Jonesboro City Council discusses tax back, police salaries, shooting complex

by Michael Wilkey ([email protected]) 183 views 

Jonesboro council members also approved a plan Tuesday (May 3) to allow a company to participate in a state economic incentive plan that supporters say will bring needed jobs to town.

The voice vote on the plan will allow FMH Conveyors to take part in the Arkansas Tax Back program. Under the ordinance, the company would be able to participate in the Arkansas Tax Back program. The company can receive sales tax refunds on the purchase of building materials and equipment, based on the program.

Company officials announced March 23 that they would be moving all of its operations to Jonesboro. The $12.5 million expansion will allow the company, which makes conveyors for the trucking industry to move into a 195,000-square-foot facility just off Highland Drive in the city industrial park.

The Georgia-based company had facilities in Georgia and Virginia, but with the move, all of the company’s operations were moved to Jonesboro. The company, formerly Best Manufacturing, has been in Jonesboro since the mid 1980’s. Officials have said the expansion will create 110 jobs, with construction already underway, company officials have said. Construction is expected to be done by the end of the year, with the building ready by mid-2017.

Craighead County justices approved a similar request April 25 at its meeting in Jonesboro.

The council also voted to allow a Memphis-based engineering firm to conduct an environmental study for a proposed shooting sports complex along Interstate 555. The plan calls for Fisher and Arnold to do the study on the 199 acre plot of land on Moore Road. Local law enforcement will use the complex for training, while the public will be able to use the property for shooting sports.

Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliott said the study, which will cost $47,700 to complete, should take about 60 days to complete with more details available after the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission meets May 18 and 19 in Little Rock.

The council also heard from residents Phillip Cook and Heather Talley about recent staffing and salary concerns with the Jonesboro Police Department. Two police supervisors were suspended without pay this week after nearly two dozen officers left their patrol cars in the Municipal Center parking lot in a protest over salaries, content partner KAIT reported Monday.

Cook, who is also seeking a Jonesboro City Council seat May 10, said he thought it was unfair to suspend the officers and called for their reinstatement. Talley said she supported officers and the police, saying they were needed to protect and serve. Elliott said city officials also support the police and that the city has worked to address salary concerns.

The Jonesboro City Council Public Service Committee will meet Thursday (May 5) at 6 p.m. at the Municipal Center to discuss the issue.