Two Fayetteville council seats up for grabs

Photo illustration: Axios visuals. Photos: Courtesy of Mark Kinion, Sloan Scroggin, Sarah Moore and Scott Berna campaigns.

Local voters will soon decide who will fill two spots up for grabs on the Fayetteville City Council.

Catch up fast: Incumbent Mark Kinion takes on challenger Sarah Moore to represent Ward 2, the northwest part of the city.

  • Kinion is a retired biotech manufacturing executive and former loan officer. He has served on city council since 2010, including four terms as vice-mayor, and worked on the audit committee and the streets, sidewalks and transportation committee. He has also served on the City’s Advertising and Promotions Commission and Housing Authority. Kinion is the past president of the Humane Society of the Ozarks, a founding board member of Partners for Better Housing, and an aide to the NWA AIDS Crisis Center. He previously ran for Washington County judge and state representative.
  • Moore is the executive director of the Arkansas Justice Reform Coalition. She volunteers with the Washington Elementary Parent-Teacher Organization, the NAACP and as a food delivery manager for the Squire Jehagen Food Pantry. She also helps with voter registration.

Incumbent Sloan Scroggin is challenged by Scott Berna to represent Ward 3, the northeast part of the city.

  • Scroggin is a math professor at the University of Arkansas and a home renovator. He has served on the city council since 2019 and is treasurer of the Rotary Club of Fayetteville. Scroggin is a member of the University of Alberta Transit, Parking and Traffic Committee and the Community Clinic Board of Directors.
  • Berna is co-owner of Nelson-Berna Funeral Home and Crematorium in Fayetteville and Rogers, Moore’s Funeral Chapel in downtown Fayetteville, and Fairview Memorial Gardens. He has served on the board of the Arkansas Burial Association and is past president of the State Funeral Directors Association. He is also a member of the Rotary Club of Fayetteville.
Q&A: Meet the Candidates

Axios: Why are you running for city council and what is your main goal or priority?

Kion: Efficient municipal operations and responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars resulting in the preservation of the elements of Fayetteville that define its character: good streets and transportation, sustainable drinking water and unparalleled sewer and solid waste management, balanced development, regular attention to code unified development platform to keep it up to date with the best forms-based code, sustainable environmental practices, and watershed protection.

  • Being [a] a senior board member, I have an institutional history that is often helpful in understanding why things are the way they are…and preventing reinvention of the wheel when it comes to solving problems.
  • A necessary part of being a good member of the city council is to be diligent in meeting the needs of the citizens… also to take calls and read citizens’ emails… to respond quickly. I have a good record on this.

Moore: Fayetteville City Council has the ability to transform the lives of [residents] through progressive policies that improve their well-being. Focusing on community investments that create a variety of solutions for housing, mental health, restorative services and economic mobility programs would be a priority.

  • Fayetteville faces unique challenges with population growth, and these next few years will bring challenges that are opportunities to shape what the future of Fayetteville can be for all residents to prosper.

Axios: What can the city government do to mitigate rising housing costs?

Kion: The municipal government should partner with community organizations such as Partners for Better Housing. The city does not control the cost of materials. Mixed-use developments using forms-based development code and future land-use mapping allow for well-planned land use to see the impact of incentive fees for developers to use low-cost development principles. impact described in the city code. This has a double advantage: reducing some construction costs and protecting watersheds.

Moore: Create more housing. In 2022, affordable housing options in Fayetteville have been permanently removed. Housing and land costs have increased by about 30% — people are being forced out of our community.

  • Short-term: Explore the impact of terminating over 200 Airbnb Tier 2 contracts to create long-term opportunities.
  • Longer term: Create residential housing through local institutional partnerships that have the space, capacity and expertise to house people.
  • Fayetteville can budget for the purchase of land to ensure equitable growth. For example, cities like ours are putting affordable housing on top of municipal service buildings. I am committed to researching what works – and working to balance the standard of living in Fayetteville.

Axios: Why are you running for city council and what is your main goal or priority?

Scroggin: I’m running because I believe everyone deserves safe, affordable, and stable housing. I have in the past and will continue to support tenants’ rights, safe neighborhoods and responsible development.

  • Stormwater management is a novelty in my objectives for this next mandate. We already have homes that are flooded and we need better plans to protect them, especially as we add new homes.

Bern: I have been actively involved in several different community events and organizations over the years. I felt it was the right time for me to serve the city and its people as an elected official. Fayetteville is already a special place, but I believe that if we all work together, we can make Fayetteville even better.

  • The priorities I would have if council lobbied for budget support for our first responders to bring their staff up…to appropriate levels while also focusing on helping existing property owners in the neighborhood as well as promoters in our ever-growing development footprint.

Axios: What can the city government do to mitigate rising housing costs?

Scroggin: The main thing the city can do to mitigate rising housing costs [is] to rezone to allow more housing and … thus transportation costs go down. Cheap accommodation in the middle of nowhere does not help people on a daily basis.

  • To get to be able to rezone more areas, we need to stop ignoring neighborhood concerns and make changes. Enforcing noise laws, light laws, requiring developments not to flood their neighbors during and after construction are some of the things that can be done to get people to “not in my backyard” Yes indeed”.

Bern: I believe the city is limited in what it can do. Ultimately, the majority of costs are dictated by factors beyond the city’s control.

  • They can, however, help to a lesser extent with some zoning as well as the ease of the process.
  • That said, I’m a big supporter of Habitat for Humanity, Tunnels to Towers, and similar nonprofits that provide free or nearly free housing to low-income people and veterans. Whenever and wherever Fayetteville can facilitate the building of these organizations in the city, we must do so.

About Wanda Reilly

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