CAVE SPRINGS -- The City Council is considering whether to ask voters to annex about 2,800 acres of unincorporated territory to the west of the city.
Mayor Randall Noblett said Friday the proposed election date is July 13.
The area proposed for annexation includes an unincorporated part of Arkansas 264 between Cave Springs and Highfill.
The annexation is part of a plan called "Cave Springs -- Forward Together for the Future," Noblett said. If voters approve the annexation, it will increase the city's size by more than 55%, from 5,043 acres to 7,842 acres.
Noblett said he expects this year's census to show the city has more than 6,000 residents. He doesn't know how many people live in the proposed annexed area, he said. City officials are in the process of getting each address in the area and will send information packets to each household, the mayor said.
The council approved the first reading of the ordinance last month, and must approve it twice more for it to pass.
Noblett said he's heard mostly positive feedback, but he's also heard concerns about some people wanting to remain in unincorporated area.
Cave Springs' city property tax is 2.75 mills. A city website set up to provide information on the annexation says Cave Springs residents have a more localized response for public safety, road maintenance and utilities; have access to sanitary sewer; and have water rates lower than those outside the city.
Noblett said the city wants to provide ample time for all voters to be well-informed about the election. A public information meeting will be held online Thursday. Additional meetings and discussion will be scheduled before the proposed election date, he said.
"Cave Springs has a long history of strong connections between those who live in the city and in communities just outside of our boundary," the mayor said. "Instead of having to react to problems, we as a united community have the opportunity through this election to be proactive and to provide water, sewer service to many people who are requesting and really need this service."
Noblett added he feels this election is a "common-sense response to almost daily requests for services and a unique opportunity for the community to come together to protect a way of life."
Registered voters within the city and the territory to be annexed will be eligible to vote with the majority of voters deciding whether to annex the area.
Cave Springs had 3,751 registered voters as of Friday, according to the Benton County Clerk's Office.
Cave Springs has set up a website at cs-annex.transportationplanroom.com that provides information about the proposed annexation. Anyone interested may use the website to register to attend upcoming public meetings; they may also view frequently asked questions and an interactive map of the proposed annexation area.
Source: Cave Springs