FAYETTEVILLE --The City Council's longest-serving member is banking on his experience against a political newcomer who wants to shift the city's budget priorities toward more social equity.
Mark Kinion is seeking another term as Ward 2, Position 1 council member, a seat he has held since 2011. Sarah Moore, executive director of the nonprofit Arkansas Justice Reform Coalition, is challenging him.
Ward 2 includes the Dickson Street entertainment area and downtown square. Other notable landmarks include Wilson Park, the historic Washington-Willow neighborhood, Lewis Park, Woodland Junior High School and the University of Arkansas campus east of Garland Avenue.
Early voting begins Oct. 24. The general election is Nov. 8. Only residents who live in the ward can vote for the council members. Fayetteville municipal elections are nonpartisan.
City Council members serve four-year terms and earn $16,214.90 per year.
Kinion said the city will face major costs for projects in the coming years and will need proper reserve money to address those issues. For instance, the Noland Wastewater Treatment Plant on the east side of town is aging and will need an overhaul. Many of the larger water and sewer lines running beneath the city are nearing the end of their lifespans and major breaks have already happened in recent years, he said.
Kinion said he wants to create incentives for builders to follow the low-impact development guidelines the city has adopted. The guidelines outline ways for construction projects to minimize negative impacts on the environment, but they aren't mandatory.
Residents need to have a say in what happens in their neighborhoods, and the city doesn't always ask, Kinion said. Zoning codes that result in inappropriate developments need to be revisited, he said.
Kinion said he also wants to make recycling available to more multifamily properties.
Moore said she wants to focus on community investment, equity and communication that includes more residents. The city is in a strong position financially, and the pandemic revealed areas such as housing instability, food insecurity and economic mobility that need more resources, she said.
Moore wants the city to have stronger partnerships with the University of Arkansas, Washington County, health care systems and nonprofit groups to come up with mutually beneficial solutions for residents facing hardships. The city sometimes falls short of providing inclusive services for residents in terms of its budget, she said.
"We have an incredible opportunity to think big and to really dream together about what can be possible for Fayetteville," she said.
Moore praised the city's environmental efforts. Alternative transportation goals relate to equity for residents, she said. Interconnected pathways for trails and bus routes provide access to travel for people who can't rely on the most expensive mode of transportation, which is cars, she said.
Fayetteville City Council
Ward 2, Position 1
Residency: Fayetteville for 28 years
Occupation: Retired. Former sales management executive at GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals; past president and COO of Bio-Tech Pharmacal; mortgage loan officer at Bank of Arkansas
Education: Bachelor’s degree in agriculture, University of Arkansas
Political experience: Fayetteville City Council, 2011 to present; unsuccessful bids for Fayetteville City Council in 2008, Washington County judge in 2016 and state representative in 2018
Residency: Fayetteville for 24 years
Occupation: Executive director at Arkansas Justice Reform Coalition
Education: Bachelor’s degree in marketing management, University of Arkansas
Political experience: None