As I consider the upcoming city sales tax election, a few things have struck me as interesting. One is the campaign messages from Maumelle Vision for the Future its list of contributors. It’s certainly not unusual for those who have something to gain to support an initiative, so it makes sense that Vision for the Future’s contributors are dominated by landowners and construction companies.
I understand boiling down your campaign message to something compelling and simple, but I think the Vision for the Future group may be offering a promise that may never be kept: “Fix Our Traffic.”
Will the proposed Interstate 40 interchange “fix our traffic?” I’m not sure that’s possible. I’ve written about our traffic for several years and when I spoke with the Arkansas Department of Transportation several years ago, they told me that Maumelle Boulevard feeds into Interstate 430, which has Interstate 30 feeding into it and they both combine to feed into Interstate 40 and so on. Those interstates can handle a certain amount of traffic and when they back up, they will back up all the way to Maumelle Boulevard.
If you’ve driven from Counts Massie Road to where it would connect to the proposed interchange, it’s a several-mile drive. I’m not sure anyone would divert their exit from the Boulevard to the interchange. It will most likely be fed by existing neighborhoods such as Country Club of Arkansas, apartment complexes and the proposed residential areas. So I can accept the premise that the proposed construction might “help alleviate or divert some of the traffic,” but I don’t think anything will “fix our traffic” with the exception of flying cars and mass transit.
They say the proposed sales tax increase will “improve public safety.” Not sure it’s relevant. We’re just moving money around from one pot to another. Yes, the proposal would eliminate the community service fee — which is basically a tax — and move it to another tax. But that would be borne by consumers both from within and outside Maumelle. Sharing the joy.
Will the proposed sales tax increase “Create new jobs?” Certainly it will create a ton of construction jobs for three or four years. How much after that? That will depend on the development that happens around the proposed interchange.
The second Town Hall meeting sponsored by Vision for the Future and the Maumelle Chamber of Commerce is set for Feb. 27 at 6 p.m. at First Baptist Church. I am told it will be more of a panel discussion but still allow for questions. It is sponsored by proponents of the tax so don’t expect it to be “balanced.” It’s their meeting and they will control the message. I have agreed to referee the event.
I will let you know how I plan to vote after the Town Hall meeting. At this point, I am undecided.
Alderman appointment coming up on Feb. 20
Don’t miss the City Council meeting this Monday, Feb. 20, as the potential applicants for the vacant Council position will be interviewed, with an appointment made that night. There is some potential for a skirmish or two.
The person who the Council appoints to Ward 2 Position 1 would serve until Dec. 31, 2020. The appointed person can run for the office in the future.
Finance office hit by thieves
I noticed Maumelle police officers gathered near the Maumelle office of the Department of Finance and Administration. They were taking pictures of the entry of the Pulaski County Assessor’s office, which is adjacent to the DF&A office. According to Maumelle Police Captain Jim Hansard, the thieves got away with about a hundred bucks in petty cash and a small check. I can’t help but wonder why in the world any criminal would pick those offices to hit? I think I would take a lifetime supply of the little stickers you need for your license plate renewal.
See you on the Boulevard.
Neal Moore is a public relations and advertising consultant and freelance writer. If you have a community concern, Maumelle news tip or if you’re just irritated about something, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter, @kneelmore.