Sunday, August 9, 2009

Is Johnson the New Tontitown?

I had decided not to mention the FUBAR situation prevailing at Tontitown City Hall and the TIFR antics of Tontitown Mayor Joe Edgmon, but that could serve as the Rosetta Stone for understanding the erratic behavior of Johnson Mayor Lonnie Barron. These two Springdale suburbs and their mayors seem to have too much in common to ignore.

Mayor Barron has a long string of incompetencies. Just in the last couple of years, there was the road to nowhere. Johnson passed a TIF District in 2004 to build a road and the road was dedicated to the city in October 2005. Then Johnson repealed the TIF, and the road remained unpaved for 50 yards between Main Drive and 48th Street behind James at the Mill. When asked by a reporter from the Springdale News in 2007, Mayor Barron shrugged and said, "I don't have any idea what we're going to do."

Johnson was equally clueless two weeks ago when it was reported that the United States Postal Service was recommending closing the Johnson Post Office, which is in a city-owned building and rented by the post office for $400 a month. "They'll have to explain what's going to happen before I decide if I'm for or against it," he said. Yeah, that would be a tough one, Lonnie.

Then there was that damning report from the state Legislative Audit in 2008. Unauthorized spending of $4,235 from the Drug Fund for weight lifting equipment was the least of the exceptions. State auditors found that the General Fund disbursement journal showed less than proof of cash by $245,000 or 19%, and the Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance Fund was off by a whopping 62%. Mayor Barron was specifically cited for failure to reveal and submit several funds with the annual operating budget as required by law, hiding more than $400,000 from the city council in a single year.

Mayor Barron is on a tear this month, condemning private property by eminent domain for extending water and sewer service that the city doesn't have and cannot afford to construct such facilities, even with all of the speed trap revenue. He also tried to demand that the Sonic Drive-In, situated within the Fayetteville city limits, pay sales tax to Johnson on slush and chili dog sales at eight of the 24 stalls. He appeared to think that the streamlined sales tax law designed to collect sales taxes on internet sales to Arkansas could be applied to the eight Sonic stalls that were in the Johnson city limits. Good grief! Tom Atchley, excise tax administrator for the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration, set him straight on that scheme, explaining that the business was located in Fayetteville and the tater tots were served on the business property.

Thanks for the laughs, Lonnie. You are such a joker. And such a joke.


  1. Johnson the new Tontitown? I doubt it. Tontitown still has vestigial charm. Johnson lost its charm when Antonio's closed.

  2. I hope that Joe Edgmon and Lonnie Barron are re-elected term after term after term. Not because I enjoy reading and hearing about the stupid shit that goes on in there cities, but for the simple fact that if they are the Mayors of Tontitown and Johnson they will be living out there instead of Fayetteville :)

  3. JT wrote:These two Springdale suburbs and their mayors seem to have too much in common to ignore.

    WTF ? Seems as your article explains in detail that Johnson is a burb of Fayetteville. Their respective city limits butt up agin each other.

    So, you claim your next door neighbor JT.

  4. Good point, L. However, since both Fayetteville and Springdale sandwich Johnson, there must be an external review of which municipality should be held responsible for its municipal myopia. Let us make the test the sanity of neighboring cities on opposite ends. Fayetteville proudly claims Greenland and John Gray, while Springdale gets Bethel Heights and Fred Jack. Clearly, Chickendale must admit paternity and take custody of Johnson.

  5. I think Fayetteville City Hall would be happy to annex all of Johnson...

  6. Lets do it this way Citizen. Chickenopolis gets Tontitown and Fayetteville gets Johnson.

    Bethel Heights clearly belongs to Rogers/Lowell Chamber of Kawmerse, in fact that's where discriminating bidness men from Bethel Heights attend.

    Fayetteville gets Elkins and Farmington.

    Wait! Springdale, Elkins and some of Farmington share the same state Senator.

  7. A true man should know what he speaks of. Mayor Barron was not the Mayor in 2004 or 2005 or in 2006. He took office in 2007. The complex legal issues of the "road to nowhere" were put in place before Mayor Barron took office and the details are in all likelihood beyond your understanding. He who gets his information from the newspaper is only half informed. If you can't put your name to your mouth then keep your month shut.

  8. You brought up the streamlined sales tax issue. Did you know the tax also applies to more than internet sales. It also moves the sales tax collected to the point of delivery. Johnson has three concrete plants. The concrete is purchased and made in Johnson but the sales taxes goes to the City in which the concrete is delivered. What is the difference. If I buy a load of lumber in Fayetteville and have it delivered in Springdale. Springdale gets the sales tax. You really should know what your talking about and post all the facts. I see you had to bring up the "speed trap" of Johnson. Again you don't know half as much as you think you do. Look up the Arkansas definition of speed trap. None of which applies to Johnson. You bad mouth what you know little if anything about. You are the biggest Joke. My parents own 2 houses in Fayetteville and will not live there, They prefer Winslow, less is more kind of thing. I live in Johnson and would hate to be in Fayetteville or Springdale

  9. As Obama recently found out, you should have all the facts before you criticize any public official. There is much more going on with all of these issues than you know; the papers just don't report it all. Mayor Barron was elected to work for the best interests of Johnson, so every decision/statement he makes is coming from that perspective--just as Mayor Jordan does for Fayetteville, etc. If you want to know all the facts, call Johnson City Hall and ask for a meeting with Mayor Barron. I'm sure he could tell you all sorts of things about these issues that would change your mind about some things!