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What you must know about Nov./Dec. QC meetings


Editor’s note: Tis FAQ topic has been published previously; however, it is


very timely and contains critical information for counties’ November quorum court meetings.


Q


: When shall the quorum court set the levy of all county ad valorem taxes and other taxes as


required by law? Arkansas Code Annotated 14-14-904(b) Levy of taxes and making


appropriations. (1)(A)(i) Te quorum court at its regular meeting in November of each


year shall levy the county taxes, municipal taxes, and school taxes for the current year. It should be noted that unless the county has been granted an extension


from the state due to a roll back that the levy must be done in the Novem- ber meeting. It has long been a suggestion of the Association of Arkansas Counties that the court not adjourn the November meeting. Instead recess and open the meeting back up at a later date to take up this issue and finish the business of that meeting before adjournment.


Q


: Can the quorum court amend the levy ordi- nance after it passage?


Te short answer to this question is the quorum court can’t raise or


lower the levy after it has been set at the November meeting. Tis question has been opined in Attorney General Opinion 1986-625 and an excerpt from that opinion states: “When a statute prescribes a certain time for the levying court to convene and levy taxes, a levy by it at any other time is invalid.” It also is quoted in another excerpt, “Since quorum courts are re- quired specifically to levy taxes at only one time each year, it is my opinion that any attempt to re-levy taxes at any other time is void.” However the county court has been given authority to correct errors and that authority lies in A.C.A. 14-14-904(b) (4): “If a county court de- termines that the levy of taxes by the quorum court is incorrect due to clerical errors, scrivener’s errors, or failure of a taxing entity to report the correct millage rate to the quorum court, the county court shall issue an order directing the county clerk to correct the error in order to correct the millage levy. “(5) If a determination is made under this subchapter or § 26-80-101 et. seq., that the taxes levied by the quorum court are out of compliance with Arkansas Constitution, Article 14, § 3, as amended by Arkansas Con- stitution, Amendments 11, 40, and 74, then upon notice from the Direc- tor of the Department of Education, the county court shall immediately issue an order directing the county clerk to change the millage levy to bring the taxes levied into compliance with Arkansas Constitution, Article 14, § 3, as amended by Arkansas Constitution, Amendments 11, 40, and 74.”


Q 12


: Can the annual budget be passed after the first of the year?


Te legal answer to this question would be no. As stated in A.C.A. 14- 14-904(b) (1) (ii): “Before the end of each fiscal year, the quorum court shall make appropriations for the expenses of county government for the following year.” Te language here states the quorum court shall make appropriations for the expenses of county government for the following year or upcom- ing year. If an appropriation is not made the county government would


in effect have to shut down until such an appropriation is made. Any attempt to continue the operation of county govern- ment without the proper appropriation would run afoul of A.C.A. 14-14-1203. Compensation and expense reimburse- ments generally. “(a) APPROPRIATION REQUIRED. All compensation, includ- ing salary, hourly compensation, expense allowances, training expenses, and other remunerations, allowed to any county or district officer or employee thereof shall be made only on specific appropriation by the quorum court of the county.”


annual budget?


FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions


Wes Fowler Government Relations Director


Q: What are the voting requirements to pass the Tis can be found in A.C.A. 14-14-907 (d) Readings and Publication.


An appropriation ordinance may be enacted without separate readings or publication prior to passage. However, publication shall be initiated within two (2) calendar days, excepting holidays, after approval of the measure by the county judge. (e) Voting Requirements. Te passage of appropriation ordinances or amendments to existing appropriation ordinances enacted without sepa- rate readings shall require a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the whole number of justices comprising a quorum court. On the passage of every appropria- tions measure, the yeas and nays shall be called and recorded in the min- utes of the meeting.” It should be noted that the language above is permissive. Tis allows the local governing body a much easier way of dealing with the many adjustments that may be needed during the year and in a much timelier manner, when dealing with appropriations. However it does not prohibit appropriation ordinances (ie: annual budget) to be adopted like all other ordinances on three separate readings with a simple majority vote of the whole body; when it becomes a problem to acquire the 2/3 vote require- ment. It could however take much longer and be more cumbersome. As stated in A.C.A. 14-14-905 (c) PASSAGE. (1)(A) “On the passage of


every ordinance or amendment to an existing ordinance, the yeas and nays shall be called and recorded. “(B) A concurrence by a majority of the whole number of members elected to the quorum court shall be required to pass any ordinance or amendment. “(2)(A) All ordinances or amendments to existing ordinances of a gen- eral or permanent nature shall be fully and distinctly read on three (3) different days unless two-thirds (2/3) of the members composing the court shall dispense with the rule.


“(B) Tis subdivision (c)(2) shall not serve to: “(i) Require a vote after each individual reading, but a vote only after the


third and final reading; “(ii) Require the ordinance or amendment to be read in its entirety on the first, second, or third reading; or “(C) Restrict the passage of emergency, appropriation, initiative, or ref- erendum measures in a single meeting as provided by law.”


COUNTY LINES, FALL 2012


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