Consultant Deals Renewed

BLYTHEWOOD – On Monday evening, Town Council renewed the contracts of the Town’s financial consultant, CPA Kem Smith; its IT Support Services consultant, Kevin Williamson and its auditor, Reginald McConnell. Smith’s and Williamson’s contracts were renewed for one year terms through the end of fiscal year 2014-2015, with minimal changes to the scope of work. McConnell’s contract was renewed through December.

Smith agreed to continue her services at no increase in costs to the Town. The Town pays her firm a monthly fee of $3,150 and hourly rates for her and her staff for certain additional work.

Williams agreed to continue his contract at $2,950 per month, $50 less per month than last year.

McConnell raised his annual fee from $8,000 to $10,500. Smith said McConnell’s fee increase was based on additional work anticipated for the Manor’s new enterprise fund and other required changes as a result of auditing standard updates effective Dec. 15, 2012, that were not in the previous engagement letter for the 2012 and 2013 audits. At its last work session, Council discussed engaging a new auditor after the current audit is completed.

Council May Discontinue Offering Wi-Fi

Council also asked Williams whether he felt the Town should continue to provide Wi-Fi service in the downtown area. The service, which was initially provided by the Keith Bailey administration to enhance the Blythewood gas station/hotel stop for travelers, is not regularly used except by a couple of what Williams thinks are small businesses in the town. Mayor J. Michael Ross said he felt the town’s Wi-Fi coverage is so limited and the cost of providing it is so great that “it seems to me a waste of money.” He suggested the issue be on the agenda of the next Town Hall work session.

Syrup Mill Property Rezoned

Council unanimously passed final vote to rezone a property on Syrup Mill Road from Rural Estate (RE) to Rural (RU). Property owner Jeremy Tesimale requested the rezoning so that he could subdivide the 4-acre property for sale. RE zoning is similar to RU except that RE requires a minimum acreage of 4 acres, while RU zoning requires a minimum of 1 acre.

Tesimale told the Planning Commission in June that his rural neighborhood is a mixture of RE and RU zoning and that he had told them about the rezoning and that they did not object.

Council Makes Cultural Donation

Council voted unanimously to donate $300 to the Cultural Council of Richland and Lexington counties. The donations were begun during the Bailey administration, which contributed $2,500 in both 2011 and 2012. Last year the Town donated $1,500.

“I’m not sure how this got started or how much we benefit from it as a town,” Ross told Council members. “But a $300 donation comes with two tickets to a Cultural Council dinner that would be a great networking opportunity for Booth (Chilcutt, the Town’s Cultural Center Director).”

Town Administrator Gary Parker told Council the donation was not specifically budgeted, but the donation could come from either ‘Advertising’ in the general fund under Operations, which has $5,000 budgeted or from the Hospitality Tax Fund where $12,000 is budgeted for Events and Farmers’ Market Allocation.

(Kem Smith’s budget report will appear in the Aug. 8 issue of The Voice).