Early voting for Vilonia residents regarding the proposed 5.7 millage increase began on Tuesday.

The raise in taxes for the public would go toward Vilonia School District’s plan to carry out a three-phase project for an auditorium, a career and technical center and building renovations.

The total cost of the project is estimated at a little more than $33 million, which includes furnishings, 8 percent contingency and escalation and architectural fees, according to Vilonia Superintedent David Stephens.

If passed, Stephens said the first phase would start in fall 2017; the second phase no later than fall 2021; and the final phase would start in 2026.

He said the three-phase plan was put together to lessen the burden on taxpayers … carrying out the plan all at once would require a 9-mill increase at least.

The district held three informational meetings — July 13, August 1 and August 29 — for residents to learn about the project and ask questions.

"The last meeting went well," Stephens said. "There were good conversations."

He said the district is "very hopeful" the millage will pass, but "with any vote, the final outcome indicates the will of the people who voted."

"We’re encouraging everyone to get out and vote," Stephens said.

Early voting for the increase will continue weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sept. 12-18 at the Faulkner County Clerk’s Office located at 801 Locust Street in Conway.

On Election Day, Sept. 19, residents can cast their votes from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Friendship Baptist Church and First Baptist Church in Vilonia.

In addition to the millage proposal, early voting for the school board elections in Faulkner County has also started.

Amy Ferdowsian and Ron Hill are facing off for the open Conway Board of Education’s Position 4 seat, the only spot in Faulkner County which had opposition.

Early voting for the school board elections will continue weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sept 12-18 at the Faulkner County Courthouse and from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19 at the McGee Center and Don Owens Sports Center.