Controversial ordinances up for final readings


A pair of ordinances that have stirred controversy are due for third and final readings and votes at Monday night’s Pine Bluff City Council meeting.

Alderman Steven Mays, sponsor of a recently adopted measure that repealed conflicting legislation on resident requirements for city department heads and replaced it with a directive that municipal administrators must live within 12 miles of the city, is now promoting an ordinance calling for city employees who reside outside the city to pay a privilege fee for that right. An assessment of 5 percent of their gross wages will apply to all municipal workers hired after Aug. 31, 2013. Mays wants the fee to be initiated Sept. 1.

Mays is seeking to have revenue from the charge, which he terms a “community friendly privilege fee,” to be appropriated toward promotion of youth employment and prevention of juvenile crime and delinquency for youths ages 13-18, covering drainage and ditches and construction and improvement of sidewalks along city streets.

Along with Aldermen Glen Brown and George Stepps and Alderwoman Thelma Walker, Mays is co-sponsoring a second controversial ordinance, one that calls for the police department’s patrol division to be moved from its current warehouse location on Commerce Road to the former Army Reserve/National Guard Armory at 1000 N. Myrtle St.

Several other council members have stated preliminary support for the move, but Interim Police Chief Jeff Hubanks and Mayor Debe Hollingsworth are opposed to the notion and instead want the division to return to a former location, The Pines shopping mall. Mall officials are willing to allocate $100,000 in renovations and offer a long-term contract to attract the division’s return.

Also on the agenda is a resolution calling for the Joe Thomas Public Safety Building at the civic center to remain the police department’s primary site.

The council meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. The ordinances and resolutions and ways and means committees will meet at 5 p.m.