Editor's Note: This version corrects an earlier error. An ordinance amending section 29-2 and section 29-140 for parking and loading of the code of the ordinances for the city did not fail on Monday. Pine Bluff Alderman Bill Brumett said that an attempt to suspend the rules and have the ordinance read three times and voted on Monday night failed. The ordinance, however, was put on the calendar for the third reading for the next meeting.
The Pine Bluff City Council is set to review a proposed ordinance that will remove the Quality of Life Division from the Pine Bluff Police Department to the mayor’s office after it was placed on the agenda in error during Monday’s meeting.
“All ordinances have to go through a committee and be recommended by a committee before we can consider it on the council agenda,” said Alderman Bill Brumett. “We have a very strict rule about that it has to go through committee to get all of the details worked out before it comes to the floor.”
The proposed ordinance is sponsored by Alderman Steven Mays and would establish the division as an independent department under the administration of the mayor. The proposed ordinance calls for the Quality of Life Division to maintain the same framework and number of people as it currently has and “to carry out the responsibilities as it performed as a divisionof the Police Department.”
In 2014, the Code Enforcement Department was removed from the Inspection and Zoning Department and renamed the Quality of Life Division, which was then placed under the Police Department.
That arrangement lasted until December 2016, when the council voted 7-1 to remove both the Quality of Life and Animal Control Divisions from police control.
The change lasted until Feb. 21, when the council voted 5-3, with Mayor Shirley Washington casting the deciding vote, to move Quality of Life back to Police Department supervision. In other news, with a vote of 5-2, council members approved a residential garbage rate increase. The vote was met with concerns by both Alderwoman Thelma Walker and Mays, who discussed their displeasure with the Waste Management Services. Alderman Lloyd Holcomb Jr. was absent.
“We need to keep their feet to the fire, because they don’t treat us right,” said Walker. “We shouldn’t have to beg them to pick up mattresses... .”
The residential rate is currently at $16.33 per month, but starting next month, it’s set to go up $0.36 to $16.69 per month. According to the resolution, the city’s agreement with the Waste Management of Arkansas, Inc. includes an allowance that is made annually based on agreed criteria tied to the Consumer Price Index. The allowance is set to be implemented on the contract’s anniversary date of Nov. 1.
“The contract we have with Waste Management requires every September that we raise the rate equal to the CPI,” said Brumett. “It’s not any choice on that, so it has to be done.”
During the meeting, the council also approved an ordinance “providing the rezoning of certain territory located at 1602 S. Blake Street.” In addition, they voted to close a portion of the east-west alley located in the 3800 block east of Olive Street. The city also announced that they refinanced a 2012 sales and use tax bond, saving them roughly $373, 136.68 over the course of 19 years at a fixed rate.
The bond matures on Oct. 1, 2036.
An ordinance amending section 29- 2 and section 29-140 for parking and loading of the code of the ordinances for the city will be voted on at the next council meeting after an attempt to suspend the rules and have it read three times and call for a vote failed.
By law an ordinance must be read three times (typically at three separate meetings) before a vote can be taken. However, the council can also vote to suspend those rules and have three readings and a vote taken at just one meeting.
Resolutions were also given honoring city workers, including Vincent Miles, David Poe and Stacy Carpenter for their exemplary work at the Wastewater Utility of the City of Pine Bluff.