Many of you have written, inquiring about the results of the A&P tax in Searcy. In short, it was a rear-kicking:
That’s a margin of about 14% (I predicted a larger defeat than the last go around, which was 10%, and said the margin could be as much as 16-18 points).
(Sorry for being so slow to the party here — I was up until early Wednesday morning doing live election coverage for The Arkansas Project and have been quite busy since, prepping for the upcoming general assembly and traveling for work)
I’ll have more analysis of the tax election in the coming days, but let me just say here now, as I told the folks on Newstalk 99.1 FM on Tuesday night:
I hope the city gets the message. I hope they can finally realize that the people of Searcy do not want the A&P tax — not now, not ever.
I’ve been saying this for years — they have called me crazy, accused me of being “against the children,” blah blah blah. But guess what? I’m right. The people of Searcy have affirmed this once again. Unfortunately, as I predicted on the radio, the fight is probably not over. The hosts were shocked by this statement — “This is a settled issue,” the said. But, the very next morning, Alderman Don Raney apparently left the door open to another run at the tax in his post-election interview with the local paper.
I’m not trying to be a sore winner. For whatever reason, there is a fairly large faction in this city that now thinks that the city is now doomed and their children’s futures are doomed because higher taxes have not been forced upon the people of Searcy. Scarily, they seem to think my fiscal conservatism poses a greater threat to threat to their children’s’ future than Obama does. If you hold these viewpoints, please seek psychiatric help immediately.
But here’s the really scary part: A failed city council candidate with a WordPress account is now more in touch with the people of Searcy than the 8 city alderman, who voted for the tax, and the mayor.
This is a problem that needs a solution. A serious disconnect exists between the people of Searcy and their “leaders.” It’s (past) time to start working to bridge this divide.
More analysis (and perhaps a few samples of recent hate mail) to come!
Nic Horton, Editor
I drove by Sidney Deener school this evening around 8:00 p.m. The aforementioned pro-A&P tax sign (pictured right) was no where to be found.
No word if the sign that was being displayed at Southwest Middle School is still up or not. If someone goes by there, let me know if you spot it.
I know of at least one concerned citizen that read my earlier story about these signs that were apparently on public property and contacted Searcy Public Schools directly. On the eve of this pivotal election, what a great reminder of the power of citizen engagement. You can make a difference; you can hold your government accountable.
If you haven’t voted yet, there is still plenty of time. Arkansas voters, visit http://www.VoterView.org to see where you vote.
If you’re thinking about voting for the latest Searcy tax proposal, you should know that you apparently won’t be voting for improvements to the city pool–which, in my estimation, is the impression that most Searcy voters are under (the last A&P tax was proposed to fund the previous mayor’s pet project, an aquatic center, and the most recent proposal was preceded by city officials bemoaning the need for pool improvements in the local paper).
The Parks & Rec committee has apparently released a list of projects they would like to pursue with the A&P money over the next five years. Maybe I am missing something, but I do not see any pool improvements listed. From the paper:
The tax is forecasted to bring in $971,392.68 in one year, based on five months of 2009 A&P revenues. The tax does not have a sunset.
For the first five years, the large projects are as follows:
Year one: Sports complex expansion with land acquisition and development.
Year two: Expansion and development of the bike trail
Year three: Riverside Park expansion
Year four: New park development
Year five: Soccer complex drainage.
Undoubtedly, someone will rebut my comments here by claiming this list is not extensive. I’ll concede that point. But don’t you think that, if the pool repairs were of highest priority, it would be listed?
This whole thing is one big mess. The city passed this tax without listing any specific projects, but knowing full well that people would assume it was for pool improvements. Now, this list comes forth, without any pool repairs listed? It’s almost as if the city council had to pass the A&P ordinance before they could find out what it was going for (reminds me of another one of my favorite politicians).
Many of you may have been willing to pay for pool improvements, but are any of the things on this list so vital that you still support a cumulative 4% tax increase?
And take a look at Year Four: a new park? We can’t afford the parks we have, which is why we need this new tax, so if we get it, we are going to build MORE parks, which we also will not be able to afford!
They also expect us to believe that raising these sales taxes and spending all of this money on parks will magically attract businesses and new residents to Searcy.
More mismanagement by Searcy officials, facilitating more distrust in Searcy voters.