Just when you thought your vote didn't count
In their ongoing struggle to lag behind the regional economy, Fayettevillians have scored (maybe, it's not official yet) yet another victory.
That's right, one stinking vote. And not to name names, but we both know who that voter was, don't we? (Yes, I'm looking at you, Mr. Too-Busy-Propping-Up-the-Local-Liberal-Kvetch-Scene). One can only hope that the 23 outstanding ballots have enough No votes to reverse this moronic piece of legislation.
For those who have no idea what I'm talking about, I would normally post a picture of a bunny with some sort of breakfast food on its head, but this one time I'll explain.
The City, instead of trying to encourage growth and dealing with infrastructure impact in a methodical fashion has decided that an arbitrary fee on all development would just be easier. Proponents of the fees are pooh-poohing the consequences and even, remarkably, saying that these added costs will not be passed on to the consumer. No, that never happens. The cost of gas and alcohol never rises when the government slaps yet another tax on it. As to how punitive the impact fees are, I'll let you be the judge.
The one that really stands out to me is the hotel/motel fee. Fayetteville is already far behind other cities in our area when it comes to lodging. It's the largest municipality and yet it lacks anything resembling a hotel/convention center that could draw conferences, shows, etc. Now, with the whopping $1,319 extra cost per room, how soon do you think we'll get one? Say Embassy Suites wanted to build a facility similar to the one they have in Rogers (which, BTW, is currently being doubled in size). The current hotel has 248 rooms, which now in Fayetteville would cost them an extra $327,000, plus if they added the convention center I'm sure they'd also get charged the square foot fee. The JQH Center in Rogers is roughly 100,000 square feet. This would equate (under the commercial/office fee) to another charge of $270,000. So, you've just added more than half a million in extra cost to the project. Boy, that'll have people running here.
Finally in the article we get to my favorite part. You know, where they give us their pie-in-the-sky estimates of what this proposal will bring in?
Anyone remember the 10% "luxury tax" on yachts and airplanes a few years back? All it accomplished was a lot of layoffs and almost zero revenue. It was quietly repealed a few years later.
Obviously, when any major development is being proposed, the city should work with the developer to ensure that the proper and necessary infrastructure is going to be in place, but placing a punitive tax on everyone is not the way to do it. And you certainly won't be attracting any major companies to build new facilities.
Here's placing our hope on the 23 absentee ballots.
Update! One thing I meant to mention but forgot was voter turnout. In a city of around 70,000 people, an issue that could have very negative longterm economic effects only managed to rouse a hair over 4,000 people to get off of their fat, comfortable asses and go to the polls. Far fewer than the number of people who thought banning smoking in public was really, really important. They'd better get more poll workers if we ever vote on something really critical, like a new city slogan or the colors we're going to use on our traffic signals...