Hollingsworth vetoes resolution amending deal with contractor

Pine Bluff Mayor Debe Hollingsworth on Wednesday vetoed a resolution that was passed Monday by the City Council authorizing the mayor and the city clerk to amend a 2011 contract between the city Economic and Community Development Department and an affordable housing contractor and to approve the 2013 contract between the two entities.

The Community Housing Development Organization contracted with the city in 2011 to build three houses for low- to moderate-income families in the University Park neighborhood and again in 2013 for the construction of three additional houses in town.

“The veto [of Resolution 3672] has nothing to do with any wrongdoing on anybody’s part,” city Economic and Community Development Director Larry Matthews said. “The intent is to give them [CHDO] the funding but it needs to be clarified.”

The text of Resolution 3672 said that the City Council contracted with CHDO on July 23, 2013, to construct the three additional houses and authorized the disbursement of $268,036 to the contractor.

“CHDO asked that we amend the 2011 and 2013 contracts and allow them to receive proceeds from the sale of these homes directly as opposed to the current agreement which requires that they return the funds to the city and then request a funds reallocation,” Matthews said. “It’s the option of the city to do it either way.”

Matthews said that it is probably best to let any modifications be solely to the 2013 contract.

“The 2011 contract is complete,” Matthews said. “It is probably in the best interests of the city to leave the 2011 contract alone and focus on the 2013 contract.”

Hollingsworth did not say why she vetoed the resolution in her Statement of Veto.

“An explanation of my reasons for this veto will be submitted prior to the next regular council meeting,” Hollingsworth said in the closing sentence of the statement.

Hollingsworth did not return a call seeking comment.