by Max Brantley
The county assessor's office, which has been meeting with North Little Rock officials over Mayor Pat Hays creatively underhanded plan to build a hotel parking deck at Maple and Broadway with school tax money diverted from already-improved property elsewhere in town, has an update. An official tells me the mayor has dropped his plan -- of dubious legality -- to combine three TIF districts to produce revenues for a hotel parking deck.
This decision doesn't mean Hays has dropped his plan to round up money from three non-continguous TIF districts to build a public improvement in one of them. He apparently intends now just to combine the revenue, not the districts, which are not contiguous as the law requires redevelopment district land to be.
I refer the mayor again to the plain language of the state Constitution, which says redevelopment district improvements must be built WITHIN the district that finances them.
Yes, I'm aware the legislature tried to make an end-run around the Constitution. That's what lawsuits are for, to decide whether the Constitution or a greedy bond daddy-enabling legislature is the supreme law of Arkansas.
More when and if the mayor or city attorney return my calls.