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[Archived] Conservation Authority Moves On Financing

| POLITICAL NEWS | November 14, 2018

The Northwest Arkansas Conservation Authority made plans Thursday that should lay the foundation for financing a regional sewer system..."NW Arkansas Morning News" 
Conservation Authority Moves On Financing 
By Lori Harrison-Stone
The NW Arkansas Morning News


ROGERS -- The Northwest Arkansas Conservation Authority made plans Thursday that should lay the foundation for financing a regional sewer system.

The authority's board of directors voted to accept a resolution allowing the reimbursement from future bond money of any early expenses paid before the financing is in place. The resolution was recommended by the authority's committee on finance.

Chris Weiser, chairman of the finance committee and a representative of Springdale, said the committee recommended four things: the reimbursement resolution, the hiring of bond counsel, obtaining bridge financing for engineering studies and other expenses, and that service contracts be secured with Bentonville and other cities wanting service as soon as possible.

"This is an exciting week, make no mistake," said John Sampier, executive director of the Conservation Authority. "We're moving forward with all it takes to meet your time frame. We're under way."

 Charles Harwell, attorney for the authority, suggested the board authorize Sampier to work with him on developing requests for qualifications for engineering services, a bond underwriter and specialized legal counsel for issuing bonds. The board voted to approve the suggestion.

The board also heard a report from Tom Wilkerson of Beaver Water District about a watershed protection plan for Beaver Lake. Wilkerson said he's presenting the plan to the quorum courts in both counties and hopes to get each to approve it. The plan includes land use prohibitions, Riparian buffers along streams, a quarter-mile protection band around the lake and detailed regulations on development.

"We need to allow for growth but do it in a way that doesn't foul the nest," Wilkerson said.

Alan Fortenberry, chief executive officer of Beaver Water District, said "proper planning of development" is the key.

 Trying to get the watershed protection program approved for the Illinois River watershed, in addition to the Beaver Lake watershed, would likely meet strong opposition from the agriculture community, Fortenberry said.

Sampier suggested members of the Conservation Authority be present when the Benton County Quorum Court considers the watershed protection plan.