Samuel Price, a candidate for Fort Smith At-Large Director Position 5, has released his “five pillars and priorities” as part of his campaign for the city post.
The upcoming Aug. 14 primary race pits Price against challengers Robyn Dawson and Libby Piatt. The position is held by Director Tracy Pennartz, who opted to not run for reelection at the conclusion of her term. Price listed a “top-down financial review,” taxpayer relief, renegotiation of the consent decree, support for police and fire departments, and roads and sidewalks as top priority positions.
Price believes the “top-down” review of each tax-funded service and department is necessary “in the spirit of complete transparency, as well as good, healthy practice to ensure the most effective appropriation of funds.” On the subject of taxpayer relief, he hopes to inquire “about finding some form of taxpayer relief, whether it be a tax cut or possibly charging less for some goods and services provided by the city.”
“The taxpayers in our city have been carrying the burden for a long time, and a lot of us are struggling to make ends meet. Finding relief will not only alleviate some (even if only a little) of that burden, but it would stimulate growth in our local economy,” Price said. He also believes renegotiation of the consent decree, something already being pursued by the city administration, is necessary to help control costs for Fort Smith residents.
“This almost half-billion dollar (estimated at $480 million) is the backbone behind our increased sewer rates and water bills and fighting to relieve some pressure from it would definitely work in our favor.”
Price also hopes to ensure the city’s police and fire departments “continue to receive lasting support so they can focus on keeping us safe and attending to our local emergencies.” Lastly, “Working with our local City Departments (Streets and Traffic, Parks and Recreation, Water and Waste, etc) and State Departments (Highway) to improve our infrastructure” will be a priority, specifically roads and sidewalks. “There are roads in the city that have not been attended to in some time. This does not fare well for the quality of life for our residents, or for the city’s business prospects, as major corporations look at infrastructure as one of the many qualifiers when deciding where to invest.”
Price believes with his priorities in place, Fort Smith will “escape the clutches of mediocrity” and head “down the path of success,” adding that as a city director, “I will address all relevant matters with the severity and importance necessary from the position.” Other local issues he hopes to bring attention to if elected include homelessness and poverty in the area, Sebastian County foster care issues, opioid abuse, senior care, and “the pet population problem.”
The last day to register for the At-Large Director Position 5 primary is July 16, with early voting starting a week ahead of election day on Aug. 7. The other two city director races — At-Large Director Positions 6 and 7 were decided on the last day of filing. Position 6 incumbent Kevin Settle automatically won reelection when the filing deadline (May 31) closed without opposition. Position 7 newcomer Neal Martin also won on deadline day after would-be opponent Jerry Avillion had 22 of his petition signatures invalidated, making his application ineligible for not meeting the required number of 50 registered voters.