Jonesboro Council committee approves economic development contract

by Michael Wilkey ([email protected]) 134 views 

A Jonesboro city council committee voted Tuesday (Jan. 26) to approve a one-year, $394,750 contract with the Northeast Arkansas Economic Development Commission, to provide economic development services for the city.

The money, which was already part of the city’s 2016 budget, will go through Dec. 31, 2016. According to the contract, the group will work on a variety of issues including business retention and expansion, infrastructure development and workforce development programs.

The commission is a private group that works on economic development issues, Mayor Harold Perrin said, noting the city has worked with the group for many years. Perrin said the commission will provide a report to the city by Feb. 1, 2017 and that the concept of cities providing economic development funding to groups is being challenged in Little Rock and North Little Rock with an ongoing lawsuit.

Perrin said the city’s ongoing contract with the group calls for an accounting of money spent as well as specific work being done on behalf of the city.

The ordinance will go before the full council Feb. 2.

The council’s Nomination and Rules Committee voted to set a special election date of May 10 special election to fill the Ward 6, Position 1 seat, formerly held by Tim McCall. McCall resigned Jan. 19 after announcing he was moving out of the ward. The term expires in January 2019.

According to the resolution, which is expected to be heard by the full council Feb. 2, the filing period will go from Feb. 3 through March 11 at the Craighead County Clerk’s office in Jonesboro. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the top two finishers will advance to a runoff on June 7.

When asked about the cost of the election, Mayor Harold Perrin said it would cost around $20,000.