The city of Little Rock is inviting citizens to attend a series of three public meetings on its proposed 2017 budget.
Little Rock is budgeting about $204.5 million for 2017. That represents about a 2.3 percent increase over the current year’s amended budget. The increase is possible because the city plans to use $4.7 million from its unrestricted reserve funds, or carry-over money from previous years. Little Rock needs to tap its unrestricted reserves because sales tax revenue has fallen short of projections, says Little Rock City Manager Bruce Moore.
“I’m really predicting that things are going to turn around,” he says. “I think this was sort of an election year jitters that was going on in the economy. I hope I’m right that now that it’s over, things will begin to turn around. Because if you look at our last few years, our sales tax revenue really was growing.”
The city is anticipating a 1.5 percent increase in sales tax revenue next year.And Little Rock plans give all its full time employees a 1.5 percent raise. Moore says the city is also planning to fill several vacant uniform police officer positions and 911 call taker positions in 2017. New funding will be put toward the West Little Rock Josephine Pankey Center, which includes a new police substation; as well as the West Central Community Center. Both those facilities opened this year.
One Hundred and Eighty Thousand dollars are being allocated toward a Municipal Identification Program for residents who have trouble acquiring traditional forms of ID, like driver’s licenses. Moore says he hopes to get that program going sometime in the first quarter of next year. Also, $100,000 are being set aside for a new residency incentive program for employees. Moore says overall, he’s satisfied with the proposed budget.
“I do hope our revenue projections—which I think are very conservative—I hope I missed those on the negative side. In other words, I hope they’re more positive than the 1.5 [percent] growth than we’re projecting. But the budget is balanced. It does target I think, the city board’s main priorities: public safety, economic development, quality of life and infrastructure,” he said.
More on the proposed budget here.
The city of Little Rock is inviting citizens to attend these three budget presentations to learn more:
-Monday, Dec. 5, 6:30 p.m. - Southwest Community Center, 6401 Baseline Road
-Wednesday, Dec. 7, 6 p.m. - The Centre at University Park, 6401 West 12th St.
-Tuesday, Dec. 13, 4 p.m. - City Board of Directors Meeting, Little Rock City Hall, 500 West Markham