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AAC F A M I L Y & F R I E N D S


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A legislative recap: public records and publication responsibilites of counties


quent taxes, and responsibilities under the Arkansas Free- dom of Information Act (FOIA). Tough not all of these bills were passed, the presence of these ideas represents trends that may come back up in the 2019 legislative session and represent potential changes in the future. Tis article serves as an update of changes that were enacted and will soon take effect, as well as a discussion of bills not passed, but representing ideas that may gain traction in the future.


T Publication by County Officials


1. Publication of Ordinances Under the current law, unless otherwise specified in a spe- cific statute in question, when a county government is re- quired to publish, this publication is satisfied by a one-time insertion in a newspaper of general circulation within the county, governed by Ark. Code Ann. § 14-14-104. If the county has no newspaper of general circulation, publication may be made by posting in three public places that have been designated by ordinance. In specific instances in which a county is required to publish notice of a hearing or other official act, this notice should be published two times with at least six days sepa- rating each publication, as per Ark. Code Ann. § 14-14- 105. Tis notice should contain the date, time and place at which the hearing or other action will occur, a brief state- ment of the action to be taken, and any other information which may be required by the specific provision of the law requiring notice. House Bill 1836 filed in the 2017 legislative session


by Rep. Karilyn Brown would have made changes to the methods allowed for publication. First, the bill would have amended § 14-14-104 to allow counties to choose wheth- er to publish in a newspaper of circulation in the county or to publish on a website owned by or affiliated with the county, as long as the publication was also posted in three public places designated by ordinance. Next, House Bill 1836 would also have amended the notice by publication requirement, § 14-14-105, by allowing counties to again choose between publishing in a newspaper of circulation in the county or publication for 14 consecutive days on a website owned by or affiliated with the county, as long as the notice was also posted in three public places designated by ordinance. Finally, this bill would have amended the


14


his legislative session, advocates and policy mak- ers pushed legislation that would make changes to the responsibilities of Arkansas counties in regards to public records, publication of delin-


Research Corner


requirement — found in § 14- 14-903(d)(1) — that every five years, a uniform code of county ordinances be compiled and published. Tis bill, if passed, would have required this com- pilation to be published to a website owned by or affiliated with the county. Although this bill was not passed in the 2017 session, its presence reflects the overarching trend of digital integration. Te push to allow counties to publish notices and ordinances online may gain strength in the 2019 legislative session and in the future.


aimie alexander Law Clerk


2. Publication of Delinquent Taxes on Real Property and Mineral Interests by County Taxpayers A new addition to the law adds a requirement for the con- tent of tax bills. Senate Bill 114 (now Act 514) sponsored by Sen. Bart Hester and Rep. Kim Hammer adds a require- ment for the content of tax bills. Under current law, the following information is required to be included on each tax bill sent by the county collector to property taxpayers: the sum of the millage rates levied by each taxing unit, the percentage of the full value of the property that the sum of the millage rate levies represents, and the total amount due and billed under Ark. Code Ann. § 26-23-204. Now, the county’s website address must also be included on the bill. Under current Arkansas law, county collectors prepare a list of delinquent lands in their respective counties and de- liver a copy of this list to a newspaper of the county by Dec. 1 of each year, as required by Ark. Code Ann. § 26-37-107. Te newspaper publishes this list within seven days of deliv- ery. Te publication fee is set at $1.50 per tract of land. Tis fee is added as costs of forfeiture and is paid by the county collector from funds in the collector’s possession from the payment of real property taxes. Te collector then is entitled to a credit for the amount paid. It should be noted that as a result of a bill passed during the 2017 legislative session, these guidelines do not apply to delinquent taxes on min- eral interests, which should comply with the requirements in § 26-36-107, and are discussed in detail below.


a. Delinquent Minerals For tax years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2017, the no- tification guidelines will change for delinquent mineral in-


COUNTY LINES, SPRING 2017


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