There was a bit of controversy at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Jonesboro Board of Aldermen, aside from the cooperation on the cemetery issue.
District A’s Sam Lamkin began the meeting with a motion that the meeting not be held, since he nor none of of the other aldermen had seen any of the documents they were to be discussing and voting upon until they arrived at city hall.
Said Lamkin, “Due to the fact that in my packet there was nothing but an itinerary (agenda), I therefore move that the meeting be postponed, so that we have time to go over what’s in this packet that’s on our desk.” He added, “There was nothing in my packet that was delivered to me except this itinerary.”
After a bit of discussion, the town’s controversial mayor Leslie Thompson convinced Lamkin that as much time as necessary could be taken during the meeting to study the issues.
Lamking noted that “…it’s also important for us to have the information so we have proper time to go over it.”
Lamkin’s issue is not new – District B’s Renee Stringer has often complained about not receiving timely information upon which decisions are made.
During the public comment part of the meeting, Jonesboro resident Robert Gamble addressed the board regarding the cuts to the Jonesboro Police Department’s budget.
Said Gamble, “This is endangering our banks, our stores, our businesses, even our homes.” He added, “I pay tax tax money for a police department. Why haven’t we got one up to date?”
He also noted that “This is a service that is due to our community and our town.”
Later in the meeting during budget discussions, Thompson responded that the JPD’s budget cuts represented “fat” and that the current shortage of patrol officers was due to medical issues with several of them.
Said Thompson, “One of the officers had a hip surgery… another officer had a heart attack… another had contracted arthritis.”
Stringer brought up water meters, and noted that her last monthly bill was over $500. While investigating her issue, she learned that of the town’s total 2,065 water meters, about 665 of them were not functioning. From that finding, she said, efforts were already underway to correct the issue.
On the issue of animal control the mayor noted that discussions were underway to possibly cooperate with the Jackson Parish Police Jury (JPPJ) to come up with a solution to that issue.