The Pine Bluff City Council on Monday said no to two resolutions sponsored by the senior member of the council.
By a vote of 4-3, the council rejected a Mays proposal for the city to appropriate $25,000 from undesignated funds to help defray some of the costs of boxing matches sponsored by the Gloves Not Guns group. Mays and Council members Bruce Lockett and Ivan Whitfield favored the proposal while Council members Lloyd Holcmb Jr., Glen Brown Jr., Donald Hatchett and Joni Alexander voted no. The eighth member of the council, Win Trafford was absent.
The second Mays proposal, to authorize Pine Bluff Clean and Beautiful and the Dollarway Neighborhood Watch group, assisted by city agencies and personnel when approved by the Mayor, to maintain property at the corner of North Hutchinson Street and the Martha Mitchell Expressway was turned down by a vote of 5-2. The property is part of HR Food Mart. Mays and Lockett cast the only yes votes while Whitfield joined the other four council members in casting a no vote.
On the proposal to give money to Gloves Not Guns, Council member Glen Brown Jr., said the city is not able to give donations to private organizations and suggested that the group should approach the Advertising and Promotion (A & P) Commission, which already gives Gloves Not Guns $12,00 a year. He said Mays was asked to pull the proposal and refused, and the event Mays wants the funds for was not part of what was presented to the Advertising and Promotions Commission.
Whitfield initially suggested that the council send a letter to A&P asking them to find the money while Lockett said that since the city already gives money to blues concerts and basketball tournaments, it should also give money for the boxing event.
Later, it was suggested that Gloves Not Guns partner with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to holds the event.
City Finance Director Steve Miller said that in order for Gloves Not Guns to be able to receive money, they first had to have 501C3 nonprofit certification, then had to submit a proposal to the city explaining how the funds would be used. A contract would then be drawn up and that contract would be presented to the council for approval.
On the proposal to maintain the lot at HR Food Mart, Mays said he had been asked by his constituents to present the resolution, explaining that he had contacted the owner of the business who provided a letter authorizing the work to be done. He said he had also spoken to Kelli Kennedy, the director of Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Clean and Beautiful who agreed to do the work.
Holcomb said Mayor Shirley Washington said she had also spoken to Kennedy and had asked Mays not to bring the proposal to the floor but he refused.
“You put the council in the these kind of situations as if we don’t care of the city and that bothers me,” Holcomb said.
Mas again said he had a letter from the property owner authorizing the work but Brown responded by saying that “It doesn’t matter, it ‘s private property.”