Bono Looks to Upgrade

April 16, 2003
Posted at: 9:55 p.m. CDT

BONO, Ark. -- On the way to becoming a "first-class city," Bono city officials want to cash in.

The Craighead County town of 1,512 is considered "second-class" under the legal definitions of communities inside the state. What a move would mean for the city is this: More money, from the opportunities presented by becoming first-class, and from the State of Arkansas.

To accomplish the move, the Bono City Council began work earlier this week, beginning with looking at the model of another Craighead County city that made the move, Lake City.

"We've been thinking about it for a couple of months," Mayor I.M. Duncan said.

Duncan says making a move from a second to a first class city has multiple benefits. Alderman could serve for four years instead of two, and the city government could annex in as much land as it wants, instead of only being able to add in one tenth of the population at a time. With annexation, not only would the city's tax base increase, but also funds received from the state.

"The more people we got, the more money we get," Duncan said.

Duncan wanted to discuss his plans with leaders in Lake City, which made the change from a second to a first class city last November. Shortly after that, he made a call to city hall.

"We had talked about doing this for several years," City Clerk Dianne Crews of Lake City said.

When a city in Arkansas reaches a population of 2,500, it must be switched to a first class designation. Lake City's population: 1,956.

"There's one subdivision fixing to start," Crews said. "We're gonna annex that in, and then there's two more in the works, so for us it was just a short matter of time before we reached the limit."

To make the change official in Bono, city council members must pass an ordinance. Then, a copy of both the ordinance and the city council meeting minutes have to be sent to the Secretary of State. After that, the city waits for approval, and notification the city has been officially changed from second class to first class.

"We just think it would be good for the City of Bono to become a first class," Duncan said.