State of the City
State of the City and Community Award Program - April 6, 2023
This program was hosted by Downtown Bentonville, Inc. and included community recognition and highlights.
State of the City presented by Mayor Orman to the City Council February 28, 2023
It is my honor and pleasure to serve as your Mayor and I’m excited to share the State of Bentonville with you this evening.
I would like to start tonight by asking you to join me in a moment of silence to recognize all those that serve Bentonville.
Tonight we share the success of our city because of those who sacrifice to keep us safe and serve our neighbors through resiliency, hard work, hope, and love for our Bentonville community. As I reflect on 2022, I am grateful for our city employees and all they do, for this council and their wisdom and support, for those who choose to serve with their talents and time on a city board or commission, and for a community that works to volunteer and serve our neighbors each and every day. Whether you are a long-time resident, or you have just moved here, The City of Bentonville welcomes you and encourages you to take an active role with us as we strive each day to make Bentonville the best place in the United States for all to live, work and play.
The “can do” attitude that defines our City continues to deliver results and allows us to honestly face challenges by listening, learning, and collaborating for better solutions. Tonight you will hear an overview of some of the City’s greatest accomplishments and an honest address of some of the challenges faced in 2022. Each city department plays a vital role in the success of our city as do the employees of these departments. As we get started with tonight’s State of the City, I want to express my sincere thank you to city employees, who have embraced growth, taken on more responsibilities and met each new challenge with a positive attitude and focus to deliver a better outcome. Long term planning and concentrated measureable results continue to be implemented to ensure we preserve, promote and sustain an excellent quality of life for all to the best of our ability.
Without doubt, the people of Bentonville are one of our biggest city assets and that is why in 2022 we continued to honor numerous residents with the Spirit of Bentonville award. This award honors Bentonville residents, like many of you, who serve to advance the Bentonville community by embodying our city’s welcoming culture, goals, and overarching dedication to enriching the lives of all those who live, work and play in Bentonville. In 2022, we honored five community members and two community organizations with this recognition during our monthly virtual coffees. Please join me in congratulating Amber and John Tuller, Brenda Anderson, Melanie Hoskins, Erin Edgington, Manuel Barrantes, Central Park Elementary, Sleep in Heavenly Peace and Lowe’s for giving selflessly of themselves and their organizations to the Bentonville community and for making a positive difference.
In 2022, we continued to recognize city employees with the Spirit of Bentonville Employee Award after hearing from community members about these employees going above and beyond and making the residents’ lives better as a result of coming in contact with our team. Those employees were: John Dudley and Tom Barrantine in our Water Department, Darren Warren in our Code Enforcement Department, Hadi Dudley at our Public Library, and Shenda Foresee in our Public Works Maintenance Department. Please join me in congratulating all of these recipients and all of our employees who work daily to serve our community. The letters we received from the public asking to recognize these employees will warm your heart and are a great demonstration of the pride each take in their pledge as a city employee to deliver municipal services in a professional, personal and responsive manner.
Fourteen students participated in the 2022 Mayor’s Youth Council. The purpose of this group is to provide a conduit for youth to voice to city leadership, help promote civic engagement, foster an understanding of how municipal government works, and hear and offer solutions to real-world city issues. The Youth Council has been a success in both providing better education and understanding of local government to our youth and allowing city departments to gain valuable insight on issues that are important to their generation.
The Mayor’s Community Council also met monthly in 2022. This group is designed to bring the community together to discuss and work toward building a closer and more connected city through shared interest in and understanding of local government. A strong community celebrates mutual respect, integrity, diversity, and fairness. Fourteen Bentonville residents participated and completed the 2022 class. We have fifteen individuals that are participating in this program in 2023.
The 2022 Youth Council and Community Council participants who completed the program were recognized with certificates of completion at the December 13th, 2022 City Council meeting. Many of the participants that have completed this program have been appointed to serve on various boards and commissions within the City, and are continuing to serve the Bentonville community in other capacities.
In addition, the creation of the Community Needs to Community Resources Collaboration meetings were a success for 2022. This effort lead by the City connects many of our non-profits and service organizations together for discussion of and better collaboration to meet needs in our community.
Bentonville is a top destination for regional, national, and worldwide travelers. From our vibrant downtown square and what we affectionately refer to as the “Best Trailhead in America”, to numerous historical areas, world-class museums, expansive recreational facilities and programs and diverse culinary options, many are visiting our city and many of those visitors are determining Bentonville is a great place to call home.
The declaration of Bentonville as the “The Mountain Biking Capital of the World” continues to attract biking enthusiasts across the country and the world to enjoy award-winning trails throughout all four seasons of the year. In addition, to being the city where the world’s first bikeable building is now open, in 2022 Bentonville was announced as the new home of the U.S. National Mountain Bike Team. With new and exciting announcements like this occurring on a regular basis, there is no denying that Bentonville continues to be a cultural hot spot in the Heartland. Crystal Bridges Museum began their expansion plans to double in size by 2024 with additional galleries, educational facilities and unique indoor and outdoor gathering spaces. The Crystal Bridges expansion along with the new Walmart Headquarters, both Bentonville based, topped the state’s largest commercial construction projects for 2022. Projects like these, and many others coming to fruition in Bentonville, continue to drive a strong economy and provide the fuel for a growing city to continue to see economic success and a strong job’s environment.
The City’s partnership with Visit Bentonville and the great job they do promoting and bringing visitors to our city continues to be an asset with creative conferences, sporting tournaments, festivals, concerts, fun runs and biking events, on a world-wide purview. In addition, the City’s relationship with Downtown Bentonville, Inc. continues to produce award-winning Saturday Farmer’s Markets and First Fridays for our community to enjoy. Other events under this agreement with Downtown Bentonville, Inc. include the Lighting of the Square and Christmas Parade. Both events continue to grow and drive thousands to Downtown Bentonville for fun and affordable family-friendly experiences.
Our Bentonville Together initiative encouraged community conversations that have lead us to more understanding and collaboration as we continue to be proactive in welcoming people to our area and making sure they feel included and and connected to our city. One of the most exciting events directly resulting from these conversations was the inaugural Bentonville Together Multicultural Festival that occurred in April 2022. This new annual event is hosted by the City of Bentonville in partnership with Downtown Bentonville, Inc. and many other community partners. The event brings our diverse, inclusive, and thriving community together to celebrate what makes us such a strong, unique, and beautiful place.
The City continues to see announcements of investment in new housing and businesses driven by an inspiring entrepreneurial spirit, economic resilience, a focus on high quality of life and healthy lifestyles, public safety initiatives, innovative and responsible planning and design, inclusive parks, recreation and library programming, infrastructure investments, and a growing arts, outdoor recreation and cultural scene. We are also fortunate to have a community with success in public-private partnerships that offer a long-term positive impact on our city. There are definitely many expanding reasons why Bentonville continues to garner awards and recognition as one of the best places in the United States to live, work and play.
