BELLA VISTA, Ark. — Voters have passed bond issues that will pay for the cost of three public safety projects along with an accompanying 1% sales tax increase to go toward the payback of those bonds.
The new public safety bond will pay for the cost of a new public safety facility that will house a new police department, dispatch center and Bella Vista District Court.
The fire improvement bond will replace one of the Bella Vista fire stations and a fire training complex.
The public safety improvement bonds passed with 5,026 (64%) votes for and 2,768 (36%) against.
The fire improvement bond passed with 5,145 (66%) for and 2,663 (34%) against.
These projects were 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 have taken effect regardless of whether one or both issues pass.
The three public safety projects 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- $3 million for a replacement fire station in the Branchwood area that would take place of the outdated and too-small existing Fire Station 3 on Glasgow Road, allowing for simultaneous fire and EMS protection in that area of the city.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.
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. 10 years is the estimated time necessary to pay off the bonds.
In early February, the City of Bella Vista is hosted multiple town hall meetings to provide information and answer residents’ questions regarding the bond issues.