JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - After months of discussion, a committee formed to create a property maintenance code for the city of Jonesboro reached a consensus on what should be included in it.
The issue was first brought before the full city council in June. It was proposed as something to give the city other avenues to improve a home, rather than waiting for it to reach the point of condemnation.
The issue, that was already being hotly debated, was tabled from city council until October 6 so that a committee could decide how detailed the maintenance code should be.
Days before the committee's deadline, a meeting was held to reach a decision. One committee member was absent, making for a split vote on the code.
Thursday night, the committee met again. Early on in the meeting, ground rules were established by moderator Lt. Todd Nelson.
"I will not allow this to devolve in mudslinging, name calling or finger pointing," Lt. Nelson said.
Just as quickly though, it was evident that after months of discussion, all nine committee members were on board with creating at least an exterior property maintenance code.
"If we fix the broken windows, if we fix the exterior, we're gonna end up taking care of so many interiors too," committee member John Hardin said.
Others felt that including the interior into the code, and including it now, was just as important.
"We could do a little bit today and two or three years from now, we could do more, well, that's not what the history shows," committee member Dr. Bob Warner said. "This is the fourth attempt in two decades to get this done."
Dr. Warner urged the rest of the committee to pass the full, 350 page International Property Maintenance Code.
"If we weren't going to support the whole thing, why sit here for six or eight weeks going through this line by line and every section that we went to. That anybody on this committee, with mutual respect, we took it out, hashed it out, worked it out," Dr. Warner said.
Dr. Warner told fellow committee members that the code wasn't about money, it was about community.
"We're not trying to be oppressive to them, we're trying to help," Dr. Warner said.
In the end, five other committee members voted with him.
The issue will now head to the full city council.
"This is the first time that we have a real chance to get this passed and get people the help that they need to get better housing," Dr. Warner said following the meeting.
The issue will go back before their city council at a meeting on November 3.
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