Tuesday, December 20, 2011

In Black and White for Deaf Ears

Should non-profit organizations and churches be counted as "new business" when reporting economic development? There is no tax revenue from them.  Should businesses that have been around for years, such as Acambaro and Well House Tavern be included in a list of new business for 2011?  Well, if you're Perry Webb reporting on all the great things he has done for the City of Springdale, you would.  He goes so far as to toot his own horn by listing every Red Box location as a new business. 


Reporter/Chamber of Commerce Cheerleader, Steve Caraway didn't give his readers a complete picture of what Kathy Jaycox actually said to the deaf ears and thick skulls of the Springdale City Council on December 13.  


If you don't want to suffer through an hour of listening to the city council meeting to find out what was said, you can read a transcript of Jaycox's statement.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Keep Sprouse Out of the Real Estate Business


The City Council discussed another brilliant proposal by Mayor Doug Sprouse on Tuesday (12/13/11). Sprouse proposed selling the Criminal Investigation Division building and buying a different building, owned by Dave Chapman. Chapman has graciously agreed to sell the building at a price set by a new appraisal. An earlier appraisal valued the building at $530,000.
There is some concern that the city can’t recoup its investment if it sells the Blair Street building.
“We were told we had to have this building when we purchased it,” said Alderman Eric Ford. “Now we don’t need it and are trying to sell it.”
The city bought the Blair Street building in 2004 for $300,000 and has spent $175,000 on renovations.
“We won’t get what we’ve put into it,” said Alderman Mike Overton.
I personally would like to propose that Mayor Sprouse restrain himself from making any more real estate deals with his buddies. 
While pondering this, I have come up with a more cost-effective plan for the city's shortage on space.  
The city is currently considering revoking the business license for the downtown landmark  Sunrise InnThe Mayor could just kick out all the mini meth lab operations and...  ta-da!  New building, more space and all on the cheap. Everyone in the city could have their own office and the Mayor could oversee his little kingdom all in one spot without having to walk anywhere.
The only downside I can see is how to make this benefit Chapman. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Corruption Will Continue

We have known for quite some time that there is only one member of the Springdale City Council that has enough nerve to question the good ol' boys' status quo in this town.  


This is not the first time the Springdale Chamber of Commerce has been questioned about not providing adequate documentation to the city for how they spend taxpayer money. 

On Tuesday night (12/13/11), Alderwoman Kathy Jaycox proposed establishing a committee to see that the Chamber provides the invoices for their expenditures as they have promised - and failed - to do for years.
“The city paid the chamber $227,000 this year,” Jaycox said. “I doubt the accuracy of the numbers presented by the chamber. We need more accountability and transparency from them.”
What does Perry Webb have to say about being questioned again?  Not much, of course.  He claims to receive all figures from the city clerk's office. What he fails to mention is that he is the one telling the city clerk who and what to pay. 


Webb isn't worried, he has the mayor and the remaining council members willing to look the other way.  Webb seemed more concerned with which committee he is going to get Mayor Sprouse to increase next and it won't matter anyway, Webb controls all three.
“The A and P contract has not been raised since 1996 and the public facilities contract hasn’t been raised since 1998,” Webb said.
And just like the last time Mrs. Jaycox requested invoices from the Chamber of Commerce, no other member of the City Council said a word.  They're perfectly content giving our money to Webb to do whatever he pleases.


Watch the video of the 12/13/11 council meeting HERE (When/if they decide to publicize it)


Thursday, July 28, 2011

IF YOU BUILD IT...THEY WILL GO SOMEWHERE ELSE

Well, it's official. As Webb so eloquently put it, Springdale has transformed from people raising chickens and a bunch of hillbillies to the forefront of the corporate world!

No, wait.  Here we are in the middle of the fourth season of Arvest Ballpark and we are still waiting for some signs of development. I guess we're still a bunch of hillbillies raising chickens.

While Perry Webb is sitting in a sitz bath in Hot Springs and Mayor Sprouse is on yet another holiday in Destin, the local media has announced that the long-anticipated arrival of Cabela's in Arkansas is on the horizon...in Rogers. Yes, the neighbors to the north win again.

