by Max Brantley
City Manager Bruce Moore rolled out a 2013 budget for the city of Little Rock tonight. It forecasts $171 million in expenditures, up less than 2 percent from last year. Pay raises of 3 percent for union employees and up to 3 percent in merit increases for others are anticipated, along with new jobs in police, fire, parks and other departments.
Here's the rundown.
I notice the city is holding its corporate welfare payment to the Little RockRegional Chamber of Commerce at $200,000, still with no mention of true accountability. But it's a flimflam. The city is adding $100,000 for the Metro Little Rock Alliance, conveniently based at the Chamber of Commerce offices and also styled as a business development tool. What? The Chamber isn't good enough? Is this spending constitutional or another dubious payment to a private corporation? Is it just a slush fund, spent as the recipient, guided by a board full of people mostly unanswerable to public agencies, desires? Is it an alleged services contract? For what specified services? Does the agency, nearly wholly publicly financed, intend to release records on how it spends its tax dollars? If the past is prologue, the answers aren't good. We'll see.