The Fayetteville Flyer wants to help you get to know your 2022 candidates for City Council, which is why we’re publishing questionnaires with each of the local candidates in contested seats in the Nov. 8 election.
Each of the four Position 1 seats on the council will be on the ballot this year, but with no opposition in Ward 1 and Ward 4, Fayetteville voters will only see two contested seats – Ward 2 and Ward 3.
This post focuses on Ward 3, which includes several neighborhoods in northeast Fayetteville, including the Huntingdon and Candlewood subdivisions, as well as the newer multi-family complexes in the uptown area. Gulley Park, Fiesta Square, Lake Fayetteville, and the Northwest Arkansas Mall are also in Ward 3.
Profiles and questions are listed in the order that they were received.
Early voting begins Oct. 24.
Councilmember Sloan Scroggin is seeking a second term in Ward 3. Challenging Scroggin this year is Scott Berna, owner of Nelson-Berna Funeral Home.
Residency: Fayetteville resident since 2008, lived in Ward 3 for eight years
Employment: Math instructor at University of Arkansas; Licensed real estate agent; Home remodeler
Education: Masters of Economics, University of Arkansas in Fayetteville; Bachelor of Finance and Economics, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Political Experience: Ward 3 City Council member since 2019
Residency: Have lived in Ward 3 for 20 years
Employment: Owner of Nelson-Berna Funeral Home and Crematory in Fayetteville and Rogers, along with Moore’s Funeral Chapel in Fayetteville, and Fairview Memorial Gardens
Education: Graduated in 1981 from Van Buren High School, attended Westark Community College and University of Central Arkansas
Political Experience: n/a
Below are some Q&As with the City Council candidates in Ward 3. We asked candidates why they were running, how they would describe Ward 3, and which recent City Council decisions they agree or disagree with.
Sloan, why run for a second term? Is there a particular issue you want to help solve or continue working on?
With Fayetteville being a great city, more people want to come here than we even had four years ago. There is tremendous pressure on the city as more people are trying to buy into Fayetteville.
I believe I have the experience needed to make sure we have a balanced approach to making room for new neighbors while making the development process work better for people living next to the new houses coming in. I believe if we actually listen to people that have lived next to development, we can come up with better plans and hopefully neighborhoods will fight new developments less if they actually believe the city will take care of them during the process.
Some of these changes include enforcing our current laws like hours of operation, lighting, noise etc. Then we must come up with wholistic plans for stormwater management. I have been working with the Rogers Storm Water Manager, who is a former Fayetteville Planning Commissioner and Fayetteville resident, to form better plans to prevent flooding to already built neighborhoods that have aging infrastructure and to make sure new development improves flooding issues, not adds to them.
Now I am sure many people will read this and think I am placing things in the way of building, and this will slow down development. I disagree because if we improve our plans, we can get more neighborhoods to say yes on development and get the housing people need to live.
Scott, what made you decide to seek election to the council? Is it something you’ve been considering for a while?
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 residents 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.
Sloan, four years ago you described Ward 3 as being very diverse with many different environments. Would you describe it the same way today?
Yes, I believe that uptown is very different than the Gulley Park area, and I don’t think that should change or will change any time soon. The businesses that should be allowed around Gulley Park should be small in size and service the area. A great example is the veterinary clinic on Township and Old wire.
That reduces overall traffic by servicing the area while not being a nuisance to surrounding neighborhoods. We can expect more intense businesses around uptown and we have seen the multifamily in that area keep market rent rates from raising even more.
Scott, is there anything in particular that drove you to reside in Ward 3? How would you describe that part of town?
When we moved to Fayetteville in 2002, we moved into a home in Ward 3. We had just purchased our businesses and felt it was very important for us to live in the community we served. Six years ago we moved into a different neighborhood, but stayed in Ward 3. Our children attended Root Elementary, McNair Middle School, and went on to attend Woodland Junior High and Fayetteville High School.
I consider Ward 3 a melting pot of many demographic groups who strive to be welcoming to all. People love the natural beauty of our city and many residents utilize the amenities it provides, including our great trail system. My wife and I both love to get out on the trails with our bikes. Additionally, Ward 3 contains so many beautiful and unique neighborhoods, some of which have been here for decades as well as newer subdivisions.
Sloan, what council decisions were you especially proud of or frustrated with during your first term?
I am most proud of my resolution to support renters’ rights. If we had a truly free market, there would be enough rentals that if a landlord wanted to not keep their house up to reasonable standards, then renters would just move elsewhere. That is not the cause because there are less rentals than are needed so protections are needed. I will continue supporting renters’ rights as we move forward.
Second, I am proud of our decision to study the water quality in Lake Fayetteville and make recommendations. Ultimately, I would love to have Lake Fayetteville a swimmable area. The lake and park around it are a great place, but we can make that lake a regional draw and not just local.
Third, I wrote and got passed a resolution adding two trails police officers for the parks and trails system. The parks and trails system is one of the most important gems in Fayetteville and making changes to make people feel safe is what we need to keep the system great for everyone.
Finally, we have not voted on it, but I look forward to some of the work training programs coming out of the library and Upskills NWA. People are struggling and proper training could help people get the jobs they need to deal with increasing inflation.
Scott, what recent council decisions do you agree or disagree with?
The recent decision by the City Council voting 8-0 in favor of adding school resource officers is encouraging to me and the residents of Fayetteville.