Threat of ice puts freeze on town hall meeting

Mayor Debe Hollingsworth was to have delivered the 2013 state of the city address at her first town hall meeting Monday night at the Pine Bluff Convention Center, but concerns about potential winter weather postponed the event.

Hollingsworth called off the affair early Monday afternoon after a round of sleet and reports of icing on some bridges in the area. The mayor said she had received reports that the National Weather Service had predicted that additional freezing precipitation might be falling across Jefferson County in the early evening.

“That could mean black ice,” Hollingsworth said. “I don’t want anyone driving in such conditions if it’s not necessary, and I would not want people walking in or out of the convention center to risk a slip on icy pavement. I’ll get with the convention center staff and we’ll figure out when we can reschedule.”

The mayor had said previously that she was excited about initiating town hall meetings in which she and participating city council members would be on hand.

“Sometimes it’s difficult for citizens to arrange a face-to-face visit or even a telephone conversation with their council representative or mayor, and elected officials often have challenging schedules as well,” she said. “The public needs to be able to speak to us, and we need to be able to hear their concerns and discuss issues with them. I want my administration to be transparent on matters within the city.”

Hollingsworth said she hopes the meetings have enough participation that they might be held monthly.

“I think it would be a good tool in helping to make sure that we all keep in touch with one another,” she said.