Arkansas Business News
LRRA Legislative Affairs Committee
Most debate at City Hall in recent weeks has centered around what to do about Little Rock’s roughly $7 million budget defecit. Mayor Frank Scott has proposed a measure to cut the budget by roughly $2.1 million for the rest of 2019. However, the proposal is getting pushback from some city Board members. Proposed cuts center around reducing Parks Department staff, reducing funding to some outside programs, like the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, and “repurposing” two city golf courses. The measure failed to get enough votes for passage at a meeting May 28. City Directors are expected to take up the issue again at their meeting June 4.
Meanwhile, the structure of government continues to be a major point of discussion in Little Rock, as well. The group appointed to recommend the best form of government for the City of Little Rock has continued to meet in recent weeks. Members have said the mayor should have authority to hire his own chief administrator and city attorney, regardless of what form of government is in place. (Right now, under an ordinance put in place in 2007, the mayor can hire/fire the city manager and city attorney, but those actions must then be approved by two-thirds of the city board.)
At a meeting earlier in May, some members of the group suggested changing the vote threshold required for city directors to be elected. Right now, the vote threshold is 40 percent for the mayor, but city board members only have to receive a plurality of the vote. Some argured that’s advantageous for incumbents. Others said setting a threshold would lead to costly run-offs. The task force consists of 11 members, and they are charged with presenting a report of recommendations to Mayor Scott and the City Board by June 30.