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Benton County Judge Hears Arguments In Cave Springs Millage Debacle

BENTONVILLE (KFSM) -- The Benton County Judge presided over a case involving the millage quandary for the city of Cave Springs on Friday (Aug. 4).

In a unique setting inside the quorum court room, Judge Barry Moehring heard arguments from both the attorney of Benton County and the city attorney of Cave Springs.

Each argued whether the small Benton County city should receive about $400,000 in property taxes after a paperwork issue left the city unable to collect the money from residents.

A city staffer is said to have handed over an old millage resolution rather than one approved for 2017.

"This whole thing stems from the accounts not being reconciled," said Travis Lee, mayor of Cave Springs. "They haven't been reconciled in over a year and a half. You can't run a city without the budget being reconciled. All of these problems stem from that alone."

Nathan Smith, prosecutor for Benton County, announced in May that no charges would be filed against anyone within the city for the mishap.

City councilors have been able to absorb the financial impact, but if Moehring sides with the city, the money would go to city reserves. If not, the revenue, already collected by the county could go back to taxpayers.

"We've got four more months before the new tax money would kick in anyway," said alderman Larry Noblett, "we've made it eight months, we could make it until the end of the year."

Moehring adjourned without issuing a ruling on Friday. He stated that he would need additional time to go over transcripts from the court proceeding before making up his mind.

Following the hearing, Lee said he was satisfied with the arguments from both sides and was confident the judge would make a fair ruling.

He called the entire debacle a learning process.

"Definitely, definitely a learning process," Lee said.