We got a letter from City of Bryant Planning Commission over the weekend. This is the first letter we have from them even though they refer to previous notifications ( "a few months ago") to residents in our area. This letter explains the "Ballot Annexation Update" from their side of the fence. I found the letter to be very clear on the voting explanation; when and where. I wish that we had known earlier of their public hearing. The last paragraph of this letter explains their proposed Service Plan for extending full municipal services to all the area to be annexed within the first year and then within the third year time frame. All of these promises come "without the need to raise or add taxes to any newly annexed property owners or the citizens of Bryant." In my years of being a voter I have learned that when a politician says "NO NEW TAXES" that is when we need to be very afraid. It is always not a true statement even though they may wish it to be the fact. I just thought that this letter was very interesting. I wonder who got our previous letter....huummmm...... Pam
The Bryant Planning Coordinator, LaVenia Jones says; "We... had no chance to set up those kind of informational meetings as we typically do."
I live in the salem annexation area that Bryant is currently seeking. I do not wish to belong to any city or organization that wants to take you in by force. I am wondering how many people in the remaining area that Bryant and Benton are arguing over will vote against this annexation in September. Will this website and Salem residents not pursued by Bryant or Benton still support and defend now the much smaller number of residents that is in the proposed annexation? If this area gets annexed then Bryant/Benton will be that much closer in annexaing the remaining area that is so much controversy and disapproval. I am asking for all areas of Salem to stand up and fight.Vote NO to Bryant. PLEASE HELP MAKE THIS A SUCCESS.
Donny and Denise Beavert, Salem Resident
Yes, the web site and many of your neighbors are still supporting you.
Jim and I are at the end of Stonehedge Trail, our property backs up to Hurricane Creek. We like it down here and hope we can maintain life as we know it. This area still includes us. I see the tacticts that are taking place by both cities. They think they are putting this over on the folks. Yet, we may ultimately get annexed by someone but we won't go willingly. We may be the last house on our dead end road but we like it here and want to stay in the county, NO CITY for us.
I am very excited that the protests from the Salem community were heard and were able to ward off the city of Benton - at least for now. I live on Gilbert Road in Salem, particularly the "North Lake Area" that Bryant wants to annex. Our household strongly opposes the annexation proposals from Benton and Bryant. Considering the success of the protests from the Salem community, I wondered if you might be able to tell me how to protest the Bryant annexation. Obviously, there aren't as many people living in the North Lake Area, but we want to get the word out before the election.
Sincerely, William and Shanna Raper
I was just looking over the 'press release' by benton City Council. The date of this is not clear. One thing is still clear to me, and that is that they are still saying one thing and doing the oposite . An excerpt of the press release is:
"However, residents in the Salem Community, in particular, have been passionate that they do not want to be annexed. So at the July 14th Council meeting, the Benton Council acted in response to the wishes of residents in the area and passed an ordinance repealing the planned August 12th election. Holland added, "Even though we thought it would be beneficial to the residents of both areas, we care about what people in the Salem community think. We would prefer not to force anyone to come into Benton." "
REALLY? Then why persist in this Socialistic style 'takeover'? They "prefer not to force anyone" so don't force us.
We were flabbergasted to say the least to receive notice that we are in the area that is in the annexation plans of both Bryant and Benton. We are surrounded by pastures on all four sides and can not see in any way why we would be annexed unless they are seeing visions of dollar signs from possible subdivisions being formed from the pastures.
Jack and Arlene Porter
Tracy Elliott & committee, I thank you and all the committee members who are being so diligent for all of us. You all are doing a fantastic job and I am impressed. I am sorry that we missed your visit when you were visiting the neighbours on Stonehedge last month. Perhaps we were not at home at that time.
I did take my sign and place it on my property on Brandon Rd. in Bryant. Since we are the last house on Stonehedge I thought it would get more traffic there. I hope you all know that we will be voting NO to both cities so I wanted to put the sign where it would possibly be seen more often and in the city limits of Bryant.
I noticed that some of you who attended the Bryant City Council meeting had tee shirts. I was thinking of making me a tee shirt that said in big bright letters VOTE NO on both sides. Could this be a fund raiser for the committee? I would wear this tee shirt and be a walking billboard for the 'cause'. Perhaps others would do the same. Just an idea.
Thank you again for everything you all are doing for all of us. If I can be of assistance please contact me.
Pam, Thank you for the very nice email. We definitely will also be voting NO to both Benton and Bryant. We are planning to have another meeting at the church in mid September. We need to remind everyone to call all the people they can in Benton asking them to go to the polls and vote NO.. Shirley Plant did that when the original August election date was set and she had good responses. Charlotte and I have already been speaking to people we know that live in Bryant and some have agreed to let us put a Vote No sign in their yards a couple of weeks prior to the November general election.
Moving the Bryant election to November does hurt us, in my opinion, because more people will be out voting, making our chances of turning Bryant down slimmer.
I have spoken with Mayor Holland and he is still willing to call off the annexation to Benton if Bryant will. However, Mayor Mitchell has made it very clear that he has no intentions of pulling us off the ballot for the November election. I understand there are some underlying issues so how would we really know who is right or wrong. Bottom line is we are wanted by both cities and it is appears it is nothing more than a power struggle between the two cities. Neither one of these cities can afford to provide us with anything we don't already have and most importantly, we have asked for nothing from either of them. Both cities have sales taxes on utilities, franchise taxes on utilities, including phones and cable TV, higher property taxes, zoning and building restrictions, lease laws, etc.
