WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT) - Walnut Ridge Mayor Charles Snapp says consolidation with Hoxie "must wait."
After reviewing the Economic Impact Committee's (EIC) findings and meeting with various officials, business owners and economic developers, Snapp said in an email Tuesday that he "must go on record as opposing a consolidation with Hoxie at this time."
"As much as I would like to see the two towns unified under one city government, I do not feel like now is the correct time," Snapp stated.
Until revenue streams and "infrastructure deterioration" in both towns are stabilized, "Consolidation must wait."
Here is Snapp's letter in its entirety:
Snapp broached the subject of consolidating with Hoxie during his State of the City Address in January.
The mayor said in light of the town's successful consolidation with College City, they should look closer at Hoxie as another way to improve the quality of life in Walnut Ridge.
"The main thing is that we are making progress faster than what most people believed was possible," Snapp said at the time.
Despite Snapp's enthusiasm, not everyone was on board with his proposal. Namely, residents of Hoxie and Mayor Lanny Tinker.
During a February city council meeting, Tinker formed the "Keep Hoxie Hoxie" committee to research the proposed annexation.
"Walnut Ridge is looking at it from an economic development there, and that is an important part of this," Tinker said at the time. "But, it's not the only part of it."
While he conceded good things could come from the consolidation, he wanted the citizens of his town to be heard.
In March, the EIC presented the results of its nine-month study of the proposed consolidation.
A committee member told the gathering of both Hoxie and Walnut Ridge residents that the proposal would be "both feasible and beneficial for both communities."
However, the committee also determined that the consolidation would not be equally beneficial.
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