favor of telecom companies

    As expected, the FCC today voted along party lines 3-2 to dump net neutrality and allow broadband providers to block or slow upload of websites and charge for certain content and high-quality delivery.
    • Dec 14, 2017
  • Tech Park 2.0: Architects present for next phase

    The three finalists in the Little Rock Technology Park's search for an architect to design the next phase of park development — a six-story, 100,000-square-foot building on the empty lot between the park, at 417 Main St., and the KATV, Channel 7, building at 401 Main — presented to the board this afternoon.
    • Dec 13, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • IHOP coming down, but .....

    I always scan the Little Rock City Board for items of interest this week and this one caught my eye: A zoning measure required by a proposal to tear down the IHOP at Markham and University.
    • Apr 30, 2016
  • Antwan Phillips wants to make a difference in reducing Little Rock violence

    KARK/Fox 16's push to do something about Little Rock violence includes a spotlight on people trying to make a difference — in this episode Antwan Phillips, a lawyer at Wright, Lindsey and Jennings.
    • Aug 30, 2017
  • LR speakers blast state board for double standard

    A series of speakers, beginning with Sen. Joyce Elliott, denounced what they saw as a hidden agenda favoring charter schools at the state Department of Education and asked the state Board of Education for return of local control.
    • May 12, 2016

Most Shared

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: The Truth is Out There Open Line

    • Here's how one person responded to the CDC 7 words-- "As a proud transgender American…

    • on December 17, 2017
  • Re: Campus carry rules approved

    • Pscyclepath, I read Kate's comment "has yet stopped" as meaning "has not prevented" a mass…

    • on December 16, 2017
  • Re: The Truth is Out There Open Line

    • Great cold open on SNL with Trump, Kelly Ann, Sarah Shuckabee Sanders, Ivanka, the Trump…

    • on December 16, 2017



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