LR Board of Directors approves short-term funding


Little Rock’s board members at a meeting on Tuesday gave the green light to an effort to raise nearly $ 6 million in short-term funding to undertake various projects.

The order authorizing the $ 5,925,000 bill, along with an accompanying emergency clause, was approved by voice vote.

Infrastructure initiatives that are expected to be funded with the short-term funding include the reconstruction of Interstate Park Drive and improvements related to MacArthur Park, such as a new playground and improved lighting and walkways, according to the ‘order.

MacArthur Park is the site where the Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts – formerly the Arkansas Arts Center – is undergoing an overhaul. The museum is slated to reopen in fall 2022, later than planned.

At a meeting last week, City Manager Bruce Moore suggested that the planned improvements to MacArthur Park match the construction work underway at the museum.

Basketball courts and parking should be built at Kanis Park, according to the text of the ordinance.

In addition, the money will finance the purchase of a fire truck as well as mobile radios for the police and firefighters.

Asked by Vice Mayor Lance Hines at Tuesday’s meeting about the rationale for using short-term funding as opposed to city financial reserves or dollars received under the American Rescue Plan Act, Moore said the city has used the funding in the past as a mechanism to move forward with capital projects.

Officials felt they had to move forward with the purchases despite the federal money, Moore said, adding that they still had to come back to the board with recommendations on how to use the funding from relaunch.

In May, Little Rock received the first half of what is expected to be a total of $ 37.7 million distributed to the city by the US bailout, according to the US Treasury Department.

City chief executive Joan Adcock asked Moore on Tuesday how much interest the city’s $ 18 million in the bank was attracting.

Moore said he should check with the city’s treasury manager.

He noted that the council will ultimately decide how to spend the first installment of money received from the federal government. None of the ideas submitted by board members regarding how to spend the money “was on that list,” Moore said, referring to projects that should be done using the loan.

Later in the meeting, treasury manager Scott Massanelli told city administrators that Little Rock’s overnight rate for its money in the bank was 53 basis points, or 0.53%.

The wording of the ordinance indicates that the city can pay up to 5% on the principal amount of the loan.

However, that line simply means that the city cannot borrow more than 5% of the assessed value of the city’s taxable property, which at the end of 2019 was over $ 4.6 billion, Moore said. in an email Wednesday.

Moore wrote that the city will issue a request for proposals and select the bank that offers the lowest interest rate.

“While rates potentially increase, I’m pretty confident they won’t be close to 5%,” Moore wrote.

He said the city expects to select a lender within the next 30 days.


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