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Marina funds OK'd
Contracts also are awarded
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer
The Henry County Board of Supervisors voted 4-2 Tuesday to award contracts and approved an additional $550,000 for the marina project at Philpott Lake.
Iriswood District Supervisor Milton Kendall said he never has supported the marina project because he does not think the county should get into “the marina business.”
Collinsville District Supervisor Joe Bryant has supported the project in the past. But on Tuesday, he voted against it because the cost has increased by $550,000 to a total of $1,354,109. Originally, the project was expected to cost more than $800,000.
“I was shocked” to learn about the amount of the increase on Monday from County Administrator Tim Hall, Bryant said.
Hall said the original estimated cost of the marina was prepared about two and a half years ago, and the site of the marina has been switched since then.
Tim Pace, director of engineering, said the change in location likely was the biggest reason for the cost increase because the marina and some other buildings must be constructed on the water. There is no room for those buildings on land, he added.
Under the original $800,000 plan, the facilities were to be built on land.
Bryant said he is concerned about other issues coming up as the county’s fiscal 2014 budget is prepared, including a reassessment of property values that will result in an estimated $660,000 drop in county revenues.
“So having to put half a million dollars up for a marina, and having to make up the revenue (decrease) of $660,000 ... That’s over a million” dollars, and the budget is not completed, Bryant said.
Also, the Public Service Authority is considering a possible rate increase, he said.
“The public has been dollared to death” already, he said. “I’m not saying I would not have voted for it (increased funds),” Bryant said, but he would have liked to wait until after the budget was presented before considering the increase for the marina.
The only way to decrease the amount of funding needed for the marina is to cut parts of it, and while that was not put to a vote, supervisors seemed unwilling to do that.
A majority of the supervisors approved the increase in funds needed in part for things such as food concessions/equipment; HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) equipment for the concessions building; a security and monitoring system; gangway end pier; and outdoor dock furniture, according to board documents. County staff estimated the cost of those purchases at roughly $70,000.
Funds committed for the project total $800,000. They include $400,000 from Henry County, $250,000 from the Harvest Foundation and $150,000 from the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. That is about $550,000 short of the $1,354,109.
To come up with the $550,000, the board approved:
• Using $110,971 left over from a water and sewer project at Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre that was shifted to the marina project.
• Taking $75,000 from the board’s fiscal 2013 contingency fund (which currently has $89,400). That fund is $150,000 line item in the budget for the board to do smaller projects as it sees fit.
• Taking $200,000 from the county’s fund balance. The fund balance, which Hall said is roughly $17 million, is created with money left at the end of each fiscal year and built up over time to handle unexpected expenses, Hall said.
• Using $168,138 of Harvest Foundation money left over from the extension of water and sewer lines at the Commonwealth Crossing Business Centre. The county staff has requested permission — and has received tentative approval pending official paperwork — from The Harvest Foundation to shift those funds to the marina project.
Bryant said the Harvest funds basically are money from residents because the foundation was created with proceeds from the sale of the Memorial Hospital in Martinsville.
“It’s not our money,” Bryant said. “Don’t get me wrong; I’m trying to justify (the additional expense) with the revenue from tourism. ... I love the marina idea ... just not today.”
Contracts approved Tuesday included one contract for five portions of the project, including $442,480 to Cornerstone General Contracting for the dock/floating platform; $110,700 to Norris Construction for the concession building; $70,000 to Prillaman and Pace for plumbing; $71,359 to Light Electric for electrical work; and $137,158.17 to M.L. Leonard for a gas fuel system.
Hall said the county basically will act as the contractor on that portion of work, with others named as subcontractors.
A second contract, $215,370 to extend utilities, was awarded to Steve Martin’s Trenching, and a third $184,775 contract for the group campground was awarded to Prillaman and Pace.
Each company awarded a contract Tuesday was the low bidder and all but one either is located in Martinsville and Henry County or has a presence here. The one exception is Cornerstone General Contracting, which is based in Henderson, N.C.