Benton council to hear final reading on eminent domain

The Benton City Council will hold its regularly scheduled meeting Monday, June 23, to discuss using eminent domain to acquire acquiring necessary land for the Alcoa Road improvement project.

This item has been discussed in three previous meetings including a special meeting that was held on Monday, June 16.

Nine properties will be taken if the ordinance is passed. The properties that would be acquired through eminent domain with the passage of the ordinance are: 6513 Alcoa Road, owned by Joe E. and Pat M. Ioup; 6817 Alcoa Road, owned by Carl Eckhardt and Meleah Carter, trustees, and Debra and James R. Ramsey; 4523 Sleepy Village Road, owned by Eustorgio and Obdulla Couto; 5925 Alcoa Road, owned by Larry Teeter; the northeast corner of Alcoa Road and Sleepy Village Road, owned by Larry and Donna Teeter; 5150 Alcoa Road; 6712 Alcoa Road, owned by Larry Reynolds; 6802 and 6900 Alcoa Road, owned by Dalton Beaty, trustee; and 2303 Lee Circle, owned by Stinson and Doris Bailey.

After the properties are acquired, the mayor will pay into the registry of the Saline County Circuit Court the appraised value of the lands and other sums as may be determined by the Circuit Court to be just compensation to the owners.

The council has delayed passage of this ordinance to allow property owners an opportunity to continue negotiations with City Attorney Brent Houston.

A settlement with individual property owners and/or an eminent domain ordinance must be in place before the end of the month deadline set by Metroplan or federal funding designated for the project may be lost.
Federal funding is expected to pay for 80 percent of the project cost.

This ordinance has been heard on two readings. The final reading and potential passage will take place Monday.

In other business, Alderman Jerry Ponder will present one ordinance and one resolution on behalf of the Finance Committee. Ordinance 32 will amend the 2014 general fund budget to accept an additional $6,000. Benton Police Chief Kirk Lane was notified by the Department of Justice that the department had received $6,000 in reimbursable overtime for work with the DOJ. The ordinance will accept these funds into the budget.

Resolution 28 authorizes the city to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Benton Public School District for the placement of school resource officers in schools. This resolution will establish the collaborative funding between the Benton Police Department and the Benton School District for School Resource Officers for the 2014-2015 school year. If passed, on July 1, 2014 the Benton School District will agree to refund a total of $144,000 to the Benton Police Department yearly to help offset the cost of the police providing four school resource officers for 191 days each. The district will be billed quarterly beginning in July of each year. Additionally, the superintendent will accept recommendations from the Benton Police Chief for candidates to hire for the school resource officer position.

Alderman Lori Terrell will present two ordinances on behalf of the Community Services/Animal Control Committee. Ordinance 33, if approved, will provide a conditional use permit to Mark Carter Outdoor Advertising for the operation of an auto repair business. A public hearing to discuss this issue was held on June 10 at 6 p.m.

Ordinance 34 will rezone land in the city of Benton. The application was filed by Glenda Helmich requesting property be rezoned from single-family residential to highway commercial. The property is located at 6601 Alcoa Road. A public hearing was held on June 10 at 6 p.m. to discuss the application.
Alderman Steve Lee will present Resolution 29 on behalf of the Parks Committee which authorizes the mayor to sign a contract with CDI contractors, LLC to render construction manager services for the construction of the new Riverside Complex.

Finally, Alderman James Herzfeld will present Ordinance 26 on behalf of the Public Utilities Commission which will amend Ordinance 27 of 2012 which adopted the customer service rules, regulations, and fees for Benton Utilities. This will be the second reading of this ordinance which attempts to amend the cost for installing water meters. The ordinance will charge a connection fee of $500 for new subdivisions. It also establishes different prices for installation of meters on the short side and long side of a water line.

In other business, Mayor David Mattingly will present Lt. Kevin Russell of the Benton Police Department with a service award for his 15 years of service. Alderman Bill Donnor will present Valeria Holden with the employee of the month award for May of 2014.

The city council meeting will take place Monday, June 23 at 7 p.m. in council chambers at the Benton Municipal Complex. The public is invited to attend.