By Ray King

Efforts by Pine Bluff City Council member Ivan Whitfield to redirect money currently appropriated to Go Forward Pine Bluff to buy a new fire truck, cameras and crime prevention equipment for the police department and to buy the land for a racetrack failed by identical 4-4 votes Monday.

After the meeting, Council Member Lloyd Holcomb was asked about the vote.

Voting for the resolutions in addition to Whitfield were council members Bruce Lockett, Glen Brown Sr., and Steven Mays while Holcomb, Glen Brown Jr., Joni Alexander and Steven Shaner voted no.

Whitfield sponsored three resolutions, the first to take $1.5 million to acquire a new fire truck, with the money coming from the 5/8’s cent sales tax approved by voters in 2017. That money would have been distributed over a three-year period, with $500,000 appropriated each year.

The second resolution also called for taking $1.5 million over a three-year period to purchase cameras and other equipment and Mayor Shirley Washington said she and acting Police Chief Lloyd Franklin Sr., had been discussing cameras and other equipment and said the city is pursuing two grants for additional equipment.

The third resolution called for spending $1 million to purchase the land for an amusement park, drag strip racetrack. While she voted no, Alexander said there are groups and individuals who have already approached the owner of the property in question to try and prevent the racetrack from being built.

Holcomb commented on the commitment to economic development and the tie vote.

The council also approved a resolution to use $1 million from the American Rescue Plan Act for a premium pay plan for eligible city employees who worked between March 21 and Oct.21, 2021. Eligible employee was defined as workers who were necessary to maintain essential critical infrastructure or performed regular in-person interaction.

Workers will receive up to $5,000 which will also pay all applicable payroll contributions.