In April 2021, the public passed a bond extension designed to help the city keep up with growth, needed infrastructure, public safety, and efficiency improvements without a tax increase. Municipal bonds provide a way for financially strong cities, such as Bentonville, to get the money needed for important improvements by using existing tax revenue instead of increasing taxes.
We are grateful for the trust of the public to pursue these projects and we encourage the public to follow the progress at Bentonvillebond.com. A major focus of 2022 for staff was to get proposed bond projects designed, bid and under way for completion under the first bond draw down. Throughout tonight’s State of the City we will be mentioning the progress on many of these projects.
Bentonville is managed by a professional team of individuals focused on meeting the needs of those that live, work and play in Bentonville. Senior staff led 611 full-time employees and 147 part-time employees in this endeavor in 2022. Our team remains dedicated to providing taxpayers with an “exceeds expectations” return on their investment in city government. We also continue to invest in accreditation and training for our employees and make sure they have the most up-to-date skills and knowledge base needed to fulfill the city’s mission, which states, “The mission of the City of Bentonville is to preserve, promote and sustain an excellent quality of life within our city. In partnership with the community, we pledge to deliver municipal services in a professional, personal, and responsive manner for all.”
Providing transparent, consistent and timely communication remained a top priority for our staff. In September 2019, we launched Bentonville311. This online application has proven successful in providing citizens a single point of contact for non-emergency concerns in 21 categories. To date, we have received over 4,000 citizen service concerns and have completed a little over 3,500 of these requests with the remaining in progress. In 2022, we issued over 130 press releases, hosted 12 virtual Coffee with the Mayor sessions and grew our social media to over 20,000 followers. A concerted and responsive effort to use social media communication has proven to be an effective tool to provide community information and highlight achievements and events within our departments. Our staff also maintains seven city websites with current information that impacts the public’s daily life. In addition, many public input sessions were conducted throughout 2022 and our Bentonville Connections programming was expanded with a City Expo providing more access to and conversations with staff to better address the needs of those who live, work and play in our city.
Our Human Resources (HR) team implemented new software and streamlined processes to provide online platforms to apply for open job positions and expanded our job sourcing for candidates nationwide. They have also implemented an orientation program for employees on their first day to make them feel welcome and to give them an overview of the city and all our departments. An initiative to move all employee personnel files to digital format is well underway as the department continues to move to a paperless environment. A new employee relations specialist has been added to the HR team and the employee relations team hosted a staff picnic, fall pumpkin decorating contest and holiday employee appreciation night to better engage and appreciate employees across all departments. In addition, city staff serve on several workforce development groups to help maintain and recruit top talent to our city.
The City of Bentonville was also recognized at the Arkansas Municipal Conference as the Trendsetter City of the Year in Arkansas for the efforts made by the staff and community to improve diversity and inclusion.
I am pleased to tell you tonight Bentonville enjoyed another great year for sales tax with our per penny amount eclipsing 21 million for the first time. Bentonville’s 2022 sales tax receipts increased by 11% compared to 2021 collections. This increase echoes the development we see throughout Bentonville and the business community that serves our citizens.
The Finance and Accounting team continues to provide financial planning, management and information services to city departments, elected officials and the public, so they can make informed decisions and have confidence in the city’s financial stewardship.
In 2022, the Finance and Accounting team placed an increased focus on building a financially responsible budget, providing additional training to our city departments and safeguarding the City’s financial resources with additional measures, such as implementing positive pay and adding in additional oversight on accounts and spending. Our accounting department issued 8,737 vendor payments totaling $162,715,681.
We held our all day budget review workshop where individual departments presented their upcoming 2023 budget needs in an open public forum that later lead to a solid approved budget plan for the upcoming year.
The Finance and Accounting department achieved its third GFOA Triple Crown in financial reporting, in addition to the Certificate of Achievement for Excellences in Financial Reporting Award, the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award and the Popular Annual Financial Reporting Award. Bentonville was the first city in Arkansas to achieve the Triple Crown recognition from the GFOA.
The Utility Billing and Meter Department created over 337,000 bills and read more than 653,000 meters during 2022. They also answered almost 57,000 phone calls, responded to nearly 22,900 work orders to start or stop service during the year and processed approximately $120,000,000 in payments for the city.
A few highlights in utility billing included adding personnel to focus on delinquent collections and online processing, combining meter reading routes to better balance route sizes, and increasing paperless bills, resulting in 19,141 less mailings.
As part of utility billing’s sanitation initiative to educate and encourage more effective recycling, promotional mailers were enclosed within utility bills and additional social media coverage distributed. Several recycling centers in Minneapolis, MN were researched as part of a group of cities from across Northwest Arkansas working to better understand recycling and harmonize recycling across the region.
The City’s Information Technology Department (IT) assists over 30 departments and boards. This department supports over 90 locations within the City including administration offices, police and fire stations, parks and library facilities, traffic signals and utility facilities. Within those sites and departments, the IT department supports a myriad of hardware and software to help serve the public. They help to maintain over 500 desktop computers, 150 printers, 200 tablets, 180 laptops, 135 public safety terminals, 180 individual software systems, 30 conference rooms, 200 surveillance cameras, 120 security controlled doors and eight networks. The behind the scenes efforts of this team is vital to the overall efficiency and safety in operations of the city.
2022 proved to be a challenging, but industrious year for the IT department. With supply chain issues for equipment, they were able to maintain their operations and meet goals for the year. They deployed Microsoft Office 365 to over 500 employees. They also migrated video conferencing from Zoom to Microsoft Teams where possible to reduce cost and also improve collaboration with messaging and chat. They completed 6,480 support tickets for city staff. New applications were introduced in the city system in the following areas: District Court case management, Water Department backflow prevention system, utility locates management, and electric utility mapping and design. They introduced new tools and systems to monitor and detect potential cyber security risks and provided training on cyber security awareness to staff. They also upgraded legacy equipment in several facilities and introduced new security devices to monitor and protect city networks.
The City’s GIS team created almost 1,600 address points, handled seven full annexations and almost 500 permit and easement cases. They digitized all city-wide sidewalk inventory from 2022 aerial photography. They designed and proposed redistricting options for city council wards. They created a feature data service for the Korterra utility locating application to consume that service. They created a street closure GIS web map with the ability for transportation employees to update at time of permit. This team also reviewed the legal description of 364 planning commission items and added those to the city’s GIS system. They took on the responsibility of pushing updates to the NewWorld dispatch software and developed backup web mapping applications for the GIS master map and employee utility map.
