Brief agenda yields short council meeting

A short agenda translated into a brief Pine Bluff City Council meeting Monday night, but no one was complaining when the session adjourned after just 45 minutes.

The panel had only seven items — four resolutions and three ordinances — to consider, and the ordinances simply received second readings. The resolutions were unanimously approved.

Three resolutions separately re-appointed Joe Clement, Edward Long and Gordon Reese to the Pine Bluff Planning Commission. After being amended, the remaining resolution declared certain houses, buildings and/or other structures as nuisances and ordered their abatement.

The ordinances call for:

• Creating a privilege fee for non-resident city department heads at 4 percent of their gross wages for the opportunity to reside elsewhere. Alderman Steven Mays’ reconstructed measure describes the assessment as “community friendly” and states that revenue from the charge would be utilized for promotion of employment and prevention of juvenile crime and delinquency among youths ages 13-18, covering of drainage and over ditches, and construction and improvement of sidewalks along city streets.

• Cutting closing times of alcoholic beverage-serving commercial establishments and private clubs to 1 a.m. Several such enterprises are currently open until 5 a.m. Mayor Debe Hollingsworth and Interim Police Chief Jeff Hubanks maintain that extended hours generate expanded numbers of disturbance and traffic problems at the facilities, taking away from officers’ neighborhood patrol abilities.

• Amending current laws on roadside sales of produce and homemade foods and crafts, allowing such commerce only at the Saracen Landing Farmers Market.

Ways and means committee chairman Bill Brumett announced that a quarterly budget and financial review will be held at 2 p.m. Monday, July 22, in the mayor’s conference room.

Hollingsworth said that a town hall meeting has been scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 12, at the convention center. A primary focus of the session will be neighborhood watch groups.