Municipal Law

Overview

As a leader in shaping the Arkansas governmental and regulatory environment, Friday Eldredge & Clark counsels counties, municipalities, and special purpose entities throughout the state on legal and operational needs. Or, if you are a business entity that needs help securing a permit or presenting your story in an administrative forum, our lawyers can use their in-depth understanding of municipal government and procedures on your behalf. At the intersection of commerce and public policy, we have the key strengths to get things done for both public and private sector clients:

  • A leading bond counsel practice focused on the financing of public and nonprofit projects on behalf of local and state governmental agencies and special purpose entities throughout Arkansas, with a core group of lawyers recognized by both Chambers USA and The Best Lawyers in America for excellence in such areas as municipal finance, public finance, municipal bonds, and structured finance.
  • A tax law practice that is second to none among law firms in Arkansas, with lawyers who have done much to shape the state’s tax structure and whose credentials include advanced tax law degrees, selection for The Best Lawyers in America and Chambers USA and election to the American College of Tax Counsel.
  • By far the largest employee benefits practice in Arkansas, including representation of educational institutions and governmental entities (including the State of Arkansas deferred compensation plan).

Whether the issue is a multi-million dollar bond issue, an economic development proposal, a tax appeal, or a permitting question, our firm can get the job done working with and through Arkansas municipal government.

Municipal Finance

If you have financing responsibilities for municipal finance for assistance with bonds sold by underwriters, bonds placed with governmental agencies and local banks, bonds offered in public sales, bonds rated by national rating agencies, and insured bonds, your bond issue will be handled with the same effectiveness that we have brought to the financings of major municipalities and counties and the State of Arkansas.

Whether the needs of your organization relate to new money issues, refunding, or a combination of the two, you can rely on our transactional experience with state and local bonds, general obligation financings, water and sewer bonds, municipal utility financings, airport financings, and many similar transactions. When you engage us as counsel on any issue, you can count on us to draft all documents relating to authorization, sale, and delivery. We also offer full assistance on sales and property tax elections, and also when a bond issue requires voter approval. This includes the preparation of the necessary ordinances, ballot, notices, and other documents required under state law, and we also offer advice on election and bond procedures.

Taxation

In the highly competitive real estate market, our tax law knowledge makes our firm key players at the local tax level. We excel at helping clients with tax issues that particularly relate to real estate transactions, such as reducing tax burdens through the use of like-kind exchanges. When necessary, we can challenge local tax assessments on your behalf, particularly if there is a need to challenge a contingency ad valorem property tax assessment. Other state or local tax controversies that we can handle for you include sales and use tax audits and disputes.

Economic Development

Economic development financing is a complex undertaking that can combine tax incentives with government tax-exempt bond financing for infrastructure construction of roads, sewers, and public utilities. We play a central role in facilitating economic development bond financing for business and government throughout Arkansas. You get the benefit of our experience on hundreds of millions of dollars in economic development financing transactions. That includes work as issuers' and underwriters’ counsel on such financing vehicles as industrial development revenue bonds, special assessment bonds, and special source revenue credits and bonds. Businesses get our help in working with municipalities, and we are especially effective at developing incentive vehicles that combine financing from multiple public and private sources.

Education

Our firm is among the leaders in bond financing for Arkansas school districts, representing underwriters and issuers as fiscal agents on behalf of the districts themselves. Much of our work is oriented to bond issues to finance school construction. We also offer to district administrators and boards of education a wide range of other services, from employee benefit advice to courtroom representation in employment, desegregation, and other litigated matters.

Employee Benefits

A wide range of Arkansas municipalities and other governmental entities rely on us for employee benefit guidance. We advise governmental and administrative entities on the best ways to structure and administer their benefit and pension plans. The unique complexities in funding and compliance that these plans have require our special guidance on state law requirements that apply to non-ERISA qualified, 403(b) and Section 457 plans.

Permits

Whether you operate a restaurant, private club, or similar establishment, our firm can represent your interests with licensing and permitting authorities, including liquor licenses from the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, and gaming permits.