Eureka voters to decide on separate 911 funding

Monday, November 7, 2005

EUREKA SPRINGS -- City voters will decide Tuesday whether to divert a five-percent tax on telephone bills from the county to the city dispatch at the Eureka Springs police station.

Voting will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Victoria Inn. With one item on the ballot, observers predict a light voter turnout.

The election was called to counter the quorum court's withdrawal of funding for Eureka Springs to operate a 911 dispatch center to handle calls in the western district.

County officials decided to withhold payments for a trunk line, equipment leasing and other costs related to the western district dispatch. Cost of that has been running about $1,200 per month.

The tax on city resident phone bills would result in about $2,250 a month for city dispatch.

The phone tax issue is causing consdierable concern among surrounding fire and emergency response departments due to an added layer of communication that would be added with calls from outside Eureka Springs being routed through central dispatch in Berryville.

While not on the ballot, a citizen drive is on for voters to write or stamp the titles of two referendum issues, which were ruled in court to have been submitted late. It is hoped that the write-in votes on the two issues will be counted if the Arkansas Supreme Court overturns the ruling.

The two questions seek to overturn city council decisions to settle a lawsuit brought by Sandy Latimer, and to grant an easement through Corley Street.

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