By Ray King

With no dissent, the Pine Bluff City Council on Tuesday approved a resolution authorizing Mayor Shirley Washington to execute an agreement to lease the fire station that is being built by Saracen Casino Resort on property adjacent to the casino which is currently under construction.

The station will be located at 3609 Market St. and will replace the current Station Four which is located on Commerce Road. The agreement calls for the city to pay $1 per-year for 20 years.

After the vote, Pine Bluff Fire and Emergency Services Chief Shauwn Howell said the agreement moves the department one step closer to getting in the building.

In other business, an ordinance which will require the use of face coverings according to Arkansas Department of Health guidelines was introduced and approved by an 8-0 vote.

The ordinance was not on the original agenda, but council members voted to add it, and then after approval, voted to approve the emergency clause which means it takes effect immediately.

Council Member Glen Brown Jr., was asked about his thoughts on the ordinance.

According to the ordinance, local law enforcement and other city officials will act in a “support capacity to local businesses that wish to enforce the use of masks in their premises. Law enforcement, acting in such a support capacity, shall educate and encourage members of the public who decline to wear face coverings according to ADH guidelines on facial coverings.”

It goes on to say that the support to local businesses by law enforcement by explaining to individuals who refuse to wear a mask at a local business must abide by the requirement or leave.

Council member Win Trafford said after the meeting he supports the ordinance.