The Harrison City Council is scheduled to hear the third and final reading Thursday night of the ordinances required to call a special election asking voters to approve two sales taxes to finance construction of a Community Center recreational complex.
The city proposed the $39.9 million facility at a special council meeting in July. It will require passage of a 0.75% sales tax to build the center, which will expire when bonds sold to finance construction are paid off, and a permanent 0.25% sales tax for maintenance and operation, and for maintaining and improving existing parks facilities.
The exact language of the ordinance states: “The Bond Tax will expire after the bonds have been paid or provision is made therefor in accordance with Arkansas statutes.”
There had been a question about the expiration, or sunset, of the 0.75% sales tax.
City officials have estimated the bonds would be paid off in 10-15 years or sooner if possible. However, no specific date is mentioned in the ordinance.
Ryan Bowman, bond attorney with the Little Rock-based Friday, Eldridge & Clark law firm representing the city, told the Daily Times how the sunset would work.
Bowman said that if voters approve the bond sale and the tax to support paying them off, the revenue will not even go to the city. Instead, a bond trustee will be appointed to see the bonds are paid.
The trustee would notify the bond attorney when bonds are nearly paid off and the process would begin to see the tax expire, Bowman said. He said there are specific legal steps that would be necessary.
Bowman said a future city council wouldn’t be allowed to sell more bonds without another public election, so that sales tax would expire.
When Mayor Jerry Jackson and Finance director Luke Feighert presented the idea to the Boone County Quorum Court earlier this month, they were asked how much the city is paying for promotion of the proposal.
Feighert said all work done by architects and for advertising has been paid for with private donations and that the city is following state ethics regulations.
The Committee to Move Harrison Forward was registered with the Arkansas Ethics Commission on July 24. It lists Feighert as treasurer, with Bob Largent and Scott Tennyson as officers.
For the period covering July 22 through July 31, the committee listed donations of $4,450, which was filed with the commission Aug. 15. Donations came from:
• Neighbors Mill — $500
• Wood Development (Quality Inn) — $250
• Wood Development (Holiday Inn Express) — $250
• Wood Development (Hampton Inn) — $250
• Wood Motor — $250
• First National Bank of North Arkansas — $1,000
• Campbell Insurance Agency — $250
• Dan Bowers — $250
• Bob Largent — $250
• Scott Tennyson — $200
• Akers Holdings — $500
• Bruce Wiley — $500
Other items on the agenda for Thursday night’s meeting include an amendment of the 2018 budget, along with first readings of ordinances to amend the plumbing code, one to regulate truck exhaust and engine brakes and one to regulate property maintenance.
Entergy has requested an easement at the wastewater treatment plant and the House of Hope has asked permission to allow a limited number of homeless people to park at the facility and sleep in their cars. Both items are also on the agenda.
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Thursday in council chambers on the second floor of City Hall.