Ward 3 has new representative
BENTONVILLE — Tom Hoehn is the newest Ward 3 representative after James Smith left the
City Council seat vacant earlier this month.
The council appointed Hoehn after hearing from eight interested residents.
Each had three minutes to make their case why they would be best for the position.
There was no discussion among sitting council members, and Ward 1’s Chad Goss motioned to appoint Hoehn. Four other council members agreed by raising their hand.
Ward 3 is the southwest area of the city. It is bounded by Southwest Second Street and West Central Avenue to the north and Southwest A Street and South Walton Boulevard to the east.
Smith’s last council meeting was June 27. He and his family moved to Pagosa Springs, Colo., where he took a job with a community bank.
Goss said after the meeting Hoehn has already been contributing to downtown through different organizations.
“His resume’s stellar, especially working for Wal-Mart in social media,” Goss said. “He can actively engage residents in a way we currently don’t have the expertise to.”
Hoehn and his family moved to Bentonville 5 1/2 years ago. He’s Wal-Mart’s senior director of digital/social marketing.
He and his wife have been married for 32 years. They have four grown children, the youngest of which is a University of Arkansas student, according to Hoehn’s letter of interest to the mayor’s office.
Hoehn also serves on the Peel Mansion-Compton Gardens Foundation board and been involved in programming for the Bentonville Film Festival.
“It’s fun and it’s exciting and it’s challenging and rewarding to be a part of the vibrancy and growth of this community,” he said after the meeting. “I look forward to serving on the council.”
The council also agreed to new ward boundaries in an effort to make the populations more balanced.
The new ward keeps four quadrants but moves boundary lines. Ward 1 is north of Central Avenue and east of Walton Boulevard. Ward 2 is north of Southwest 14th Street and west of Walton Boulevard. Ward 3 is south of Southwest 14th Street and west of Southwest I Street. Ward 4 is south of Central Avenue and west of Southwest I Street.
George Spence, city attorney, and council members have been discussing the need to redraw the ward boundaries since February as Ward 3 has nearly 47 percent of the city’s 44,000 population.
Ward 3 has 20,788 residents. Ward 1 has 6,605. Ward 2 has 7,583. Ward 4 has 8,961.
Spence presented the council with four options in April. The council members talked about tweaks that could be made to one of the maps, which resulted in four more options presented in May.
The map agreed upon Tuesday puts 12,410 residents, or 28 percent, of the city’s population in Ward 3, keeping it the largest ward. Ward 4 would be the next largest with 11,610 residents, or 26 percent.
Ward 1 would have the smallest population at 9,577 residents, or nearly 22 percent of the population, leaving Ward 2 with 10,340 residents, or about 23.5 percent population.
Ward 2 council member Stephanie Orman was the only one to vote against the new boundaries.
The selected map still leaves Ward 3 with the largest population, and it’s the area of the city that is growing the quickest, she said after the meeting.
The new wards will be explained in an ordinance, which the council will need to approve, Spence said. The new boundaries will not go into effect until next year’s election.