Changes in licensing and occupation fees and a new vendor for telephone service for the city will be on the agenda when the Pine Bluff City Council meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday in council chambers.
An ordinance sponsored by Alderman Bill Brumett would modify occupation taxes on rental and leased property, including apartments, business and commercial property and residential housing repairs.
The modifications include eliminating an exemption for three or fewer apartment units and set a flat fee of $10 per unit without regard to the number of units involved. A fee of $10.08 would be set for business and commercial property rented or leased, and again eliminate the current exemption for three or fewer units; in both cases, a sliding scale assessment would be eliminated.
Hotel rooms would be assessed at a rate of $10 per room and the current rates would be eliminated.
Residential housing, such as apartments, duplexes, etc., that are being repaired by the owner of the property but excludes the owner’s personal residence would be assessed a fee of $10 per house, $20 per duplex and $30 per triplex without exception.
Regarding telephone service, a resolution to be considered by the council would allow Mayor Shirley Washington to contract with Birch Communications, which submitted the lowest bid to provide analog (landline) services to the city.
This action came after a review of the city’s telephone system which had been amortized by the council and which concluded that the city could save money by replacing its current service.
The council will also consider an ordinance to waive competitive bidding and sign a contract with a law firm to ensure proper payment of insurance claims filed by the city for hail damage.
The city contracted with Harold Hall Roofing to perform repairs and according to the proposed ordinance, “difficulties have arisen with proper payment.”
As a part of the agreement, Harold Hall Roofing has agreed to pay the city’s costs and expenses of retaining the law firm of Gilbert, McWherter, Scott and Bobbit to handle the claims.
The council will also be asked to waive competitive bidding and hire McClelland Engineers for professional engineering work on the reconstruction and improvements planned for West 13th Avenue between Hickory and Hazel Streets. McClelland would handle right of way and utility relocation services along the route and will perform the work for $10,000.
The resolution also provides that the city is in line to receive a significant grant from the state to fund the costs associated with the project.
Also on the agenda is an ordinance dissolving Sewer Improvement District No. 39, which was created in 1999 and which, according to the proposed ordinance, has fulfilled all of its purposes, including all construction and all obligations created by the construction.
A resolution appointing Janice Roberts to the Board of Directors of the Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Port Authority is also on the agenda. Roberts will replace Diane Tatum, whose term has expired.