CAVE SPRINGS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A special election is happening in Benton County Tuesday where some voters will weigh in on a proposed annexation.
Only residents who live in Cave Springs and those who live within the proposed annexation area can vote on this measure. They can do so at the Lake View Baptist Church from 7:30 a. m. to 7:30 p.m.
Cave Springs Mayor Randall Noblett says this annexation is an opportunity for the city to grow and to expand its infrastructure.
The unincorporated area is 2,800 acres, has about 200 residents and is directly west of Cave Springs.
Noblett says taxpayers’ dollars from water and sewer line expansion projects would allow the city to serve the area. He adds the city gets requests for public services like water and sewer from developers, landowners and residents regularly from the area and can’t serve them. With this annexation that would change that.
“We are trying to do the most effective and the most efficient means of providing services so that it actually saves money for the people out there that would be a part of the city and the people that currently are,” said Noblett.
If this passes, Noblett says it would not increase water and sewer rates for its current customers and only those new residents who chose to use the services will have to pay.
He also says emergency services and road maintenance will be provided to the newly acquired land.
“We would have police services ready to go immediately we have expanded our police department in the last couple of years and they are fully capable of covering the area immediately,” said Noblett.
Residents against the measure tell us they chose to live in the unincorporated area so they could have certain liberties that come with living outside of a city.
Hayes Wade is one of those residents. Wade says like many of his neighbors he already invested in the infrastructure to make sure he and his family have water and utilities on their property. So, he doesn’t need the service.
Residents against the annex say they are concerned about losing property rights, and restrictions to shooting, hunting and other recreational activities to name a few.
“We have the ability out here to shoot firearms, hunt doves and deer, and different things like that because it’s still a rural area… But once it becomes annexed into a city those rules and laws that Cave Springs have change what we can and can’t do here,” said Wade.
He says if an annexation has to happen, it should be through a more developed city like Bentonville.
That’s why some of the residents, including Wade, plan to self annex into Bentonville if the measure passes. Some have already begun the application process.
If the annex passes, it would go into effect 30 days after the election is certified.