The Bentonville Electric Utility Department (BEUD) is tasked with providing and maintaining safe, reliable, low cost and efficient electric power to the customers and citizens, to responding to electric emergencies and outages, and to representing the City of Bentonville to the best of their ability. This division is responsible for the design, installation, construction, and maintenance of the electric distribution system within the city limits of Bentonville. The City’s Inventory Warehouse is also under the purview of BEUD and maintained over $8M of rotating inventory to allow all city departments to continue to operate at the highest levels. Both BEUD and the inventory warehouse worked through and continue to work through unprecedented supply chain issues to try their best to not hold up any developments throughout the City. The department installed 764 new electric meters and continued upgrading street lights to LED to meet energy efficiency goals and reduce the City’s overall usage. They also addressed nearly 400 street light 311 tickets, and have addressed over 1,500 since the system was implemented. In addition, they finalized the main Walmart campus projects to allow the campus to be fed from new and expanded substations, resulting in the largest project ever undertaken by BEUD. They finished construction on the I Sub expansion, which will improve reliability and allow for continued growth in the southwest portion of the city. They removed approximately one mile of overhead infrastructure along 8th St. from Main St. to SE J St., and began the engineering for phase II of the fiber infrastructure trunk line to serve city infrastructure. They selected an automated metering infrastructure vendor to begin replacement of the existing system that will hopefully allow BEUD to better serve its customers and offer additional services, such as time of use rates, in the future.
With recently passed federal funding, BEUD is investigating the installation of electric vehicle chargers both at various spots within the city and along the I-49 corridor. The I-49 corridor has been designated by the state and federal government as an electric vehicle corridor. EV charging locations in the city and along the designated I-49 corridor would serve both residents and visitors. Installation of public EV chargers is part of BEUD’s master plan. The City is actively evaluating funding opportunities and the best infrastructure build-out areas to move this initiative along.
BEUD is also responsible for maintaining a 10’ clear zone from the overhead electric lines. This involves tree trimming and tree removal for any vegetation that falls within this zone. As part of this vegetation management, the department offers a tree replacement program, so that if a tree is removed and the ratepayer would like a replacement, a voucher is provided. All of this together has allowed the department to maintain a 99.998625% reliability rate with a continued increase in customers.
Bentonville’s Water Utilities staff remains steadfast in assuring the citizens, businesses, and guests they serve, have water and wastewater infrastructure planned and installed properly that will provide a solid foundation for generations to come.
2022 was a challenging, yet rewarding year as this department continues to experience unprecedented growth with our water and wastewater systems to accommodate the city’s growing population. Meter system upgrades, tank repairs, vacant positions and the overall increase in the service line repairs have added a significant strain on the operations of the department. Through this adversity, this department recognizes it has grown and gained valuable experiences that will help them be better service providers in the future.
In 2022, Bentonville Water Utilities (BWU) continued work with Mueller Industries on the replacement and upgrade of the water AMI system. Over 20,000 new nodes have been installed on the meters to bring the reporting percentage of the V6 network up to 98.5%. This leaves approximately 4,000 V3 nodes in the system reporting at 85%. Registers are now being replaced under warranty with a new version by Mueller; however, manufacturing constraints mid-year hindered the rate of the replacement. The reporting accuracy of our metering system continues to increase daily with a total reporting average close to 93%.
This department continues to concentrate on the water loss issue that they have been proactively facing. In 2022, water utilities hired E-Source consultants to conduct an AMI metering assessment and a comprehensive water audit. This study included a deep dive into data in the AMI system and our billing program processes and data. This study has identified several opportunities to improve our processes and narrowed our search areas to further explore sources of loss that are not easy to find. Staff continues to test meters and work with Mueller on a weekly basis regarding potential sources of loss. In addition, the district metering infrastructure is being repaired and our water maintenance crews are repairing leaks as efficiently as possible to keep this department going in the right direction.
The repairs to the roofs on the 6 million gallon storage tank and the 3 million gallon storage tank were completed in the first quarter of 2022. In addition, an electronically controlled fill valve was replaced by our operators. This allows our controllers to remotely regulate the amount of water we receive from Beaver Water District. In 2022, BWU controllers facilitated the draining, washing, and disinfection of all five of our water storage facilities. The water storage facilities in Bentonville are world class and meticulously maintained.
In 2022, the Water Department continued to see a record amount of water service line leaks. These leaks, that seem to be increasing, made the department investigate other pipe materials and methods to improve the efficiency of service line repair. In the research to find a better solution, the department decided to switch the service line material to upgrade repairs and provide a better solution for service line issues. The upgraded material was added to the Water Utilities specifications to solidify its use.
The Sewer Rehab Department was presented with a completed sanitary sewer analysis and model for four of the city’s primary wastewater basins, three of which provide flow to the City’s treatment facility on NE A Street. The model helped the department pinpoint areas of the system that have higher than normal inflow and/or infiltration. The information provided in the analysis gave the department the ability to target specific areas for repairs. The sewer rehab and wastewater teams have already seen a huge benefit by the major reduction in infiltration to the wastewater plant. They are also confident this information will be essential to repair efficiencies in the future.
Much like 2021, throughout 2022, vacant positions have been an ongoing challenge for many of the divisions within water utilities. However, BWU wrapped up 2022 fully staffed and are encouraged by the men and women that have joined their team.
In 2022, the average amount of water purchased daily was 16,058,639 gallons which is an increase of 24.7% over 2021. The city’s highest day reached 24,050,000 gallons, which is 27.6% higher than the peak in 2021. This peak is the all-time single highest day. Over 6.5 miles of new water line and over 5.7 miles of new sewer line were installed during 2022. The operations team completed 12,127 utility locates. Over 7,800 work orders pertaining to the water system, sanitary sewer system, and water meter maintenance system were completed. A little over 26 miles of sewer main was video inspected and almost one million feet (approximately 190 miles) of sewer main was hydro-cleaned. In addition, over 9.5 miles of offsite easements along our sanitary sewer mains were cleared and made accessible for maintenance.
The Technical Services Team was involved in new development and attended 73 pre-construction meetings, completed 1,944 plan reviews, and conducted 2,384 inspections of water and sewer infrastructure. The construction inspectors completed over 1,000 additional inspections in 2022 ensuring BWU is accepting infrastructure that will be low maintenance and reliable.
The Technical Services Department also manages a cross-connection control program that includes over 6,000 backflow devices. The program is in the process of implementing a web-based application that will allow testers to upload test results via the internet directly to the program coordinator.
The Wastewater Pre-Treatment Program conducted 225 inspections and verified that 516 grease control devices or sand-oil separators were maintained. A total of 517,276 gallons of fats, oils and grease were diverted from the collection system through grease control devices.
