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Four candidates compete for Springdale City Council Ward 3, Position 1 seat

by Laurinda Joenks | October 14, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.
The four candidates for the Springdale City Council Ward 3, Position 1 seat are Rick Culver (from left), Alice Gachuzo-Colin, Brian Powell and Mike Stevens.

SPRINGDALE -- The four candidates for City Council Ward 3, Position 1 want leaders to help the city's underserved populations.

Brian Powell currently holds the council seat and wants to keep it. His opponents are Rick Culver, Alice Gachuzo-Colin and Mike Stevens.

City Council members earn $12,000 a year and serve four-year terms. Council members must live in their wards but are elected at large, meaning everyone in the city votes for each council position.

The election, which is nonpartisan for municipal candidates, will be Nov. 8. Early voting begins Oct. 24.

A candidate in a municipal election with more than two challengers can win outright with a majority, which is 50% plus one vote. A candidate also can win with 40% of the vote by being ahead of the second-place finisher by at least 20%. Otherwise, the two top vote-getters compete in a runoff. The runoff election is Dec. 6.

"One of the main reasons I'm running is I truly believe people who sit on the council should be representative of their community," said Gachuzo-Colin, who is Black. "They should speak for the community when making decisions, shaping and moving information and infrastructure for the residents."

Springdale has 2,800 Black residents, according to the latest census estimates. That's 3.2% of the city's total population of 87,411.

Powell, Culver and Stevens listed infrastructure, affordable housing and support of small business as issues the city faces.

Stevens said his eyes opened when he participated in the Springdale Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Springdale program.

"I learned things about Springdale that I never knew -- and I've lived here my whole life," he said. "I'm seeing the need. We have people wallowing in poverty. We need to step up and help the city grow and small businesses thrive."

Culver realizes the extra money in the budget from the federal American Rescue Plan is a one-time bonus.

"Covid is not going to be an ongoing stream of money, and we can't use it as a steady stream of income," Culver said. "The pandemic was a lean time. The money was like a shot in the arm."

Powell is planning for the possibility of an economic downturn.

"We've gone through a pandemic, inflation and now a potential recession," he said. "The mayor, the planning department, the council, we all are united in seeing Springdale thrive."

As a council member, Powell said he will take a close look at the 2023 proposed budget over the next couple of weeks as city leaders work to pass it.

Culver knows the city has to stay ahead of infrastructure needs -- streets, water lines and sewer lines -- to manage growth. He added the city needs to develop better pay scales to attract and retain public safety officials.

Stevens plans to move the city forward in a positive way. He wants a good budget, with funds dedicated to public safety. And he doesn't want the city to raise taxes to repay money earned from bond issues.

"And the city needs to encourage businesses to be part of the community," Stevens said.

"We need to stop focusing on beautiful," Gachuzo-Colin said. "The city's got to thrive to be successful."

"But mostly Springdale has to get out of this small-town mentality," she continued. "And we need to act like we have some sense."

Springdale City Council

Ward 3, Position 1

Rick Culver

Age: 66

Residency: Lifelong resident of Springdale

Employment: Executive director of the Springdale Benevolent Foundation and the Rodeo of the Ozarks

Education: Graduate of Springdale High School, attended University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Political experience: Current member of the city’s Advertising and Promotions Commission; one four-year term on the City Council, 2015 to 2019

Alice Gachuzo-Colin

Age: 43

Residency: Springdale for 29 years

Education: Medical assistant diploma from Blue Cliff College

Employment: Accounts manager for Bank of America

Political experience: None

Brian Powell

Age: 56

Residency: Springdale for 25 years

Education: Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Employment: Construction project coordinator for Arkansas Department of Transportation; retired as a lieutenant colonel after 33 years with the Air Force and the Arkansas Air National Guard

Political experience: Springdale council, 2019 to present; Planning Commission, 2011 to 2018

Mike Stevens

Age: 43

Residency: Lifelong resident of Springdale

Education: Graduate of Springdale High School, attended University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Employment: Owner of H&R Block franchises; co-owner of Quadrivium information technology company

Political experience: None


Print Headline: 4 candidates seek council position


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