JONESBORO RESIDENTS PREPARE FOR A CURFEW
By Christine Miyawa
Delta Digital News Service
JONESBORO – The Jonesboro City Council passed an ordinance April 7, allowing Mayor Harold Perrin to impose a curfew of no longer than 120 days in response to the COVID -19 pandemic.
Perrin chaired the meeting with council members participating via webcam. Accompanied by City Attorney Carol Duncan, they both wore filtered face masks and practiced social distancing by seating several feet away from each other.
“This is not a time to look good, you just look good in your masks,” Mayor Perrin said as he began the meeting.
The agenda for the meeting did not contain any special presentation as members voted to postpone several items to a time when the council would meet physically.
Several members also complained that the audio system wasn’t clear enough to allow proper participation via webcam.
Dr. Charles Coleman requested the council postpone to the first meeting in June, a proposal to change the single-family residential to family residential, on a property located at 1130 Jonesboro Rd. Coleman said the postponement would allow several members of the public to physically be present at the meeting to participate in the discussion.
Members also voted to postpone other zoning codes, including the ordinance to amend Section 117 of the zoning code to the next city council meeting.
Some of the items the council passed included a unanimous vote to purchase a property at 409 North Fisher St. at $2,243 plus regular closing cost. A unanimous vote was attained to condemn property at 304 Walnut St.
Also, an ordinance to place traffic signals at determined locations as determined by the Traffic Control Commission.
Mayor Perrin said, so far, the city’s revenue exceeded expenditure, but because of the COVID-19 and the Tornado that recently swept the city, they are watching the finances for any significant deviation.
He said the city received $7.8 million for emergency services for COVID-19 and tornado damage relief and because a few homes in tornado affected areas did not have insurance, the city will clear the debris but will charge a fee for re-building.
Councilwoman Anne Williams commended KAIT 8 News for warning the public in time about the tornado.
Councilmen John Street and Joe Hafner thanked the mayor, police department and fire department for their swift action during the tornado.
“You did your best under the circumstances, no deaths,” Street said to Mayor Perrin.
Street and Hafner both said the hand of God played a role in saving the lives and properties during the tornado.
“People as far as Conway and Little Rock came to help. I see the hand of God in this- everybody, hang in there,” Hafner said.
Councilman David McClain also thanked JPD for keeping patrol around the community to ensure no looting of property.
Perrin asked members of the public to send in their comments via email through firstname.lastname@example.org, via phone (870) 336 7248 or via Facebook live on the city’s Facebook page.
Members of the public participated by sending messages via email and Facebook live to the meeting.
Dr. Paul Vellozo, a physician in the Jonesboro area, requested the council pass a resolution for food handlers and grocery workers to wear masks.
Several members of the public sent in requests. A woman requested to have all churches closed because a particular church in her neighborhood was still holding meetings and posing a threat to her safety. Another complained that the park equipment and basketball court were still open. Someone requested the city council to close child-care centers during the pandemic because the centers put the health of children and workers at risk for lack of social distancing and a physician requested that all Jonesboro residents wear masks in public.
The North East Arkansas Bicycle Coalition said there is an increase in the number of cyclists and pedestrians during the pandemic and requested the public through the council to increase public outreach to motorists to be aware of cyclists and pedestrians using roads.