Little Rock CENT meeting convenes

    7:57 PM, Apr 18, 2012   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Twelve committee members that monitor the fate of your tax dollars are meeting Wednesday for the first time.

    The Little Rock "CENT" meeting convenes for the first time on Wednesday at the Hinton Neighborhood Resource Center. CENT is an acronym for "Citizen Evaluation of New Tax."

    Officials representing various city departments are on hand to monitor the use of the funds and discuss how those dollars will be spent.

    In September of 2011, Little Rock voters approved a sales tax increase from a half percent to 1.5 percent.

    Little Rock City Manager Bruce Moore explains the mission of the CENT committee.

    "These are the projects that we committed to do, and these are the projects that are going to get done. So on a regular basis we're going to come before the committee and give an update on all the projects and all the expenditures, and give them an update on the status of each project," Moore said.

    The CENT committee will meet at least every other month to discuss the new sales tax. Members say they are working to be as transparent as possible on how tax dollars are being spent.

    Moore explains how it will work.

    "we have the 5/8 cent operational side and then we have the 3/8 cent capital side, so some of the capital projects we're getting started on, for instance the police substation across the street. I expect to have that bid to be going out next month," Moore added.

    Little Rock Police Chief Stuart Thomas said the new police substation will have room for other businesses and organizations.

    "We actually own the full block down and some of the property south and we're basically ready to go. We've done remediation on the property. It's ready for construction just a matter of getting the plans finalized," Chief Thomas said. 

    The Chief mentioned that the sales tax will provide for additional dispatchers for 911 and 311, as well as more officers on the street to help lower the city's crime rate.

    "It's going to keep us ahead of the curve because we do have some challenges," Chief Thomas added.

    The Little Rock Zoo, one of the other organizations to make a presentation today will get funds to provide a number of items for the facility including additional staffing.

    Again, the goal of today's meeting is to keep citizens updated on how tax dollars are spent.

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