Several measures approved in virtual meeting as COVID-19 forces chamber doors to close

Several measures approved in virtual meeting as COVID-19 forces chamber doors to close

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - There was a full agenda for city council officials Tuesday, but it all happened virtually as the doors were closed to the general public due to the COVID-19 emergency.

Tuesday’s meetings started at 4:30 p.m. with the Finance and Administration Committee, where they covered giving COVID-19 small business emergency grants to five local businesses.

It was approved and then walked on at full council, due to timing concerns.

The Jonesboro City Council unanimously passed those resolutions.

Regina Burkett, Jonesboro’s community development director, explained the city is trying to help where they can.

“I think it’s going to make a big difference. I know it’s not as much as we wish we could give, but we had to limit the amount of funds we were giving because we had other things we had to give in the community,” Burkett said

Those five businesses were Body Indulgence Spa, Eggsellent Café, G Enterprise, Leap Therapy and Meals for Moms.

They all received $10,000 to help with rent and salaries.

The full council discussed a resolution purchasing a property at 907 Congress Circle for the exchange of two city-owned buildings at 215 E. Allen Ave. and 202 E. Gordon St.

The city would like to enter into a contract for the property on Congress Street owned by Tim Thrasher and Tim Allison for the price of 550 thousand to relocate the operations of the building maintenance department.

Since September, citizens have voiced their opposition to the resolution 20:139 through emails to the council.

The concerns included that the swap was unfair and overpriced for the city, city departments like the maintenance department should stay under one roof and although later determined that it could not meet environmental requirements, several suggested turning the old maintenance department into a homeless shelter.

There was no discussion concerning the resolution and it was moved to the next reading

On its last reading, a rezoning Region 8 News has been covering concerning the property at Savannah Hills. The council did approve the ordinance Tuesday night.

While this has been a big talker for those who live in the area, there was only one citizen who had a comment at Tuesday night’s meeting.

That comment was read by Councilman Joe Hafner.

Several of the concerns had to do with accountability and responsibility of logistics and plans before building permits were issued.

However, the council unanimously voted for the rezoning.

For the fourth consecutive city council meeting, Director of the HUB Kim Chase presented more troubles the facility is facing, especially as the winter months get underway.

She said there’s a need for the homeless shelter now more than ever.

She closed her presentation by saying, “If not now then when. If not us then who?”

Lastly, the city officially accepted the donation of the Phillips Evans Community Park from the Habitat for Humanity of Greater Jonesboro.

The next city council meeting is virtual on Dec. 15 at 5:30 p.m.

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