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Shoot straight with voters on Fayetteville’s tax plan

The Fayetteville City Council recently voted to ask the residents of Fayetteville to approve a sales tax that would transfer money from the pockets of citizens to the city government so it can spend $70 million on improvements to our streets. To help residents to better understand what the tax money would be used for, the city officials said, among other things, there would be improvements in “miles of trails.” Seeing the city say it would use money for trails that was presumably intended for streets made me, as well as possibly other residents, blink. The City Council just announced they would spend money we would hand them via a sales tax to improve miles of trails which we, the city residents, thought would be used to improve our streets!

I thought it might be possible that, in my many years of education, I had missed the meaning of trails as compared to streets. In order to fill out what might be a gap in my education, I turned to a volume of Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language to see if indeed streets and trails are the same.

In that volume under the word “trail” I found Webster’s has 28 definitions of that word. In reading what appears to me to be an extensive, and possibly exhaustive, listing of meanings of the word “trail,” I found among 27 others the following: “the track, scent, or the like left by an animal.” Obviously that definition does not equate trails to streets. However, when I read the 23rd definition, it solidified my concerns that the city would use their power to spend money on things other than streets. That definition is as follows: “a path or track made across a wild region over rough country, or the like, by the passage of men or animals.”

Certain Fayetteville streets may be rough, but I do not believe Fayetteville is a wild region Moreover, while you may wonder at times if our streets aren’t little more than trails, I do not believe they were made by the passage of men or animals. It seems reasonable to conclude that trails and streets are not the same thing, Based on that conclusion, the city has announced it plans to misuse some of the money the tax would yield.

In conversations with city officials I have heard them refer to bike lanes as trails. I feel using the word “trail” rather than “bike lanes” is a political ploy to convince a wider range of our citizens vote “yes” to the proposed tax use of the funds a new sales tax would yield. And yes, it is a new tax. The present sales tax will soon pay off the bonds it was dedicated to and it would be illegal to use that tax revenue for any other purpose. That is why there must be another election. City officials, please tell us citizens the truth.

PHILLIP TAYLOR

Fayetteville

letters@nwadg.com

Print Headline: NWA LETTERS

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