Trustees of the Central Arkansas Library System have approved a $15.2 million budget for fiscal 2009 that calls for the sale of $28 million of bonds remaining from a $32 million authorization approved by voters in 2007.
The library system is an independent public agency that operates libraries in Little Rock, with the city appointing seven of the 13 members of the system’s board.
The bonds were set to go to market in May, but the sale was halted when a lawsuit was filed that claimed the property tax increase was approved by voters too late to be collected in 2008.
The lawsuit is set trial in February in circuit court. City officials expect any decision will be appealed to the Arkansas Supreme Court.
If the library system loses the case, it would refund an estimated $1.5 million in taxes collected in 2008.
Bond proceeds are dedicated to a new $10 million children’s library, a new branch library, and $4.2 million in renovations to the main library in downtown Little Rock.
Little Rock residents in December 2007 approved a temporary one-mill property tax increase to support $32 million of bonds and a permanent 0.5-mill increase for operations. The city issued $4 million in bonds in 2008 to acquire the site for the new branch and pay design costs.