SPRINGDALE — Mayra Carrillo and Randall Harriman are running to represent Ward 1, the northwest and north central parts of the city, on the Springdale City Council.
The council position is nonpartisan. Council members meet twice a month and earn $900 monthly regardless of attendance.
The Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette emailed the same questions to the candidates. Their responses are below. Candidates were limited to 200 words per answer.
Question: Many have called lately for Springdale to become more inclusive of its many diverse communities. Do you agree with the goal? If not, why? If yes, how should the city accomplish it?
Carrillo: By electing more representative voices. Not everyone feels heard or represented by the types of perspectives currently on city council.
Harriman: I agree that we need to include all of our citizens. I think the best way for the city to do this is to add a diverse group of ambassadors to our city’s staff.
These additions will help welcome new residents and create a comfortable environment for people to give and receive information about our city and the community at large.
I believe the city council would really benefit having representation of these communities on the council, but the voice needs to reflect the overall beliefs of their community, not just the language they speak.
Question: As the city grows and land prices escalate, more developers are proposing multifamily housing projects. Do you support the growth in this type of housing? Why or why not?
Harriman: I support multifamily housing as a part of the city’s growth strategy within reason. I believe that we need to have affordable housing available for all of our citizens.
If you look around at our surrounding communities, Springdale actually has one of the most affordable, per square foot, values on single family housing.
That, along with being in the middle of NWA, makes Springdale an attractive place to live.
Carrillo: Yes, as long as this kind of development is undertaken responsibly and with a “good neighbor” philosophy in mind.
I would like to see green spaces where children can play as part of these developments. I support multifamily housing developments because they build communities within themselves.
I’ve lived in apartments before. I knew my neighbors and our kids frequently played together.
Question: What is the most important challenge facing Springdale right now? How would you tackle it?
Carrillo: Connecting communities, both literally and figuratively. We need to improve infrastructure like sidewalks and public transit. I feel like people without cars or the ability to drive are often forgotten in these conversations.
Harriman: From my financial perspective, I believe the most important challenge in Springdale now is that our citizens live here, but spend their money in surrounding cities.
One thing we learned from covid is that when Springdale residents spent their money in our town, our sales tax revenue went up. We were the only city in NWA that had an increase.
I believe we need to attract the retail businesses and restaurants our citizens use in other cities, so that the money is spent here. We should be telling that story to potential businesses and asking them to invest in our city.
• Age: 45
• Residency: Has lived in Ward 1 for 10 years
• Employment: Human resources assistant at a local manufacturing company
• Education: Graduated, Springdale High School
• Political experience: None
• Age: 38
• Residency: Has lived in Ward 1 for two years
• Employment: Vice president of business development at Signature Bank in Springdale
• Education: Bachelor’s degree in education, University of Arkansas
• Political experience: None
Laurinda Joenks can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @NWALaurinda.