Why Is FS's 2013 Budget TWICE the size of Fayetteville's

Could someone please explain to me why the $271.4 million, 2013 Budget for the City of Fort Smith is TWICE the size of Fayetteville’s 2013 Budget of $134.8 million?
 
It can’t be growth, because Fort Smith has been  growing at 7% the past 10 years, while Fayetteville has been growing at 27% the past 10 years. It can't be because Fort Smith is so much larger, because FS has only 8400 more in population. 
 
A Director may even want to know why, so please, some smart number cruncher, give us the answer, why?

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Average: 3.5 (14 votes)

Comments

Answer

The difference appears to primarily be due to capital improvements. Fort Smith has budgeted $107,264,983 for capital improvement projects while Fayetteville has only budgeted approximately 10% of that amount for capital improvements. Drive Fort Smith streets and then drive Fayetteville streets. You will see that Fort Smith streets are in much better repair and you will notice that Fort Smith has done a much better job of designing its streets. Fort Smith has very little traffic congestion while Fayetteville has horrible traffic congestion. Fayetteville's streets are so bad that they partnered with Little Rock and managed to convince the rest of the state recently to pass a sales tax, the proceeds of which will be utilized to improve the highways and main thoroughfares in and around Northwest Arkansas and Pulaski County. So in reality, Fayetteville's budget is as high as Fort Smith's, if not higher. The difference is that Fayetteville's major street projects are reflected on the Arkansas Department of Transportation's budget rather than their city budget.

You know, if you'd read the paper....

Article in the paper yesterday had this quote: "Fort Smith’s total budget is $216.8 million, of which $109.5 million is earmarked for operations and $107.3 million for capital investments that include voter-approved projects for the city’s fire and parks departments." Looks like the other half you are questioning is funds that the VOTERS approved for improvements.

State Rds and Budget of $271.4 million compared to $134.8 millio

I would say Fayetteville has the same amount of State Highways going through it as Fort Smith, which the state helps with, leaving the city streets to the city. My point is, it sure appears our capital improvements for the same amount of city streets appears to be 4 times what Fayetteville spends Also, the article in the paper yesterday appears to disagree with the FS City's own website on the 2013 Budget of $271.4 million total budget. It appears the paper was only $60 million off.

A Trip Through Fayetteville

Jack, I was traveling through Fayetteville and didn't see their water supply lakes, water treatment plants, landfill, convention center, and aquatic park. Could you tell me where these are located so that I can compare them with Fort Smith's services.

Traveler, I'm Glad You Get It.

Traveler, I’m not going to argue the points of why Fort Smith’s 2013 budget is $271.4 compared to Fayetteville’s $134.8 million. I’m just saying, for a city such as Fayetteville growing at 27% the past 10 years and only 8400 less in population, the difference sounds unbelievable. I’m not going to argue the points of why Fort Smith’s own website shows a 2013 budget of $271.4 and the SWTR and The City Wire report a 2013 budget of $216, or why the city left out the debt service, while Fayetteville budget did include their debt service.

Jack, there are two major

Jack, there are two major reasons Fayetteville has outpaced Fort Smith as far as growth is concerned. Walmart would have to be the biggest growth catalyst. Then comes the state's flag university being located there.

growth

sorry patrick but don't agree! fort smith has the beautiful arkansas river and a much better climate then fayetteville. fort smith has highway 40 that runs east to west the entire length of the country and is a major truck route. we should have had more development with these assets.

Growth

What makes you think the people of Fort Smith want to grow at the fast pace of Jonesboro and Fayetteville? BTW -- I heard from relatives in Jonesboro that a lot of their growth came from annexing hundreds of houses. If that's so, their growth isn't real.

jobs

its my opinion that the 25 thousand unemployed people in fort smith that would like to have a good job are praying for city growth and more employers that create jobs. if you are working then maybe growth is not important to you but to business people, growth is very important!

Happy Times Lies

Happy Times-why must you post blatant, outright lies. You know there are not 25,000 unemployed people in Fort Smith. The Fort Smith region has a 7.60% unemployment rate. The Fort Smith Region, which includes the entire Metropolitan Statistical Area such as Van Buren, Greenwood, Barling, Charleston, Cedarviell and many other cities with a population in excess of 300,000 people has 9,949 people unemployed. That is 151% fewer unemployed people than you stated. Your "yes boys" may allow you to make up numbers and tell lies but the rest of the world will call you out on your lies. Stick with the facts or stop posting. You embarrass yourself. Your lie is even more laughable given that the lead story on The City Wire today is the Fort Smith Region's economic analysis which gives the unemployment figures.

