Oct 14, 2022 - Politics

2 Fayetteville council seats up for grabs

Photo illustration of Mark Kinion, Sarah Moore, Sloan Scroggin, and Scott Berna with a halftone dividing line.

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

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

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

  • Kinion is a retired executive from Biotech's manufacturing sector and a former loan officer. He's served on City Council since 2010, including four terms as vice mayor, and has worked on the Audit Committee and Streets, Sidewalks and Transportation Committee. He has also served on the city's Advertising and Promotion Commission and Housing Authority. Kinion is the former president of the Humane Society of the Ozarks, founding board member of Partners for Better Housing and has helped 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 the food delivery manager for the 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 instructor at the University of Arkansas and a home remodeler. He's served on City Council since 2019, and is treasurer for the Fayetteville Rotary Club. Scroggin is on the U of A Transit, Parking and Traffic Committee and the Community Clinic board of directors.
  • Berna is co-owner of Nelson-Berna Funeral Home and Crematory in Fayetteville and Rogers, Moore's Funeral Chapel in downtown Fayetteville and Fairview Memorial Gardens. He's served on the Arkansas Burial Association Board and is the former president of the state Funeral Directors Association. He's also a member of Fayetteville Rotary Club.

Q&A: Meet the candidates

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

Kinion: Efficient municipal operations and responsible management of taxpayers' money resulting in preservation of those elements of Fayetteville that define its character: good streets and transportation, sustainable clean water and unparalleled management of sewer and solid waste, balanced development, regular attention to unified development code to keep it current with best form-based code, sustainable environmental practices and protection of the watershed.

  • Being [a] senior member of the council, I have institutional history that is often useful in understanding why things are as they are ... and preventing reinvention of the wheel when looking at resolution of challenges.
  • A necessary element of being a good City Council member is being diligent in responding to citizens' needs … also taking calls and reading citizen emails ... answering promptly. I have a good record of this.

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

  • There are unique challenges facing Fayetteville with the growth of population, and these next several years will bring challenges that are opportunities for shaping what the future Fayetteville can be for all residents to thrive.

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

Kinion: Municipal government must partner with community organizations such as Partners for Better Housing. The city does not control the cost of materials. Mixed-use developments using form-based development code and future land use mapping allow well-planned use of land to see impact fee incentives for developers to use the low-impact development principles outlined in city code. This has a two-sided benefit — alleviate some costs in building and protection of the watersheds.

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

  • Short term: Research the impact of ending over 200 tier-2 Airbnb contracts to create long-term opportunities.
  • Longer term: Create residential housing through local, institutional partnerships that have space, capacity and expertise to house people.
  • Fayetteville can budget for land purchases to ensure equitable growth. For example, cities like ours are installing affordable housing atop city service buildings. I commit 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 am running because I believe everyone deserves safe, affordable, stable housing. I have in the past and will continue to support renters' rights, safe neighborhoods and responsible development.

  • New to my goals this next term is storm water management. We already have houses that are flooding, and we need better plans to protect them, especially as we add new houses.

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

  • Priorities I would have if on the council would be pushing hard for budgetary help for our first responders to bring their staffing … to appropriate levels while also focusing on assisting existing neighborhood property owners as well as developers in our ever-increasing developing footprint.

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

Scroggin: The major thing the city can do to alleviate rising housing costs [is] to rezone to allow more housing and ... so transportation costs go down. Just cheap housing in the middle of nowhere does not help people day to day.

  • To get to being able to rezone more areas, we must stop ignoring the concerns of neighborhoods and actually make some changes. Enforcing noise laws, light laws, requiring developments to not flood their neighbors during and after construction are some of the things that can be done to get people from "not in my backyard" to "yes."

Berna: I believe the city is limited on what it can do. Ultimately, the majority of costs are dictated by factors outside of the city's control.

  • They can, however, help in a small way with some zoning as well as ease of process.
  • That said, I am a huge supporter of Habitat for Humanity, Tunnels to Towers and similar nonprofit organizations that provide free or nearly free homes to low-income individuals and veterans. Whenever and wherever Fayetteville can make it easier for those organizations to build in the city, we should do so.

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