Despite the doubling of its agenda to eight items with the late addition of four ordinances, the Pine Bluff City Council completed its Monday night meeting in what Mayor Carl A. Redus Jr. termed "near-record time."
Despite the doubling of its agenda to eight items with the late addition of four ordinances, the Pine Bluff City Council completed its Monday night meeting in what Mayor Carl A. Redus Jr. termed “near-record time.”
The session started at 5:30 and concluded 29 minutes later, with the council covering committee reports, hearing the first reading of the ordinances and taking action on four resolutions.
The parks and recreation department had been in line for a financial windfall with appropriations from three resolutions, but only one of the measures was approved. The council unanimously authorized Redus to apply for a $250,000 outdoor recreation matching grant from the Arkansas Parks and Tourism Department. The city’s 50-percent share would come from the 2013 annual budget.
Parks and Recreation Director Angela Parker said the money would be used in continuing renovation of the city’s baseball fields. Parker said the amount for a similar grant approved last year was $450,000. She said the monies had been “put to good use” with initial baseball facility enhancements.
The grant measure was sponsored by Alderman Charles Boyd.
Two Alderman Steven Mays-sponsored resolutions were tabled. One that called for the council to express its intent to include in the 2013 budget $250,000 toward construction of a public swimming pool at Townsend Park was sent to the Parks and Recreation Commission for its consideration. Alderwoman Thelma Walker was critical of the legislation, saying she doesn’t want to see such measures “give people false hopes.” Mays disagreed, saying the $250,000 might not be enough to build a pool, but it would be “seed money” toward that end.
Redus told Mays and Walker they could continue their debate elsewhere, but the proposal needs to be discussed by commissioners so they can “decide if they want to pursue this.”
The remaining resolution, which was passed unanimously, was a standard declaration of certain houses, buildings and/or other structures as public nuisances and ordering their abatement.
The ordinances, all referred to the development and planning committee for additional considerations, called for closure of:
• The alley located between Cherry and Linden streets and Seventh and Eighth avenues.
• A portion of Parker Avenue.
• Parts of North, South and West Belair and Belle Meade drives.
• Part of Cottonwood Street and all of Cottonwood Circle.
Following the meeting, Redus and the council heard a complaint from Jerry Brasfield, who said the inspection and zoning department has been unfair in its practices toward him. Brasfield said the city is failing to follow its own guidelines in its handling of a situation in which it issued a “stop order” on Brasfield’s repairs on a house he owns.
Brasfield spoke beyond a three-minute limit, and Redus then ordered that inspection and zoning officials, along with representatives of the city attorney’s office, to meet Brasfield at the house in question to attempt to settle the dispute.