Jack, You're the One Who Doesn't Get It

Let me see if I understand this blog correctly, Jack. You begin the blog by comparing Fort Smith’s budget to the budgets of Fayetteville and Jonesboro. You then say you’re not going to argue the points of why Fort Smith’s 2013 budget is $271.4 million compared to Fayetteville’s $134.8 million. So, you want us to believe your conclusion that Fort Smith’s budget is bloated, but you’re not willing to consider what’s included or excluded in each community’s budget. Is that correct? If this isn’t correct, please tell us why you don’t want to argue the differences between the two cities budgets. You owe an apology to Fort Smith city’s CFO and to the TCW readers for lying to us. You said that Fort Smith’s budget left out the debt service. When I did a quick review of the city’s budget online, I found at least 3 references that show the debt service is included in the budget. On page 24 (32 of the pdf file), there’s a statement that 11.4% of the total uses in the budget are for debt. On pages 43 and 46, which are comparative summary statements, it clearly shows debt payments of $30.8 million and total expenditures of $270.8 million. Please explain to us how you arrived at the conclusion that Fort Smith’s budget left out debt service. Your credibility is at stake here.

Traveler, Glad You Get It, Can You Help Explain?

Traveler, as a self-employed, full time working taxpayer of Fort Smith, I am confused on what is the total budget numbers for 2013. The city’s own website shows a budget of $271.4 million. The city’s website shows Capital Expenses at $107.7 million, $110.1 million for Operating Expenses, $30.8 million for Debt Service and $22.8million for “Other”. In Sunday’s SWTR, under the headline, “It’s Numbers-Crunching Time”, the article gives the total budget of $216.8 million, $109.5 million for Operations, $107.3 for Capital Expenses. Then in a article written by TCW, the headline reads, “ FS Board OKs $216 million budget”. I don’t remember seeing anything about the $30.8 million for Debt Service and the $22.8 million for “Other”? I did note in Fayetteville’s $134.8 million budget, they included the $20 million debt service in their budget. So Traveler, is the 2013 budget $271.4 million or $216.8 million? And can you explain the the differences? Links of interest http://www.fortsmithar.gov/Finance/files/8_2013%20Proposed%20Budget.pdf http://www.accessfayetteville.org/government/budget/documents/annual_budget/2013_PROPOSED_BUDGET_FINAL.pdf http://www.jonesboro.org/documents/2012%20Budget/2012_Budget.pdf To; Uniform man, sorry, I meant to say, the 4 directors did not honor the low competitive bid, in regards to the uniform bidding process
Traveler, as a self-employed, full time working taxpayer of Fort Smith, I am confused on what is the total budget numbers for 2013. The city’s own website shows a budget of $271.4 million. The city’s website shows Capital Expenses at $107.7 million, $110.1 million for Operating Expenses, $30.8 million for Debt Service and $22.8million for “Other”. In Sunday’s SWTR, under the headline, “It’s Numbers-Crunching Time”, the article gives the total budget of $216.8 million, $109.5 million for Operations, $107.3 for Capital Expenses. Then in a article written by TCW, the headline reads, “ FS Board OKs $216 million budget”. I don’t remember ...>> Read the entire comment.

Wal Mart & U of A

How long has Wal-Mart and the U of A been located in the Fayetteville area (NWA). I am thinking that they have been there much longer than 10 or even 20 years.

Better question

Better question: how much have both Wal-Mart and UA grown in the last 10-20 years? Virtually all the WMT suppliers arrived after 1992. Enrollment at UA has almost doubled in 20 years. We could certainly learn a lot from Fayetteville in terms of city planning and general open-mindedness, but to pretend like they haven't benefitted enormously from being in the shadow of one of the world's largest corporations and the state's largest college is silly.

Patrick, Jonesboro doesn't, But Grows at 22%, Duh!

