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Pine Bluff City Council eases downtown parking requirements, waives competitive bidding for police cars

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The Pine Bluff City Council on Monday voted 7-1 to approves a proposed ordinance that will eliminate parking space requirements in the central business district (downtown).

Council member Bruce Lockett explained why the ordinance was created and what it hopes to accomplish.

The ordinance requires that the city’s zoning official must approve all designs for parking lots, loading and unloading structures, and ingress and egress from parking areas to city streets.

Council member Joni Alexander cast the only no vote on the ordinance, which was read three times after the rules were suspended. Alexander explained why she voted no.

Also Monday, the council voted 8-0 to waive competitive bidding and buy a total of 13 new vehicles for the police department from Smart Chevrolet Chrysler Dodge.

Although Smart is not the state contract provider for vehicles, they offered to sell the vehicles to the city at the same price ($420,123) that state contract dealers were going to charge.

A resolution to add a resolution to the agenda to amend the 2021 budget and add the position of golf superintendent/sports field manager for the Parks and Recreation Department did not get added after Lockett voted no. In order to add an item after the agenda is prepared and distributed to council members and the media, the consent of all eight council members is required.

After the meeting, Lockett was asked about his no vote.

In other business, the council approved three resolutions dealing with damages to structures and facilities at Regional Park from the flood of 2019. In each case, Mayor Shirley Washington was authorized to sign agreements with construction companies who submitted the lowest bid for the work.

Repairs will be made to the building at the baseball field, a storage unit at the RV Park and the amphitheater.

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