SPRINGDALE -- Both Spencer Ordonez and Amelia Taldo-Williams say they want to help people.
Both are running for the Ward 4, Position 1 on the Springdale City Council, which covers the city's northeastern quarter, including the downtown area.
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 council members.
Council positions are nonpartisan. Early voting starts Oct. 24; the general election is Nov. 8.
Ordonez sees the city's issues as personal to individual residents. He said he would like to see the city seek partnerships with businesses and nonprofit agencies to help people rise out of poverty.
"I know people can do it if they desire to do it," he said.
He proposes free programs in learning to budget, how to use a three-dimensional printer, business classes, job skills and more. The city also could award leadership grants, he said.
Taldo-Williams focuses on infrastructure and beautification. She listed graffiti, traffic and drivers speeding through neighborhoods as issues facing the city.
"But the No. 1 focus is the beautification of the city," she said.
Taldo-Williams said drivers traveling between towns in Northwest Arkansas can see a big difference, city to city. As drivers enter the city, what they see makes a first impression.
She would like to see the city hire a worker or a crew dedicated to removing the overgrown weeds and grass on sidewalks and roadways. She also said the city should mow and otherwise maintain empty lots on the city's main thoroughfares.
Both candidates cite infrastructure as a tool to ease the city's growth.
Ordonez pointed out the city has only three straight thoroughfares from east to west and needs more. He thinks the city needs to focus on developing its southeastern part.
He would also like the city to provide internet service to all houses.
"We've got to keep up with the population growth. We've got to expand with the population," Taldo-Williams said. "And without roads, you can't have proper growth."
Projects from the 2018 bond program were some of the most successful programs during her four years on the council, she said. She listed some of those as the extension of 48th Street, widening of 64th Street, the extension of Har-Ber Avenue from 48th Street to Gutensohn Road, and the street and sewer projects in the city's downtown district.
"When I was first on council, we didn't have money," Taldo-Williams said. "We had to make choices. They're easier to make when you have money."
Now, council members don't have to decide between raises for city staff or contracting for design of a new senior center, she said.
The federal American Rescue Plan money also allowed the city to help nonprofit agencies directly serving residents affected by the covid-19 pandemic, Taldo-Williams said.
Ordonez would like to see the city lower its sales tax rate. Shoppers pay a total 9.75% sales tax on each purchase in Springdale. The city retains 2%.
"We need to put more money in people's pockets, making them able to buy more," Ordonez said. "High inflation and gas prices have lowered, people are better, but not well off. They have trouble affording the bare necessities."
Ordonez also doesn't agree with the city selling bonds to fund infrastructure projects. The council should look to its budget for capital projects.
"We need to pay down our debts," Ordonez said. "And set aside money in reserves just in case."
Springdale City Council
Ward 1, Position 1
Residency: Springdale for five years
Education: Bachelor’s degree in graphic design from the Art Institute of Phoenix
Occupation: Senior art director at Advantage Solutions
Political experience: None
Residency: Lifelong resident of Springdale
Education: Bachelor’s degree in early education from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Occupation: Former teacher
Political experience: Springdale City Council, 2019 to present