A master plan for the area is in the works, Webb said, and Springdale must be well positioned when a "destination" retailer such as Cabela's or Bass Pro Shops comes calling. "We have changed the horizon," Webb said. "We've done a good job of lining up the dominoes and the first will fall the night we open the ballpark. People are now seeing the vision.
I guess this is the return on investment the taxpayers are getting for the $50,000 raise Sprouse gave Webb this year. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

ZIP, ZILCH, NADA, Nothing...

The city of Springdale did not issue a single new commercial building permit in the second quarter of 2011.

What a return on your investment, folks.

Just consider for a moment that the city gives the Springdale Chamber of Commerce $200,000 annually for economic development.  Mayor Sprouse seems to have a real generous nature towards his traveling companions since this is more than Little Rock gives their chamber - a city with almost three times the population of Springdale.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

I Wanna Ride in Your PINK CADILLAC



Who needs a mechanic?  In Springdale, you can rebuild a car in your driveway...and leave it there for months.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Webb Wins Another Windfall

Darrell and his other brother Darrell have proposed a hotel/motel tax increase for the abundance of fine hotels in Springdale. But if you think that's funny, wait until you hear that this tax would land directly in the lap of none other than Perry Webb via the Advertising and Promotion Commission.
The City Council ordinance committee voted Monday to send a proposed raise of 0.5 percent to the council’s July 5 meeting. A tax increase, if approved, would boost the rate from 1.5 percent to 2 percent. A council vote is all that is required to increase the tax.
We have figured out what the A and P does with our money.  Perry gives it to CJRW and his useless Chamber, and conducts lots of surveys.  There is just no end to the variety of ways the man has come up with to line his own pockets.
Hotel-motel taxes, as well as restaurant taxes, would go to the city’s Advertising and Promotion Commission by state law, said Jeff Harper, city attorney... The council could ask for the money to be spent according to its request, but could not require the commission to do so, Harper said.
How convenient. If we're lucky, the money will be used to put in more fake slot machines at local convenience stores. You might as well put your money in one of those as trust Perry and Pals will do anything different than what they have done with your money in the past. SQUAT.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Landscape of Backus Street

Is this Springdale's downtown shopping district?  This trendsetting landscape of tick flowers and a shopping cart was reported to Springdale Code Enforcement in April 2011.  Each week I anxiously await new additions such as the antique coffee table.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mayor Gives Himself a Bonus

I am certainly not surprised that the Springdale City Council voted unanimously to pass the proposed bonuses for full-time employees.

I am also not surprised that "reporter" Steve Caraway failed to even mention the council held a separate vote on whether or not to give the bonus to four elected officials.

In a 7-1 vote (Alderwoman Kathy Jaycox was the only no vote), the city council approved Sprouse's recommendation to give himself, the City Clerk, the City Attorney and the District Judge a bonus.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Gravy Train

The Springdale City Council is meeting tonight and is expected to approve Mayor Doug Sprouse's recommendation of giving a $600 bonus to all full-time city employees.

In his typical fluffy style, Chamber Cheerleader Caraway of the Morning Snooze, tries to make it sound more appealing by saying the money is mostly going to police and firefighters. Who wouldn't want to give our men and women in uniform a bonus or a raise? The reality is the $294,000 bonus money is NOT going mostly to police and firefighters. Attorneys, judges and our beloved code enforcement officers will all be collecting a check too.

Everyone likes to feel appreciated and most people deserve to get a bonus once in a while, but when I look around Springdale, I don't feel quite so generous.

I would urge the hard-working employees of the City of Springdale to start questioning where their pay raise was really spent.


(The back door of Springdale's Code Enforcement)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Just the Good Ol' Boys...Never Meanin' No Harm

It is no secret Springdale is governed by a longstanding good ol' boy buddy system.  But then you already knew that, so it should come as no surprise to read another Caraway fluff piece on Mayor Sprouse sending Springdale employees to a class that will be taught by Bob Arthur.

What Caraway and the Mayor fail to mention are the qualifications required to earn $16,800 for teaching people how to be nice.

