A resolution that will halt the collection of fees associated with demolition, rehabilitation and reconstruction of homes damaged by flooding along the Arkansas River was approved by the Pine Bluff City Council on Monday.
Sponsored by Mayor Shirley Washington, the resolution said that “city government is committed to the rapid rehabilitation of the residences and other structures which sustained damage from the flood, as well as the removal of improvement which cannot be salvaged, and to this end proposes a moratorium on the assessment and fees charged for permits which in the normal course of business would be required for the work.”
The resolution applies only to Riverside Drive, which city officials said was the only area inside the Pine Bluff City limits affected by flooding; the moratorium will be in effect until June 1, 2020, unless the council extends it. Fees and permit costs, which are being waived, include zoning permits, inspection permits, demolition permits or other technical code permit and any other related charge.
Washington said the city is committed to helping the property owners on Riverside Drive recover and rebuild their neighborhood and encouraged them to contact the Jefferson County Office of Emergency Management if they have a specific need, or to contact Waste Management if they need a dumpster.
She also announced that a multi-agency resource center to assist flood victims will be set up at the Donald W. Reynolds Community Service Center from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday and Friday.
Also approved Monday night was a resolution closing a portion of East 24th Avenue one block east and one block west of Indiana Street for a period of 90 days, effective July 1. The resolution was sponsored by council members Lloyd Holcomb Jr., and Joni Alexander, who both represent the city’s First Ward, and was prompted by a significant increase in illegal dumping on both sides of the intersection.
In other matters, a resolution authorizing the mayor to sign a change order with CDI Contractors to do additional construction to the Pine Bluff Aquatics Center before its grand opening June 29. The additional construction cost was listed as $296,000 and, according to a representative of the company, all the work has been done.
Jill Floyd told the council Monday that only minor work remains to be done at the building, including adjusting doors and touching up paint. She said the company will turn the keys to the building over to city officials Friday.
Washington announced that tours of the center are currently being offered daily at 2 p.m. prior to the opening.