The North Little Rock City Council on Aug. 27 voted to allow the city’s public library system to borrow up to $800,000 out of the city’s coffers so its board of trustees can buy the Downtown Post Office, 420 Main St.
"The United States Postal Service has announced the closure of the Downtown Post Office and has been negotiating with the Board of Trustees of the North Little Rock Public Library System regarding the purchase of the downtown post (office)," reads the resolution adopted by the council.
According to the resolution, the U.S. Postal Service has expressed its desire to sell the downtown post office property to the library, and the library desires to buy it for the amount of $775,000.
The library requested the council allow the system to borrow up to $800,000 for the purchase and any associated costs.
According to the resolution, the library system would repay the city no later than Dec. 31.
"The Public Building Authority (PBA) has examined the proposed acquisition of the Downtown Post Office and agreed to exercise its statutory authority to acquire, improve, finance, and otherwise exercise its authority over the Downtown Post Office as the PBA no later than Dec. 31, 2012."
The council was provided a copy of the purchase agreement between the post office and library.
"The closing date shall occur on or before Sept. 28, 2012, unless extended by the mutual written agreement of the parties," states the contract.
The agreement gives the library until Sept. 17 to terminate the agreement.
While the library is paying $775,000 for the building, the buyer is providing a deposit of $38,750 in earnest money before the purchase, according to the agreement.
Mayor Patrick Hays said he supported allowing the library to use city money to make possible the purchase because the library system is paying the city back.
"That is city property," Hays said, speaking about the current site of the North Little Rock Public Library.
Alderman Steve Baxter added, "I have some ideas I would like to see happen with the current library property," although he declined to elaborate.
Hays added, "There are several ideas for the library property."
The decision to allow the library to borrow the money came after a special meeting of the council was called at 7:05 p.m. to consider the legislation.
Prior to the public hearing, City Attorney C. Jason Carter issued a notice to city alderman that read, "The purpose of this email is to advise you that Mayor Hays has called a special meeting of the North Little Rock City Council…." according to Carter’s notice. "Pursuant to Section 2-48(2) of the North Little Rock Municipal Code, you are entitled to 72 hours’ electronic notice of this meeting. Please acknowledge receipt of this email as soon as possibly by replying to the same."