May 13, 2014
To Conway’s City Council: On Budgeting
We’ve read over and over again about Conway’s budget woes for years now, and now we see where Conway’s City Council is hearing again from City departments about their urgent needs, which remain unmet despite the last few tax increases imposed on Conway citizens. You may remember the 2009 fiasco when Conway City general fund...
We’ve read over and over again about Conway’s budget woes for years now, and now we see where Conway’s City Council is hearing again from City departments about their urgent needs, which remain unmet despite the last few tax increases imposed on Conway citizens.
You may remember the 2009 fiasco when Conway City general fund and sanitation fund “miscalculations” led to the City having little or no operating funds after the Council and Mayor spent every dollar available.
So many citizens complained after that situation the Mayor formed a Task Force with recommendations for more sound financial practices from Conway, and David Crow of Conway served on that committee.
So, back in March when the City Council scheduled its budget meetings and asked for citizen input, Janet and David Crow sent a letter asking for consideration of some items we think are not unreasonable.
You’ll notice they remind the Council of the committee’s recommendations (the most important of which remain on paper and not implemented):
Mr. Mayor and Council,
Regarding input for the Council Retreat — we have a few. Thank you for giving citizens an opportunity to do that.
1) We would like to ask all Aldermen to do as Shelley (Mehl) and Wes (Pruitt) have done which is to schedule periodic meetings for the public in their Ward. We believe if the public is informed of the suggested meetings, twice annually, in advance they will come.
(Perhaps March and September — one an update on things that have occurred or planned, the other focused on budget matters). Most people do not even know who represents them! That needs to change.
2) We would like for Ronnie Hall to have more input on the street projects.
Could Ronnie submit a list of the streets that are in the most need if repair, overlay or restructuring? (Our lingo may not be correct!)
The list could be compared with the Aldermen’s list. I’d like to use Pippinpost as an example. Let me say, we have lots of great friends there…nothing against the neighborhood.
But, Pippinpost’s streets were resurfaced recently. The money could have been better utilized elsewhere on “needier” streets.
3) Would the Council consider meeting on Monday night? Conway School Board meets on the same night as the City Council.
4) Remembering the Christmas Tree fiasco — please commit to bidding out projects, particularly on projects over $20,000. The people felt like they were taken advantage of. We are sure that is not what any of you wanted.
5) Under separate email we will send a copy of Conway Citizen Task-force Resolution No. R-11-08. There are many items there that the Council should consider to streamline operations, improve funding and utilization of tax dollars and cut down on expenses.
Wes (Pruitt) and Mark (Ledbetter) may not have seen it.
Thank you for asking for citizen input.
Janet and David Crow
If you live in Conway you know how your costs keep going up and up, while the City continues to expand its “new urban” footprint via expensive bike trails, aesthetic downtown statues, park facilities, and new shopping/”lifestyle” centers that keep costing Conway money that’s needed elsewhere on basic needs.
(Yes, we understand how the A&P/hamburger tax is dedicated, yada yada, but we don’t see Conway following through on many financial promises made when previous tax increases were sold to the public as “essential to operations.”)
All the while potholes proliferate, trash and yard waste needs picking up, traffic backs up all around town, and long-time citizens’ safety is compromised because our police and fire departments are underpaid and short-handed, “making do” in some cases with outdated equipment.
When will the City of Conway begin living “within its means” and adequately provide for basic services before spending money for tomorrow with funds we already cannot afford today?