Fouke mayor being ‘neighborly’ with town’s fire truck

The Cabin-Net
July 17, 2006

Fouke mayor being ‘neighborly’ with town’s fire truck

FOUKE (AP) – The mayor of the southwest Arkansas town of Fouke says
using the fire truck to water the lawn of a religious ministry was
simply being neighborly.

“If you all don’t want to continue the program, let me know about it,
but I say that when it gets to where you can’t help your neighbors, then
just send men home,” Mayor Cecil Smith told Fouke City Council members

They agreed with the mayor that there was no need to discuss the issue

Smith said he received an anonymous complaint in late June about the use
of the Fouke Volunteer Fire Department truck to water the back lawn of
Tony Alamo Christian Ministries. He said apparently the complaint
stemmed from religious prejudice.

Tony Alamo, who once claimed to have followers worldwide, is a
self-described pastor and evangelist. At its peak, his Holy Alamo
Christian Church claimed thousands of members. In 1994, Alamo went to
prison after being convicted in Memphis, Tenn., of failing to file tax
returns on church profits.

The mayor told city council members that when he is asked by someone for
help he doesn’t concern himself with that person’s religious beliefs.

“We have some people here who disagree with the religion of some people
on the council as well as with some churches in town,” he said. “But if
it gets to the point where you can’t help your churches or your
community, then that’s when you stop having a community.”

He also said he had a problem with people raising concerns without
bringing them before the council where they can be properly addressed.

Smith noted that the city currently has no policies regarding water
usage, and said the city has had to “play it by ear” when honoring
requests from residents for services that they can’t pay for. Sometimes,
the city has helped residents needing water in exchange for volunteer

Other times the city has helped elderly people who need water when their
wells break down or the mayor and others have donated small lots to
local churches and kept the property trimmed, he said.

“We have been helping people like this even before I became mayor,”
Smith said.

In other instances, people pay for water for their swimming pools. “We
don’t give water away, we sell it to residents and people pay for the
water,” the mayor said.

In: 2000-2007

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