February 22, 2017 Edition

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Hoxie forms committee
to assess consolidation

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

The "Keep Hoxie Hoxie" committee has been formed in response to ongoing discussion in the community about a consolidated Hoxie and Walnut Ridge.

A similar committee was formed by Walnut Ridge last year and its findings were reported in last week's edition of The Times Dispatch. In that release, the committee stated it would welcome a meeting with Hoxie Mayor Lanny Tinker and the new committee to go over their findings.

Walnut Ridge Mayor Charles Snapp also spoke in his state of the city address about hoping for another consolidation in 2017, having just finished the process of consolidating with College City.

Despite this, Hoxie Mayor Lanny Tinker said in the February city council meeting he has heard mostly opposition to a consolidation and wanted to cover all outcomes a consolidation would bring.

"I work for the citizens of Hoxie. It's not my job to tell the citizens what they should or shouldn't do," Tinker said.

During the meeting, Hoxie citizen Darrell Pickney expressed the name of the committee didn't represent a fair and unbiased examination of the pros and cons of a consolidation.

Pickney, who has lived in Hoxie all his life, said he himself used to be completely against a consolidation. However, he said his reasoning had more to do with the long-standing Mustangs vs. Bobcats rivalry and wasn't based on any facts.

Now, Pickney is uncertain about a consolidation. While he sees a positive in the combined population, he still wants the opportunity to look at all the facts to make an informed decision. "As a citizen, I don't know if I'd be for it or against it," he said.

Tinker asked Pickney, who agreed, if he would serve on the committee.

Alderman Sherry Moore, who will serve as committee chair, said they would look at the consolidation from all sides.

Also serving on the committee is Jerry Decker, Sherri Hancock, Marlyn Tate and Milena Smith.

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