BELLA VISTA, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Tuesday marked the first day of early voting for runoff elections in Arkansas. On the Benton County ballot is the race for Bella Vista mayor. The two candidates are Randy Murray and John Flynn.

Randy Murray has lived in Bella Vista for 17 years. He owns two businesses with his wife, has five kids and is an avid outdoorsman. He ran for mayor to prioritize improvements in the city.

“Our local tax base is shrinking, and our population is growing. That’s not a great recipe for the future of Bella Vista,” said Murray.

Right now, there are a lot of hurdles for business owners to go through before they can fully set up shop. Murray said the process for businesses to go through is extensive, and it’s creating issues when it comes to getting more commerce into Bella Vista.

“It’s made us really uncompetitive in the local market, and I plan on streamlining that process, speeding things up so people can lease a building and get into business,” said Murray.

Murray wants to do this while protecting the quality of life in the city. He wants residents to enjoy the scenery and unique aspects of Bella Vista while also growing to accommodate the growing needs of the city.

“I want to make sure that we can afford to maintain our lifestyle,” said Murray.

John Flynn moved to Bella Vista with his wife in 2005. Ever since, he said it’s felt like home. He served on the city council for eight years and as the mayor pro tempore for six years. He was also a corporate attorney for over 30 years.

Flynn wants to see some more businesses in the area, but not too many. He can envision a small hotel and a few more restaurants. However, he says people enjoy Bella Vista as it is, and many people who move to the town from other areas of the country enjoy the area a lot.

“I don’t think it’s a contest to see how fast we can grow. I think it’s important to preserve the lakes and trees, the natural beauty. People enjoy the environment out here,” said Flynn.

In his campaign, Flynn said he spoke to a lot of Bella Vista residents. His main priority is making the city a place the residents want to live.

“I feel like as a mayor, the challenge is to give them a high quality of life but also to govern in the way they want, the way they want the city to be run,” said Flynn.

Early voting for the runoff election runs through December 5. Election day is December 6.