The department is investing in technology to help them better serve customers. New locate ticket management software and new backflow testing software were implemented in the past year. Garver Engineering is gathering data to plug into the City’s water model and is preparing to make recommendations in the Water Master Plan update that will guide staff’s decision making and growth strategies for the next twenty years.
The Water Resource Recovery Facility treated in excess of 1.1 billion gallons of wastewater during 2022. Vaughn and Chickadee lift stations were upgraded to higher horsepower pumps to accommodate population growth in the Vaughn area of the City of Bentonville. The Vaughn lift station also had new discharge piping, valves and a valve vault installed, replacing the aged, smaller piping and deteriorated infrastructure. Stand-by generators were also installed at Vaughn and Chickadee lift stations to provide backup power in the remote area.
This department continues to work with Hawkins-Weir Engineering on future facility upgrades that have been presented to City Council. They will proceed in 2023 with Process Intensification Modeling for treatment purposes. They will also be actively seeking funding opportunities for these needed improvements.
Raftelis developed the wastewater rate model throughout 2022 and will present final recommendations in early 2023. This has been a challenging study with several major projects having significant impact on rates. The driving projects include the replacement of the entire NACA line from Bentonville to the NACA treatment facility, a plant upgrade doubling the treatment capacity of the NACA facility, as well as the projected improvements at the city’s downtown treatment facility. On a bright note, the City and NACA received $5,000,000.00 each in ARPA funding from the State to assist with funding of the two mentioned NACA projects. The NACA line replacement will be completed in 2023, and the NACA plant expansion began in late 2022 and should be complete in 2024.
The City of Bentonville is working with Garver Engineering on the In-Vessel project for our Composting Facility. The In-Vessel Project has progressed through the bidding phase, and we are now preparing to enter into the purchasing and construction phase of the project.
The Water Resource Recovery Team continued maintenance to ensure compliance for safe and efficient operations. Eight personnel were able to advance their Wastewater Certifications and Solid Waste Certifications during 2022. All NPDES permit requirements were achieved in 2022.
While 2022 was a trying year for Water Utilities, it provided experience for the team that they will carry with them into the future. They pulled together, helped each other, and showed a true dedication to the City. They put in long hours, short staffed, and left the system in better condition than it was previously. They look forward to closing out many of these projects in 2023 and growing on the knowledge that they have gained along the way. They fully believe good changes are on the horizon as a direct result of what they accomplished in 2022. They are excited to be fully staffed and eager to serve customers.
The Public Works Maintenance Team creates much of the clean, professional, and appealing appearance witnessed throughout the City. Many of the kind remarks we receive from visitors regarding the cleanliness of our city can be attributed to the daily work of this team.
In July, this department completed their four-year project started in 2018 to convert 2,285 fixtures and or bulbs to LED at all city facilities and contribute to the city’s continued energy efficiency efforts. This department maintains over 9,000 headstones at our city cemetery, does 35 miles of mowing and edging located in right-of-way throughout the city, is responsible for over 3,500 make-a-difference trees planted in city right of way, and performs mowing, janitorial, and general maintenance on public facilities throughout the city. In June, the Public Works Maintenance Department started design on a columbarium/committal shelter for the city’s cemetery, and in November they secured the funding within the department’s 2023 budget for the construction of the columbarium/committal shelter that is currently being designed. In October, this department completed phase 1 of a cemetery fence project replacing 611’ of chain-link fencing with a cedar privacy fence that will be 1065’ when done.
The City’s Transportation Team has continued serving the citizens by improving and maintaining the transportation infrastructure network. This department manages, coordinates, and maintains right-of-way, streets, sidewalks, drainage, and traffic control within the city limits, as well as in-house pavement and drainage improvement projects. The Transportation and Street Department maintains over 50 traffic signals along with all street signage and pavement markings. All maintenance is prioritized through the City 311 and work order systems. Street department maintenance crews pretreat the hills, bridges, and overpasses with salt brine solution in the event of winter weather.
The Transportation Department’s 2022 capital projects included the completion of the NW 3rd/SW 8th Street/Bike lane improvements and the S Main Street Improvement, which included new widened sidewalks, drainage, and street lighting. Water Tower Road Phase 1, which included a roundabout and the connection of SE 8th Street from Water Tower Rd. to I-49 was also completed and opened to traffic. The 8th Street project that extends from SW I to SE J is under construction and will provide additional vehicle travel lanes for east/west traffic, the addition of sidewalks and a two-way cycle track that extends the length of the project. The section from SW I to S Walton Blvd. was completed and has re-opened to traffic flow. In stage 1 of the bond program, there are 15 street projects and 13 drainage projects in design phase.
The Street Department completed 13 miles of pavement preservation throughout the city, used 210 tons of asphalt for pothole repair and completed 12 miles of pavement crack sealing. They cleaned 2.5 miles of drainage ditches, repaired 80 linear feet of concrete curb and 525 linear feet of concrete sidewalk. They placed a little over 34,550 gallons of salt brine for pre-treatment of the streets and 789 tons of salt on roadways for ice removal. The Street Department completed over 450 items submitted through the Bentonville 311 system.
The Engineering Department is responsible for the review of development plans, they maintain design and construction specifications related to drainage, sidewalk, street, and right-of-way infrastructure. Staff provides technical review for all subdivisions, lot splits, small-scale, and large-scale developments. Engineering inspectors conduct field inspections of construction projects and permits to ensure all work conforms to city codes to provide quality developments. Engineering oversees any/all developments within the floodplain/floodway as the city participates in FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program. In addition, the Engineering Department and the Stormwater Management Program supports Community Development by providing technical specifications, advice, expertise to developers and citizens regarding stormwater management and drainage design criteria. Engineers and project managers supervise all City of Bentonville street and drainage capital improvement bond projects.
The Engineering Department accepted 37 projects as complete and conducted 2,357 inspections. They supported the Street Department on sidewalk improvements, street improvements, and drainage projects. They completed construction on two sidewalk projects, which were NE Cub Circle and SE C Street.
In 2022, the Bentonville Municipal Airport Thaden Field was recognized by Flying magazine as the coolest airport in America. The runway was lengthened to 5,000 feet which allows for more plane traffic. The collaboration with the airport’s Fixed Based Operator (FBO) was enhanced, there was great growth in flights and flight school numbers and an increased interest to observe planes taking off and landing at the airport. And, dining at Louise has become a popular destination. Our part-time Wildlife Control Officer and Maverick the goose dog have been very impactful to help control the geese population. Maverick has become a local celebrity and one of our most popular additions to the airport. Over 4 million dollars was received through federal and state grants. Upcoming projects include the widening of the runway to 75 feet and hangar development for the westside of the airport.
