High Early Voting Turnout As Millage Election Looms

Early voting ended Sept. 16 on the 2.9 millage proposed increase for a second Bentonville high school, and already more people have voted in this year’s millage election than last year’s failed attempt.

A total of 6,223 voters cast their early ballots, according to County Clerk Tena O’Brien. That number will rise as more voters head to the polls Tuesday, their last day to vote in the Bentonville millage proposal.

On June 2012, the failed 6.7 millage election had about 4,000 voters, which is already 2,000 less than this election.

Administrators have said the property tax increase and the building of a second high school are necessary to relieve overcrowding at Bentonville High School.

“The turnout has been heavy,” O’Brien said. “Since it’s one question on the ballot, it doesn’t take folks long to vote.”

Election day is Sept. 17 with precincts open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m with a total of 14 polling locations.

Voters will decide whether to approve the 2.9 millage increase, which means property owners with a $100,000 home would pay less than $5 extra a month. The proposed second high school would be in Centerton and would likely cost around $84 million.

The millage is less than half the amount voters rejected in 2012 and voters on both sides are voicing their opinions.

Mary Neal said, “I thought we needed the tax money to build another school because the ones they have now are crowded, very crowded.”

Ronald Shults said, “Every year my taxes just keep climbing and climbing. I think there has to be more accountability of how our tax money is being spent.”

On Tuesday, voters won’t be able to vote in the clerk’s office, but O’Brien said they’ll be helping poll workers and voters.

“We will be answering telephone calls from the precincts in the event that voters have moved or haven’t changed their addresses or folks who want to know where they go and vote,” O’Brien said.

Click here if you need to find out where to vote, on voterview.org

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