Most maps on the Bryant web page still do not include the portion of the Salem Community that will be voted on as part of the Northlake area on November 4th.
Bryant and Benton both refer to a "Northlake" area -- completely ignoring the fact that part of the Salem Community is included in their annexation proposals. So far as we know, no newspaper has printed a correct map of the Northlake - Salem annexation area to be voted on October 14th by Benton and November 4th by Bryant.
Northlake residents have received two letters from Bryant about annexation, while Salem Community residents only received one letter on or about July 12th -- after it was too late to participate in the June 9th Bryant Public Hearing. In a June 16, 2008 article "The Saline County Voice" reported that this meeting was apparently just to meet the legal requirement, because the concerns of those attending didn't seem to be considered in the final outcome."
This article in the July 20 Arkansas Democrat Gazette mistakenly reported;
"The 1,200 acres south and west of North Lake Road that does not include Salem is still up for annexation by Benton or Bryant."Part of the Salem Community is indeed in the annexation area. Northlake Road ends at Zuber Road. The area east of Zuber Road is in the Salem Community. The Northlake - Salem includes areas as far east as south of the intersection of Zuber and Samples and north to beyond the intersection of Samples and Racetrack.
The Benton Courier mistakenly reported in this July 25 article that the proposed annexation area includes only the Northlake Road area;
"Then, in a special meeting Monday, the council unanimously approved an ordinance calling for an Oct. 14 election to annex only the North Lake area into the city."
Bryant has been planning to annex some very large areas in the November election. This included the Northlake area. After Benton proposed to include the Northlake area in their annexation vote on August 12th, Bryant responded by calling their own special election for Septmeber 9th that included the Northlake area plus part of the Salem Community between Zuber Road and Samples Road. It is unclear why Bryant added the section in the Salem Community. Benton canceled the August 12th vote and rescheduled October 14th. Bryant then canceled the September 9th vote and rescheduled November 4th.
Bryant Planning Coordinator, LaVenia Jones explains why Bryant decided to hold a special election for the Northlake area, but does not mention the Salem Community;
"...when the City of Benton announced the adoption of their special election ordinance, by state law ACA 14-40-303, Bryant had 30 days to respond in answer to that action."Why the 40 acre section tacked onto the southwest corner of the Salem annexation area between Hart Road and Samples Road? Kathy Johnson tells us that is the result of one resident calling the City of Bryant and asking to be included in the Bryant annexation.
"All the people in attendance from that area spoke asking Bryant to hold a special election to let them choose which city they would be annexed to."
Dee Fiser told an interesting story at an annexation meeting September 25th. He said that he took the mayor of Bryant and Benton to lunch, and asked them why they were fighting over who would annex what. The Benton mayor thought that Bryant was taking additional areas that Benton and Bryant had agreed in 2005 would go to Benton. The Bryant mayor denied that. Mr. Fiser concluded that someone in the Metroplan office in Little Rock drew a line on the map wrong. Instead of the cities working together to fix the mistake, they have been fighting like school children. On June 10, 2008 the Benton Courier reported on the fight between Benton and Bryant as follows.
Holland outlined this situation in a letter to Bryant Mayor Larry Mitchell. In that epistle, he said:
“We ... strongly object to Bryant annexing the unincorporated territory in Sections 7, 8, 17 and 18 of Township 1 South, Range 14 West. We would like to meet with you and the Bryant City Council as soon as possible to discuss a resolution to our concerns.”
Copyright 2008 by Charles Young