Letters to the editor

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

ECHO Village clarification

I wish to clarify the ECHO Village Water/Sewer information reported from the March 25 city council meeting, and respond to the survey question asked in last week’s Citizen, “Do you support the city council’s decision to reduce the sewer connection fee for ECHO Village?” whereby  2/3 of respondents said no. The city fees were broken down into sewer connection fees, sewer capacity fees, and water meter install and connection fees.

The $2,400 sewer connection charge was erroneous, as ECHO Village had already paid private contractors to hook up to the sewer system, so in fact the fee reduction from $2,400 to $300 by no means represented a fee waiver and is still charging ECHO Village $300 for worked it already paid for. Note that all of the sewer and water lines in the village were installed at ECHO Village’s own expense.

The sewer capacity charge is based on the average water usage of homes in Eureka Springs, but given these are small 400-600 square foot homes, most with only one occupant, all with energy efficient construction/appliances and planned xeriscaping, so the water usage should be well below the average. Water meter connection locations are paired, so the city is not going all over Eureka to install 8 meters, but to one location (The Village) and four spots within the Village.

Finally, this is the only housing project in the city I am aware of that is providing low cost, quality homes for housing insecure persons/families, with sliding scale rents based on income and ability to pay. Over the years I have heard many residents, including city council, complain of the high rents for substandard rental homes/apartments, and their high utility bills to maintain a minimal comfort in extreme weather (this is not meant to slight all landlords as certainly some take care of their properties). Residents, city council, and economic development committees keep asking why more new and affordable homes can’t be built, and all of the above is a great example of why.

ECHO Village is a non-profit organization, makes no profit from the rental of these units, and I think the city should cut the Village some slack where it can. Echo Village is not asking for freebies from the city, just reasonable charges to reflect the careful planning put in place to make this project both economical and high quality. I’ll close by thanking the volunteers (individual and skilled contractors) for their help in building these current eight homes, the two new ones starting construction in May, and then 16 more after that. If there ever is a Village II, maybe it should be built outside city limits?

- Dee Rude

Auto shop recommendation

I love to tell people about places that deliver on promises and Blair's Auto is one of these places. This auto repair shop has been delivering on promises to customers and they are ecstatic about the work that is being done of their cars. I meet and talk with many locals and tourists to Eureka Springs AR and I am proud to recommend Blair's Auto. We need to promote local businesses that are representing the great people of Eureka Springs AR. Keep up the great work

God Bless,

Fergie Stewart 

Letter represented

one man’s opinion

Dear Editor:

The letter to the Editor titled: Code enforcement is Haphazard, is the opinion of one B&B owner (maybe one other) and needs to be recognized as not representing the opinions of the majority of B&B owners in this community. Behind this letter was: (an attempt to call most B&B owners in town to not sign the affidavit and to meet on April 14, 2019 to protest). There have been no meetings or exchanges of communication among all the B&B owners in this town on this issue and for that matter any issues that might be facing the owners of B&Bs. There is no official organization or informal organization in town among B&B owners in Eureka Springs as well.

That letter to the Editor is the work of one B&B owner and is his opinion. 

I have owned my B&B for 10 years now and never in these years have found any "hostility" toward my business, nor have I heard from other B&B owners that any of them have experienced "hostility."

To state: “for many years, been especially antagonistic toward B&B owners/operators” is patently false or the opinion of this person and not widely experienced. Note no examples of antagonistic or hostile efforts by the city are given.To make public such a wild accusation against enforcement of a longstanding ordinance that is and has been ignored by a few B&Bs in town by tightening up enforcement is just ill conceived by this person. Note title of Enforcement is Haphazard. Then an attempt to enforce is committed and this person complains about it!

I find this letter to the Editor to be for me: "the straw that broke the camel’s back.” 

The fact is that it is his opinion and while he is entitled to his opinion to taint the rest of the B&B community like he has our blessing to go public  is wrong. Damning the city, its leadership, the planning commission and others in his quest to challenge enforcement of code is not accurate. Enforcement of code was the reason for the action taken by planning to deal with lack of compliance. Note he provides no facts of lack of enforcement, no facts related to how B&B owners have been treated with hospitality, nor did he provide any facts to illustrate antagonistic behavior on the part of the city.

In publishing this hostile opinion piece that is maligning the city and planning commission, he has created a negative public perception of the state of B&B ownership in the city and could well impact the sale of various B&B businesses in this town. Point is case: I have had several guests who ask me questions about the city and what is going on having read the local papers. On several occasions I have had potential buyers of real estate in town who stayed with me while looking at property ask about issues noted in the paper. This opinion piece does nothing to help out the real estate sales in the city and specifically the sale of lodging or even other businesses. That old saying: “it is a dirty bird that fowls its own nest” seems appropriate for his opinion piece.

The opinion published on March 27, 2019, does little other than air a disgruntled B&B owner's opinion without merit or facts, but could well succeed in hampering the sale of a B&B or other lodging establishment to potential buyers. What has he accomplished other than blowing off some steam all the while casting a cloud on owning a B&B in this town?

I must say: "Fake news" sure fits this matter.


David Mitchell

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