Little Rock mayor lays out plans for money raised by 1-cent sales tax

    5:35 PM, Sep 14, 2011   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Little Rock shoppers can now prepare to fork over an extra penny on the dollar after voters passed a sales tax increase Tuesday night. Wednesday, Mayor Mark Stodola outlined top priorities that will be funded with the tax revenue focusing primarily on police and fire.

    The changes will come as soon as Jan. 1 2012. While they do say the money won't begin to accrue until January, there will be operational issues addressed immediately.

    Among a backdrop of supporters Wednesday, Mayor Mark Stodola outlined plans as to where $50 million in tax growth would be spent each year for the next ten years.

    "Last night's victory was a victory, truly a victory for the city that we love," says Mayor Stodola.

    Topping the city's list of priorities includes a new fire station worth $4 million and police substation topping out at $9 million.

    "The ability to have this tax will allow us to go forward immediately and get this fire station built," says Mayor Stodola.

    In addition, the city will be the hiring 52 new police officers and 36 firefighters. That alone carries an operating cost of more than $9 million a year.

    By far the city's largest expenditure includes more than $70 million on street resurfacing and building repairs.

    Mayor Stodola says a better looking city will draw in more business and with them, more jobs. "For us to compete in this economy in the 21st century, we've got to invest in jobs," Mayor Stodola says.

    When or in what order all the projects will be complete has yet to determined, but city officials add they'll rely heavily on the amount of capital proceeds.

    Another of those capital improvements includes building a bio-tech research park worth $22 million. This was a project that created a lot of opposition due to the possibility of land acquisition.

    When asked if residents in the area stand to lose their homes, Mayor Stodola said nothing is definite, but if it does arise he assures those residents will be compensated fully.

    Before any of these projects are addressed, the city will first develop a citizen advisory oversight committee.

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