BENTONVILLE — The candidates for the District 12 seat on the Benton County Quorum Court are split over the proposed $30 million courts building and over how to pay for it.
Adriane Carr, the incumbent and a Republican, faces Jacob Faught, a Libertarian, in the Nov. 6 election. Early voting begins Oct. 22.
District 12 includes parts of Siloam Springs, Gentry and some of western Benton County. Justices of the peace serve two-year terms and are paid $230 for each Quorum Court and Committee of the Whole meeting and $144 for each meeting of a committee of which they are a member.
Carr said she understands and accepts the decision-making process for the courts building, much of which pre-dates her taking a seat on the Quorum Court. She said she supports the building and the temporary, one-eighth cent sales tax being considered as a funding mechanism. The county is planning to put a funding plan before the voters in a special election in March 2019.
“I think due diligence was done,” Carr said of the design work on the building. “I think the judges, who are among the most important people who will be using the building, have been key partners in the process.”
Carr said she supports the sales tax proposal, particularly since it included a “sunset” provision so the tax will expire after the building is paid for.
“The county is also going to be contributing. We’re not saying ‘Let’s tax the citizens.’ I’m not for that,” she said.
Faught said he doesn’t support the building design or the funding plan. He said he would rather see the county consider alternatives to a single, costly courts building.
“I never saw any alternate plans,” Faught said. “I never saw anything other than the one-building plan they presented. I think we could have something with a lower cost and a smaller footprint. To me, this is a bit over the top.”
Faught said he thinks taxes in Benton County are already too high.
“If that funding plan gets passed, it’s going to push a lot of Benton County nearly into the 10 percent range,” he said. “Some cities are already at 9.5 or 9.6 percent sales tax. We’ve got to allow people to keep the money they earn. So I’m definitely against the tax increase.”
Tom Sissom can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @NWATom.
Republican (Incumbent) AGE: 67
RESIDENCY: Si-loam Springs and District 12 resident since 1998. EMPLOYMENT: Human
resources consultant retired from Walmart. EDUCATION: Bachelor’s of science degree from John Brown University.
POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: First term on Benton County Quorum Court.
Libertarian Age: 34
RESIDENCY: Seven years in Gentry and District 12. Employment: Risk analyst with Walmart. EDUCATION: Attended North Arkansas College. POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Constable for Township 5 in Benton County from 2014 to 2016.