A resolution requesting the operators of the Saracen Casino and Annex to delay resuming casino operations for a brief period in the interest of public health is on the first item agenda to be discussed.

The Pine Bluff City Council will meet on Monday, May 18 at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom. Committee meetings will meet prior to the city council meeting.
A resolution requesting the operators of the Saracen Casino and Annex to delay resuming casino operations for a brief period in the interest of public health is on the first item agenda to be discussed.
According to the resolution, it can be anticipated that the resumption of casino operations will result in an increase of out-of-area and out-of-state visitors to the Saracen Casino facilities.
The ordinance states that the city of Pine Bluff has experienced many cases of COVID-19 and the danger of continued transmission of the virus has not passed and can only be enhanced by the infusion of persons from other areas who may be unwitting carriers of the virus.
It is vital that a COVID-19 hotspot not be created in the city, which is already significantly affected by the virus, reads the ordinance.
The ordinance requests a delay of 30 days in the resumption of casino activities to allow for a reduction in cases occurring locally and nationally.
If approved the mayor would be directed to contact the management of Saracen Casino facilities and request that the casino delay resumption of casino operations for 30 days or until June 18, 2020, to protect and promote public health of the residents of Pine Bluff.
According to Carlton Saffa, Saracen Casino Project manager, during an interview with Fox 16 last week, he said there would be social distancing, ID checks, installation of Plexiglas, additional hand sanitizing stations, and everyone would have to wear a mask.
He also said the casino would not operate 24 hours a day to allow a thorough deep cleaning.
Additional resolutions include appointing Joni Alexander to the Pine Bluff Area Transportation Policy Committee to serve as council representative. If approved Alexander would serve a term through December 31, 2022.
A resolution appointing Alexander to the Southeast Arkansas Regional Planning Commission is also on the agenda for approval.
Other appointees include Lynette Marie Bloomberg to the Pine Bluff/Jefferson county National Heritage Trails Task Force. Bloomberg currently serves as the Director of the Pine Bluff Regional Chamber of Commerce.
“I believe in Pine Bluff and want to contribute to the efforts of moving as forward as a destination city that offers a rich visitor experience,” said Bloomberg. “We have so much to offer, so much potential and so many possibilities to make into realities.”
Bloomberg said her goals for the city is to become a stronger community through economic development, including tourism, industry and through small local businesses.
A resolution to appoint Kwaeisi C. Golliday to the Pine Bluff/Jefferson County National Heritage Trails Task force is on the agenda for approval.
Golliday states she was worked with several groups in Pine Bluff that supports development and expansion. With a BA in Anthropology, Golliday states she would like to serve on the commission to help bring opportunity to the fruition for the city of Pine Bluff.
“As a place that’s so ready for growth and development, I can see endless doors opening for the town and those who live here,” said Golliday. “The possibility of what the future may look like is a major motivator for me.”
To be approved is a resolution expressing the willingness of the city of Pine Bluff to utilize general aid transportation alternatives program funds.
According to the resolution, Federal-aid Transportation Alternatives Program Funds are available at 80 percent federal participation and 20 percent local match to develop or improve the Art Loop/Delta Rhythm and Bayous District Project.
A resolution implementing the First Responders Homebuyers Incentive Program is on the agenda for approval.
In effort to promote continued growth of the city of Pine Bluff, it is crucial to implement a strategy to retain the quality and professionalism of the first responder force, Pine Bluff Police and Fire Department uniformed personnel, reads the resolution.
Lastly, a resolution to promote transparency relating to policies and procedures concerning sanitation, self and mandatory quarantine and pay roll issues resulting from COVID-19 and pandemic related loss.
The resolution reads that COVID-19 has city employees concerned about quarantine issues relating to fellow employees who may have come in contact with a positive COVID-19 individual and they employees are concerned about pay roll issues related to self and mandatory quarantine resulting from COVID-19.