Centerton voters pass sales tax extension

CENTERTON — Residents passed a one-cent sales tax extension Tuesday to pay for a new city hall, road improvements and park development.

“I appreciate the community’s support in these projects and look forward to making more improvements to the community,” said Mayor Bill Edwards after the results came in.

Edwards said the extension amounts to a $31 million bond, with $15 million going to street improvement, $6 million toward refinancing a 2006 bond, $4 million for parks and trails, about $4.5 million for capital projects and $1 million each for the Police and Fire departments. Each were presented to voters as a separate question.

The street improvements passed 150 (79 percent) for to 40 (21 percent) against. The bond refinancing passed 145 (77 percent) for to 44 (23 percent) against. Parks and trails passed 146 (77 percent) for to 43 (23 percent) against. The capital improvements measure passed 132 (69 percent) for to 58 (31 percent) against. The police facilities measure passed 143 (76 percent) for to 46 (24 percent) against. The Fire Department facilities passed 150 (79 percent) for to 39 (21 percent) against, according to unofficial results from Benton County’s Election Commission.

Centerton has 7,600 registered voters, Dana Caler, county election administrator said last week.

The sales tax was first passed in 2006. That tax went on to pay $6 million in street upgrades and $3 million for emergency medical service, Edwards said.

Refinancing the sales tax will extend it to 30 years, but Edwards said it will be paid off before 30 years.

“Our city is growing rapidly, so we’ll get more sales tax to pay off the principal,” Edwards said last week.

Centerton’s population grew nearly 36 percent between 2010 and 2016, going from 9,487 residents to 12,861, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The city collected about $26,000 a month in sales tax in 2011, and is now collecting $108,000 a month, Edwards said

The $15 million in street improvements includes $4 million to widen Centerton Boulevard from Main Street to Arkansas 279 from two lanes to five lanes. Edwards said the money will be used to match Highway Departments money and should go to bid in 2021.

The city plans to use the parks and recreation share of the sales tax money to upgrade equipment at Hickory Park and Thompson Park, build a splash pad and restrooms at McKissic Park on Allen Road, and complete Kinyon Sports Complex on Gamble Road near the high school, Edwards said.

The city will also use sales tax money to extend its trail system, but there are no exact plans on what those extensions will be, Edwards said.

Hicham Raache can be reached by email at hraache@nwadg.com or Twitter @NWAHicham.

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