Samuel Price files for Fort Smith At-Large Director post held by Tracy Pennartz

by Aric Mitchell ([email protected]) 1,277 views 

Samuel Price has announced his candidacy this November for the Fort Smith Board of Directors. Price will run for At-Large Position 5, the post currently held by Director Tracy Pennartz, who has yet to announce.

Price, 24, made the announcement via Facebook on March 16, declaring, “After much prayer, discussion and deliberation, I have decided to run for a Position on the City Board of Directors … In this role, I hope to encourage favorable changes to our city that can get us moving towards prosperity and away from mediocrity.”

Price continued: “I love this city, and I feel like I can improve it. Ghandi said we have to be the change we want to see, and I believed him. I implore anyone who is exhausted with the status quo and wants to see some enthusiastic change taking place to join me on this campaign.”

Price’s website lists five major issues he will address if elected to the Board, including an audit of city funds, renegotiation of the federal consent decree, lowering of utility costs, promotion of small business growth, and reconsideration of city-funded projects.

To the audit point, Price said his first act as city director will be to propose an audit of all city-funded programs, departments, and projects. “This will help us to determine and eliminate any waste or mismanagement of funds completely.” Of the consent decree, he feels it would be “unfair to burden the taxpayers with a problem that our city government has been kicking down the road since 1982. I will urge the Board of Directors and the City Administrator to look into having the decree renegotiated. Our citizens cannot afford to keep paying for yesterday’s mistakes.”

On a related note, Price addressed the resulting water and sewer bill increases, stating he would pursue “any and every option that we can muster up to relieve some of these bills for our citizens.”

“The water bill shouldn’t break the bank. We can do better. And we will,” he added.

Price’s plans to promote small business growth includes advocating for small businesses, promoting their creation, and “reducing the fee for any business that has been here for more than 15 years.”

Lastly, Price will turn an investigative eye towards all city-funded projects. “Fort Smith as a city has so much potential for greatness, and with every new addition, the citizens feel as though we’re on the precipice of a breakthrough. Unfortunately, due to questionable leadership and handling of funds, good intentions with bad directions, and falling wages combined with rising utilities, we can’t seem to get it right.”

Price’s idea is to “finish all of the city-funded projects that are already budgeted and accounted for. But until we finish the city-wide audit and get our finances under control, all new projects will be put on hold. Once the audit is finished, and we have a concrete plan on how to move forward with a balanced budget, we should start considering more projects.”

In his personal life, Price is married and has one child. He intends to obtain a degree in elementary education and hopes to teach at Tilles Elementary School, where he once attended. Price’s LinkedIn profile lists him as a department manager for McDonald’s and on pace to graduate from Colorado Technical University by 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management. Talk Business & Politics reached out to confirm those details, but as of Wednesday (March 21) had not received a response.

Following are announced candidates for the Fort Smith municipal races on the 2018 ballot. The filing period begins May 16 and ends May 31. The races will be decided in the November general election. A primary election will be held Aug. 14 if more than two people enter a race. If no one emerges from the primary with more than 50% of the vote, the top two vote-getters will move on to the Nov. 6 general election.

• Fort Smith Mayor
Luis Andrade
Rep. George McGill, D-Fort Smith

• Fort Smith City Director, Position 5, At-Large
Samuel Price

• Fort Smith City Director, Position 6, At-Large
Director Kevin Settle

• Fort Smith City Director, Position 7, At-Large
Neal Martin