Walnut Ridge Mayor Charles Snapp told Talk Business & Politics he will seek a second term as the city’s mayor. Snapp, who first won election in 2014, will run against former Walnut Ridge Mayor J.R. Rogers.
“Now that I have a better idea of the progress that can be made with a united team effort, I’m ready to take it to the next level … Opportunities for growth, jobs and quality of life improvements are important, but more importantly the Walnut Ridge community now has the opportunity for a better future for our kids, grandkids and great-grandkids,” he said.
One of Snapp’s signature achievements during his first term was his successful push for a sales tax increase to pay for sewer and other infrastructure improvements. The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality has cited the city numerous times during the past several years for sewer system violations, and the city recently had to pay a $7,000 fine for non-compliance. ADEQ and the city agreed to a corrective action order (CAO) that includes a plan to repair the system.
In May, voters approved a three-eighths of a cent sales tax that will go directly toward the construction of a new treatment facility. It would sunset in 42 years. Another five-eighths of a cent increase was also approved and will be used for sewer and water system maintenance in compliance with the CAO, asphalt upgrades, sanitation and mosquito control.
If he is elected for another term, Snapp said he will focus on promoting the city’s airport. In terms of runway footage, the airport is the second largest in the state, he said. There are hundreds of acres adjoining the airport and it connects to U.S. 67. A project to complete the four laning of 412 from Walnut Ridge to Paragould is under bid, and it will only increase traffic that connects to Highway 67 once it’s complete.
Walnut Ridge is the county seat in Lawrence County and is its largest city with approximately 5,300 residents. It accounts for about half of the county’s sales tax base, and it has a total $0.10 per dollar sales tax. Each cent of local sales tax generated $884,000 in sales tax revenue in 2017. The city’s 2018 budget is about $2.3 million, and the city has 32 employees, a 20% decrease since Snapp took office in 2015. Snapp serves also as the city’s street and parks director, a previously salaried position.