Special Election; Bethel Heights and Springdale consolidation

KNWA

SPRINGDALE Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The first special election amid the pandemic taking place Tuesday, August 11. Voters will decide if the city of Bethel Heights will annex into the city of Springdale.

Local election officials for Washington County said Tuesday’s voting process will be similar to past elections just with some added safety measures.

You’ll see disposable stylus pens to use while voting, plexiglass for poll workers and hand sanitizing stations. Voters will be encouraged to practice social distancing and there will be extra instructions on equipment machines for voters to make the process more clear.  Poll workers also went through a final training Monday to make sure they are ready.  

“The idea is limiting that contact and we will be making sure that everything is at six feet intervals both in the lines where the voters are waiting and all of the voting equipment. We will also be cleaning the equipment after the voters come through,” said Jennifer Price, Director of Elections for Washington County.

For the annex to pass, the majority of votes in both cities have to be in favor of the proposed measure.

Al Drinkwater said its been a long road. He has a background in environmental work and said he was called to assist a friend who had sewage runoff on his property.

Drinkwater said the unresolved wastewater issue lead to several Bethel Heights residents calling for the city to merge into Springdale.

This would mean the city of Springdale’s would take over the responsibility to fix the sewage system and essentially take over Bethel Heights as a whole.

Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse said he is confident it would be able to remedy the problem.

Drinkwater said Bethel Heights would benefit in many ways because of the consolidation.

“Lower water rates will come with that, a rated fire department would come with that to the people of Bethel Heights. We can’t say how much this will lower interest rates but we are sure that it will lower interest rates,” said Drinkwater.

Susie Wright, a Bethel Heights resident disagrees and said the issues can be resolved within its city. She has been going door to door encouraging people to vote against the annex.

“This will not look like the same place five years from now, if the annexation happens  and that saddens me and  hope that it doesn’t change my daily life so much that I would have to move,” said Wright.

There are 5 voting centers open until 7:30pm

SPRINGDALE:

  • SPRINGDALE RODEO COMMUNITY CENTER
  • ELMDALE BAPTIST CHURCH
  • FIRST CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE 
  • OAK GROVE BAPTIST CHURCH

BETHEL HEIGHTS :

  • MOOSE LODGE #877

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