NWA voters reject jail expansions and approve Sunday alcohol sales
Alcohol sales will be allowed seven days a week after voters approved separate measures by 71% in Rogers and 74% in Bentonville, according to final but unofficial results from the Benton County Election Commission.
Why it matters: Advocates say the change lifts a burden off residents who had to travel to other cities or out of the state for alcohol on Sundays and prevents the communities from missing out on tax revenue.
What's changing: Alcohol sales are currently only allowed in restaurants, bars and breweries on Sundays. Liquor stores and other retailers that sell wholesale alcohol will be permitted to sell to customers on Sundays once the election results are certified.
State of play: Rogers and Bentonville join 19 other cities in the state in overturning Sunday bans. Benton and Washington counties' Springdale, Tontitown, Avoca, Pea Ridge, Garfield and Gentry already allow alcohol sales on Sundays.
- See our explainer on Arkansas' alcohol laws.
Yes, and: Officials in Benton and Washington counties will have to find other ways to address jail overcrowding after voters rejected proposals to raise sales taxes to pay for jail expansions.
What happened: Benton County residents rejected a ballot measure with 63% of the vote that would have allowed the county to issue $167 million in bonds to add beds, health care facilities and a new sheriff's office, plus a 0.125% sales and use tax. Voters also chose not to implement a 0.25% sales and use tax to be used in part to repay the bonds by 62% of the vote.
- Washington County cannot issue $113.5 million in bonds to expand its jail after a 59% vote against or $28.5 million in bonds to expand the juvenile court facility after a 54% vote against. If either or both had passed, a countywide 0.255 sales and use tax would have been implemented to repay the bonds.
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