In June 2022, the UP Summit was held at Thaden Field with the world's most innovative minds rethinking the future of transportation. A community day was added to the three-day event and an estimated 5,000 people were on site to see the latest in air mobility technology, including a moon rover from NASA. The annual invitation-only summit rotates annually between Bentonville, hosted by Tom and Steuart Walton, and Dallas/Fort Worth, hosted by Ross Perot Jr. June 5th was proclaimed as Future Mobility Day in a proclamation from the Mayor’s Office, the first of such in Arkansas.
In 2022, an estimated 4.5 million people, including 2.5 million trail users, visited a Bentonville Public Park. Our Parks Team produced more than 140 recreation programs and special events attended by more than 596,000 people and produced more than $4.3 million dollars in revenue. Our Camp Bentonville program has moved to become one of the most comprehensive camp programs in the region with more than 85 sessions of 20 different camp offerings serving more than 2,400 campers during the summer months. Parks and Recreation programs not only serve our residents, but they are utilized to attract tourism dollars. Events such as the Bentonville Half Marathon – the 2nd largest running event in Arkansas, the Square-to-Square Bike Ride – the 2nd largest cycling event in Arkansas, Swim Meets, the USSSA Fastpitch Softball World Series and others produced a $4.5 million dollar economic impact to our local economy.
In January, we reopened the Applegate Trail that was seriously damaged in a flooding event that occurred in April 2021. This repair project reopened a trail closed for eight months, providing access again to a much missed critical link between Peach Orchard Road and SW 8th Street.
In June, we opened the new Orchards Park Dog Park and destination play area fulfilling a major need for this park since it opened 10 years ago. This $700,000 improvement project was paid for in part by the Walton Family Foundation with the balance being paid for by parks and recreation impact fees.
Also in June, Parks staff presented and council approved Master Plans and Feasibility Studies for both an Adult Wellness Center in Downtown Bentonville and a new Parks Maintenance Operations Complex. These two projects were studied during the end of 2021 and the first half of 2022. We quickly realized both facilities are needed and will serve our community well in the future. The Maintenance Complex is well on it’s way for completion, with the Adult Wellness Center occurring in the future as funding is secured.
Parks and Recreation were able to secure funding and award bids for three major trail connections. The Razorback Greenway Connection under Interstate 49, the SW Bentonville Trail and the McKissic Creek Trail will all prove to be valuable trail projects that will serve our growing cycling community. Each of these projects has begun and should be completed by the end of 2023.
The 2022 budget included a huge commitment to sidewalks, Parks and Recreation was proud to work on many of these projects. Under the leadership of our Bicycle and Pedestrian Planner, Parks and Recreation successfully constructed sidewalks on NW 15th Street and Bella Vista Road.
Our Parks Maintenance Team carefully maintained all our park spaces, plazas, public gardens and recreation centers. How they touch the lives of our residents may be different for everyone. Whether it’s prepping fields for one of the thousands of ballgames and soccer matches; maintaining public gardens that included more than 10,000 tulips in the spring and plants propagated from our greenhouse, or planting one of the 226 trees put in the ground during the season, or hanging Christmas lights for our annual display, this city team is always there to serve our community in the best manner possible.
One of the most unique opportunities for this department was presented to them in the fall of 2022. As the world mourned the passing of Queen Elizabeth, the British Embassy reached out to the City of Bentonville explaining that one of the Queen’s passions was to conservation, and that she had committed much of her life to helping grow tree canopies all over the world. After her death, the British Embassy planted trees across the United States in her memory and one of those memorial trees is located in Orchards Park. In October, a Regal Prince Oak tree was planted at Orchards Park with staff from the British Embassy present. The Mayor and Parks and Recreation Staff were present to accept the plaque that will be on display for many years to come.
In December, the City added our 22nd park to our park system by accepting a donation from the Bogle Family and formally adding Bob and Marilyn Bogle Park. This neighborhood park has served the northwest section of the downtown area for years, and is now in great hands to continue this for generations to come.
The Animal Services Officers went on a total of 2,385 calls in 2022, a 16% increase from 2021. They completed 64 cases and wrote 45 citations. In 2022, 227 dogs were taken to the Centerton Animal Shelter, with 71 reunited with their pet parents. The return-to-owner rate was 31%, a 28% decrease from 2021 and a reason you will continue to see this department focus on responsible pet ownership and increased microchipping events with the new facility serving as an excellent resource to accomplish this goal.
Animal Services held microchip clinics at Yappy Hours, held once a month, March through May. They microchipped 21 pets and registered 15 pets for free that were already microchipped. Approximately 200 pet owners attended each event.
The Department hired one kennel technician and one administrative assistant. They updated the Animal Services field standard operating procedures (SOP) and created new SOP’s for the shelter. They also updated the city ordinances to reflect these changes and additions, and they secured a $20,000 grant from the Mars Better Cities for Pets for a new initiative called Pet Reunification Program.
Animal Services partnered with Parks and Recreation to hold the inaugural Pups in the Park event. In 2022, this event was held in conjunction with the grand opening and ribbon-cutting of the new Orchards Park Dog Park & Playground. The theme for 2022 was a luau party. A pets-only swimsuit contest was held, along with free giveaways, pet vendors, free caricatures, pet obstacle course, as well as plenty of dogs and children having fun at the new park and playground.
Public Safety, specifically law enforcement, continues to face numerous challenges nationally and at a local level from increased criminal activity, recruitment and retention, media coverage of police issues, and officer wellness. The Bentonville Police Department has continually been resilient in how they have overcome many of these challenges. In line with the department’s mission, the Bentonville Police Department is committed to safe guarding the lives and property of the people they serve, providing exceptional service, and enhancing public safety by working in partnership with the community.
During 2022, the Bentonville Emergency Communications Center handled approximately 112,955 calls coming into the center from phone calls, 911 calls, and non-emergency calls. Around 45,674 of these calls were police department calls for service and another 7,015 calls were related to Fire and EMS calls for service.
Two large projects approved by the 2021 bond extension were finalized during 2022. The police department completed the selection of a public safety radio system RFP and entered into a contract with RACOM/Harris to complete an entirely new public safety radio system, set to be complete by summer of 2023. This system includes an addition of three new towers, repurposing a fourth tower, new station monitoring at all fire facilities, upgrading our communications center consoles, and fielding of public safety radios. This P25 system will allow full interoperability with surrounding agencies.
In December 2022, the department began construction of the law enforcement training facility which will include a live fire training range, K9 training course, and growth for future expansion of training facilities. Completion is set for April 2023. The bond included the purchase of a real-world de-escalation and judgmental use of force training simulator that helps train officers on numerous scenarios that provide an in-depth look into human performance. This item was received on January 31, 2022 and has since been utilized for in-service training, citizen police academies, youth academy, and other community engagement programs. Additionally, several local and federal partners have utilized this resource installed at our current facilities.
