JONESBORO — Action on two proposals that had generated controversy were postponed Tuesday by the Jonesboro City Council.
Council member Chris Moore, presiding in the absence due to the illness of Mayor Harold Perrin, said the mayor requested the council postpone until December a decision on a proposed property swap that would provide better facilities for the city’s building maintenance department.
At the Sept. 1 meeting, Perrin had hoped to get the proposal added to the agenda and voted on then.
But some residents raised questions about transparency. And Moore said a committee tasked with finding potential sites for a homeless shelter believed one location that would be part of the property swap would better serve the city’s homeless.
Under the proposal, the city would acquire a building at 907 Congress Circle, which was appraised with a value of $595,000 in 2017. Tim Thrasher and Tim Allison, owners of that building would be paid $350,000 and receive title to city-owned property at 215 E. Allen Avenue and 202 E. Gordon St., which was appraised in May with a value $214,000.
Perrin said in a letter Moore read at Tuesday’s meeting that he wants to postpone action until Dec. 1 to allow further research by the city staff, the Building Facilities Committee and the Committee on Homelessness.
“Some of the members have expressed a desire to acquire the existing facility of the Building Maintenance Department at 225 E. Allen to be converted into a homeless shelter,” Perrin said in the letter. “While that may be an option, further study regarding the redevelopment costs of that facility and the operating/maintenance costs are needed, as well as looking at other properties. In addition, the Maintenance facility may require rezoning.”
The council also postponed a final vote for 60 days on a proposed ordinance that would exempt new “planned industrial parks” from the city’s requirement to construct sidewalks.
Council member Joe Hafner said he would like to explore options, such as improved public transit service in the industrial area so that workers who don’t have their own transportation can get to their jobs without walking in dangerous conditions.