City to host Town Hall meetings
The meetings will be held during the week of February 3. Three times and locations are available for residents:
• 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 4 at Riordan Hall, 3 Riordan Dr.
• 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5 at Bella Vista District Court, 612 W. Lancashire Blvd.
• 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 6 at Highlands United Methodist Church, 371 Glasgow Rd.
The city will be asking voters to choose for or against the issuing of bonds to pay for the cost of three public safety projects, with an accompanying 1% sales tax increase to go toward the payback of those bonds.
The three public safety projects proposed are:
• $18.8 million for the construction of a new public safety facility, which would house a new and modernized Police Department, the city’s police, fire and EMS dispatch center, and the Bella Vista District Court, and would accommodate the department’s needs for the next 30 years.
• $3 million for a replacement fire station in the Branchwood area that would take place of the outdated and too-small existing Fire Station 3 on Glasgow Road, allowing for simultaneous fire and EMS protection in that area of the city.
• $2.4 million for a fire training complex that will create better trained, more accountable firefighters, allow for fire training inside city limits, be staffed as a fire station 8 hours per day and accommodate future staffing needs for an increased population.
These projects will be presented to voters as two separate bond issues – police and fire. (Both fire-related projects will be included in the fire issue.) While they are two separate issues, the 1% sales tax increase would take effect regardless of whether one or both issues pass.
A bond is like taking out a mortgage to pay for certain projects. The increased 1% sales tax in Bella Vista would be collected by the state and go directly toward the bond payoff, not into the city’s funds. Ten years is the estimated time necessary to pay off the bonds.
Residents are encouraged to attend one or more of these meetings to gather all information possible to make their decision at the polls. For further questions, visit the informational page on the city's website here.