LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Little Rock’s proposed sales tax increase still isn’t on its way to a vote. The measure, comprised of two ordinances and a resolution, was supposed to have its final reading Tuesday in the Little Rock City Board meeting, but changes made by the mayor following April 27th’s special session have delayed the vote by at least another week.
Last week, city directors shared their concerns for Mayor Frank Scott, Jr.’s Rebuild the Rock proposal. Concerns surrounding infrastructure and public safety drove the meeting, with many directors saying funding needed to be reallocated.
The mayor said he would take their comments into account, and this new version of the proposal is the result.
The updated proposal increases funding for both infrastructure and public safety from 12% of total funds to 14%, adding $10 million over 10 years to public safety and $13 million for infrastructure.
Funding is also set aside specifically for targeted community development and community-oriented policing, two project areas board members discussed at length last week.
Money was moved around in the “quality of life” section, with funding moving from “general park improvements” ($4.5 million) to instead target a West Central complex, an additional $5 million over 10 years for that project.
In return, the Zoo gets $10 million less, with money coming out of net operations. The proposed new exhibits, including an interactive giraffe enclosure, remain.
Also being cut back – early childhood education, which in the first ten years will decrease from $45 million to $40 million.
Information technology is also down $5.5 million, and the downtown parking decks receive less funding as well but are still on schedule just with $3 million less.
A special session has been called next Tuesday, May 11th, to debate the changes made. The measure will still be on its third and final reading, with added amendments.