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During forum, Fayetteville Ward 3 candidates discuss challenges facing city

by Stacy Ryburn | October 14, 2022 at 5:30 a.m.
Sloan Scroggin (center), Fayetteville City Council member for Ward 3, and Scott Berna (right), candidate for Ward 3, debate Thursday at the Fayetteville Public Library with forum moderator Steve Clark (left), president of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce. Candidates answered questions for an hour at the forum that also was streamed online. (NWA Democrat-Gazette/Stacy Ryburn)

FAYETTEVILLE -- Both candidates for City Council Ward 3, Position 1 outlined their priorities to voters at a forum held Thursday.

Scott Berna, owner of Nelson-Berna Funeral Home, Morris Chapel and Fairview Memorial Gardens, is challenging Sloan Scroggin for the City Council seat he has held since 2019. Scroggin has a background in construction and is a mathematics instructor at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

The pair debated each other during an hourlong forum held at the Fayetteville Public Library organized by the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce.

Berna, 59, said he sat on the sidelines for too long after voicing frustration with certain City Council decisions. He said the council's narrow vote in 2020 to deny a federal grant to hire two school resource officers motivated him to run.

Scroggin, 38, said ensuring residents have stable housing is one of his biggest concerns. He said he has been fortunate to have adequate housing his entire life, but that's not the case for many residents.

Berna said as the city's population grows, it will need adequate staffing across departments, particularly in public safety, to serve residents properly. The city's workforce is going to need adequate compensation to keep up with private markets, presenting a budgetary challenge, he said.

Scroggin also emphasized the importance of a strong workforce in city staff and the need to expand workforce development programs for private markets. Working with Ozark Regional Transit and Razorback Transit to expand bus routes won't do any good if there aren't enough bus drivers, he used as an example.

Both agreed the medical industry likely will serve as the city's fastest-growing business sector over the next five years. Berna said facilitating development in specialized services would add significant revenue to the economy. Additionally, residents should be able to get a high level of health care just as they would out of state, he said.

Scroggin said he serves on the board for Community Clinic and sees the struggles health care workers deal with on a daily basis. One of the biggest struggles is finding enough nurses, he said.

Berna said he would make it a point to listen to residents whether he agrees with them or not. Getting everyone on the same page is the key to working through complex issues, he said.

Scroggin said he believed transparency has become a bit of an issue with the city administration. He said he wants to push administrators to give council members and the public more time to consider issues out in the open.

The nonpartisan election is Nov. 8. Early voting begins Oct. 24. Only residents who live in the ward can vote for those council members.

What’s my ward again?

Ward 3 encompasses the northeast part of town. It includes College Avenue north of Township Street, Crossover Road near Mission Boulevard, Root School, Butterfield Elementary, Gulley Park and Lake Fayetteville.

Source: NWA Democrat-Gazette


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