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Special Election Called for $6.25mil Capital Improvement Project, Public Forums Announced


The City of Gravette currently collects a 2.00% Sales Tax:

1.00% General Fund, Perpetual

0.25% Capital Improvement Fund, Perpetual

0.75% 2013 Sewer Bond Fund, Expires no later than June 1

2.00% TOTAL

A March 1 vote has been proposed that could update it to the following on July 1, 2016:

1.00% General Fund, Perpetual

0.25% Capital Improvement Fund, Perpetual

0.75% New $6.25mil Bond Fund, payable over 25 years

2.00% TOTAL

Tomorrow night, Tuesday, December 8, (Update! Council DID approve the calling of this election) the Gravette City Council will consider an ordinance that calls for a special election on March 1, 2016. This special election will allow the Gravette voters an opportunity to renew the 0.75% portion of our local sales tax for the purpose of funding 4 capital improvement initiatives. A DRAFT of the Ordinance is shown below. Without renewal, the 0.75% portion of our sales tax will expire no later than June 1, 2016. This tax is currently being collected and used to pay off $3 million in bonds issued in 2013 that funded mandatory upgrades to our Sewer system. Due to better than expected tax revenues, these bonds are being paid off over 10 years early.

The City Council has proposed renewing this tax for the purpose of funding capital improvement projects divided into 4 categories. All 4 measures would support projects totaling $5.42 million, an amount that can conservatively be paid with the anticipated sales tax revenue. Please note, voting YES for all 4 measures will not raise taxes from their current level.

Capital Improvement projects identified broadly include parks, streets, sidewalks & trails, community facilities, Main Street rejuvenation, continued sewer repairs, and other public projects. The City has enlisted the help of BiLD Architects, a Fayetteville based Design & Architectural firm, to help conceptualize many of the projects that have been identified. Two public forums are scheduled at which we will invite citizens to participate in helping prioritize these projects and to address any general questions about the Sales Tax vote.

Public Forum 1 – Thursday, January 14 @ 6p, Gravette Civic Center

Public Forum 2 – Tuesday, February 9 @ 6p, Gravette Civic Center

For up to the minute information, visit www.GravetteAR.com or call City Hall at 479-787-5757.

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DRAFT ORDINANCE NO. ____________

AN ORDINANCE CALLING A SPECIAL ELECTION IN THE CITY OF GRAVETTE, ARKANSAS ON THE QUESTIONS OF ISSUING BONDS UNDER AMENDMENT NO. 62 TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF ARKANSAS FOR THE PURPOSE OF FINANCING ALL OR A PORTION OF THE COST OF CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS; LEVYING A THREE-FOURTHS OF ONE PERCENT (0.75%) SALES AND USE TAX FOR THE PURPOSE OF RETIRING SUCH BONDS; AND PRESCRIBING OTHER MATTERS PERTAINING THERETO.

WHEREAS, the City Council of the City of Gravette, Arkansas (the "City") has determined that the City is greatly in need of:

(a) improvements to existing streets, including any curb, gutter and drainage improvements, street lighting and utility adjustments related thereto (the "Street Improvements"); (b) park and recreational facilities and improvements and parking, furnishings, equipment, drainage, lighting and utility improvements related thereto (the "Park and Recreational Improvements"); (c) betterments and improvements to the City’s sewer system (the "Sewer Improvements"); and

(d) new, or improvements to existing, sidewalks, including particularly, without limitation, sidewalks on Main Street as part of the Main Street Revitalization Project (the "Sidewalk Improvements"); and WHEREAS, the City Council proposes to finance all or a portion of the costs of the Street Improvements, the Park and Recreational Improvements, the Sewer Improvements and the Sidewalk Improvements (collectively, the "Capital Improvements") by the issuance of capital improvement bonds (the "Bonds") under the authority of Amendment No. 62 to the Constitution of the State of Arkansas ("Amendment 62") and Title 14, Chapter 164, Subchapter 3 of the Arkansas Code of 1987 Annotated (the "Authorizing Legislation"), allocated as follows: $1,600,000 in maximum principal amount for the Street Improvements; $2,250,000 in maximum principal amount for the Park and Recreational Improvements; $750,000 in maximum principal amount for the Sewer Improvements; and $1,650,000 in maximum principal amount for the Sidewalk Improvements; and

WHEREAS, the City can pay the principal of and interest on the Bonds from the proceeds of a City-wide three-fourths of one percent (0.75%) sales and use tax to be levied under the authority of the Authorizing Legislation; and WHEREAS, the City is currently levying a 0.75% sales and use tax under the authority of the Authorizing Legislation (the "2009 Tax"), which is currently pledged to the City's Sales and Use Tax Bonds, Series 2013A and Series 2013B (collectively, the "2013 Bonds"); and WHEREAS, the 2009 Tax will expire after the 2013 Bonds have been paid or provision has been made therefor; and WHEREAS, the 2009 Tax is expected to be terminated no later than July 1, 2016; and WHEREAS, the City Council intends for the new 0.75% sales and use tax levied by this Ordinance to become effective no earlier than the date the 2009 Tax is terminated; and

