Rogers Voters To Decide Bond Issue During Special Election

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ROGERS (KFSM) -- Voters in Rogers will be asked whether to renew a 1-percent sales tax during a special election Tuesday, August 14.

If approved, $299.5 million in bonds would be released to the city to be spent on city parks, street improvements, as well as police and fire upgrades.

Each of the four areas receiving funding will be a separate question on the ballot. A fifth question will ask voters if they want to refund bonds that were approved by voters in 2011, which total about $59.5 million, leaving $240 million for various improvement projects.

Rogers city streets would get the largest chunk of funds. About $178 million would be allocated to street and road improvements, along with bridge and trail upgrades within the city.

The parks and recreation department would be issued $41 million to build a new city park and renovate two existing parks. Over 70 acres of land on the west side of Rogers was purchased for the future Mt. Hebron Park from the 2011 bond issue. Future plans call for a redesign of Frisco Park, along with several upgrades for Northwest Park.

Rogers Police and Fire Departments will receive the remaining funds, in total $11.5 million and $9.5 million respectively for improvements. The police department has plans to build a new emergency dispatch center and implement an Arkansas Wireless Information Network (AWIN) radio system.

After assessing needs, funds to the fire department would go toward building a new fire station in the rapidly growing area of west Rogers, between Highway 112 and Rainbow Road. Expanding the facility used to train firefighters and purchase new fire trucks and equipment are also planned.

"These are data driven decisions," said Chief Tom Jenkins, of the Rogers Fire Department. "We're not building another fire station because we have a gut feeling that we might need it. We're not building another fire station because we have some emotional attachment to that area and think it needs one. We're making these decisions based on our ability to respond and protect our citizens."

The one-cent sales tax in question has been on the books since the 1990s, and has been renewed by voters before.

A public meeting Wednesday night (July 25) offered voters a look at what renewing the tax again would look like, with a chance to ask questions and get answers.

"We just like to see what's progressing in Rogers, how things are getting better," said Gary Bieker, a Rogers resident. "What we can do to maybe add a few things; a few comments."

5NEWS spoke to several people in attendance who did not want to go on camera, but said they'll vote yes after they got a better understanding of how the money would be spent.

Bieker said he will too.

"Progression. We move forward," Bieker said. "We're thinking ahead for the betterment of the city and the people and all the things that go with it."

Another public meeting will be held at Centro Cristiano de Rogers on 1st Street Wednesday (Aug. 1). Information on the ballot measure can also be found at the Rogers Farmer's Market every Saturday morning.

Election day voting information can be found here.

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