Six police officers, one detective, one dispatcher, and two police clerks (Records Unit and Training Unit) were approved for the 2022 budget. This department continued their partnership with district court by providing a full-time officer to enhance the capabilities of the bailiff position and overall security of District Court. The officer assigned to the city’s legal department as a city investigator has continued to be instrumental in numerous coordination efforts with victims and alternative sentencing programs with the courts.
Employee development and retention resulted in our police department once again finishing the year at near full staff. Fully staffed for 2022, our police department had 92 sworn officers, 25 telecommunicators, and 13 professional staff, comprising a total department with 130 full time members.
Additionally, the Police Department realigned a Sergeant position previously held by our Bomb Commander. After Sgt. Mike Meadors retirement in 2022, this position was allocated to a Traffic Sergeant to help with span of control with the increased personnel assigned specifically to the traffic enforcement and reconstruction team.
At the end of 2022, the Police Department created a professional standards unit after being accepted by CALEA to begin the process of accreditation for law enforcement and the communications center. The accreditation process for 2023 will include a complete review of all policy and procedures, facilities, and ensure best practices and greater accountability within the agency.
With the stress of public safety and to provide additional wellness tools available for our employees, the department implemented a mental health officer wellness app that was approved in the 2022 budget for all current and retired employees (Cordico Wellness App through Lexipol). The Cordico app has been a great resource for our officers, telecommunicators, and professional staff as they are the leader in wellness technology for high-stress professions, providing trusted, confidential 24/7 proactive and preventative wellness support specifically designed for law enforcement and dispatchers. This program will continue to expand in 2023 with peer-to-peer support and an increased police chaplain program.
The department has continued to find ways to modernize with implementing a Digital Field Training Officer Program to provide increased efficiency, documentation, accountability, and data analysis within the field training program for our new officers. This eliminated the need for paper manuals and written daily documentation, data analysis and testing, which is now completed electronically.
With the increase of illicit drugs, specifically fentanyl opioid arrests and the potential for overdose, the department began fielding Naloxone (Narcan) which has been distributed to officers and specialty divisions. This implementation included CPR certification for all sworn officers.
Using funds from the Bentonville Drug Fund, this department purchased and received a new drug incinerator to dispose of expired controlled medication, controlled substances and other illicit drugs approved for destruction by court order. This saves driving time and manpower where previously we had to send two officers to El Dorado, AR for destruction of these types of substances.
Bentonville’s growth continues to have many special events for the community. Officers assisted with public safety requests and traffic enforcement for over 105 events, races, parades, and other special events; this number does not include requests for events for VIP, dignitaries or private functions.
To reinforce the department’s commitment to the 21st Century Policing Model, the police department held several community engagement events to proactively promote public trust, education, and transparency. The Citizens Police Academy class was held twice during 2022 and had over 40 graduates. This eight to ten week program makes a huge impact on our officers and graduates with a better understanding of their local department. This year the department held the Youth Academy after two years of being unable to do so with COVID. This program allowed students to learn about the police department over a 2-week period during the summer and consisted of an overview of the department, CPR certification, and leadership training. Several other programs from our first ever National Night Out to Coffee with a Cop, Active Shooter Training for Civilians, and our Reserve Program were all expanded during 2022.
The police department website is now updated regularly to aid in communication to the community. This includes additional ways for the community to notify the department of traffic enforcement requests, vacation house watch, and several platforms to commend or file a complaint. Additionally, the department launched Citizen Connect, an information tool for the community to provide mapping tools to analyze recent police, fire, or traffic incidents within the city.
The Bentonville Police Department continues to partner with numerous federal agencies to include the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the US Department of Homeland Security (HSI), and the United States Secret Service (USSS). With the FBI, this agency is a part of the Northwest Arkansas Child Exploitation Task Force, with the mission of identifying victims of human trafficking and child exploitation and bringing justice to those responsible. With both the HSI Gulf Coast High Intensity Drug Trafficking Task Force and the United States Secret Service Cyber Crime Task Force, the Bentonville Police Department partners with these agencies for a variety of investigations to include fraud, narcotics, and counterfeit currency investigations.
Looking at Northwest Arkansas at a regional level, the police department assigned two narcotics officers to the DEA Federal Task Force and Benton County Drug Unit. This ensures we are focusing investigations and prosecutions on entire criminal enterprises rather than just the individual.
According to the United States Secret Service Forensic Reporting Partnership reporting system, this agency has handled more device examinations than any other reporting agency in the state. Specifically, this department handled almost three times the amount of any other agency in Arkansas. This unit continues to receive numerous awards and recognition from Homeland Security, FBI, and Secret Service. Sgt. Josh Woodhams was recognized in January 2022 as number 23 in the top fifty of all cyber investigators assigned to U.S. Secret Service task forces in the country. The unit continues to receive numerous other personal recognitions for their efforts.
There were no trends in criminal activity for 2022 that should cause concern, or impact the very safe community we live in. Bentonville continues to rank in the top five safest cities in Arkansas to live in and is a direct reflection of the members of our community and public safety. The Bentonville Police Department is continually looking at ways to improve public safety to include an evidence based approach to policing, implementation of technology, additional community engagement programs inline with community oriented policing, and additional personnel with the rapid growth of Bentonville.
Crime has grown proportionately to the growth of the city. Even though there could appear to be a reduced number in the calls for service, the number of violent crimes appears to go up at a regional level and this is something we must continue to be strategic on enforcement with. Additional specialized training and additional officers are needed to deal with these types of calls and investigations for cities experiencing rapid growth, which overall is increasing the workload of officers.
Overall, the 2022 efforts and accomplishments of our police department will help us better support, protect, and serve our community now and into the future.
Many of the Police Department’s efforts and accomplishments in 2022 were focused toward preparing officers and the agency to better serve the growing community.
The Bentonville Fire Department is committed to serving the citizens of Bentonville with a superior level of fire protection and emergency medical services. It is the shared vision of the members of the Bentonville Fire Department that through active training, a motivated workforce, and equipping the department with the best resources, they will provide the best protection possible in the field of fire protection, rescue services, and environmental protection for the public.
In 2022, the Bentonville Fire Department hired nine new personnel and added six additional personnel from a grant provided by the Walton Family Foundation. Two additional Fire Inspectors for the Building and Fire Safety Division were hired. They also promoted three firefighters to Captain for training on each shift.
The Bentonville Fire Department started a new Trail Response Program. This program was made possible through grants and donations from The Walton Family Foundation, Bell Helmets, Kuat and Specialized. In total the department received nearly $800,000 for the program. The program started in April as crews started patrolling the trails during day-time hours. The City updated two of the trail units to accommodate the needs of trail responses.
