PB City Council puts 180 day pause on small box discount stores in Ward 1

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By Ray King

By a vote of 6-2, the Pine Bluff City Council on Tuesday approved legislation that will place a 180 day moratorium on building, licensing or zoning small box discount stores, commonly called Dollar Stores, from locating in Ward 1.

The legislation was sponsored by Council Member LaTisha Brunson who said her goal was to attract a grocery store to the ward to replace Super 1 Foods, which closed last year. Council member Lloyd Holcomb Jr., who also represents Ward 1, supported the legislation and after the meeting talked to Deltaplex News about it.

In addition to Brunson and Holcomb, Council members Glen Brown Jr., Bruce Lockett, Lanette Frazier and Steven Shaner voted for the ordinance while Council members Glen Brown Sr., and Steven Mays voted no.

Brown Sr., said he wanted to see a grocery store in the ward but felt the legislation was not necessary and said it was up to the Chamber of Commerce and the Alliance to convince a grocery store to locate here. He also described as “political” the decision by Super 1 to close their store on East Harding Avenue.

In addition to approving the ordinance, an emergency clause was approved by a vote of 6-2, meaning the legislation will take effect immediately. Brown Sr., and Mays also voted against that.

Also approved was a resolution increasing the pay for the foreman and chief mechanic at the Transit Department to be competitive with private employers. The salary for the foreman will increase to $57,786.14 annually while the salary for the chief mechanic will be set at $47,091.64 annually. The new salaries will be effective immediately but will not be retroactive.