As is the norm around here, you can smell the conflict of interest miles away.  Bob Arthur just happens to be Springdale's Planning Commissioner President and claims to be on the Business Network International Leadership Team of the useless Chamber of Commerce. Shocking.

I have also confirmed that a real talent out of Fayetteville offered to teach these classes for FREE, but was turned down. Even more shocking.

Beats all you ever saw, been in trouble with the law since the day they was born...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Code Enforcement 101


This notice was posted on the front door of an unsightly residence in Springdale on May 9, 2011.  I took the picture nearly a month later on June 7. The notice was faded from having been hanging in the sun for so long, but nothing on this property had been cleaned up.

How long does it take Springdale's Code Enforcement officers to follow up?

Get someone out there to clean it up, and send the owners the bill.  If that doesn't work, slap a lien on the property. What are you waiting for? A bonus from the mayor, perhaps?

Stay tuned for a series of photos relating to code violations taken in and around the fine city of Springdale...  for your viewing pleasure.





Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Springdale Cashes In

Springdale is cashing in on their higher percentage of immigrants and the increased revenue they receive after the 2010 census. Mayor Doug Sprouse knows exactly what he plans to do with the windfall.

Sprouse presented a proposal to the so-called "Finance Committee" (which by the way is just the current city council members), that the money be used to to give city employees a $600 bonus. What possessed Sprouse to hand out bonuses at the same time we are the only city in the area showing decreased sales tax revenues is beyond me.

According to Wyman Morgan, the increased census revenue will total $336,000 and the cost of the proposed bonuses would be about $294,000. No word yet on Sprouse's plans for the remaining $44,000, but I'm sure the Chamber of Commerce has their hands out.

The NWA Regional Planning Commission is currently working on the stretch of trail that will be going through the heart of Springdale. As people travel through our town, they will be hit in the face with the stench of the sewage treatment plant right before they get to the algae cesspool that is currently Lake Springdale. Ron Moore of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said the extent of the algae bloom this year is cause for concern and could cause a fish kill. Won't that make a stunning backdrop to your nature walk? They won't be able to jog through this town fast enough.
 
The bonuses the city employees receive will most likely be spent at one of the malls (in Rogers or Fayetteville) or on restaurant row anyway. They might recoup a cent or or two in sales tax revenue from Shave Planet at the top of the hill - if they're lucky.

Springdale needs funding for the animal shelter, Meals on Wheels, Ozark Transit and more code enforcement officers who will follow up and do something about the enormous number of violations. It wouldn't hurt you to give back the funding you cut from the library and Shiloh Museum either.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Beat on the Street

The beat on the street is Springdale Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Perry Webb is taking a month long sabbatical due to the extreme stress level of his job.  We all know how hard it can be constantly traveling to Florida, California, Las Vegas and the like. Webb has been seen lounging at the Springdale Country Club resting himself ... and who can blame him?  Wouldn't you spend your days playing golf and sipping cocktails if someone else was picking up the tab?

What has Webb so stressed out?  Who knows. Maybe it is the unfavorable publicity last week about how every city in the area had increased sales tax revenue EXCEPT for Springdale, which had a decline. The newspaper article has been archived, but the comments were the best part anyway and they go something like this:

Taxpayers of Springdale PAY the Chickenoplis Chamber of Commerce a hefty sum, $200,000 per year. That's a million dollars every 5 yrs. For what? Chamber turned their back on Sam's Wholesale Club. We lost that and the million of tax revenues that went with Sam's Club. Why? So the Chamber could protect one of their own, namely the local liquor store monoply.
Indeed.

Does Springdale have a Chamber of Commerce? What do they do?

They go to China, Las Vegas and Mt. Magazine to have economic discussions for S-dale.
The City decided that of the two cultural destinations that remain Shiloh Museum could have it's funding cut while they heap money on a useless Chamber of Commerce. That shows you the level of foolishness that runs rampant. Scroll through some old posts on Springdale FOI and learn how the good ol boys club works.
http://foiaspringdale.blogspot.com/
Thanks for the shout out, cdawg.  It's good to know someone is paying attention.  Be careful Mr. Madoff Webb, the citizens of this town might be catching on.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

NO Competition for the SLA

I thought Representative Jon Woods and his travelling companion, Jim Phillips had been keeping a pretty low profile lately. Apparently, Woods has been very busy working on declaring February 6 "Ronald Reagan Day" so he found someone else to introduce the dirty work.

