Ren­o­va­tion work ex­pected to be­gin soon on Bella Vista court

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - TRACY M. NEAL

BEN­TONVILLE — Ren­o­va­tion work will be­gin soon on space for a Bella Vista court.

The Bella Vista De­part­ment of the Dis­trict Court of Benton County will be in a com­plex off Arkansas 340.

Work is ex­pected to be­gin by July 17, said Ja­son Kel­ley, staff at­tor­ney for Bella Vista. The city is in the process of hir­ing a court clerk, Kel­ley said.

The court is ex­pected to be ready by Jan­uary, Kel­ley said. The city re­ceived author­ity to have its own court dur­ing the last state leg­isla­tive ses­sion. Judge Ray Bunch, who pre­sides over Ben­tonville Dis­trict Court, also will be the judge in Bella Vista.

“We be­came a city 10 years ago,” Kel­ley said. “We have to pro­vide for a court just as much as we need to pro­vide for our streets. It’s a nec­es­sary part of city gov­ern­ment.

“A city of al­most 30,000 that has it own po­lice and fire pro­tec­tion should have its own court.”

Bella Vista traf­fic of­fenses, traf­fic ticket fines and mis­de­meanor crimes are han­dled in Ben­tonville Dis­trict Court, Kel­ley said.

Bella Vista pays Ben­tonville $8,700 a month to use its court, Kel­ley said. One day a month is set aside for Bella Vista cases, Kel­ley said.

Jen­nifer Jones, chief clerk for Ben­tonville Dis­trict Court, said there were 1,367 Bella Vista cases in 2015; 1,146 cases in 2016 and 407 cases so far this year.

Bella Vista Mayor Peter Christie said the city will save money in the long term. The city will pay $4,150 a month to lease the space.

Con­struc­tion cost for the court will be $104,405. Mar­ion Con­struc­tion Ser­vices Group

will do the work, Kel­ley said.

Of­fi­cers will be able to pa­trol more in­stead of wait­ing in Ben­tonville for their cases to be called, which will save time and money, Kel­ley said.

Bella Vista res­i­dent Char­lie Mears said the court will be more con­ve­nient than hav­ing to go to Ben­tonville.

Russ Bra­suell, an­other city

res­i­dent, said the new court is an ex­cel­lent idea.

“Bella Vista is now a city,” Bra­suell said. “It should act like one.”

Kel­ley ex­pects res­i­dents will be­gin to pay their tick­ets in Bella Vista by mid-Novem­ber.

“It’s our con­tin­ued evo­lu­tion to be­come a city,” Christie said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.