The Pulaski County Council heard a proposal Monday to free up funds for a proposed West Side Industrial Park. Community Development Commission Executive Director Nathan Origer is asking council members to shift some of the jail bond payments away from the County Economic Development Income Tax Fund. “So every year, the jail lease payment is paid out of two funds, my fund and 1185, the Jail Lease Rental, and it’s split 50-50,” he explained. “This year, it was $258,500 out of my fund and out of the Jail Lease Fund. The Jail Lease Fund is part property taxes, part excise taxes, and part financial institutions tax.”
But while money’s coming out of both funds, Origer said the Jail Lease Rental Fund is accumulating a significant surplus. “It’s up to a quarter million at the end of last year,” he said, “and at the end of this year, it will be beyond $300,000.”
Origer says reevaluating the split between the two funds for next year’s budget could help boost the West Side Industrial Park project. “We might do it again at a different amount in 2019. We might just make it a one-time thing. We might not do it at all,” he told council members. “But I thought that this would be a good way to tap some funds that otherwise are just going to be sitting in an account doing nothing until 2021, 2022, whereas we could invest them in a project that might, over the course of the years, if we get development, generate new income for the county.”
The Pulaski County Council will hold its budget hearings on August 22 and 23. Budget requests from each department head are due to Auditor Laura Wheeler by tomorrow.