Community Politics

The backpedaling is coming

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The Board of Commissioners will meet tonight for their regular meeting.  The agenda includes two interesting topics…

Commissioner Mitchell has asked the board to discuss the lake bulkhead project, and Commissioner Larson has asked to discuss a PARTF grant for the lake park.

Link to all agendas and minutes

December 3 2018 – This board voted unanimously to move forward with Phase II of the Lake Plan

January 23 2019 – The board voted to approve an estimate of $483,946 from M & E Contracting Inc. of Fayetteville.  It was the lowest of five bids.  The Fayetteville Observer and Up & Coming Weekly published articles about the contract and the necessity to lower the lake’s water level, respectively, on January 22nd and January 21st.

February 4 2019 – The board held a lengthy discussing about how to finance the already approved contract for the bulkhead and Phase II.  Melissa Adams informed the board that staff had exhausted all avenues and found no grants.  The bulkhead doesn’t qualify for grants, to include PARTF grants.  Adams also indicated the bulkhead couldn’t be leveraged as collateral for a loan.  She suggested their only viable option was to use money from the town’s general fund account.  The board voted unanimously to fund the project with general fund monies.

The previous board approved a Phase II plan in 2017.   The plan was the result of a collaborative effort between the Lake Advisory Committee, town staff and Hope Mills citizens.  When it was presented to the Board, the Board was asked to accept it in its entirety, with no deviations.  That plan included an 8-foot boardwalk, porch swings, additional lights and play areas for children.  Most importantly, the recreational uses meant it qualified for a PARTF grant.  But this board rejected their plan.  During a December meeting Commissioner Larson commented on their decision…

“Is it fair to say this board rejected the previous plan because they felt the boardwalk was overbuilt for the area and not aesthetically pleasing and would it also be fair to say the elimination of the boardwalk would be a significant cost savings to the tax payers?”

There’s been a lot of ‘chatter’ the last week regarding the lake.  Despite the announcement two months ago, in several local publications, residents on the lake were distraught to learn the water was being lowered.  And there’s been push back because the lake will be under construction once again and unavailable for the majority of the summer months.  The board was aware of these issues prior to making their decisions to move forward.

I’ve submitted a request for a copy of the construction contract but I haven’t received it yet.  Generally, once the customer is prepared to move forward, they issue a ‘Notice to Proceed’ and then make an initial payment.  At that point the contractor will purchase supplies and ‘mobilize’.  This contractor is local, but he still has to move heavy machinery across town and position it, and position supplies near the lake.  The estimate for the entire project should include mobilization fees, and demobilization fees for the end of the project.

The contract will also include a ‘statement of work’ which indicates the agreed upon start date and end date.  If the customer delays the project, the contractor can include a ‘delay of work fee’ or a ‘work stoppage’ fee.  These are generally assessed daily!  The amount of the daily fee is proportional to the overall cost of the project.  Which means if we delay this project until fall, to accommodate the few citizens’ complaints, it could cost the tax payers thousands of dollars.  Additionally, there’s no guarantee this contractor is available in the fall, which means we’d have to delay further or pay cancellation fees.

The board should be aware of this information.  Not only were they present when most of it was presented, but as they’ve reminded us on countless occasions…they do their research.  It should be interesting to see what Mitchell and Larson propose this evening.

 

 

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