Jonesboro Council dumps controversial maintenance code, vote against deputy clerk position

by Michael Wilkey ([email protected]) 213 views 

After several months of discussion and several contentious meetings, a proposed property maintenance code for the city of Jonesboro is heading back to the bookshelf. The Jonesboro City Council voted by voice vote Tuesday to postpone indefinitely discussion over implementing the 2012 International Property Maintenance Code as part of the city’s code of ordinances.

The IPMC has been a thorn of controversy for city officials in recent months, with supporters and opponents making their points known. Supporters have said the code is needed to deal with dilapidated buildings in the city, while opponents have said the code infringes on private property rights with regulations creating unintended consequences.

A nine-member commission approved the code, sending it to the Jonesboro City Council Public Safety Committee for review. The Public Safety Committee approved the measure Oct. 27 and it was supposed to have been heard Tuesday.

Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin said the postponement covered the International Maintenance Code and that city officials were going to create their property code for use in the city. The issue will be discussed again at the council’s Nov. 17 meeting.

The council also agreed to postpone discussion over a city employee at least until Nov. 17, 2015. Council members went into executive session around 5:45 pm and spent time discussing the issue in the fourth floor conference room until 6:08 pm.

The city employee was not named in open session and the executive session was closed to the public, due to state law. However, council members voted by voice vote in public to remove a resolution to amend the city’s salary and administration plan to add a deputy city clerk position with the city.

City Clerk Donna Jackson has stressed the need for the deputy clerk and that the deputy be paid well. However, there has been discussions in recent years about looking at the overall salary schedule with the city. The deputy clerk position will next be discussed at the council’s Nov. 17 meeting.

Perrin said officials will be meeting later this month to go over the issue.

In other action, council members heard from MPO Director Erica Tait about the group’s transportation study for the region over the next 25 years. Tait also discussed the study and transportation issue at a recent Craighead County Quorum Court meeting.

At the meeting Tuesday, Tait said the study and work will be long-term with feedback among residents and policy makers being crucial.

The council also approved a plan to trade $150,000 in grant funding with Grant County involving airport funding. Under the agreement, the Jonesboro Municipal Airport would receive $150,000 in Grant County’s funding in 2016. In return, Grant County will receive $150,000 set aside for funding for the Jonesboro airport in 2017. The money will be used to help operate the Jonesboro airport, officials said at the meeting.