Rep. Robert Dale has sponsored House Bill 1282 at the request of the Arkansas Beverage Retailers Association. Dale claims the bill is not targeted at Macadoodles, but he believes liquor stores should be locally owned.

Macadoodles had plans to open three more stores in Arkansas, but if Bill 1282, which was set to be heard this morning in a State Senate Committee passes, it will effectively stop Macadoodles from opening Arkansas franchises. However, it conveniently won't affect stores in existence from 1971 to 1993. I wonder who will benefit from that? The House of Representatives approved the bill last week with a 92-3 vote.

The always insightful State Senator Sue Madison said she has not studied the bill, but worries we will end up with a liquor store on every street corner and maybe even drive-through martini bars like they have in Louisiana.

No matter where you stand on liquor sales or consumption, this law is a bad idea. It won't rid the state of liquor sales, only assure the Springdale Liquor Cartel is allowed to continue its monopoly.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Journey of Ernie

Lottery Director Ernie Passailaigue, who makes more than $324,000 per year, irritated lottery commission members last year when he didn't know that the Legislature passed a bill that rolled money from unclaimed prizes into scholarships instead of the marketing budget. A state audit later detailed thirteen areas in which the lottery's books weren't kept correctly or procedures weren't followed. Who knows why Arkansas thought Passailaigue deserved a salary that is $100,000 more per year than the same job he was doing in South Carolina.

The 2010 Arkansas Million Dollar Raffle is also a bust. The lottery commission keeps running the same television commercial over and over ad nauseam. However, it would explain why Passailaigue was trying to funnel extra money into the marketing budget.

The ten dollar price tag was supposed to be overshadowed by the better odds of winning a million dollar prize.  The lottery website said the drawings could be held as early as September 2010. Even though the website doesn't tell us how many tickets still need to be sold, I have a ticket purchased in June. I assume it will be a while longer.

Last December, the legislative panel that oversees the Arkansas lottery said it is considering a move to reduce scholarship award amounts by ten percent. What an idea, but I have another one. Cut the lottery administrations salary by ten percent and keep the scholarships as promised.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Morning Snooze

The other night after a long day at the office, I settled in on the couch to watch a movie when my doorbell rang. There, standing in the dark shadows was a large, intimidating man selling subscriptions for the Springdale Morning News.

It is no secret that the Morning News is not really a newspaper about news in Springdale. The front page today is about a lady that moved from Cincinnati to Fayetteville. That's right, Fayetteville. The online edition isn't any better: Houston man relocates to Arkansas. Exciting stuff, no doubt.

I did learn that the city's No Knock Ordinance is as useless as the local paper. According to Ordinance 82-1:
Prior to engaging in the practice of peddling or soliciting at private residences, all persons must first obtain a copy of the list of residents who desire no peddling or soliciting at their private residence. Any peddler or solicitor who contacts any owner or owners, occupant or occupants of said private residences who are on the list, shall be in violation of this section.
After contacting the newspaper and the authorities I quickly found out what the punishment is for violating the ordinance. Section 1-9 claims:
...a person convicted of a violation of this Code shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $1,000.00, or double such sum for each repetition thereof...
There is no punishment for a violation. Not even a slap on the wrist. What I did get was an obnoxious phone call from someone at the Morning News who advised me it is their "constitutional right" to send Guido out to peddle their rag door to door regardless of any list the city clerk keeps. The man told me they partner with the city and the police department and the police are sick of people calling them about this! Besides, he said people move a lot and the new residents probably don't want to be on the no knock list.

Really?

Our local paper is a waste of time and trees unless you can't live without knowing where the Chamber of Commerce and Mayor are traveling this week.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Fine Art of Hiding

Every year when it is time to approve the budget, Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse starts acting a little strange.  Last year, he had some form of temporary amnesia and forgot to post the budget meetings on the community calendar. Heaven forbid the commoner show up and ask questions or something.

