Residency rule, illegal dumping on council slate


The latest legislation concerning residency requirements for city department heads will make its debut at Monday night’s Pine Bluff City Council meeting.

Alderman Bill Brumett is sponsoring the measure, which seeks to repeal current guidance that — according to City Attorney Althea Hadden-Scott — dictates that department administrators, interim or permanent, must reside within the city at the time of their hiring and throughout their careers.

Brumett’s legislation proposes that department administrators — including police and fire chiefs — simply be required to reside within the state, “within sufficient proximity” to their duty post “so as to perform all the duties of the position (including responding to an emergency) in a timely fashion.”

The residency requirement controversy was sparked by Mayor Debe Hollingsworth’s hiring of Intern Police Chief Jeff Hubanks on Jan. 1. Hubanks resides in Cleveland County.

Meanwhile, Fourth Ward Alderman Steven Mays has repeatedly bemoaned illegal dumping in his district and — after several residents echoed his dissatisfaction during the March 11 town hall meeting — he’s decided to take legislative action against the problem.

Scheduled to receive its first reading before the council, Mays’ ordinance is designed to support existing state law on illegal dumping with some added punch against those who commit the misdemeanor offense.

Mays’ measure calls for the city to implement a dedicated telephone service with which citizens may report locations frequently targeted for illegal dumping to help increase the police and inspection and zoning departments’ awareness of areas that might need extra attention. Mays wants the telephone number to be listed on the city’s web site and the local-access television channel. He’s also calling for a database of information to be maintained for ready access.

To help provide for increased monitoring of the sites, Mays is suggesting that the public contribute money “for the purpose of purchasing video equipment to be staged at the most frequently abused sites subjected to unlawful dumping.” He’s proposing that the finance department can manage the financial account, and the fund’s expenditures “shall be appropriated by the council.”

The ordinance states that if a conflict with state provision occurs, the state guidance will govern.

Two ordinances are slated for their third and final readings. They call for:

• Amending existing city guidance to provide for review by the council of decisions of the planning commission granting applications for uses permitted on review, and

• Adopting the 2009 edition of the International Energy Conservation Code, 2011 edition of Arkansas Energy Code for New Buildings Construction Supplements and Amendments, and other energy building standards for city usage.

Two ordinances up for their second reading call for:

• Increasing the membership of the parks and recreation commission, prescribing certain obligations of the commission concerning its employees, budgetary safeguards and financial reporting obligations, and amending current guidance on the panel, and

• Amending current guidance pertaining to transient merchants.

Four additional ordinances scheduled for first readings call for:

• Amending current guidance to require a survey establishing a boundary line of properties before construction of a fence and/or wall along the division line, and

• Amending provisions in the non-uniform employees handbook (three separate items).

Three resolutions to be considered call for:

• Designating Friday, March 26, as a paid holiday for city employees,

• Appropriating funds for the renovation of baseball fields in Townsend Park and improvements to the Merrill Center, and

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

Meetings of the ordinances and resolutions and ways and means committees will start at 5 p.m., preceding the 5:30 council session.