Council sets stage for action on Easterly proposal

The Pine Bluff City Council passed just one minor piece of legislation during a 30-minute meeting Monday evening, but did lay the groundwork for more substantive action at its May 5 meeting.

Ward 2 Alderman Wayne Easterly is the sponsor of a proposed ordinance, read for the second time Monday, that would change a group of traffic violations that currently are based on state law to be instead based on city code.

“It would have the effect of designating more money for the city while actually lowering the existing fines,” Easterly said in a conversation immediately after Monday’s meeting. “Right now the money from fines is divided between the state and the city. Basing the violations on city code will allow us to have more money for the police department.”

The public safety committee will discuss the proposal immediately before the May 5 council meeting, according to Easterly.

Also up for a second reading Monday was a proposed ordinance sponsored by Ward 1 Alderwoman Thelma Walker. The proposal is an addition to an ordinance passed by the council at its March 17 meeting that allows residents who want to perform work on their own home to do so without holding a contractor’s license.

Walker said the amendment would make it unnecessary for a resident doing such work to pay an occupancy tax as is normally required of general contractors working in Pine Bluff.

Walker pulled from consideration a proposed ordinance that would have been up for its third and final reading that would amend the code of ordinances dealing with signs prohibited in all districts, to remove a section she maintains is vague and unnecessary.

“I need to do some additional research on the issue,” Walker said Friday. “I may reintroduce it at a later date.”

“Signs placed on vehicles or trailers which are parked or located for the primary purpose of displaying said sign (this does not apply to signs or lettering on buses, taxis or vehicles operating during normal course of business),” reads the section of code that Walker wants to eliminate.

Ward 1 Alderman Lloyd Holcomb Jr. said that Joe Meador, the owner of the collapsed commercial building at 401 Main St. appeared before the council’s public health and welfare committee.

“Mr. Meador said that he is making progress in cleaning up the building,” Holcomb said. “There is some asbestos so they are getting its disposal taken care of as well.”

Ward 4 Alderman Steven Mays expressed concern about senior citizens trying to clean ditches.

“I want to say that we have senior citizens out there trying to clean out the storm drains on their own,” Mays said. “This is dangerous for them and they need to call the city street department at 543-5142.”

The council unanimously approved a resolution making an address correction regarding a property listed in Resolution No. 3522 passed Aug. 20, 2012.