This year, according to eyewitnesses, Mayor Sprouse and a local attorney engaged in an entertaining verbal sparring session at the most recent city council meeting.  I was anxious to see it on the city's website, but after full five days, it still isn't there.  I wonder if it was a 'tape malfunction' like the last time a city council meeting got heated and made Perry Webb look bad.

The Jones Television Station was contacted to find out if there was a camera malfunction or other reason for the delay.  Jones TV stated that their tapings are directly linked and immediately available on the city's website.

Hmmm

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Screwed Again

The taxpayers of Springdale are about to get screwed AGAIN.

Apparently, the Chamber of Commerce membership drive hasn't been going as well as they hoped because yesterday, (11/23/10) Chamber Cheerleader Steve Caraway reported that Mayor Sprouse has included a request in the proposed 2011 budget to bump up the contribution to the chamber organization an additional $50,000.

 In the same article:
"The mayor’s budget estimates general fund income at $27.62 million and expenses at $27.69 million, a shortfall of $60,000."
The Mayor says:
"I regret that we're unable to include compensation increases in my proposed 2011 budget."

It doesn't take a genius or a calculator to see the easiest way to make up the shortfall. Why would we even consider increasing the Chamber's pot to $227,500 a year when they have refused all requests in the past to show us where they are spending our money? Do they need a dictionary to know that a self-appreciating newsletter is not an invoice?

Do you have an opinion on the proposed 2011 budget? Let Mayor Sprouse know. dsprouse@SpringdaleAR.gov
Phone: (479) 750-8114

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Who Dares Question Authority?

For those of you who missed the Springdale City Council meeting on November 9, I urge you to suffer through it. Perry Madoff announced that the money the Chamber of Commerce receives from the City, Advertising and Promotion, and Public Facilities will be now be dedicated 100% to a newly created Economic Development Division, which he claims is separate from whatever it is the Chamber does. No longer unemployed, Lance Eads thinks he is in charge of this creative new way to fleece the taxpayers without their knowledge.

During this meeting, Alderwoman Kathy Jaycox asks Madoff if the Chamber will present the invoices some people have been asking for to the council for review. The President/CEO was visibly defensive, condescending, and downright rude to Mrs. Jaycox. No other member of the council said a peep.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Blowin' Smoke

The 2010 Northwest Arkansas State Barbecue Championship was held at the Arvest Ballpark this past weekend. From what I hear, Smoke on the Water Productions typically draws a big crowd to these competitions. Springdale managed to draw 27 teams to compete for the $3500 top prize.

This press release and this article give credit for the event to the Springdale Chamber of Commerce.

Here, credit is given to the Advertising and Promotion Commission. This is still Perry Webb in charge, but with a different title.

Perhaps it was an accident or maybe a misguided attempt to drum up business, but word got out to the locals that this was the place to be for some free BBQ! Who could pass that up? Apparently, some hungry folks ended up meandering through the contestants cooking area and just helped themselves to some finger-licking food - straight off the grills. Mmm Mmm.

I won't dwell on the fact that the carnival came to a brief standstill because they ran out of diesel for the rides or that phone calls were made to some local antique car owners who were offered $50 bucks if they would hurry up and get some cars down there.

To be fair, I did hear that the concert was good - if you overlook the fight the broke out in the middle of it.

Maybe next year, if there is a next year, it will be better. I wouldn't call the event an epic failure, but maybe someday the city leaders will figure out what the common denominator is so that this event doesn't suffer the same fate as Featherfest...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Doubt About Stout?

Six-term Springdale City Council Alderman, Bobby Stout has announced he will run for re-election this fall.

Stout claims he has done a wonderful job for Springdale over the years. He credits himself with building up the funds the city is surviving on in these lean times. He also claims he has been diligently working on implementing a trail system for the past ten years. Funny, I don't recall him mentioning trails before...

Stout was recently quoted as saying, “We need to work closer with people like the Chamber of Commerce to increase the city’s revenue."

If increasing revenue is his goal, why did he side with Jim Phillips' attorney trying to block Macadoodles from getting a liquor permit transfered to Springdale? Stout was the ONLY councilman to vote against the transfer.

Rick Culver, President of the Rodeo of the Ozarks board of directors is said to be running against Stout.