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Little Rock mayor delays vote on sales-tax proposal

by Joseph Flaherty | May 4, 2021 at 7:56 p.m.
FILE — Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott is shown at the state Capitol in Little Rock.

Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. opted to delay a final vote on his proposed one-percentage-point sales tax increase during Tuesday night's city board meeting, deferring action on the package to a meeting next week and announcing adjustments to his "Rebuild the Rock" plan.

City directors were scheduled to make a final decision Tuesday night about whether to send the package to voters for their approval of a July 13 special election. Instead, twin ordinances to call the summer election and levy the increase as well as a resolution stating the uses of the tax revenue were deferred.

Scott said during Tuesday's meeting that officials had made changes to the proposal in response to feedback last week from city directors, but noted that an effort was made to "maintain the philosophy" of the package.

According to an updated outline of planned spending under the plan, the categories of public safety and infrastructure will each see a boost in their respective shares of funding. Each category will increase from 12% to 14% of overall spending during the next 10 years under the plan.

Under the revised plan, the funding category for the Little Rock Zoo would see a decrease in its share of the total funding from 9% to 8%. The new plan would lower proposed zoo funding by $10 million over the first 10 years of the tax for a total investment of $40 million.

Scott explained the cut as a change to the expected increase in operating expenses for the zoo as opposed to a change to the $30 million capital investment.

Scott unveiled the spending package during his March 25 State of the City broadcast. During a meeting last week, city directors shared criticism and questions related to the package that suggested many on the board were not yet sold on the plan.

Read Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for the full story.


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