Council to focus on security cameras at area businesses

The Pine Bluff City Council is scheduled to hear a first reading Monday night on a proposed ordinance calling for a requirement that “certain commercial establishments install and maintain (interior) surveillance cameras” to provide for “protection of the public and employees.”

The Alderman George Stepps-sponsored measures states “that the installation and maintenance of surveillance cameras” will “deter robbery as well as provide valuable video evidence to identify and apprehend an offender.”

The proposal follows a Sept. 25 shooting death of clerk Mohammad Islam at the Big Red Food Mart at 2401 East Sixth Ave. Security cameras inside the business were not in working order and no arrests have been made in the case.

Stepps’ legislation directs that cameras be placed and maintained at “fast food restaurants, filling stations and convenience stores” and that penalties of $300 to $1,000 in fines be assessed for each violation. “A separate and discrete violation occurs each day that the individual operates an establishment that is out of compliance,” the measure reads.

Six other ordinances and four resolutions are also slated for the council’s consideration.

An ordinance calling for the closing of a portion of an alley between West 13th Avenue and Lee Street in Block 18 of Eureka Heights Addition No. 4 is to receive its third and final reading. A public hearing on the proposed closing will be held just prior to the council meeting.

Ordinances scheduled for second readings call for:

• Amending the current code of ordinances concerning the basis for calculating the city’s privilege and occupation tax for daycare and childcare centers.

• Providing for rezoning of 1115 Commerce Road to neighborhood business.

• Consenting to the change of control of the cable television system.

Ordinances to receive first readings call for:

• Closing a portion of Clark Drive.

• Providing for the reimbursement of police officers for the expense of repair or replacing uniforms damaged or destroyed in the line of duty.

Resolutions to be considered call for:

• Requesting the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department to study the feasibility of relocating the current pedestrian walkway over the Martha Mitchell Expressway and/or constructing new pedestrian bridges in the Lake Saracen area and near the Dollarway schools on Dollarway Road.

• Directing the city clerk to publish notice of a public hearing on closing a portion of Clark Drive.

• Authorizing the mayor to contract with Craig Brumley Construction for work concerning the Highway 63 sewer extension project.

• Declaring certain houses, buildings and/or structures as nuisances and ordering their abatement.

The council meeting will start at 5:30 p.m. Monday at council chambers at the civic center, following 5 p.m. sessions of the ways and means and ordinances and resolutions committees.