Legal Frequently Asked Questions

CITY/POA RELATED QUESTIONS

I don’t understand the difference between the City and the POA. Can you explain?

The city is a public governmental entity. The POA is a private non-profit corporation. When the city incorporated in 2007, a layer of municipal government was created separate and apart from the private property owners’ association. The city provides police, fire, ambulance, library, public street maintenance, development/code enforcement and solid waste (trash) services to residents of the city.

How much of the monthly POA dues I pay go to the City?

None. The city is funded by a combination of sales tax, property tax, state and county turnback funds and city permit/license fees. One hundred percent of POA dues go to their organization for the operation and maintenance of their private facilities.

City ordinances do not prohibit me from certain activity, but private POA covenants and rules do. What must I follow?

This office does not provide opinions or interpretations of private covenants or rules. However, residents should be aware that in some circumstances city ordinances may permit certain conduct that private POA covenants and rules do not permit. In such a circumstance, a resident may face private enforcement actions (lawsuits) or sanctions for conduct not deemed illegal or impermissible by the city, but which violate private requirements. Likewise, city ordinances may make certain conduct illegal that would otherwise be permitted by private covenants and rules. In that case, the person would be subject to being cited into court by the city for an ordinance violation. Particular questions regarding your circumstances should be referred to a private attorney for further guidance.

GENERAL QUESTIONS

Where can I find Bella Vista city ordinances?

A searchable version Code of the City of Bella Vista is located at www.municode.com. Click on Code Library then drag down to Arkansas and click. From the list, select Bella Vista City.

Where can I find Arkansas state statutes?

A searchable version of the Arkansas Code can be found at http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/arcode/Default.asp.

I need a will or help with a divorce or other issue. Can the Staff Attorney help me?  If not, can you refer me to a good lawyer?

No. The Staff Attorney only provides legal representation for the City of Bella Vista government and its officials. Also, the Staff Attorney will not make recommendations or referrals to private attorneys. Those needing to find an attorney may try www.google.com, the local yellow pages, or the Arkansas Bar Association through www.arkansasfindalawyer.com.

Is the Staff Attorney the same as a City Attorney?

No. The Staff Attorney is appointed by the Mayor, and subject to review by the City Council. The Staff Attorney is in charge of the city’s legal department, and as such is a department head. The elected office of City Attorney is currently vacant, and if filled, is a part-time position with limited figurehead duties. The Staff Attorney is the full-time legal counsel for the city and the commissioned City Prosecutor for misdemeanor, traffic and code violation offenses occurring in the City of Bella Vista.

We are an organization or group in Bella Vista that desires funding. Can the City of Bella Vista donate or give us money?

No.  An Arkansas city cannot give away or donate tax dollars. Article 12, Section 5 of the Arkansas Constitution prohibits cities from appropriating money for, or loaning credit to, any corporation, association, institution or individual. The city cannot donate money, no matter how worthy a cause may be.

CRIMINAL/TRAFFIC VIOLATIONS

I got a ticket and I want to try to keep it off my record. What can I do?

Appear in court at the location, date and time indicated on your citation. If you qualify for probation or other deferred sanction, you will have an opportunity to make a request at that time. Due to the potential volume of calls and court requirements, this office cannot handle these matters over the telephone prior to your scheduled court date.

I got a ticket, but I just want to pay. What do I do?

The back of your ticket has the contact address and phone number for payment of tickets prior to your court date. Payments for Bella Vista Police Department citations can be made to the BENTONVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT on Arkansas Highway 102 in Bentonville during office hours. Ticket payments are not accepted in Bella Vista. IF YOUR CITATION SAYS “MUST APPEAR,” YOU MUST APPEAR IN COURT ON YOUR ARRAIGNMENT DATE. BY ORDER OF THE COURT, YOU ARE NOT PERMITTED TO PAY YOUR TICKET WITHOUT ATTENDANCE IN COURT.

I am an alleged victim of an offense, and I want to drop charges. What can I do?

The government brings charges, and it is the prosecutor’s decision whether or not to proceed with criminal charges in any given case. Also, the judge may require a case go to trial even if the government desires a matter be dismissed. Any alleged victim desiring charges to be dropped may fill out an affidavit making the request. The affidavit form is available at Bella Vista City Hall, 101 Town Center, Bella Vista, AR 72714 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Alleged victims of domestic violence are especially encouraged to take full advantage of victim resources made available by the police during their contact with you. The website for the Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter is www.nwaws.org.

I am a victim of domestic violence, and I need an Order of Protection. What do I do?

Orders of Protection can be obtained through the Benton County Circuit Court in Bentonville. The Benton County Prosecutor’s Office has a victim advocate available to assist you in obtaining an Order of Protection. Their office can be contacted at (479) 271-1030.

I can’t be in court on my court date. I need to reschedule. What can I do?

This office cannot reschedule your court date. Any request for rescheduling of a court appearance must be made directly to the Court. Citations issued by the Bella Vista Police Department are heard in the Bentonville District Court, (479) 271-3120.

Where can I find information on the Bentonville District Court DWI-Court program?

This document provides basic information about the program. Additional questions should be forwarded to the Bentonville District Court Clerk.