Patrict, Jonesboro doesn't have a interstate system, a riverfront, a convention center....all the amenities our experts tell us are needed for growth, but Jonesboro has grown 22% the past 10 years versus Fort Smith's 7%. I think Tuesday nights board meeting is a prime example of why Fort Smith's growth has been stunted when compared to all the other nearby, comparable cities.. lack of a competitive economy. Kevin Settle, Andre Good, Steve Tyler and Don Hutchings all voted not to honor the winning bidder, even though there was a 30 day out clause for non-compliance in the contract. For whatever reason, this type of business climate has become the norm in Fort Smith
Patrict, Jonesboro doesn't have a interstate system, a riverfront, a convention center....all the amenities our experts tell us are needed for growth, but Jonesboro has grown 22% the past 10 years versus Fort Smith's 7%. I think Tuesday nights board meeting is a prime example of why Fort Smith's growth has been stunted when compared to all the other nearby, comparable cities.. lack of a competitive economy. Kevin Settle, Andre Good, Steve Tyler and Don Hutchings all voted not to honor the winning bidder, even though there was a 30 day out clause for non-compliance in the contract. For whatever reason, this type of business climate has become the ...>> Read the entire comment.

Convention Center

Jack-Jonesboro city administration does in fact believe that it needs a convention center. It is in the beginning phases of building one.

Conv Center Maybe, Obligate The Citizens, No

Jonesboro may get a convention center, but it sure won’t obligate the taxpayers, like the one in Fort Smith.. The Mayor of Jonesboro, (Jonesboro has a Mayor/Council form of government), stated the A&P would have to purchase the land through the Hotel tax the A&P receives in Jonesboro and then contract with a private company to build and operate the convention center. The mayor of Jonesboro has said he would not obligate the citizens of Jonesboro for such a project. I think that is pretty noble leadership.

the one that would have saved ONLY $5,000 a year

and was not the choice of ANY department that was polled about the choice of uniform. Companies have complete and full right to choose a "comparable" bid if the quality is higher or there is an overwhelming request by the employees for one choice over another. Finally, jack, if you don't like Fort Smith so much, then really you've got three options. 1. Run for council yourself. I've yet to see your name on the ballot. 2. Move to Jonesboro, because according to you that is the be-all, end-all town in Arkansas, or 3. get involved in a community focus group. All of your whining is helping the system, it's just idle comments on a message board that honestly, are getting old.

Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 12/06/2012 - 8:57am.

I know to many $5000.00 isn't much money but on the other hand it's a lot to many.

It's complicated

Simplistic ideas on economic growth are too shallow. The year 1960 is an example. In that year Norge announced that a new plant would be built in Fort Smith and the Corps of Engineers announced the construction of Beaver Lake would begin. At the same time Sam Walton was in the early stages of what would become Walmart and John Tyson was starting what would grow into a world class protein producer. Fort Smith was projected to become a major industrial center. Bentonville was basically a bucolic little community and Fayetteville a sleepy little college town. What changed? Why the growth in NWA and not here as projected? I am of the opinion that it was the lake, the university and young new business and economic leaders who shared a vision. It has also been an influx of people from outside the region bringing fresh perspectives and tearing down barriers from the past. Why do I thing the lake had anything to do with it? For one thing no town in NWA has to consider expanding their water resources. They did not have to build a new dam. Uncle Sugar did it for them. We had the same opportunity with Pine Mountain but the leadership in Fort Smith said no thanks. The recreation provided by the lake and the jobs that go with it are important as well. Fort Smith put all its eggs in the industrial basket. Globalism and outsourcing doomed that and with no plan other than doing more of the same Fort Smith has lost ground and lost our energetic young people who move away for opportunity. Bottom line is that Fort Smith is going to have to continue to spend more on infastructure and amenities in order to attract new people with new ideas. We need a new mind set and a vision. Jack's theme that low taxes equals prosperity is dead wrong but no leaders have come forth with a vision so that they could actually lead us somewhere. All of this was covered in the Tip Strategies report that was ignored.
Simplistic ideas on economic growth are too shallow. The year 1960 is an example. In that year Norge announced that a new plant would be built in Fort Smith and the Corps of Engineers announced the construction of Beaver Lake would begin. At the same time Sam Walton was in the early stages of what would become Walmart and John Tyson was starting what would grow into a world class protein producer. Fort Smith was projected to become a major industrial center. Bentonville was basically a bucolic little community and Fayetteville a sleepy little college town. What changed? Why the growth in NWA and not here as projected? I am of the opinion that it was the ...>> Read the entire comment.

Shouldn't "Competitve Bids" Be Honored?

In a "competitive" bidding process, I feel the low bid should be honored. It is my understanding the contract had a 30 day clause. If for some legitimate reason, the city could give a 30 day notice and break the contract.

competitive bids

if they call it a competitive bid then thats what it is and low bid is the winner! if there are strings attached, then those "strings" should be clearly identified by the person requesting the bids before the bidding process is started. it just gives the whole process a tainted smell when conditions are added at the end of the bidding cycle.