The City of Hot Springs, Arkansas continues it’s violation of citizens property rights in the vast Planning Area around the city which it claims as it’s “Extra Territorial Jurisdiction” Last year, with considerable citizen activism and input, the Board of Directors voted on the question of whether or not to entirely rescind the ETJ. Mayor Ruth Carney and Director Peggy Maruther voted for the proposal to end the ETJ, but all of the other Directors said “no”.
Another approach to solving this problem is being pursued. As it turns out, Arkansas law provides that an election to change the City’s form of government back to a mayor/alderman form of government can be mandated by a petition signed by registered city voters numbering at least 15% of the total number of votes cast in the City Director race that got the most votes in the most recent General Election.
If the election measure is successful, a new election would be set for selection of new City Alderman, Mayor, City Attorney, City Clerk, and Treasurer/Recorder. Absent an unelected City Manager, the mayor would be salaried and have “strong” mayoral authority. Department heads would be accountable to a mayor with hiring/firing authority, which will hopefully be exercised in the Planning Department, where Property Rights Violations of citizens in the ETJ currently finds it’s most zealous champion in the form of the Planning Director.
Alderman Candidates can expect to be questioned and examined about knowledge of the U.S. and Arkansas Constitutions regarding property rights of citizens and their commitment to be faithful to it. Will the alderman candidate respect property rights of all citizens, and commit to promptly vote for repeal the City’s ETJ?