Tipton starts bid for re-election to City Council

By Martin Couch

Chris Tipton has enjoyed being a Bryant City alderman in Ward 2, Position 2 for the past four years.

Now with his re-election bid beginning, Tipton feels his voice on the City Council is representative of his neighbors.

"I have enjoyed the heck out of the first four years on the City Council," he said. "The first two years were very much a learning process for me, but I caught on and I feel like I'm just now gaining my feet and getting really strong within the Council by getting things accomplished."

Nothing of what Tipton has helped get accomplished has come with a personal agenda either, he says.[more]

"I enjoy serving the people and when there is a street that needs to be fixed, we got on it and when there was flooding, I was there to help put up sandbags," he said.

Tipton has been instrumental in seeing that the $1.4 million spent on improving the flooding issues in the city has been spent wisely.

"We spent 1.4 million just on flooding issues," he said. "It was never in the budget and we had to find a way to stop it. We've made great strides in the last four years since the 2008 flood when 47 houses were flooding. Only three have flooded since then and most of that has been in garages. And, like any good manager, you prioritize and you get it out of the houses first and, hopefully, out of the garages, yards and streets, but it's not tearing up houses now.

"There is still work to be done on the streets and flooding, but we know that. However, with the economy the way it is, we have to get our dollars from taxes and when the economy is down, people are spending less money and there are less tax dollars," Tipton added. "I think we are in phase two in West Pointe. We have to get all the water underground just like we do at Forest Cove. That area at Forest Cove has been due to Highway 5 and there's been nothing we could do until the state decides to do it and they have now. Our hands have been a little bit tied there, but I can name 20 to 25 houses where I personally sandbagged the day the floods were coming. I was also helping to vacuum out peoples houses at 2 a.m., so I am not just there as at the City Council meetings, I am there physically as well. It's not just about the meetings to me."

Tipton finds himself in a unique position for his campaign to be re-elected. His partnering Ward 2 alderman in Position 1, Ed Collins, has given up his seat to run against him and has mentioned Tipton in something of a negative manner in recent interviews about the Ward 2, Position 2 spot.

"My opponent is vacating his position to run for mine and the question I have as a constituent of his — because I am also a constituent in Ward 2 — is he running from his inability to be effective in his own position, because he keeps mentioning in his interviews that I didn't do anything?" Tipton asked. "His vote counts just like my vote counts on the City Council, but what has he done? Quit blaming other people and jump in and be a leader. Has he forgotten he is an alderman as well? It would appear that running a negative campaign is his only agenda in this election, because he has not mentioned any solutions, just problems. Again, he has been on the Council for two years and why isn't he helping to fix problems?

"He has also stated that I haven't been a good steward of the taxpayers’ money," Tipton continued. "This is the same City Councilman that, in his very first meeting in January 2009 — and this is on public record — he made the motion for the highest raise that the Council could get. Thankfully, it was defeated. Several voted against it and defeated it 5-3. This is his first meeting and all of the sudden he needs a raise? He had done nothing. I didn't understand that and I still don't. We're in the worst recession we could be in and we are taking money? I don't get it. I don't think that's being a good steward. The seat was barely warm when he decided to do something for himself, which I do think he tried to do.

“And it's stated in public record that this particular alderman has tried to sue the City of Bryant. He's the same one who was voted to serve the public and be a good steward of the taxpayers’ money. He wasn't a good steward."

Tipton has also served on the Bryant Athletic Association board of directors since 2002 and served as its vice president for the past three years.

"That's something I enjoy," he said. "My opponent also stated that I am into special interest groups. I don't consider flood victims or people using the parks as special interest groups. I consider them citizens and I'm going to fight for them. The kids and other youth — and it's not just the BAA, it's soccer and softball youth of Bryant — are not special interest. They are citizens of Bryant. So he needs to know the difference between special interest groups and interest in citizens."

"Unfortunately, I have to respond to the unfair and false accusations of my opponent when there is so much work to be done in the city," Tipton said. "And it's simply because he is running a negative campaign. There have been a lot of things accomplished in this city. We have fire and police departments that are the envy of other larger cities; our school system is superb. There are still so many things we have to do and people have to realize that with a city that is exploding in growth like Bryant, there are going to be growing pains and we have to fix things, and it's going to take money."

Tipton compares Bryant's growth to that of Cabot and Conway and has spoken with engineers from those cities to find solutions on how to handle Bryant's.

"Those cities are experiencing the same things we are here in Bryant," he said. "They have the same problems with flooding, because when you put more rooftops up you have less absorption and that's what you are going to see.

“But there are a lot of positive things going on in Bryant and I'm not going to sit back and let my opponent tarnish my name, or my family's name, or all that hard work that I have done for the last four years. He can try to do what he wants to do. He has been there for two years and it doesn't look to me like he has accomplished anything other than to run from his position and attack someone.

"Another thing I hope the constituents look at, this guy who first sat down and wanted a raise, then he wanted his street done before anyone else," Tipton added. "I would think that the people of Bryant would believe that just because you hold a city position doesn't mean you go first. The position should mean you serve others first and get it as it comes along like they do. Hopefully, they will choose the right person who is for everyone and not one who is into self-interest."

Tipton added that he prefers to run a professional campaign.

"I confronted my opponent and told him I had heard a rumor he was running against me and he said yes he was," Tipton stated. "When I asked why, he said 'because you didn't get my street fixed.' Everywhere throughout all his interviews if you look at them, it's me, me, me or I this and I that … it's more about his street and those things than it is about the Ward or the city. It's about him, it's not about the city and the constituents."

Tipton and his family have lived in Bryant since 1996.

"I know my neighbors and I don't look at them like voters," he said. "The people of Bryant are school teachers, firemen, policemen, workers in Little Rock who travel back and forth and want to come home to live in a safe place and send their kids to a good school. These are neighbors, not just voters and that's the way I see it."

Tipton has been progressive in his stint as City Alderman for Ward 2.

"If you look at the things that have been accomplished, we spent 1.4 million on flooding, fixed the streets on Providence and Independence this year, we have a fire and police department that other cities would love to have, and look at the progressive water supply for Bryant that has been set up for the next 30 years," he said. "We have already taken care of it. We are so far ahead of the game. The FTN study that was done before I got there has put us two years ahead on the flooding. Yes, water does run downhill, but the study also says it's 'this' many gallons and what kind of culverts we need.

"Now that I am here, I have enjoyed serving and I will continue to try to get things accomplished with the people's interest at heart," Tipton said. "You have to be willing to serve and not do it for the wrong reasons. I love this city and this is where my family calls home."

1 comment

  1. Rob

    Due to the fact that the comments from both sides of this election have deteriorated and, with the endorsement of both candidates, I’m halting all future comments and deleting all posted comments on this race for City Council.
    I’m all for civil discourse but, frankly, this ain’t it.

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