The Benton City Council met Monday night in a virtual meeting in order to comply with social distancing mandates.
Benton Mayor Tom Farmer said that he plans to address some of the complaints he has received concerning local businesses not complying with the mandates set forth by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Gov. Asa Hutchinson in order to stem the spread of COVID-19.
“I’ve had a lot of good feedback from the community on some things that are going on,” Farmer said. “But, I’ve also heard some negative things about, complaints, about social distancing not being enforced and Walmart not following the CDC guideline and other things.”
Farmer plans to look into the situation and will report on the subject during the next city council meeting which will be held May 26.
“I will say this,” Farmer said. “I feel that the governor has done a great job. He slowly closed down the state and he is slowly opening [the state] back up.”
Farmer also stated that with Hutchinson’s announcement that larger venues can begin to reopen with restrictions, the city will be able to begin opening some fields and allow youth league teams to use the facilities. Only one team will be allowed to use the facility at a time. Other parks facilities such as the disc golf courses are also planning to reopen.
“There will still be a few that will not be open,” Farmer said. “The parks committee will have jurisdiction if someone is not following the CDC guidelines and regulations set forth to not allow them to practice or participate on our fields at that time.”
Farmer said that the city is still working on getting the recommended sanitizing facilities needed to reopen certain areas.
“Other openings will come,” Farmer said.
The aldermen approved a number of resolutions and ordinances including a resolution that will create a scholarship program for the Benton Parks and Recreation Department to help make recreation access available to people in the community who may not have the financial capabilities to participate.
“This is a good program,” Farmer said. “No tax dollars will be used for this. It will all be taken from private donations to offer children an opportunity to participate in the programs down there that otherwise they would not be able to participate in.”
According to the Benton Parks and Recreation Department, scholarships will be available on a first-come, first-served basis until all of the funds have been exhausted and are limited to a maximum of $100 per household, per calendar year and must be used by Dec. 31.
Individuals may only receive the amount of funds needed for registration for a specific class or program. Scholarships cannot be used for adult classes, personal training or River Center membership or day passes.
Scholarship application information and eligibility requirements can be found at www.bentonar.org.
The council also approved a resolution authorizing City Attorney Brent Houston to file lawsuits in Saline County Circuit Court seeking to abate public nuisances located at 14 properties within the Benton city limits. Those properties include:
• 1221 S. Summit
• 300 Valley St.
• 1824 Chatfield Rd.
• 2211 Chatfield Rd.
• 1600 Gum St. (2 buildings) and one building on Oak and Brown (All three buildings are on one parcel).
• 1509 Cedar St.
• 1602 Sorrell Rd.
• 1504 Sorrell Rd.
• 320 Clark St.
• 326 Clark St.
• 328 Clark St.
• 508 Thompson St.
Other items approved by the council include:
• A resolution approving the sale of property located at the the City of Benton fire and police substation in order for the Arkansas Department of Transportation to widen Highway 5.
• A resolution establishing the time of council meetings, setting its meeting agenda and establishing rules for conducting council and committee meetings.
• An ordinance providing a conditional use permit for a duplex located at 909 W. Sevier St.