Spe­cial elec­tions today in Avoca, Beaver Lake Fire Dis­trict

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS -

BEN­TONVILLE — Vot­ers in Avoca and the Beaver Lake Fire Dis­trict will cast bal­lots in a pair of spe­cial elec­tions today.

Fire dis­trict res­i­dents will be asked to ap­prove an in­crease in an­nual dues from $ 75 to $ 150. The dues are as­sessed on all homes and busi­nesses in the dis­trict. Avoca res­i­dents will be asked to ap­prove the Sun­day sale of al­co­holic bev­er­ages for off-premises con­sump­tion.

Chief John Whisenant with the Beaver Lake Fire De­part­ment said the de­part­ment is work­ing on a plan to hire enough full- time em­ploy­ees to have two fire­fight­ers on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The de­part­ment also needs to add on to the fire sta­tion to ac­com­mo­date full-time crews and to buy some air bot­tles for the de­part­ment’s breath­ing ap­pa­ra­tus, since those the de­part­ment now uses will ex­pire next year, he said.

Dues have been at $75 a year since 2007, when vot­ers ap­proved an in­crease from $40, Whisenant said.

The Avoca elec­tion was the re­sult of a pe­ti­tion drive by Stacey Latham and Stephanie Zort­man, who own Two Sis­terz Liquor in Avoca.

The women re­searched the le­gal re­quire­ments to hold a spe­cial elec­tion and put out a pe­ti­tion at the store, col­lect­ing 40 sig­na­tures, two more than the 38 needed, ac­cord­ing to the Benton County Clerk’s Of­fice. The women will pay the cost of the elec­tion, which will likely be around $5,000.

Vot­ers in Avoca and the Beaver Lake Fire Dis­trict can cast bal­lots at two polling places that will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. today.

Vot­ing will take place at the Avoca Town Hall at 222 N. Old Wire Road and the Prairie Creek As­so­ci­a­tion Com­mu­nity Cen­ter at 14432 E. Arkansas 12. Pa­per bal­lots will be avail­able today only at the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion of­fice at 1204 S.W. 14th St. in Ben­tonville.

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