Benton swearing in

Members of the Benton City Council are sworn in for their two-year term by City Attorney Rob Mattingly via Zoom.

The agenda was lengthier than usual at last week’s meeting of the Benton City Council.

First the council heard the annual audit report from CPA Kim Ham. Ham thanked the city officials, gas company and electric company for allowing them to meet remotely for the audit process during the pandemic. She reported no deficiencies in the city’s financials for the year ending June 30, 2020.

The council held a second reading and approved Ordinance No. 14-10-01 amending the ordinance providing for non-partisan elections of elected officials for the City of Benton. The ordinance amends the language to state specifically that the election is a non-partisan partisan election. Previously the wording

City Clerk and Treasurer Bethany Cooper told the council that the city has currently received $321,350 in CARES act funding as reimbursement for pandemic expenses. She has submitted an application for an additional $100,482 in funding.

Of the reimbursed monies, Cooper recommended to the council to transfer $31,200 to Benton Water and Sewer. From March through October the city was not allowed to charge penalties or disconnect fees. Cooper estimates, based on former months totals, that the water and sewer department lost $20,000 in penalties and $11,200 in disconnect fees they couldn’t charge. The council approved the budget amendment.

Before adjourning the meeting, City Attorney Rob Mattingly sworn in the newly seated council for its next two-year term. All former members retained their seats in the November General Election.

The council also:

  • Held another discussion on parking on Main and Poplar streets between 10th and 12th streets by the court square.

• Approved a bid of $8700 to C & C Fencing to replace a 5 foot fence and posts at the co-ed baseball field at H.H. Lovett Park.

• Approved a bid of $6725 to C & C Fencing to ad a 4-foot tall fence to field 6 at the ballpark, splitting the field in two sections to create a dog park with an unleashing area for small dogs and an unleashing area for large dogs.

• Approved the purchase of new pipes to replace gas lines on Symsonia Highway from the city to J.B. Copeland Road. The total cost including delivery is $224,294 at $7.08 per foot. Previous pricing for the piping had been over $9 per foot.

  • And heard the police report for November. Police Chief Stephen Sanderson said the department responded to 895 calls for service, worked 21 collisions, wrote 55 citation violations and opened 19 new cases.

The January 2021 meeting will be held at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 19 because of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.