Construction firms help boost millage campaign
Rogers voters passed tax increase in May to build two new schools
ROGERS — Each School Board member gave $100 to the campaign for the 3.5-mill tax increase voters approved in May, according to the campaign committee’s final report.
The campaign raised $37,550. The largest donations were $7,500 from Flintco, a construction company based in Tulsa, Okla., and Milestone Construction of Springdale, according to the report filed Monday.
Hight Jackson Associates, an architectural firm based in Rogers, and Nabholz Construction, based in Conway, both gave $5,000.
Residents approved the tax increase by a vote of 1,728 (58 percent) to 1,242 (42 percent) in an election May 9. The increase will go toward construction of the
School District’s 16th and 17th elementary schools and improvements to existing schools. The first of those two new schools is set to open in August 2019; a timetable for building the second one has not been determined.
The financial report didn’t make any account of expenses paid by the campaign. Mitch Lockhart, a School Board member who led the campaign, said Mark Henry, a Fayetteville attorney who served as a consultant, managed all of the expenses.
“(Henry) sent me an itemized list of stuff that he did,” Lockhart said. “So as we’re collecting money, we’re just sending him checks out of the account.”
Henry sent Lockhart an invoice dated May 4 listing various expenses including advertising, mailers, yard signs and more. Those expenses totaled $43,026. The campaign had paid $31,000 as of Wednesday, leaving a balance due of $12,026, Henry said.
Lockhart said he’s still waiting for a couple more checks to arrive, adding he didn’t think the campaign would bring in enough money to pay the entire bill.
Part of that bill is a $20,000 fee Henry charged for his consulting services. Any amount the campaign is unable to pay will come out of his fee, Henry said.
“I’m not expecting anything,” Henry said. “If they pay more, that’s great. I was just trying to win. That’s where some elections go. You’ve got to focus on the win.”
Henry said he thought the School Board was “really in tune” with the community, leading to the victory at the polls.
The campaign committee’s final report was due to the Arkansas Ethics Commission by June 8, or 30 days after the election. It was not received by the commission until Monday, which was 69 days after the election.
Commission rules state a local-option ballot question committee or individual who files a late financial report shall be subject to a fee not exceeding $50 for each day the report remains unfiled.
The commission may initiate complaints against campaign committees, but any citizen may file a complaint as well, said Graham Sloan, commission director.
The Bentonville School District also earned voters’ support of a millage increase on May 9, a 1.9-mill tax hike to pay for four new schools. Vote Yes for Schools 2017, the campaign committee, raised $62,549 and spent $58,845, according to its final finance report. That report was filed June 14, six days after the deadline.
“I’m not expecting anything. If they pay more, that’s great. I was just trying to win.” — Mark Henry, Fayetteville attorney, election consultant