Did you know the Declaration of Independence was a declaration freeing America from an oppressive government. Speaking of oppression, did you know this time last year after the city had tried to force a 1% PFTax onto the citizens, a grassroots group of citizens petitioned to repeal the ordinance and had to take their petitions to court. These citizens were not only served with subpoenas by policemen in SWAT type uniforms, driving big black SUVs, many were deposed at the city attorney’s office, all because they felt they had a right to vote on the tax? Did you also know the workers of Fort Smith have the lowest median household incomes than any of the surrounding, comparable cities? Did you know Fort Smith has a convention center and along with the A&P, loses approximately $1million a year while continually paying huge salary packages and huge expenses, but it is okay with Mayor Sanders? Did you also know that these same workers are forced to lease and operate a privately owned Ferris wheel? Did you know just recently that some very financially strong board members on the failing Second Street Live walked away from their debt obligations, forcing Fort Smith taxpayers the responsibility of paying for the Second Street Live through their property taxes? Did you also know the city didn’t give the citizens the opportunity to vote for “CITY sanitation” or “PRIVATE sanitation”? But we may get to vote for whether we want the “CITY” to provide us with “automated” or “manual” service. Isn’t it exciting, we may get to vote on how the city controls us? I’m still astonished at how Jonesboro on the other side of the state and has no interstate system, no navigable river, no convention center, no privately owned Ferris wheel, can be growing at 21% versus Fort Smith at 7%. Could it be Jonesboro has a lower sales tax at 8.5% versus Fort Smith at 9.25%? Could it be lower water rates, 7500 gallons of water usage costs Jonesboro residents $33.28 versus $69 for the same usage Fort Smith residents are charged. Jonesboro’s sanitation pickup is “FREE”, it is provided in the 8.5% sales tax, while in Fort Smith it costs an additional $13 a month per resident, which could amount to as much as $5,000,000 per year. Jonesboro has one 110 acre sports complex with 14 lighted tournament baseball fields, 18 soccer fields and another 40 acre softball complex with 10 lighted fields and has 2 “Miracle Fields” for the handicapped. We won’t mention the 690 acre city park in Jonesboro. Seems to me Fort Smith residents are scolded into making decisions to benefit city hall. Fort Smith residents pay more for essential services without receiving amenities other nearby cities have, while Jonesboro along with NWA appears to be trying to do the right thing for their working families and that makes a community a great place. Happy Independence Day!
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