Proposal would waive requirements for homeowners acting as contractors

The Pine Bluff City Council is scheduled to vote on a proposed ordinance Monday evening that would allow home owners acting as their own home improvement contractor to do the work without being required to submit to any additional professional qualification imposed by the city.

Sponsored by Ward 1 Alderwoman Thelma Walker and co-sponsored by Ward 3 Alderman Glen Brown and Ward 4 Alderman Steven Mays, the ordinance is up for its third and final reading Monday.

Mays indicated in a Friday conversation that the measure may be pulled and held until the next council meeting to allow for time to adjust the definition of a contractor in the proposed ordinance.

“There are a few things that we need to look at in the Ordinances and Resolutions Committee meeting Monday prior to the start of the council meeting,” Mays said. “We may need to wait until the next council meeting for the vote.”

The proposed ordinance provides that unless a person builds more than one residence per year, they are not required to be licensed as a residential building contractor when they act in that capacity to construct their own residence.

The ordinance also provides that the homeowner may perform any work on their house except electrical or plumbing work unless Arkansas law explicitly requires the work in question be performed by a licensed contractor.

In other business, the council may vote on an ordinance sponsored by Ward 3 Alderman Bill Brumett that authorizes the issuance and sale of capital improvement refunding and improvement revenue bonds that will be used to finance improvements to the Joe Thomas Public Safety Building and the City Hall Building.

While only up for a first reading, the proposed ordinance calls for the declaration of an emergency, which will allow for the suspension of normal rules of procedure to allow the ordinance to be voted on without having to wait for a second and third reading.

Up for the second reading is an ordinance sponsored by Walker that would remove a section of city code having to do with signage placed on vehicles that the ordinance characterizes as vague and unnecessary.

Up for second readings are a pair of proposed ordinances sponsored by Mays that would close two city rights-of-way, one on Taft Street from West Short Third Avenue to West Sixth Avenue and the other on Lee Avenue from West Short Third Avenue to West Sixth Avenue to deter unlawful dumping.

Mays says these sections of street are undeveloped and not being utilized by the public as a street or right-of-way.

Mays is sponsoring a resolution that would authorize the renovation of the Merrill Center and appropriate funds for the renovation.

Walker is sponsoring a resolution that would direct the Economic and Community Development Department to extend a pre-development loan of $15,000 to the Jefferson County Community Development Corporation to cover costs associated with preparatory work for the construction of three new housing units. The construction is an eligible HOME project under HUD guidelines.