By Ray King

With no dissent, the Pine Bluff City Council Monday adopted a resolution allowing Mayor Shirley Washington to sign a contract with a consulting firm whose job will be to find new commercial businesses, including restaurants, for the city.

Retail Strategies LLC, an Alabama company, will be paid $45,000 a year for three years after they submitted the most qualified proposal for the job.

After the meeting, Washington talked about the legislation.

The mayor singled out Council Member Glen Brown Sr., who has been back on the council for three years and on a regular basis calls for additional restaurants and shopping areas in the city.

In other business, the council voted to suspend the rules and read an ordinance waiving competitive bidding to contract with National Network for Safe Communities (NNSC) at John Jay College to provide training and input for the Group Violence Intervention program.

The city currently contracts with NNSC and the legislation allows that contract to be extended for a second year at a rate of $125,000 which will come from the Mayor’s Special Project fund.

A resolution giving Simmons Bank the naming rights for existing or future structures at the 6th and Main Plaza in return for $2 million from the bank or Simmons Foundation was pulled before it could be considered. Those funds were to be used to complete the project.