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Jonesboro City Council Agenda Commentary: June 15, 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 (or stream them after) on the city’s Facebook page at City of Jonesboro, AR – Government.

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Today’s agenda recap comes to you late! There’s no good reason! I felt like playing Rollercoaster Tycoon instead of finishing this on time. The world’s on fire (literally and figuratively), the GOP has gone full fascist, we’ll probably never seen another Democratic president in the next 20 years, and I see more and more GoFundMe campaigns for healthcare costs coming across my timelines than cute cat videos these days. So yeah, do what makes you happy, friends! Life is fleeting! The lateness does mean you can watch the meeting on Facebook.

Agenda: https://jonesboro.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=A&ID=859800&GUID=11BEB0A0-D88C-4823-A4C6-B06886A6A7B2

1. Call to Order 5:30PM

2. Pledge of Allegiance and Invocation

3. Roll Call

4. Special Presentations

COM-21:027: Presentation of 5-year service pin to Councilmember Bobby Long.

COM-21:028: Proclamation honoring the high school state champion Valley View boys & girls soccer teams.

COM-21:029: Proclamation honoring the high school state champion Valley View.

baseball team.

COM-21:026: Northeast Arkansas Industrial Development Commission Report update by Mark Young.

Commentary:The report itself goes into some details about the Office of Management and Budget’s proposal to knock Jonesboro out of the “metro” category due to not having 100,000 people. This would obviously hurt the amount of federal funding we get. That matters a lot, because the GOP supermajority doesn’t seem interested in the long term economic health of the state (gotta get those rich people their tax breaks and who cares about climate change, anyway?), so Arkansas will need all the federal funding help it can get. There’s not a lot of detail, but if you care about economic moves happening in NEA I’d say check it out.

5. Consent Agenda

MIN-21:049: Minutes for the City Council meeting on June 1, 2021.

Commentary: As per usual, I highly recommend reading the minutes of the last meeting at the least, if your time to spend on local politics is limited. Interesting items from the June 1 meeting:

  • Mayor had to leave early for a funeral. 🙁
  • The main blower for the city’s incinerator is out!
  • There was a long discussion about audio versus video for purposes of being counted present that is interesting to read. There are some restrictions on how accessible we can make virtual attendance due to FOIA.
  • There may be some changes to traffic downtown due to people being hit by cars.
  • Ten new police department hires. I disagree with the assessment of the mayor’s report that “JPD Officers have handled themselves among some of the best in the nation” because any time I interact with JPD they are aggressive, condescending, and terrifying because they can wield those first two things with the power of the state at their back. So color me unexcited about this development.

RES-21:088: A resolution of the City of Jonesboro, Arkansas to authorize the mayor and city clerk to grant an easement and right of way at 3511 East Highland Drive to Centerpoint Energy Resources Corp., D/D/A Centerpoint Energy Arkansas Gas, A Delaware Corporation.

RES-21:097: A resolution of the City of Jonesboro, Arkansas to contract with Academy Sports and Outdoors for sponsorship of two athletic fields at the Joe Mack Campbell Sports Complex and one sign at concession stand.

Commentary: The next slew of resolutions are contracts for advertising. I appreciate these mostly because it made for the most hilarious headline in the Jonesboro Sun. If you’re up on council business you immediately know what it means. If you’re not: ha!

newspaper with the headline: council to consider shooting sports sponsors

RES-21:098: A resolution to contract with Dr. Ladd Scriber for sponsorship of the trap field 2 at the Jonesboro Shooting Sports Complex.

RES-21:099: A resolution to contract with Dr. Todd Higginbotham for sponsorship of the trap field 3 at the Jonesboro Shooting Sports Complex.

RES-21:100: A resolution to contract with Critical Edge for sponsorship of the trap field 7 at the Jonesboro Shooting Sports Complex.

RES-21:101: A resolution to contract with DNW Outdoors for sponsorship of the archery range at the Jonesboro Shooting Sports Complex.

RES-21:102: A resolution to contract with Joe Clay Young for sponsorship of the range room at the Jonesboro Shooting Sports Complex.

RES-21:103: A resolution by the city council of the City of Jonesboro, Arkansas to enter into a facility usage agreement with Jonesboro Jets, Inc.

RES-21:104: A resolution to contract with East Arkansas Broadcasters for rental of Joe Mack Campbell Sports Complex.

RES-21:105: A resolution to contract with Saga Communications of Arkansas LLC D/B/A Jonesboro Radio Group for rental of Southside Sports Complex.

RES-21:106: A resolution authorizing the City of Jonesboro, Arkansas to apply for the FY2021 COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) hiring program through the U.S. Department of Justice.

6. New Business

None.

7. Unfinished Business

ORD-21:021: An ordinance for a private club permit for Improving Lives, Inc. d/b/a The Social of Jonesboro to be located at 1004 Chancery Lane, Jonesboro, Arkansas (second reading).

Commentary: Restaurant (new? not new? I can never tell.) wants to serve alcohol. This will have three readings, so buckle in for the anti-alcohol folks to speak against it even though we all know the council will approve it unless the dude applying is revealed to be a secret cannibal or something.

ORD-21:022: An ordinance to the City of Jonesboro to place various traffic signs at designated locations as determined by the Traffic Control Committee (second reading).

Commentary: This ordinance would set new speed limits, established No Parking Zones, and place new stop signs. The whole list is in the legislative item. When you open the link it will load on the “History” page; make sure to click on “Text” link next to it to see the list.

ORD-21:023: An ordinance regarding abandoning and vacating a utility easement in a part of Lot 2 of Staton Minor Plat on Wood Street as requested by Michael Boggs from Tralan Engineering on behalf of C3, LLC (second reading).

ORD-21:025: An ordinance to amend the Jonesboro Code of Ordinances Chapter 2 Article 3, entitled City Council, establishing City Council rules and procedures for 2021 (second reading).

Commentary: I wrote about this here and also here. I believe these are all good rules that will help the council better manage their time, set expectations for the public, and expand accessibility. If you agree, you should write in and tell them so, because the opposed may show up around the third reading. If you disagree, you should still write in! Communicating your preferences is important! Here are some directions:

  • Create a new email with an email account you don’t mind being public.
  • Address it to aldermen@jonesboro.org.
  • Add cityclerk@jonesboro.org in the CC field.
  • Be sure to include “ORD-21:025” in the subject line to make it easy for council members to pick it out of their inbox.
  • Write your thoughts about the ordinance in the email body. It should be short. “I support ORD-21:025, please vote yes!” is solid.
  • Add your name and your street name (I would leave off the street number for safety reasons.)
  • Send and give yourself 10 civics points!

ORD-21:020: An ordinance to amend Chapter 117, Article III, known as the Zoning Ordinance of the City of Jonesboro, Arkansas, providing for changes in zoning boundaries from R-1 Single Family Medium Density District to C-3 General Commercial District – Limited Use Overlay (LUO) for property located at 7201 E. Highland Drive, Jonesboro, AR as requested by Joshua Neely on behalf of Jeremy Baltz (third reading).

Commentary: Flipping an area zoned for Humans to Live On to an area for Humans to Do Business on instead. This is the area via Google Maps, but the legislative record has all the official maps.

8. Mayor’s Reports

9. City Council Reports

10. Public Comments

11. Adjournment