WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. – When Walnut Ridge Mayor Charles Snapp was contacted by NEA Report on Friday afternoon, he had not yet read the Hoxie mayor’s Facebook post about a hostile takeover effort.
Snapp was in meetings regarding economic growth and partnerships with other communities and counties, he said. After a reporter read the entire statement to him, he expressed total shock.
“I’m a little bit shocked about what you just read me,” Snapp said. “He brought it up to me immediately following the election in November, 2014 and sit in the office with my wife and told me Hoxie was broke and would have to consolidate within the next two years.”
This is a stark contrast to what Tinker wrote in his Facebook post.
“I was very disappointed when Walnut Ridge Mayor, Charles Snapp made statements about the consolidation of Hoxie with Walnut Ridge without having communications with the Hoxie City Council, mayor or our citizens,” Tinker said.
Snapp added that he had not only met with Tinker about it, but specifically offered ideas to allow both towns to retain their independence.
“We’ve offered town meetings,” Snapp said. “We’ve offered to share the Christmas parades – one year, start it in Hoxie and end in Walnut Ridge and the next year, flip it. We’ve tried to be as cordial as can be but following the election, Lanny Tinker has done nothing but talk to me about the need to consolidate.”
Snapp said he had no intentions of a hostile effort to take over Hoxie and had only been acting on information and suggestions which came from the Hoxie mayor himself, along with Hoxie residents. He said Tinker had come into his office with the idea before Snapp had ever said a word.
“When I was first elected, I’m telling you, Lanny Tinker came into my office with my wife there and told me how in poor financial shape Hoxie was in and in two years they would be forced to consolidate,” Snapp said. “He asked me how good financial shape Walnut Ridge was in and I said, ‘Lanny, it’s going to take the city a while to get back up in financial shape. They’re gaining now and we’ve got to keep that going.’ And that was the first time he approached me about consolidation.”
NEA Report asked Hoxie Mayor Lanny Tinker if he had met with Snapp at the beginning of Snapp’s term.
“I don’t recall any specific conversations in 2014 the start of my second term,” Tinker said. “I do remember a brief conversation sometime in mid 16 but I stated very specifically Hoxie would know our stability by late 2018 and I wanted no publicity until late 2018. How did that work out? He called me after he formed a committee and announced at their council meeting on tv before he called me. I voiced my displeasure and we agreed to disagree. We have had limited conversation on any subject since.”
Tinker said he had great communication with former Mayor House and he tried with Snapp, but “somehow, we got crossways.” He said Snapp should have at least discussed when he was moving forward in 2017 to annex.
“Honestly, I hate to say it but wow, I’m kind of floored,” Snapp said. “Evidently, he had misrepresented the situation to me from the get-go. But hey, if that’s what the people want, then that’s fine.”