Trail Team members responded to 105 - 911 Calls for Service with an additional 56 assist (first aid, mechanical issues, directions) requests. Team members spent 740 hours patrolling the trails totaling 1,725 miles in the side by sides and another 3,993 miles on bikes. The Trail Response Team participated in three community bike safety classes and taught CPR/First Aid to the OZ Mountain Bike (OZ MTB) Team.
ESO Records management software (RMS) was implemented for both Fire and EMS. All records from previous software were converted into the new system. Eight new heart monitors were received and placed into service in December. The department also started the upgrade and expansion of Station 3, and started construction on the new Training Tower, made possible with the 2021 bond election.
The Fire Department received 12,067 Fire/EMS Division Calls for Service, up 5% over 2021. The most notable – a 6.5% increase in EMS Calls for Service (4,870). There was a 12.4% increase in fires (170), 33% increase in Rescue Calls for Service (144) and 10.5% increase in Automatic Alarm calls (739). The Fire Training Division conducted 58,654 hours of training, a 20% increase over 2021.
The Building and Fire Division saw a 2% increase in building permits (4,806), a 2% decrease in permit fees ($2,311,285) and 31% decrease in permit value. They conducted 1,053 housing unit inspections, which includes all residential units (ie: apartments, duplexes, individual residential homes), a 43% increase. They conducted 12,112 building inspections on new construction, a 7% increase and did 3,071 Fire Inspections on existing commercial buildings, a 60% increase. In 2022, they conducted 18 Fire investigations, thankfully, down 10% from 2021.
In 2022, the City of Bentonville Legal Department handled over 5,115 new criminal and traffic violations in Bentonville District Court. The casework of criminal and traffic cases include arraignment, discovery, negotiation with defendants and defense counsel, plea hearings, case preparation and trials. The department reviewed hundreds of criminal cases for probable cause while providing legal and prosecution support for criminal investigations, prepared or reviewed all City contracts and negotiated land transactions. The Legal Department consulted regularly with all City departments to provide guidance and risk management on many complex matters.
Joining the Legal Department for 2023, the Purchasing Team processed more formal solicitations in 2022 than previously recorded at 104 formal bids, RFQs and RFPs not including solicitations, which had to be re-bid, continued implementing standardized documents and processes, and worked to improve transparency and access to doing business with the City through initiatives such as the vendor introduction meetings.
The department continued the preparation of numerous ordinances and resolutions for city council meetings. Throughout the year, approximately 266 ordinances, 277 resolutions and 88 miscellaneous agenda items were written and reviewed for items concerning the City of Bentonville. Pending civil cases were successfully resolved for City v. Cooper Realty Investments and Coleman Bass v. City.
This year the department maintained its continuous efforts to support and assist all departments, employees and outside programs and relationships in the community. The Legal Department investigator has assisted with numerous requests. His diligent work during the year has helped provide guidance to enhance customer service and public safety throughout the City of Bentonville.
In 2022, Bentonville Public Library recorded 763,427 circulations of its collections, including checkouts of physical materials and downloads of digital books. This is BPL’s highest circulation ever! Other library milestones include 61,752 holds fulfilled and over 603,000 database hits. Library visitors totaled more than 257,000 with 39,621 patrons attending library programs and over 5,800 new library cards issued.
The library introduced brand new services to the community with the installation of pickup lockers at the library and community center. The lockers offer more options for patrons to pick up requested items. The library also launched new payment options for patrons to pay fines online with a credit card, or at BPL using selfCheck terminals that accept cash and credit cards.
BPL participated in many signature events including the Thinking Money for Kids traveling exhibit, Bentonville Together festival, Choose Love event, Northwest Arkansas Community College’s Spring Arts and Culture Festival, plus hosted special author visits, book clubs, art activities, the Oceans of Possibilities summer reading program and many, many more library programs for all ages and interests.
Bentonville Public Library was again a designated site for Bentonville Schools’ and Aramark’s Summer Feeding Program. More than 7,000 free meals were served this summer. In June and July, 4,450 patrons registered to read over 45,478 hours and 124,511 materials were checked out. The return of Bentonville GeekCon, OZ Kids™ Bike & Book Fest and OZ Kids™ Fat Tire Criterium & Fall Fest realized 3,700 attendees to the outdoor celebrations. In addition to community partners and library affiliates, many City of Bentonville teams supported BPL’s events, including: Fire, Police, Parks and Recreation, Public Works and Transportation departments.
Working with the Mayor’s office, the Library collaborated with the Bentonville Parks and Recreation department and others on a pilot project to initiate a “Lil’ Library in the Park” to broaden access to books and promote literacy. As a Mayor’s Bright Idea Award winner , BPL’s “Lil’ Library” will be installed at Lake Bentonville Park soon!
Property improvements were made by Bentonville Public Library in 2022. Train Station upgrades and a historic preservation project were accomplished in collaboration with the Bentonville Legal department and the Public Works and Maintenance team. A new entrance to BPL’s parking lot was constructed during the Main Street project, in partnership with the City of Bentonville’s Transportation Department.
BPL continued work on its expansion plan by completing architectural designs and preconstruction activities which included value engineering the project to align with a $16,750,000 budget. Approximately 22,750 square feet will be added to expand services and offer new amenities; additionally, renovations and outdoor enhancements will improve the project overall. The library is expected to break ground this spring.
The Current Planning division of the Bentonville Planning Department is the first stop for development in the City of Bentonville. The projects submitted to this division serve as an indicator for future construction levels and workload for other departments.
Bentonville Planning processed 384 projects, an increase of 5% from property line adjustments, lot splits, rezonings, conditional uses, variances and waivers. Development items made up 58% of all projects and zoning requests made up 42%.
In 2022, Planning Commission continued to see a high number of rezoning and conditional use requests. They reviewed 79 rezoning requests, up two from the previous year and 38 conditional uses, up 65%. The Board of Adjustment items also increased by nearly 14%, reviewing 42 items.
Bentonville Planning received nine preliminary plats and eight final plats. All nine preliminary plats were residential and five of the eight of the final plats were residential with three being commercial. Lot splits were up by nearly 5% while property line adjustments were down by almost 23%.
They also reviewed 74 large-scale developments, up 23% from 2021. Ten were residential large scale development projects, consisting primarily of townhome development. They reviewed 35 commercial large-scale developments and the remainder were public or infrastructure projects.
Bentonville Planning staff also reviewed 171 sign permits, 35 outdoor vendor permits and eight parklet permits.
