All we hear in the news anymore in the Fort Smith Region is that businesses and industries are laying off people right and left in this area. We just don't hear that very many new businesses are hiring in the area. My personal belief is that the local directors should be held more accountable for the business shortfall in the area versus Northwest Arkansas.
I made a trip to Northwest Arkansas this last weekend and discovered that there is so many new businesses that has moved or is moving to NWA. The Fort Smith area has the population to support new business with the outlining towns just like NWA but nothing is being done in my opinion to drive these businesses down south.
I learned earlier this year, which most people don't know, is that when an industry or business is looking to relocate or expand to an area. They have a checklist to determine the viability of that area to support not only that business but to support the families that generally comes with that business. For example, say Business "X" is looking to build a new factory in Fayetteville. That business will look to see how they can ship products in and out of the area, Whether it has rail hubs, waterways, and/or air travel. But just as important they want to make sure that the employees they bring in from other areas have good schools,, churches, shopping, and activities for families. The list goes on and on. Which each business looks at the checklist differently but the principal is the same.
My personal believe is that towns such as Fort Smith are a business and should be treated as such. Where the tax-payers are the "OWNER" and it trickles down from there. Not where the town is "employee owned" to do as they please.
I am a lifelong resident of the Fort Smith area. I have seen over the years too many residents that have "power and money" that either work for the city and/or have friends as directors dictate how the city is to be run. Sometimes the beliefs of the one doesn't benefit the city as a whole. Like many has said, "we need more expensive funerals" before any change to city can happen. Which these folks instill their beliefs into their children and grandchildren.
So my proposal is that "all" municipalities directors should be held more accountable for their actions. For example, each month the Mayors should give a report to the community through the local news stations and City Wire of businesses and industries that have looked at the Fort Smith Region and determined that they would take their business to another area. As a tax-payer, I want to know WHY they went elsewhere.
Which I understand it is hard to satisfy every business's wants and needs. But if we see that there is specific items that are not being met. Then the directors can come to the public and let us know so maybe a resolution can be made. For example, if several businesses said that Van Buren didn't have enough rail hubs. Then maybe The City of Van Buren can divert more funds to the development of more rail hubs. But, it doesn't need to be that the rail hubs would be build in several years. It needs to be that the hubs would be built in a few months.
That helps to so the directors can go back to those companies and let them know the problem is being resolved quickly and that might sway them to relook at bringing their business to the Fort Smith Area. We basically don't need to take NO for an answer. If nothing else give them crazy tax incentives to relocate to this area. The region would benefit more from the revenue from the employees buying power versus the taxes from that one company. Granted, the revue from the purchasing the employees would do wouldn't add up as quickly as the tax revue quarterly generated from that company. But it would more of a steady income for the area.
Think about it. If business "X" would have built in the area. They would hire employees. Those employees would have to buy or rent homes in the area. They will have to buy groceries, cars, gas, clothes, and everything else a human needs to survive. This translate to money circulating in the area. Everyone wins, even business 'X" because they have happy employees. Then other businesses take notice and start relocating to the area.
If enough businesses or industries choose not to either locate in the Fort Smith Area or existing businesses decide to move from the area, Then as an owner of Fort Smith Area, we need to look at firing the directors and finding directors that can do their job or give them a cut in pay, Its just like any other business. If your manager (directors) doesn't so their job then you find someone that can or their cut their pay.
There isn't any reason that the Fort Smith Area doesn't have the opportunities that NWA has. As a tax payer Im tired of the good-o-boy system. Its time for change!!!!