Correction: About 3.5 percent of eligible voters turned out for Tuesday’s Little Rock library bond refinancing election, which passed with 86 percent of the votes in favor. This article listed an incorrect percentage of voter turnout.
Less than 1 percent of eligible voters turned out for Tuesday's Little Rock library-bond refinancing election that passed with 86 percent of the votes in favor.
Just 4,460 of the 127,105 eligible voters submitted ballots in the election -- 402 of those votes were cast early and another 347 were submitted by absentee ballot.
Complete, but unofficial results at the close of polls Tuesday were:
The remaining seven votes cast weren't counted because of submission problems.
Central Arkansas Library System officials say that by refinancing 2008 and 2009 bonds, they will lower the amount Little Rock property owners pay on those bonds and also extend the payment by about four years.
This will raise between $15 million and $17 million for projects at Little Rock library branches. The vote didn't affect libraries in the system's other areas of coverage in Pulaski and Perry counties.
Library administrators plan to use the money from the refinancing to buy more computers and books, as well as build additions on to three branches and purchase Internet-related technology upgrades.
Before the vote, Little Rock property owners paid 5.1 mills for library bonds or operations in total. They now will pay 5 mills because the 1 mill dedicated to the bonds that will be refinanced will be lowered to 0.9 mill.
For a homeowner with a $100,000 home, the property taxes paid on all library bonds will be reduced from $102 to $100 per year. A mill is one-tenth of 1 cent, with each mill producing $1 in tax revenue for every $1,000 of taxable property.
The majority of the money generated from the refinancing will be used for expansion and major renovations for the Dee Brown Library, the John Gould Fletcher Library and the Roosevelt Thompson Library. The upgrades will add at least 2,000 square feet and reconfigure the libraries' children's areas.
Smaller remodeling is planned for the Main Library and the Sue Cowan Williams Library.
About $2 million will be dedicated to technology upgrades, such as Internet bandwidth and digital equipment, including computers.
Library Executive Director Bobby Roberts has repeatedly said there is a huge need for those upgrades throughout the library system. Internet service is currently at capacity, he said.
"We don't need long lines of people waiting for Internet, which is what we are heading toward," he said previously. "The main thing is the library is getting a lot of use. This is the cheapest way I know to push the system up another notch."
There was no organized opposition to the bond refinancing campaign. Still, Pulaski County Election Commission Executive Director Bryan Poe expected a higher voter turnout.
"I'm going to say even I am surprised by how low the vote turnout was," he said Tuesday. "I was expecting 6,000 and we seemed to have fallen well short of that."
Metro on 07/15/2015
Print Headline: Voters in LR few, but pass library bonds