The Carlisle City Council discussed changing rental rates for the Civic Center on Monday night during its monthly meeting.
According to Civic Center director Ronnie Ashmore, there are a few modifications needed to the current rental fees and deposits to insure rental of the facility continues.
"I’ve heard its a little costly," Alderman Chad Bennett said.
At this time to rent the full banquet hall and kitchen, cost is $75 per hour with a minimum of two hours and $450 for five or more hours. There is also an additional $200 refundable cleaning fee required.
To rent the large section of the banquet hall, cost is $50 per hour with a minimum of two hours and $300 for five or more hours. For the smaller room of the banquet hall it is $25 per hour with a minimum of two hours and $150 for five or more hours. There is also an additional $100 refundable cleaning fee required for either section rented.
For the council room, which can be rented for meetings only and no food is not allowed, the cost is $15 per hour with a minimum of two hours with no additional cleaning fee required. The kitchen can also be rented for $25 for four hours and $50 for five hours or more.
Ashmore suggested lowering the cleaning deposit on the banquet hall and kitchen rental to $100 and lower the long term rates for $300. He said he was running into issues with renter only using the facility for two hours for a total of $150, yet their cleaning deposit was $200.
In the large room, he suggested the cleaning deposit be lowered to $75 and the long term rates be lowered to $200. He suggested the cleaning deposit on the small room be lowered to $50 and the long term rates be lowered to $100.
Ashmore also suggested a refundable cleaning fee of $50 also be added to rental costs of the council room.
While alderman did not disagree with lowering the long term rates, many questioned if lowering the cleaning deposit was necessary. Many felt that by lowering the cleaning deposit, renters would then chose to let their deposit go and not clean up behind themselves.
Ashmore said renters are still responsible for any damage done to the building or contents while the facility is under contract. He said the and hopes that by reducing the costs, more people with be able to afford to rent rooms of the building.
"I want more rentals in the facility," Ashmore said. "I want to see it used more than it has been."
Alderman Jon Plafcan suggested a trial run by making changes to the rates now and modifying them in the future if necessary.
The council unanimously voted to accept the recommendations made by Ashmore for the rental and cleaning deposit rates.
Also during the meeting, the council unanimously approved the purchase of Samsung tablets and protective cases for $3,500. According to Glover, he believes this will not only cut cost but keep the council more organized with handouts from previous meetings as well as help the internal office by eliminating the need to print minutes, agendas and other attachments and mail them to each alderman.
"We think this is something we should do," Glover said. "We believe it will pay for its self rather quickly with as much paper as we used. The bottom line is technology has gotten to be so inexpensive, it’s kind of stupid not to do it."
With the civic center hosting wi-fi technology, council will then access documents through e-mail and the Internet.
Verizon Wireless has proposed a 25-year lease agreement with the city for the annual cost of $6,000. The section in question is a 40 foot by 40 foot area located at Rock Island Park, behind Glover’s Insurance. If the council were to approve the contract, Verizon will building a cellular tower that resembles a flag pole at the location.
City attorney Mike Stuart said he has asked Verizon to review and make changes to the land agreement back in August. While a few changes were made to the original contract, Stuart said there were a few areas that remain a concern to him. The first concern was that all portions of the property are within 300 feet of the premises are currently being used solely for agriculture, forestry or non commercial purpose. He said since the area does not fall into any of the categories, according to the contract the city would be required to maintain a general liability and property liability insurance with no less that one million dollars for injury or death and $500,000 for damage to property.
According to Stuart, the city has tort immunity, which makes it exempt from penalties or preforming duties in which the law generally requires other citizens to preform. He said he also contacted the Arkansas Municipal League to see if any form of insurance required by the contract was available, in which it was not.
Stuart said Verizon has also required, in the contract, the city indemnify any loss of revenues resulting from personal injury or property damaged resulting from negligence or misconduct on behalf of the city. He said this is another area tort immune deflects the city from having to indemnify any sum to Verizon. He said while the city has the right to wave its immunity, it would result in other companies or other people demanding the city indemnify losses endured on behalf of the city.
While Stuart explained other contract issues such as responsibility of each party, the two that questions the city’s tort immunity appeared to be the most problematic. He also said he believes the city should require rent to be increased by at least one fourth of the revenues received by Verizon, in the event the space is sold to a third party.
The council agreed they are not willing to sign the agreement in its current condition. A special meeting will be scheduled in the future with representatives of Verizon. No action was taken.
In other business, the council unanimously to:
-Approve the Arkansas Municipal League invoices
-Approve the 2014 salary budget
-Accept the donation of the Cone Magie property, located at 220 W. Main St.
Alderman W.H. Kittler was absent from the meeting. The next city council meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Jan. 21.