Vot­ers OK pro­pos­als in spe­cial elec­tions

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - TOM SISSOM

Ben­ton County vot­ers ap­proved a pair of pro­pos­als Tues­day in spe­cial elec­tions.

Vot­ers in Avoca ap­proved Sun­day liquor sales while an­nual fire dues will go up in the Beaver Lake Fire District.

In Washington County, Ton­ti­town vot­ers ap­proved a sales tax in­crease for a wa­ter line project.

The Avoca elec­tion was the re­sult of a pe­ti­tion drive by two women — Stacey Latham and Stephanie Zort­man — who own Two Sis­terz Liquor in Avoca. The women said they were re­spond­ing to com­ments from cus­tomers and their own de­sire to keep sales tax spent on Sun­day liquor sales lo­cal, rather than see­ing area res­i­dents spend their money in Mis­souri.

The women col­lected 40 sig­na­tures on a pe­ti­tion to hold the spe­cial elec­tion, two more than the 38 needed, ac­cord­ing to the Ben­ton County Clerk’s Of­fice. The women will be as­sessed the cost of the spe­cial elec­tion, es­ti­mated at $5,000 by the County Clerk’s Of­fice.

Ac­cord­ing to fi­nal, but un­of­fi­cial re­sults Tues­day, 34 Avoca vot­ers, or 71 per­cent, cast bal­lots in fa­vor of the Sun­day sales while 14, or 29 per­cent, voted against the mea­sure.

Res­i­dents in the Beaver Lake Fire District ap­proved by a mar­gin of 612 votes, or 67 per­cent, in fa­vor to 306 votes, or 33 per­cent, against a pro­posal to dou­ble the an­nual fire dues in the district to al­low the hir­ing of full­time fire­fight­ers for the fire depart­ment. Fire district res­i­dents were asked to ap­prove an in­crease in an­nual dues from $75 to $150. The dues are as­sessed on all homes and busi­nesses in the district.

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 pro­posed $75 in­crease would cover the an­tic­i­pated $113,000 an­nual cost of ad­di­tional per­son­nel and the needed equip­ment and work on the sta­tion. The depart­ment’s dues, which are col­lected by the county on the an­nual prop­erty tax state­ments, brought in $174,398 in 2016, ac­cord­ing to the Ben­ton County Col­lec­tor’s Of­fice.

Ton­ti­town vot­ers cast 143 bal­lots, or 72 per­cent, in fa­vor and 56 bal­lots, or 28 per­cent, against a pro­posed 0.75 per­cent sales tax in­crease to al­low the city to change its wa­ter sup­plier.

The sales tax is pro­jected to bring in $45,000 an­nu­ally to pay for a $7.8 mil­lion wa­ter line. The tax would sun­set af­ter the bond is paid off in 30 years, Ton­ti­town Mayor Paul Colvin said. If ap­proved, the city’s over­all sales tax would be 10.5 per­cent, up from 9.75 per­cent.

The city would stop get­ting wa­ter from Springdale and build a line to connect to the Ben­ton-Washington Re­gional Pub­lic Wa­ter Au­thor­ity. The au­thor­ity pro­vides wa­ter from Beaver Lake to 13 cities.

The Arkansas High­way and Trans­porta­tion Depart­ment would al­low the city to use its road im­prove­ment ease­ment, which will help lower Ton­ti­town’s costs, Colvin said. The 7-mile line will go west from Ton­ti­town, along the right of way of U.S. 412 to­ward Cham­ber Springs Road.

Con­nect­ing to the au­thor­ity would elim­i­nate wa­ter-use lim­i­ta­tions, help Ton­ti­town at­tract new com­pa­nies and keep wa­ter rates low for users, Colvin said. Ton­ti­town also could keep ac­cess to Springdale wa­ter as a backup in case of emer­gen­cies, Colvin said.

NWA Democrat-Gazette/FLIP PUTTHOFF

Crys­tal Parker re­quests Tues­day an “I voted” sticker to be placed on her fore­head from poll worker Con­nie Oliver. Parker voted in the Beaver Lake Fire Depart­ment dues elec­tion

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.