Prosecutor: No Charges In Cave Springs Millage Quandary

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) — Benton County prosecutors won’t file charges against Cave Springs officials after an investigation into the city’s handling of a millage resolution found no evidence of a crime, according to a press release.

Arkansas State Police opened an investigation after the Benton County Clerk’s office received a millage resolution for 2017 that appeared to be altered. However, an examination of Cave Springs City Council meeting minutes proved otherwise, according to the release.

The 2016 millage and the 2017 millage were identical except for the resolution number, and the mayor’s assistant sent the county clerk the same millage as 2016, the release said.

No other part of the 2016 millage was altered before it was sent in response to the county clerk’s request for the 2017 millage.

“It dos not seem likely that there was criminal intent in sending in the 2016 millage for 2017 since an examination of the text of the millage makes it obvious that it related to 2016 and not 2017,” said Nathan Smith, Benton County prosecuting attorney. “Even if a crime could be pursued, a combination of poor record keeping and the lack of witness testimony make it impossible to tell who is responsible.”

Neither Mayor Travis Lee nor anyone else in city government realized the city failed to levy a millage for 2017, the release said. Lee, his assistant and Kim Hutcheson, the city’s recorder-treasurer, all denied altering the 2016 millage.

“The submission of the incorrect millage resolution certainly may imperil the city’s efforts to collect taxes,” Smith said. “But it does not appear to be a criminal act.”

Lee said Tuesday (May 16) the issue hasn’t been fully resolved.

“The case is still open in my eyes,” Lee said. “We don’t have anyone arrested and we haven’t solved the case yet.”