A nostalgic walk down the Avenue—evolving into an embarrassing spectacle July 19, 2017
“Never give a sucker an even break”—W.C. Fields, an expression practiced by the Fort Smith City Government and downtown insiders.
In the year 1985, citizens voted on and passed a 1% street/sewer tax which remains in force to this day. By 2010 the tax had generated $650 million, $200 million more than the recent and 3rd Federal Consent Decree issued to the city of Fort Smith by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
There has been no stated amount of revenue generated by the tax in the last 7 years, but it is fair to say in the ensuing 32 years the total amount could approximate $1 Billion that have fallen into city coffers by the 1% street/sewer tax. And “we the people” are the recipients of bad streets & a failed sewer system.
The most recent EPA mandate of $480 million, plus a $300,000 fine and 12 years to complete occurred in Dec. 2014, totaling 39 years of apparent malfeasance & misfeasance, absent sewer and ground water complete overhauls.
City Manager Carl Geffken now proposing to add another 12 years to the recent Federal Consent Decree, making a grand total of 51 years (1/2 century) of Fort Smith city government refusing to address the failed sewer & ground water deficiencies, while $1 Billion is unaccounted for they recklessly involve citizens’ money in meaningless, curious & unnecessary pursuits without citizens’ knowledge or permission, resulting in a change of the image of the city, likely for private personal gains including the recycling debacle ($52,000 monthly for 3 years) replete with no transparency, the Files/Webb Softball $2 million Complex fiasco (Manager Geffken wants “to move on”…but where is the accountability?), the bribe by Delta Dental to fluoridate Lake Ft. Smith against citizen wishes, citizens’ money poured into the nascent Marshal’s Museum, $700,000 yearly into the failed Convention Center, the Fire/Police Pension Fund shortage, alleged city business conducted surreptitiously by email, ad infinitum.
The Downtown private business owners have no legal, constitutional or moral authority to change the image of our city for private gain without a detailed public explanation and approval of their future intentions, e.g. “Propelling Downtown Forward”, no doubt detailed in their 113 page dossier that the downtown insiders plan to unleash on city citizens which was prepared by Dallas Gateway Planning. From the number of pages it is easy to see that the scope and magnitude of the downtown self-servers is huge.
Citizen insouciance, fear, and ignorance have and are allowing City Managers, Mayors & official Boards to exhibit and practice hubris and self-service while bathing in perfidy, making the citizens monkeys in the city government circus. If citizens arise and become implacable perhaps one will at least have a rail.
Currently City Manager Geffken and selected sidekicks are soon to be off to DC for another 12 year extension pitch attached to the recent 12 year EPA mandate and a little prime time…who pays? And remember, this translates into 51 years before any functional waste water/ground water safe disposal.
Where did the money go & who got it? Cut out the monkey business, downsize city government, stay out of downtown politics (boxcar graffiti, new age Urban Renewal, & Propelling Ft. Smith), and pay our legitimate bills.
At this point in time the present display of boxcar graffiti does in no way depict our city’s true long & varied history in any manner. Perhaps real history in the artists’ next presentation will be embraced.