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At Monday’s Pine Bluff City Council meeting, the subject at hand was some property in the Eureka Heights Addition. The city had received a bid from a couple who wanted three lots. The price: $800.

Already, the bar is pretty low for what can be done with those properties to improve them.

But City Council Member Joni Alexander saw an opportunity to add some value to the proceedings. She said there ought to be a way to adjust the pricing of such bits of land in such a way that the Inspection and Zoning department sees some revenue out of the deal.

That’s a laudable goal, given that the department would get the job of overseeing such improvements.

The part we really liked was her next thought.

“Also, maybe something like a [memorandum of understanding] because we’re giving these people these properties because they say they’re going to build something on it, but if there’s nothing in writing, how do we know they are going to do it?”

Yes, $800 for three lots is pretty much giving them away. So why not attach some strings? We certainly go after people — or we should be going after people — who aren’t taking care of their property. Why not do some of that on the other end? Something along the lines of — we are releasing this property into your possession, but the property reverts back to the city if, in three years, you have failed to live up to your end of the bargain by developing the property in the way you have described to us in your proposal.

Basically, the city would be saying that only serious offers need apply. And, really, the city should only be interested in people who are serious — serious about building and developing in a way that adds value to Pine Bluff.

We think Alexander’s proposal also could be copied and pasted in a lot of places. If it were a “Monty Python” bit, the position would be called the Minister of Checking Up On Stuff. But in a real-world way, wouldn’t it be nice if there were an emphasis on the follow-through?

One can’t get off a call to a business nowadays without being asked to spend 30 seconds to answer a survey about the experience. Can we do that here? To make sure things were actually handled in the way that was intended? And from both perspectives. How were residents treated, and how did city employees perform? What a motivator that would be.

Print Headline: Follow-through worth ensuring


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