LINCOLN -- The city's sales tax distribution received in October was the highest for the year, though city officials are not sure why.
The city received $36,086 from its 1% local sales tax for October, which is revenue distributed by the state from sales made in August. This compares to $24,177 received in October 2020. The October distribution represents a 49% increase from the same period last year.
Rhonda Hulse, city business manager, reported the October distribution during the Nov. 16 meeting of Lincoln City Council. She said the amount is particularly surprising because it does not include sales from the Arkansas Apple Festival in early October.
Hulse and Mayor Doug Hutchens speculated on several reasons for the increase: possibly residents spending more money because of the new child tax credits and federal covid stimulus money, or from construction and building improvements going on in Lincoln.
Lincoln has a local 3% sales tax rate. Of this, 1% is for capital improvements, 1% for police and fire and the balance goes to the library and parks and recreation.
The council's November agenda included an ordinance to make it "unlawful for any person to drive in an inattentive manner" in the city of Lincoln.
After some discussion, the council voted 6-2 to adopt the ordinance and voted 6-2 to pass an emergency clause so that the ordinance takes effect immediately. Council members Michelle Davis and Billy Rusher voted "no" on both motions.
Police Chief Kenneth Albright said the ordinance was not prompted by anything that happened in the city. In reviewing city ordinances and state laws, Albright said he recommended the ordinance to provide officers another tool.
State law already can be used for the offenses but, with a city ordinance in effect, officers could choose to cite someone for violating a city ordinance instead of a state law, Albright said.
"We're not creating new legislation," Albright said. "This gives another tool in the toolbox."
Albright said the ordinance gives officers a less severe option to consider when citing someone for driving inattentively.
The ordinance defines a citation of inattentive driving as the spinning of loose rocks or gravel on any street, highway, alley or private property; the squealing of tires on any street or private property; the application of an imprint of rubber tire tracks on a street or private property; driving in excess of the posted speed limit; or operating any vehicle in such a manner which would cause a failure to maintain control on any street or private property.
Council member Johnny Stowers voted for the ordinance but said he wasn't sure about the violations applying to inattentive driving on private property.
"We have a lot of agriculture zoned property inside the city limits," Stowers said. "I think we're pushing the realm of civil liberties."
City Attorney Steve Zega pointed out that under state law, officers can write a ticket for the same violations outlined in the ordinance. For example, Zega said, if a teenager was squealing tires in the Harps parking lot at midnight and waking neighbors, the police could "write them up" under state law.
"With respect, this (ordinance) is backing off the potential of the severity of a ticket," Zega said.
In other action Nov. 16, the council:
• Adopted a resolution to approve "Work Order No. 4" with McClelland Consulting Engineers to provide engineering services for a sewer rehabilitation project along Sugar Hill Road. The work order is not to exceed $65,000.
• Approved an ordinance to pay an additional $1,500 on a contract to demolish buildings located at 312 N. West St. The city previously accepted a low bid of $6,000 from Leming & Son for the demolition project. When the actual work was completed, Leming found that the owners had hauled more refuse and rubbish into the buildings. The total, $7,500, is below the second lowest bid received on the demolition project, which was $13,000, according to the ordinance.
• Approved $6,300 in police incentive pay, which is based on training and education, and $20,200 in longevity bonuses for city employees.The bonuses range from $75 to $1,000, depending on length of time with the city.