Fort Smith city management is trying to recoup over $150,000 in federal funds, loaned to a local non-profit back in 1998. The non-profit made the first annual interest payment of $1,500 in 1999, and that my friend was the last such payment to be made. There were supposedly to be 23 homes built, but only 3 were built. The director of community development, Matt Jennings says, “we’ve tried to work with the partners to try to come to some kind of solution”. Really? Really? Over 12 years and “we’ve tried to work with the partners to try to come to some kind of solution”? Give me a break!!
It would be interesting to know, where has the rental money gone during the past 13 years? In Fort Smith, do you actually think the taxpayers would be better off suing these partners? Wouldn’t the exorbitant attorney fees just add to the ultimate payment the taxpayers would have to repay? Didn’t we just have a similar situation with the partners of another non-profit, the failing Second Street Live, where the partners just walked away from their debt obligations and now the taxpayers are obligated through their property taxes?
Wasn’t it just months ago when Fort Smith city management dismissed a outstanding water trueup payment from the Van Buren for $253,000 because city management didn’t timely bill Van Buren?
The taxpayer of Fort Smith continues to subsidize the losses of between $700,000 and $1,300,000 a year at the convention center and A&P, without Mayor Sanders scaling down the two, to reflect expenses similar for private ventures?
And city management will probably ignore public opinion and authorize $1,090,000 for infrastructure expenses for a development of subsidized entry-level rental units on the Bailey Hill Reservoir. Director of FS Housing Authority, Ken Pyle estimates the units will cost approximately $164,000 each, yes, entry level RENTAL units costing $164,000 each. The median home sales price in Fort Smith the past 12 months is only $115,000.
Does anything ever change in Fort Smith? Is there really a competitive environment for the working class in Fort Smith? The citizens deserve much better. After all, these hardworking folks have had 3 water rate increases within the past 4 years and yes Jonesboro doesn’t charge for sanitation in their city, it is provided through the 8.5% sales tax. Fort Smith charges 9.25% sales tax and residents still pay $14 for trash pickup. So, anything going on new?