WHEREAS, the purpose of this Ordinance is to submit to the electors of the City the questions of issuing the Bonds for the Capital Improvements under Amendment 62 and the Authorizing Legislation at a special election to be called for that purpose and to levy a sales and use tax at the rate of three-fourths of one percent (0.75%) on the receipts from the sales at retail within the City of all items which are subject to taxation under the Arkansas Gross Receipts Act of 1941, as amended (A.C.A. §§26-52-101, et seq.), and the receipts from storing, distributing, using or consuming within the City tangible personal property under the Arkansas Compensating Tax Act of 1949, as amended (A.C.A. §§26-53-101, et seq.) (the "Sales and Use Tax");

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED by the City Council of the City of Gravette, Arkansas:

Section 1. There is hereby called a special election to be held on March 1, 2016, at which election there shall be submitted to the electors of the City the questions of issuing the Bonds under Amendment 62 and the Authorizing Legislation to pay all or a portion of the costs of the Capital Improvements in the maximum principal amounts described above, to be payable from collections of the Sales and Use Tax remaining after deduction of the administrative charges of the State of Arkansas and required rebates.

Section 2. In order to provide for the payment of the principal of and interest on the Bonds and all obligations of the City in connection therewith, there is hereby levied the Sales and Use Tax. The levy of the Sales and Use Tax shall not become effective until the special election called in Section 1 above has been held and the issuance of the Bonds for one or more purposes is approved by the voters. The Sales and Use Tax shall be levied and collected on the gross receipts, gross proceeds or sales price in the maximum amount allowed from time to time by Arkansas law, subject to rebates and limitations as from time to time required by Arkansas statutes for certain single transactions.

Section 3. The questions of issuing the Bonds shall be placed on the ballot for the election in substantially the following form:

If bonds for one or more purposes are approved, there will be levied within the City a new 0.75% sales and use tax, the net collections of which remaining after deduction of the administrative charges of the State of Arkansas and required rebates, shall be used solely to retire the bonds and obligations of the City with respect thereto. The rate of taxation will not exceed 0.75% even if more than one purpose is approved. The 0.75% sales and use tax will expire after the bonds have been paid or provision is made therefor in accordance with Arkansas statutes. The bonds described below may be combined into a single issue or the bonds may be issued in series from time to time.

STREET IMPROVEMENT BONDS Bonds of the City of Gravette in the maximum principal amount of $1,600,000 to finance all or a portion of the costs of improvements to existing streets, including any curb, gutter and drainage improvements, street lighting and utility adjustments related thereto and, in order to pay the bonds, the levy and pledge of a 0.75% local sales and use tax within the City. FOR

AGAINST

PARK AND RECREATIONAL IMPROVEMENT BONDS Bonds of the City of Gravette in the maximum principal amount of $2,250,000 to finance all or a portion of the costs of park and recreational facilities and improvements and parking, furnishings, equipment, drainage, lighting and utility improvements related thereto and, in order to pay the bonds, the levy and pledge of a 0.75% local sales and use tax within the City. FOR

AGAINST

SEWER IMPROVEMENT BONDS

Bonds of the City of Gravette in the maximum principal amount of $750,000 for the purpose of financing all or a portion of the costs of acquiring, constructing and equipping betterments and improvements to the City's sewer system and, in order to pay the bonds, the levy and pledge of a 0.75% local sales and use tax within the City.

FOR

AGAINST

SIDEWALK IMPROVEMENT BONDS

Bonds of the City of Gravette in the maximum principal amount of $1,650,000 for the purpose of financing all or a portion of the costs of new, or improvements to existing, sidewalks, including particularly, without limitation, sidewalks on Main Street as part of the Main Street Revitalization Project and, in order to pay the bonds, the levy and pledge of a 0.75% local sales and use tax within the City.

FOR

AGAINST

Section 4. The election shall be held and conducted and the vote canvassed and the results declared under the law and in the manner now provided for municipal elections unless otherwise provided in the Authorizing Legislation and only qualified voters of the City shall have the right to vote at the election.

Section 5. The results of the election shall be proclaimed by the Mayor, and the Proclamation shall be published one time in a newspaper having a general circulation in the City, which Proclamation shall advise that the results as proclaimed shall be conclusive unless attacked in the courts within thirty days after the date of publication.

Section 6. A copy of this Ordinance shall be filed with the Benton County Clerk at least 70 days prior to the date of the special election. A copy of this Ordinance shall be given to the Benton County Board of Election Commissioners so that the necessary election officials and supplies may be provided. A certified copy of this Ordinance shall also be provided to the Commissioner of Revenues of the State of Arkansas as soon as practical.

Section 7. The Mayor and City Clerk, for and on behalf of the City, are hereby authorized and directed to do any and all things necessary to call and hold the special election as herein provided and to perform all acts of whatever nature necessary to carry out the authority conferred by this Ordinance.

Section 8. If the Bonds are approved, the City intends to negotiate with Crews & Associates, Inc., which has assisted the City in preparation of the Bond size and repayment structure, for the sale of the Bonds.

Section 9. The provisions of this Ordinance are hereby declared to be separable and if any provision shall for any reason be held illegal or invalid, such holding shall not affect the validity of the remainder of this Ordinance.

Section 10. All ordinances and parts thereof in conflict herewith are hereby repealed to the extent of such conflict.


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