CALS funding is on the ballot May 24

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Lower Taxes, More Resources.

Funding for the Central Arkansas Library System is on the ballot May 24. Registered voters who live in Little Rock are eligible to vote.

Voters will be asked to reduce the capital-improvement tax rate in Little Rock from 1.8 to 1.3 mills. When Little Rock voters approved a half-mill increase in the library’s operational millage last November, CALS board and administrators wanted to provide voters with a subsequent opportunity to reduce the capital-improvement millage by the same amount this year. If the 0.5-mill reduction passes, CALS will be able to refinance some existing capital debt by issuing new bonds that will generate money for projects like a bookmobile and improvements to library spaces.

A vote “FOR” the proposal…

grants CALS permission to refinance and extend current bonds which will lower the tax rate and give CALS a financial boost for a bookmobile and other resources.

A vote “AGAINST” the proposal…

means outstanding bonds will not be refinanced and there will be no project funds available to upgrade capital assets at CALS.

With new dedicated bond revenue, CALS will be able to make capital improvements that benefit all areas of our city.


Capital Improvement

A capital improvement is the addition of a permanent structural change or the restoration of some aspect of a property that will either enhance the property’s overall value, prolongs its useful life, or adapt it to new uses. 

For CALS, additional funding will help us expand library services by: 

  • Adding a state-of-the-art bookmobile.
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Millage FAQ

What is a bond? 

When a public agency or state government needs to raise money, it has the option of issuing bonds. A bond is a debt obligation that investors can trade on a secondary market. The money bond issuers collect from investors can be used for capital spending projects,

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2021 Annual Report

If 2020 was largely consumed by scrambling to survive an unprecedented challenge, then 2021 was spent achieving unprecedented successes at CALS. These are the product of hard work and planning by all of our staff. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, we tasked our outreach team with hitting the streets and bringing the library to the community.

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Point of Interest

Library board seeks vote on lowering tax

The Central Arkansas Library System’s governing board on Thursday voted to pursue a referendum to coincide with the May 24 primary election to make good on a pledge to reduce the property-tax rate in Little Rock that funds capital improvements for the system.

If successful, the capital-improvement millage rate in Little Rock would decline from the current rate of 1.8 to 1.3 mills.

At the same time, the library system’s leadership is seeking to refinance bonds to generate money for certain improvements, including work on the Main Library’s entrance. The executive director has suggested the move might result in a two-year extension on repayment of the borrowed money.

Joseph Flaherty | Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | January 30, 2022


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Point of Interest

For the library. And for lowering the tax rate.

It’s that time in an election year: Endorsements from newspapers are coming in quick. Some of these endorsements are difficult decisions. Some of them are easy. Today’s falls in the easy category.

Back in November, voters in Little Rock overwhelmingly approved a 0.5-mill increase to the local property tax rate that supports the Central Arkansas Library System’s operational budget. (And when was the last time a tax increase passed overwhelmingly? The yes votes tallied nearly 5,000. The nays couldn’t crack 2,000.)

Nate Coulter, the system’s executive director, says the library is now following through on a pledge from that election, by asking voters to lower their mills on the capital budget from 1.8 to 1.3 mills while reissuing bonds.

Editorial | Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | May 09, 2022

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