By Joel Hall
The City of Jonesboro has decided to hold its regular meetings one hour earlier.
Jonesboro Mayor Luther Maddox announced Monday that the city will officially change its meeting times from 7 p.m., to 6 p.m. City work sessions will take place on the first Monday of the month at 6 p.m., and regular business meetings will take place on the second Monday of the month at 6 p.m.
Maddox said the city council decided to move up its meeting times in order to accommodate city employees. "The council and myself decided to [make the change]," Maddox said. "Our city employees have to stay for the meetings ... this will give them a chance to get a bit to eat, get off, get to the council meeting, and get home before 8:30 or 9 p.m."
The announcement came during a Monday work session, which was combined with a regular meeting, due to the Labor Day holiday. The work session, however, started at 6 p.m., and immediately segued into the regular meeting, which upset some residents who came to the meeting at 7 p.m., to find it nearly over.
"Mr. Mayor, I think we should have been better informed about the meeting being moved, because a lot of us didn't know that you had moved it back to 6 p.m.," said an audience member on Monday. "We put [in] the effort to come down here, and want to participate, and then, we get down here and the meeting is over."
"The meetings have always been on the second Monday at 7 p.m.," said former council member, Rick Yonce, who was also in the audience. "You have a lot of people who work until 6 p.m. This is going to keep a lot of people from coming to the meetings."
In another matter, the city council unanimously approved procedures for granting filming permits to filmmakers shooting television and movie projects, as well as commercials in the city. Maddox said the procedures were modeled after those found in the City of Senoia.
"Given the building of the new film studio at the Tara Field Airport ... I thought that we would be ahead of the curve if we had one [a procedure for granting filming permits] in place," said Maddox. "This is another way for the city to be out there, and to build additional revenue. Any producers would know that we were receptive to being a location."
The rules state that requests for film permits must be submitted to the city clerk at least one week prior to the city's next, scheduled work session, or regular meeting. Those seeking a permit must use the county tax map to illustrate the layout of parking, set up, and film location, according to the procedures.
Other requirements to receive a filming permit include:
* An insurance certificate naming the City of Jonesboro as 'additional insured' with a liability limit of $1 million.
* Proof of Workers Compensation insurance.
* A minimum of two off-duty officers on location for the duration of the shoot, who will be "compensated in accordance with the policies of the City of Jonesboro's Police Department."
* Traffic can be controlled by a police officer or certified flaggers only.
* Vehicles cannot be parked within 30 feet of a stop sign or intersection.
* All street closings must have the approval of the mayor and council.
* If using public buildings, the contracted firm shall supply its own power.
* Set up, shooting, and breakdown for film sets will be restricted between the hours of 7 a.m., and midnight.
Maddox said that the time allowed for a film shoot could be altered "on a case-by-case basis."