In response to criticism from members of the Little Rock Board of Directors, Mayor Frank Scott Jr. on Tuesday unveiled a revised sales tax plan and deferred consideration of whether to send the proposal to voters for one week. Scott said that while the philosophy of his Rebuild the Rock plan remain intact, the changes reflect what he’d heard from board members on April 27.
You can see the new plan on the third page of this pdf.
Over 10 years, the new plan adds $10 million to the public safety allocation for community oriented policing, something seven board members said was missing from the plan last week. The money allocated for public safety vehicles gets a $10 million increase, moving it from $27.3 million to $37.3 million, which the mayor said would go toward replacing aging firetrucks. Several directors asked for more spending on infrastructure. Scott’s new proposal increases that spending from $10 million to $20 million.
Ward 6 Director Doris Wright has perhaps most clearly expressed what she needed to vote for the proposal: improvements at ballfields at the West Central Community Center and funding for a targeted neighborhoods initiative resolution the board approved last year. The new proposal puts an additional $5 million in the West Central budget, bringing it from $12 million to $17 million. It also adds $5 million to a “neighborhood capacity fund,” something that might also appeal to Ward 7 Director BJ Wyrick, who supported the targeted neighborhood resolution.
Here’s what got cut to make room for that new planned spending:
*$10 million from Little Rock Zoo operations (half the planned spending)
*$10 million from public safety technology and operations (same as above)
*$5 million from early childhood (dropping it from $45 million to $40 million)
*$4.5 million for parks operations (dropping it from $21 million to $16.5 million)
*$3 million for parking decks (dropping it from $13 million to $10 million)
*$2 million for city hall improvements (dropping it from $7 million to $5 million)
Scott said he and City Manager Bruce Moore, in consultation with others, determined that two new parking decks could be built for cheaper than originally projected.
For those who prefer reading things in list form, here are the increases again:
*$10 million in community oriented policing funding (a new line item)
*$10 million for public safety vehicle replacement (moving it from $27.3 million to $37.3 million)
*$10 million for infrastructure (moving it from $20 million to $30 million)
*$5 million for West Central Community Center complex (moving it from $12 million to $17 million)
*$5 million for a neighborhood capacity fund (a new line item)
City Attorney Tom Carpenter, serving as parliamentarian, ruled that, after the mayor announced that he would defer a vote for one week, the board couldn’t discuss the new plan.