Council decides advisory committee on reopening PA economy not needed

Published 12:17 am Thursday, April 30, 2020

The city council voted 6-1 against a proposed resolution to form an advisory committee on reopening the city’s economy.

Mayor Thurman Bartie, who cast the lone approving vote, included the proposal on the agenda in hopes of further discussing the possibility for a committee, but other councilmembers indicated they were against the proposal in a prior meeting.

“We did discuss it and we had a consensus on it,” District 4 Councilman Harold Doucet said. “Every councilmember was not in favor of it. Each councilmember, with the exception of Councilwoman [Kaprina] Frank, who was not present, … stressed it was not needed and the council would be involved with this city coming back.”

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Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday announced a two-phase plan for reopening businesses in Texas to take effect Friday.

The “Stay at Home, Work Safe” emergency orders for Texas, Jefferson County and Port Arthur calling for protocols to stem the spread of coronavirus expire Thursday.

District 1 Councilman Raymond Scott and Doucet disagreed with Bartie bringing the proposal back to a council that was not in favor.

“In this form of government, when we discuss issues like this and we have the consensus of the majority … about this committee you’re talking about and you bringing it back, it just shows you’re pushing something you want to do and not pertaining to how this full council feels,” Scott said.

At-large Councilwoman Charlotte Moses said the consensus of councilmembers was that a committee would have had to come back to the council for a final decision.

“We love having input from our community leaders, but when they’re looking at elected officials to help put this city back together, they’re looking at those elected,” Moses said. “Time is of the essence.”

In other city business …

  • The Texas Health and Human Service Commission is increasing its funding for fiscal year 2020 to the city for the Women, Infants and Children program by $36,378. The total amount for the fiscal year granted to the city is $759,796.
  • The Department of State Health Services, or DSHS, is increasing its funding to the city by $126,438 (total of $249,644) to aid the Port Arthur Health Department in controlling the spread of coronavirus. The city’s contract with DSHS ends March 15, 2021.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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