City Council Meeting Runs Smoother Than Expected

JULY 6, 2006 -- POSTED AT 10:00 P.M. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- The Jonesboro City Council met tonight to discuss some very touchy subjects. The first big item that was on the agenda tonight dealt with 4 local school districts, Jonesboro, Valley View, Nettleton and Westside. All 4 districts are hoping to soon see federal dollars to improve their school system. The catch, however, is that in order to improve their school's security and receive federal funding for it, the local police department must be the ones to apply for the grants. Since they are a city entity, the city council had to approve the action before they could move forward writing the grants.

The good news for the schools was that the council approved it unanimously. We spoke with the city's project administrator who handles all the grant writing for the city and he said this could most importantly mean safer schools in the future for our children.

"It could provide at least 50 percent of any type of security related measures that they would want to put in place. I know that a number of the districts are looking at providing more cameras and security systems on buses, as well as more cameras just around the school," says Tony Thomas, Jonesboro's Project Administrator.

Now, all four school districts involved will pay match the remaining 50 percent of the cost, and that completely leaves the city in the clear as far as any cost.

Moving on to the more touchy issue discussed at the meeting. After F.E.M.A. recently informed the City of Jonesboro of their intentions to conduct an audit, things have been a little uneasy among city officials.

F.E.M.A. Representative Linda Delamare was present at the meeting tonight to discuss F.E.M.A.'s recommendations to the city regarding the flood plain issue and the city's failure to provide the correct information to F.E.M.A.

After sorting through some issues, the city came to the conclusion that the problem was an engineer that currently is working on the Kohl's Department Store location on Fair Park Boulevard. His failure to provide the correct documents to F.E.M.A. and the city's failure to follow up on his responsibilities are what tonight's F.E.M.A. representative referred to as problems that slipped through the cracks. Mayor Doug Formon said everyone was pleased overall with the turnout of Ms. Delamare's visit to the city and feels like these are all issues that will be easily resolved.

"The F.E.M.A. audit which was a scary thing at first, really turned out to be great. She commended our staff and she said our staff has done an excellent job, and they have. She didn't really find any violations against us, against the city," says Jonesboro Mayor Doug Formon.