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Jonesboro City Council Agenda Commentary: January 5, 2021

Welcome to another edition of the Jonesboro City Council Explication Project, a project by a political nerd for political nerds or anyone who wants to learn more about their city government. Remember that municipal (city council), county (quorum court), and state government (state legislature) bodies have a bigger impact on your day to day life than the president. You can watch the meetings live on the city’s Facebook page at City of Jonesboro, AR – Government.

If you would like me to email you when these posts go live message me and share what email I should use (only I will ever see it).

Agenda: https://jonesboro.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=A&ID=830258&GUID=F44FE670-47CB-47D1-8DE4-D312EE5CC158

1. Call to Order 5:30PM

2. Pledge of Allegiance and Invocation

3. Roll Call

4. Special Presentations

5. Consent Agenda

MIN-20:119: Meeting minutes for the December 15, 2020 City Council meeting.

Commentary: The minutes have the transcripts of this meeting, which was largely a goodbye/thank you meeting for outgoing officials. Mayor Perrin’s final address is here.

RES-20:246: A resolution authorizing extending the agreement with SC Realty Services, INC., DBA SG360, for the purpose of janitorial services for the municipal building.

Commentary: The city is contracting with a company to keep the municipal building in downtown Jonesboro looking nice. It’s a pretty good building. I’ve been there a few times while trying to communicate with my senators. I have no clue if this was part of a bid or anything or if this is simply a new contract with a company we’ve worked with before. The annual cost of this service will be $57,684.00. Three cheers for cleaners who are often invisible and treated as unskilled workers.

RES-20:247: A resolution authorizing City of Jonesboro, Arkansas to accept the 2021 outdoor recreation matching grant award from the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.

Commentary: The city received a $100,000 matching grant to develop a park, which means Jonesboro is putting is $100,000 in order to be eligible for said matching grant. Anyway, parks and public spaces are good.

RES-20:249: A resolution for the City of Jonesboro to amend the approved 2020 CDBG action plan.

Commentary: This item was a lot, but I guess the council is amending the action plan from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) plan due to errors in the calculations related to which cities get which amount. Instead of our allotment being $616,257 for FY 2020 it’s $616,163. It’s a difference of $94? I guess we’re amending it because we had to cut $94 from the CDBG plans. Bummer!

RES-20:250: A resolution by the city council of the City of Jonesboro, Arkansas to amend the city salary and administration policy by including updated job titles and grades.

Commentary: This is a fun item to look at if you want to see the jobs that keep the city functioning. We have a city welder, a social media specialist (hey, can we stream meetings on Twitter/Twitch/Tik Tok, too, instead of only Facebook? That would be super helpful for me.), and a kennel master!

I don’t understand the pay grades, though, and there’s no handy key. It’s neat to compare to see what jobs the city is looking to change. For example, in the old version, the kennel master made $24,634 (minimum). Now the minimum would be $25,796. Anyway, if you like looking at numbers and seeing the roles the city is prioritizing with additional financial benefits, this legislative record is for you.

RES-20:244: A resolution providing for the adoption of a budget for the City of Jonesboro, Arkansas, for the twelve (12) months beginning January 1, 2021 and ending December 31, 2021, appropriating money for each item of expenditure therein provided for, and for other purposes.

Commentary: Whew! It’s the city budget for 2021! This is a VERY long document, but the highlights by source (page 8 of the budget proposal PDF) confirmed what I knew would happen: once again the police get the most money! Police (34%), Fire (23%), General Government (14%), Roads (12%), Sanitation (10%), Parks & Rec (6%), Mosquito Control (1%).

What makes me so frustrated about the police budget getting bigger and bigger each year is that Jonesboro is suffering from a lot of social problems that we seem to be slow-walking. People without homes, rampant poverty, exploitation by landlords, lack of investment in public transport and pedestrian access, lack of care for people working low-wage jobs, aging community centers—I could go on.

I feel like I’m screaming into the void when people say “the bigger we get the more crime there is!” when poverty is a direct cause of many types of crime. There is study after study after study proving that when you lift people out of poverty, the type of crime that NIMBYs love to bleat about goes down! Anyway, I’ll stop ranting there because I’ve done it before and y’all have a budget document to read. It’s 107 pages! Good luck.

RES-20:251: A resolution of the City of Jonesboro, Arkansas, authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement with MCP Investments, LLC for the sale of property.

Commentary: The city is selling some land. This land: https://goo.gl/maps/7dqXdXFGuYgafKvNA Why? Unclear. Maybe they need the funds to give the police more money. /sarcasm

6. New Business

None.

7. Unfinished Business

ORD-20:053: An ordinance to vacate and abandon a 15’ utility easement across parcel number: 01-144154-00910 owned by Jonesboro 2015, LLC; being located west of the Prospect Farms Subdivision and east of Wolf Meadows Subdivision in Jonesboro, Arkansas as requested on behalf of Jonesboro 2015, LLC. (Third reading.)

Commentary: I gave unpacking this a shot on the first reading. You can find that here under New Business.

8. Mayor’s Reports

Please see the meeting minutes.

9. City Council Reports: December 15, 2020

Skipping these this time around! Please see the meeting minutes.

10. Public Comments: December 15, 2020

There were no public comments in the chamber due to COVID-19 restrictions and presumably no phone calls, either.

11. Adjournment

Miscellaneous

#1: This is the first meeting with our new mayor, Harold Copenhaver.