Not hard to convince me that I do not want to be in the city limits.
Larry Szurgot at Applied Graphics made the Tee Shirts for us. He is charging only $3.00 per Tee Shirt. We took several to the Bryant meeting and sold all we had. You can contact him direct and he will make you some. 794-1619 or 847-0707
Thank you again for your show of support. Tracy Elliott
Hello everyone, I was looking at this "A Community for One Bryant" pdf document. Have any of you seen this one? On page 20 of 21 I saw this:
Annexation Cons from the City's Point of View
Jim made a point earlier when we were discussing this once again. The Little Rock boundaries are getting closer and closer to our north. Just a few miles to our north there are many subdivisions going in and they will be paying taxes, needing city services, etc. And so it goes. Thanks for letting me rant. Pam
I read the same Powerpoint Presentation. I would have loved to see the actual presentation of this to a group of citizens. The Laughing should have been something to witness. If you read between the lines, you will notice everything drips of pure arrogance. This Q & A PDF is good if you need a laugh.
I saw that the time for filing for election and re-election is here (Benton I think). Do we know yet who has filed? There will be LOTS of NOs being cast at the Nov. 4th General Elections I hope. I want to keep up with who is running for these offices. Has anyone heard if there will be some sort of a public forum for these candidates? It is time to focus some or a lot of our attentions toward the upcomming city elections.
BLESSINGS to all
I have attached a letter soliciting campaign contributions for my reelection. I realize that the letter is addressed to Citizens of Benton, but I feel that this election is also about the growth of our city and I want to continue to fight for friendly annexation that is beneficial for all the current citizens and future citizens of our great City. If you don't mind forwarding this to any folks that might consider my campaign worthy, I would appreciate it.
Alderman Greg White
|An edited version of the letter appears here. You can view the entire letter. Alderman White has voted against some annexation proposals, and was probably one of the most outspoken proponents of canceling the August 12 Salem Community annexation proposal.|
Benton, Ar. 72015
Dear Citizen of Benton,
I have always put the citizens concerns ahead of the administration's wants. This was most evident in my public stance against annexation. I believe that when a city seeks to annex a territory, it must consider all the costs involved to the current citizens. This administration was only concerned with the new "tax base" and not the problems that we have not addressed for our current citizens.
I write you today to ask for your support in my battle with "Good Ole Boy" politics and the status quo of Benton's city government. It seems that I have caused enough strain on this system that I have drawn an opponent for my re-election bid...
I pledge to continue to push for the citizens rights on all fronts of city legislation. As most of you know, it is not the money that one gets paid to serve on the City Council that drives a person to want to serve. It is the calling of what one believes that he or she can do to make a positive change in our City.
I am asking that if you find it possible to support my campaign financially, it would deeply be appreciated. But more importantly, I need your vote on November 4 to continue our push for progressive change in Benton's City government.
Alderman Greg White
hgwhite at swbell.net
Questions from Charles Young for Alderman White:
Q. You say you are against annexing large areas due to the cost of providing services. Your view seems to be in the minority. I wonder if you think it is fair that people in the areas to be annexed have no real say in the matter since they are so outnumbered by people in the city who can override the votes of the few?
A. The court case with Salem Water Users has determined that Benton has the responsibility to basically buy out those water contracts if we annex any area served by those associations. I do understand that voting by a city vs. the few citizens of an area to be annexed is somewhat contradictory to our freedoms in the USA. But, the majority of citizens of Benton would vote against the annexation if the truth was told as to what expense is necessary to actually service the areas. The Public Safety Report brings to light some of those expenses. The citizens of Benton will probably have to adopt an increase of sales tax in order to accommodate expanded Police and Fire protection. If a potential tax increase is tied to the annexation vote, I would wager that most of Benton's citizens are against that at this time.Q. Why do you suppose that a growing city like Conway can completely avoid forced annexations by election, and simply grow by voluntary annexation and in some cases island annexation? Why couldn't Benton do the same?
Also, as I have made you aware, Benton utilities is seeking another rate increase in sewer and water. These increases are largely due to predicted expansion needs. It may be a time for the brakes to be put on in our utility department as far as expanded services if we cannot do these expansions without additional burden on our citizens. A clear message of costs would probably deter the citizens of Benton from voting on annexation.
A. The city of Conway has used utility investments to upgrade their city with amenities that attract annexations on a voluntary basis. These include reduced electric rates, high tech infrastructure such as broad band, recycling with reduced sanitation costs, and even well kept streets and very few drainage problems. They are able not only to attract new citizens but also large industrial companies. A friend of mine is a contractor up there and as he develops new subdivisions, he is required to notify the unincorporated citizens of his intent and work with them to consider annexation at the time of his development's annexation. Unlike, Benton, where all we are concerned with is new development, the city of Conway forces new development to take into consideration all the affected area. Obviously, their impact fees cover those expenses.
We went to a 20/20 meeting Tuesday night, 8-19. It was a brain storming session hosted by the Bryant Chamber of Commerce. The next and last meeting is Thursday 8-21 at 6 pm in the police & fire training facility at 312 Roya Lane. We need people to go to it and voice all the problems they have had or will have with annexation. You can't just say no to annexation, you tell them all the little things that they didn't think about. They want the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for Bryant. There is a time limit for each item.
Comments before Benton canceled the large Salem area annexation scheduled for August 12, 2008
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