The Benton Community Services Committee is scheduled to have its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday evening, immediately following the Parks and Streets Committee meetings which begin at 5 p.m. The meeting will be at Benton City Hall, 114 S. East St.
The community services committee will consider an item for the unification of the Gann Museum and the Saline County Library. A document attached to the agenda states that this year, the boards of the Gann Museum and the Saline County Library, voted to unify the two entities.
“Both boards agree that the Saline County Library taking over the lease to the Gann Building, from the City of Benton, is the best option for the continuation of our local history museum. The votes were based on a verbal agreement from Mayor Tom Farmer, to lease the Gann Building to the Saline County for $1.00, for a 99-year lease,” the unification proposal reads.
The Gann Museum is located at 28 South Market Street in Benton and was built in 1893. According to the Gann Museum’s website, it is the only known bauxite building in existence which makes it an architectural landmark. The building served as a medical office until 1946 when it was given to the city to be used as a library and eventually a museum.
The Gann Museum has a collection of Niloak and other pottery, Native American artifacts, and memorabilia and artifacts from the history of Saline County.
It is a part of the National Register of Historic Places and was added in 1975.
The committee will also hear an update on the A&P local tax collection for Airbnb rentals. At last month’s community services meeting, Community Development Director John Parton said the city had received several inquiries about the legality of Airbnb rentals within the city.
This summer, the Benton A&P Commission approved a motion to apply the A&P tax to Airbnb vacation rentals.
Parton said at last month’s meeting that he believes Ordinance 46 of 2005, gives the city the ability to tax Airbnb rental properties. The ordinance levees the tax against hotels, motels and short-term rentals. Parton said he believes Airbnb rentals fall under the category of short-term rentals. During the October community development meeting, they passed a motion to authorize the director of community development, Parton, to research other cities that have implemented this process and to bring it back to the committee at the November meeting.
There is another item on the agenda that concerns the use of golf carts in Benton. The proposed ordinance would have to first pass the community services committee, then the city council for final approval.
The ordinance would allow golf carts to be operated on any city street with a speed limit equal to or less than 25 miles per hour. If the ordinance passes, golf carts would not be allowed on county roads or city streets which are also designated as federal or state highways. They would also be prohibited from operating on any sidewalk, recreational path, trail or any location normally used for pedestrian traffic.
Golf carts are defined in the ordinance as, any self-propelled vehicle designed for the transportation of players or maintaining equipment on a golf course, has a minimum of four wheels, is designed to operate at a speed of no more than 25 miles per hour, is designed to carry not more than six persons, including the driver, has a maximum vehicle weight of 2,500 lbs. and has a physical rated payload capacity of 1,200 lbs.
Other items on the agenda:
•Discussion of a proposed ordinance for a special event permit
•Discussion of commissions within the city, including the A&P Commission, the Planning and Zoning Commission, the Historic District Commission and the Public Utilities Commission.
•The committee will consider liens against properties at 915 DeSoto Place, 916 Ridge Rd., 1101 McCurdy Rd. and 6281 Grayson Dr.
Meetings are open to the public and attendance is encouraged, they are also live-streamed from the city’s official Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TimeForBenton.