BELLA VISTA, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Three candidates are running to be the next mayor of Bella Vista.
Steven Bourke, Randy Murray and John Flynn are all running for the position. Current mayor Peter Christie is not running for reelection.
Steven Bourke said he’s been on Bella Vista City Council for four years and Planning Commission for one year. He said he also has more than 30 years of experience in information technology management.
“I think the next mayor of Bella Vista needs to be an assertive leader with management experience and somebody with a really strong record of serving the community,” Bourke said.
Bourke said his priorities include keeping the community safe by supporting the police and fire department. Bourke said he’s also committed to fiscal responsibility.
“We live in a high growth area, our revenue sources are actually strong,” Bourke said. “We don’t need to raise taxes, but we do need to be responsible with how we spend money.”
Bourke also explained how to attract business and maintain the natural beauty of the city.
“We want to manage growth, not have growth manage us,” Bourke said. “It doesn’t require us to be a booming business community. We just want to be strong enough, so that the residents have the services and the goods that they need, in a close drive to their home.”
Randy Murray said he and his wife own two businesses. He has been a contractor for 16 years.
“Being the mayor is actually a lot like being a small business owner,” Murray said. “If you’re an expert at what you do, and you work for a company, you’re an expert in one field, and as a small business owner, you have to be an expert in lots of different fields.”
Murray said his priorities include making sure Bella Vista is in a secure financial place as well as improving the city’s roads, water and internet infrastructure.
“I feel like building our tax base is an important thing,” Murray said. “I want to help our roads or we’re behind on roads,” Murray said. “The last two years they’ve been doing a lot better job on maintaining the roads but we are behind the eight ball,” Murray said.
Murray also explained how he would attract business and maintain the natural beauty of the city.
“The topography is already protected from a lot of just overdevelopment and then because of Cooper’s foresight and hey, we want to make sure that it stays natural and beautiful when they developed it originally,” Murray said.
John Flynn said he was a corporate attorney for more than 30 years and has taught Finance and Business Law at the University of Arkansas. Flynn has also been on the Bella Vista City Council for eight years and served as the mayor pro tempore.
“A lot of people were asking me about running for mayor, including the current mayor, and just a lot of my friends knew I was very involved with the city and were kind of urging me to run,” Flynn said. “The combination people wanted me to run and my having such an interest in it and feeling my background is really good for it is what led to the decision to run.”
Flynn said his priorities include supporting the police and fire department, expanding business, building up sewer infrastructure and preserving the city’s trails.
“I think we need to have a small hotel, I’d like to get a few more restaurants that would give people something to do and also help with our tax revenue situation,” Flynn said. “I don’t think it’s a contest to see how fast you can grow. I think it’s more important to preserve the lakes and trees.
Flynn also explained how he would attract business and maintain the natural beauty of the city.
“I think a couple of recent occurrences kind of point the way forward,” Flynn said. “The two newest businesses we have is a restaurant about to open called Shredder’s Pub, which is trails related, and on Riordan Road, we have a bicycle shop, Phat Tire open, it’s a combination of a bicycle shop, and a place for people to stay when they’re visiting here biking.”
All three candidates will participate in a debate on Monday, Oct. 3 at 6 p.m. at the Lakepoint Restaurant and Event Center.