Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
jb1087

Combined Cities?

9 posts in this topic

I'm sure this will stir up a hornets nest, but it's on my mind and I thought I'd bring it up.  Is it at all detrimental to development in the area to have the NWA MSA divided in to so many small cities?  Some examples, Centerton, Johnson, even Lowell.  Aside from tradition and "that's how it's always been", or people who just want to have a certain city in their address, is there any economic reason, either positive or negative, to residents of these small cities why they couldn't be absorbed by their large nearby neighbors?   I should probably get ready to duck from all of the things about to fly in my head, but just wanted fair thoughts on the subject.  

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


It's funny you mention this because I've been thinking about it recently as well. I'm torn on this... One side of me believes we will never be able to fund larger infrastructure projects (e.g. Arena, zoo, aquarium, etc.) because projects on this scale would require funding (Sales tax increase) from the entire area - too expensive for just one city to fit the bill. The other side of me likes the competition that exists between the big 4 cities. The cities have an incentive to keep taxes low & service quality high in order to keep businesses & people in their city. I like that the schools in NWA have the highest teacher salaries in the state because of competition. Don't know which way would be best...

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's funny you mention this because I've been thinking about it recently as well. I'm torn on this... One side of me believes we will never be able to fund larger infrastructure projects (e.g. Arena, zoo, aquarium, etc.) because projects on this scale would require funding (Sales tax increase) from the entire area - too expensive for just one city to fit the bill. The other side of me likes the competition that exists between the big 4 cities. The cities have an incentive to keep taxes low & service quality high in order to keep businesses & people in their city. I like that the schools in NWA have the highest teacher salaries in the state because of competition. Don't know which way would be best...

 

Even if the "Big 4" remained, there are a lot of other cities that would seem like options.  Their populations aren't much, but take Centerton, I can't imagine that the city of Bville would sneeze had having 10k more people counted in the city.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Politically, it's very difficult for one municipality to ever annex a neighboring municipality, no matter how much practical sense it might make.  Take Tontitown, Johnson or Elkins, for example: if annexed, neither would qualify as its own ward in Fayetteville or Springdale.  A mayor and how ever many aldermen would lose their jobs due to annexation; same goes for various school, police, fire department, etc employees.  Most of them would strongly oppose annexation if put to a vote.  Duplicated services may be inefficent, consolidation might make a lot of sense; but every municipality has its vested interests who will consistently support the status quo.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's funny you mention this because I've been thinking about it recently as well. I'm torn on this... One side of me believes we will never be able to fund larger infrastructure projects (e.g. Arena, zoo, aquarium, etc.) because projects on this scale would require funding (Sales tax increase) from the entire area - too expensive for just one city to fit the bill. The other side of me likes the competition that exists between the big 4 cities. The cities have an incentive to keep taxes low & service quality high in order to keep businesses & people in their city. I like that the schools in NWA have the highest teacher salaries in the state because of competition. Don't know which way would be best...

I've thought about the same thing for a while now.  I do think in some ways have separate cities have helped drive competition and such.  But it does also hinder, bigger projects seem like they're a lot harder to accomplish because you don't have one single city making all the decisions.  I suppose it also hinders developing an urban core, because everything is spread out between all the cities. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's definitely a unique scenario as I don't now if I can think of any other areas that are like this.  Of course larger cities with small suburbs is obviously common, but there not one dominate city here.  Lowell and Centerton should definitely not be cities though.  Farmington also should be included with Fayetteville.  But like stated, it does bring some competition to the area. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only other MSA I can think of like ours is the Quad Cities area of Iowa. Would be interested to see what we could learn from how they govern vs. how we govern.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe... Eventually... the big 4 can be considered Boroughs of Walton City.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


From the standpoint of cooperation, of course it is better if larger groups of people are combined into one.  

 

From the standpoint of choice, and the ability of cities to cater to the individual, more cities is better.

 

Here's a couple of examples:

 

Fayetteville people are used to having a city govt that bows and grovels before them before making any big moves.  Every citizen is used to the idea that their NIMBY concerns will be taken seriously, at least on the surface.  People in Fayetteville are also used to decent planning and zoning procedures that keep spot-zoning to a bare minimum and encourage a better pattern of development.  That comes at the expense of being as "business friendly" as Springdale.

 

Springdale land-owners are used to a city govt that doesn't resist development or even concern itself with the quality of development, and takes a business-friendly stance on most matters.  That comes at the expense of having spot-zoning and less cohesive zoning areas.

 

I don't see any way those two larger cities could ever make the majority of residents happy if they were bound to one another.  I could see Farmington becoming a part of Fayetteville quite easily.  I think at this point of the game, school-district boundaries are starting to matter more than anything else with regards to the happiness of individuals.  Fayetteville schools are seen by many as more liberal-minded, while the smaller districts maintain a more conservative approach.  

I think Johnson would benefit from being a part of Fayetteville, but I don't know if Fayetteville would find the added expense and jurisdictional demands to be worthwhile.  Theymight, though.  It would be a matter of estimating what taxes the city would gain and what expenses they would incur in brining Johnson up to Fayetteville standards.  Its likely that smaller cities already purchase some services from the larger cities, so it might not be all that difficult.

Edited by wmr

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.