A concentrated effort to continue to improve customer service for economic development remained a high priority in 2022. There were 35 new commercial projects that came through the development review process. Relationships have been built with Bentonville developers and with private/public partners to increase communication and to make the process more efficient, accessible, and transparent for all involved. In addition, appointed City Council members and city staff worked with a housing affordability work group throughout the year to study and make recommendations to improve the supply of and access to affordable, attainable housing. The group spent 2022 meeting monthly, analyzing the issue and completed a report to provide a process whereby the City can create an environment, through policy, practice, and ordinance revision, where developers will build affordably priced housing in areas having convenient access to jobs, services, and amenities that promote a variety of transportation options, ensuring attainability for its target population while also benefiting the City, citizens, developers, and businesses. The Housing Affordability Work Group presented the report to the City Council on January 24, 2023, and staff is currently evaluating, prioritizing, and assessing the feasibility of the recommendations presented.
In 2022, the Code Enforcement division transitioned from Current Planning to Comprehensive Planning. This change is meant to focus Code Enforcement’s efforts towards neighborhood improvement and partnerships with neighborhood groups. Code Enforcement is responsible for enforcing the property maintenance codes, conducting inspections and posting public hearing signs. In 2022, the city’s two code enforcement officers opened 1,065 code enforcement cases and closed out 1,079 cases. Nearly half of those were generated by the Bentonville 311 reporting system. They conducted nearly 2,000 inspections, removed 743 nonconforming signs, reviewed 198 fence permits and posted 309 public hearing signs.
The City established the Code Review Committee due to the rapidly changing development environment warranting continual review of the city’s zoning and development codes. This committee is made up of representatives of all city departments that review proposed ordinances and amendments to city code. This resulted in City Council adopting an update to both the Zoning Code and Land Development Code and adopting the 2021 ICMA Property Maintenance Code.
The Comprehensive Planning Division of Bentonville Planning worked on dozens of projects to improve Bentonville and implement the Bentonville Community Plan, including tree giveaways, landscaping, public art, and neighborhood organizing.
The Great Neighborhood Partnership established by the Mayor in 2019 continues to grow and engage residents. In 2022, the number of neighborhoods participating in the Great Neighborhoods Partnership Program increased from 14 to 21. The Neighborhood Advisory Council held 11 meetings with guest speakers from the Bentonville Public Library, Bentonville Parks and Recreation Department, and the Transportation Department.
Nine neighborhoods reserved the Block Party Trailer in 2022. This trailer includes supplies, such as tables, chairs, coolers, and games to help neighborhoods host events that encourage neighbors to get to know each other.
In December, the Great Neighborhoods Program held its third annual Holiday Decorating Contest, open to all neighborhoods or areas within Bentonville. Eight neighborhoods entered the contest, with Lochmoor Club winning the Most Holiday Spirit Award and Woods Creek winning the People’s Choice Award.
As part of the neighborhood program, the city offers clean up kits for groups wishing to pick up litter along city streets. In 2022, 15 clean-up kits were distributed. The program is expanding in 2023 and will introduce a mobile tool shed that will be available for neighborhood clean-up projects.
Bentonville continues efforts to support tree planting, expanding the tree canopy, and beautification of the city. The Tree and Landscape Advisory Committee distributed a total of 1,240 trees to Bentonville residents during the spring and fall tree giveaway events. The giveaways were made possible by the Bentonville Parks Conservancy, Steuart Walton, and the Walton Family Foundation.
For the 24th consecutive year, Bentonville was recognized as a Tree City USA by spending at least $2 per capita on tree related expenditures, having an active tree board and hosting an Arbor Day Celebration.
The Tree and Landscape Advisory Committee recognized five property owners with a Residential Landscaping of the Month Award. The award recognizes residents who have improved and maintained the exterior landscaping of their homes.
In 2022, the Bentonville Public Art Advisory Committee expanded the public art inventory in Bentonville with one installation. Found by artist Timothy Jorgensen was selected from 23 proposals and installed in Train Station Park in July. The artwork is a tower of mirrored aluminum letters spelling-out “Bentonville” and located beside the new Bentonville History Museum.
Comprehensive Planning also worked to educate and inform residents about important issues and provide opportunities for public engagement. The city hosted two Bentonville Connections meetings. The Mayor, City Council members, and city staff engaged residents in a conversation about public safety, property maintenance, community programs and city initiatives. The meetings provide an opportunity to meet the Mayor, City Council representatives, and key city staff. Attendees gain knowledge of current and future city initiated projects, ask questions, and learn about community resources.
For the second year in a row, Bentonville participated in #CityHallSelfie day. This is a day all about pride in local government, hosted by Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL). Employees and residents were asked to take a selfie in front of a municipal building and post on social media with the #cityhallselfie. Bentonville received national recognition and was awarded
Bentonville Planning hosted a workshop with architects, engineers, and contractors to discuss recent regulatory developments and the current state of the city’s development process. The department plans to hold Fall and Spring workshops in 2023.
Bentonville Planning also hosted a joint meeting between Planning Commission and City Council. This meeting is designed to share information with those officials to ensure greater consistency in implementing the Community Plan, and set priorities for 2023. Bentonville Planning staff is already researching policies and preparing for presentations to stakeholders, community groups, Planning Commission, and City Council.
For the first year, the city partnered with Republic Services to offer a City Hall Shred-it Day. This provided Bentonville residents an opportunity to safely dispose of personal papers. Residents registered for a time and drove through while staff collected their items and placed them into the shredder.
As you have seen and heard throughout tonight’s State of the City, the City of Bentonville was very engaged in the needs of our community and productive in producing results throughout 2022. As, I close the State of the City tonight, I want you to know I consider it an honor and a privilege to serve the City of Bentonville. I along with all city departments have even higher expectations for 2023. It will take a commitment of all of us working together to accomplish these goals. Successful cities at their core rely on the community to make them what they are. Bentonville is a strong and growing city because of all of you. I truly love this city and the people here and I know you do too! We value our residents and are committed to creating ways for all to connect to our city and strive to make Bentonville the best place to live, work, and play for all.
As we look to 2023, we will commemorate the 150th Birthday of Bentonville and our incorporation as a City. We look forward to celebrating this milestone with the community as we reflect on who we are, where we came from, what we have accomplished as a community and how we continue to improve upon our future together.
There is an undeniable confidence and strong “can do” attitude that thrives in this community as we work together to build one complete city that offers high quality of life for all. We have so much going for us right now and so many things to be thankful for. I believe in this community and the people of Bentonville and that is why I know the State of our City has never been stronger or more resilient. I hope you feel the momentum too and are on board for an extraordinary 2023!
Thank you all ~ may God continue to bless Bentonville, Northwest Arkansas and the United States of America!
Mayor Stephanie Orman
City of Bentonville