Council Counts Doko Pennies

BLYTHEWOOD – During a 5-hour work session on Tuesday, Blythewood Town Council presented an update on where the Town stands with construction costs associated with Doko Meadows (the park) and Doko Manor. The bottom line, Councilman Tom Utroska told Council members, is that there is still work to be completed on the Manor and the park, and at least $157,967 is still owed to the two construction companies (Condor Construction Company and Monroe Construction Company) for work both completed and yet to be completed.

“The Blythewood Facilities Corporation (the BFC, which disperses construction payments for the park and manor) owes Monroe a total of $51,871.71, including $27,400 for work still to be completed on the two restrooms in the park and $24,471, which has been retained by the BFC as an incentive until all the work is completed,” Utroska said.

Utroska said the BFC owes Condor a total of $106,095.45, including $67,066.10, most of which is for landscaping work yet to be completed by Pony Hill Nursery who Utroska said was subcontracted by Condor. That work includes sod and irrigation on the athletic field and grassing of the park and Town Hall, which is almost complete. Construction work yet to be completed by Condor includes the clock tower base and all dumpster enclosures. In addition, BFC is still holding $44,029.35 in retainage due Condor. The total owed both companies is $157,967.16.

According to a report presented to Council by former Councilman Paul Moscati on Sept. 17, 2013, there should be a remaining funds balance of $18,754.96.

“But the problem with this balance,” Utroska told Council, “is that there is a lot of money (from the original $5.5 million bond) that was spent not for construction but for things such as revised estimates, new plans drawn up by Land Plan South or the architect (Ralph Walden) that were not included in the construction contracts. So (Moscati’s) original construction fund numbers and the actual money spent will never match.

“We’ve had to pay additional money out of the general fund for these things and I don’t know if we’re going to have to come up with more to pay for the $157,967.16 we still owe,” Utroska said. “I really don’t know what’s left in the BFC pot of money. Much of the $157,967.16 is for work that is actually still to be done under contract.”

Plus, Utroska said, there are going to be additional costs including $2,412 for a security system for the Manor, the second layer of paving for the roads in the park, paving repair on the walking trail and a reserve fund.

“We don’t have the funds for this,” Utroska said.

“I think Paul (Moscati) did a good job keeping up with what had and had not been done on the overall project,” Utroska said, “but I don’t think it was managed well fiscally. We ended up spending a lot of money that wasn’t included in the budget. It wasn’t necessarily on construction, but it was money the Town had to spend on the park.”

Reimbursing the General Fund

Looking at the financial losses at the Manor, Councilman Bob Massa suggested establishing a formal payment plan to reimburse the general fund for a $162,000 deficit that ran up at the Manor during its first year of operation. He proposed making monthly reimbursements to the Doko Manor cash account only after the unrestricted part of the account (consisting of such items as deposits on rentals) exceeds $10,000.

“At month end for balances from $10,000 – $19,999, 10 percent will be returned to the general fund cash account until the entire payable is reimbursed,” Massa said.

For all month end balances in excess of $19,999, Massa suggested the general fund cash account be reimbursed $5,000 plus 10 percent of the remaining balance in excess of $10,000. He asked that Council pass a resolution for the payment plan at the April 28 Council meeting.

Other Business

Council also discussed goals for 2014-15 and it received a technology briefing from VC3 about their Cloud-based technology and other offerings that would facilitate the Town’s computer technology. Council discussed a Resolution in executive session pertaining to the Winnsboro water franchise agreement (see related story, page 1) and voted unanimously in favor of it.

The next Town Council meeting is April 28 and another workshop is scheduled for May 13, from 8 a.m. until noon.

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