John A. Murphey, Jr.

Attorney General of Arkansas — Opinion

STEVE CLARK, Attorney General

John A. Murphey, Jr. State Librarian Arkansas State Library One Capitol Mall Little Rock, AR 72201

Dear Mr. Murphey:

You have requested my opinion concerning Amendment 59 to the Arkansas Constitution and its impact on city and county libraries. Specifically, you have asked the following question:

Whenever a countywide reassessment of property subject to ad valorem taxes as defined by Amendment 59 has been completed and rollbacks have been adjusted, do the citizens seek reinstatement of the full one-mill for local library support according to the stipulations in Amendments 30 and 38 or is there an alternate process defined in Amendment 50 whereby the Quorum Court can reinstate the full mill? Is it necessary to place this issue on the ballot to retain the full one mill?

As you know, Amendment 59 provides for a rollback of real property millage rates whenever the aggregate value of taxable real and personal property in a taxing unit increases by 10% or more as a result of a countywide reappraisal or reassessment of property. The rollback is to operate in such a way as to ensure that taxing units, including city and county libraries, will receive up to a 10 percent increase in revenue in the year following reappraisal and reassessment. There are no exceptions to the rollback provision contained in Amendment 59 and, as I stated in Opinion No. 81-92, dates May 12, 1981, millage rates levied to support city and county libraries are subject to the rollback.

Amendments 30 and 38 to the State Constitution authorize cities and counties respectively to raise revenue for the purpose of maintaining local libraries. Both amendments establish a ceiling of one mill as the maximum rate that may be levied on taxable real and personal property to this end. Moreover, the amendments contain specific requirements which must be followed in order to raise or lower the tax levy for local library support. One of the requisites is a vote of the people at a general city or county election.

Inasmuch as Amendment 59 is silent on the procedure to be followed to raise a millage rate which has been rolled back, and since Amendments 30 and 38 are very clear on the mechanism which must be employed to increase a millage rate to support city and county libraries, it is my opinion that a county quorum court may not, on its own initiative, reinstate the tax levy previously established in a city or county for support of local libraries. Rather, the provisions of Amendments 30 and 38 must be complied with and an election held in order to raise a library millage rate which has been reduced pursuant to the rollback provision contained in Amendment 59.

The foregoing opinion, which I hereby approve, was prepared by Deputy Attorney General Rick Campbell.