Commishs Authorize Court Needs Study
A space needs assessment of Moore County's court facilities is to be completed by mid-January.
The Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Monday night to authorize County Manager Cary McSwain to execute the agreement with Local Government Solutions Inc., a Charlotte-based consulting firm that has carried out previous studies for Moore County.
Two proposals were presented, and the Solutions response offered the lower cost, according to information provided by McSwain. Solutions offered to do the work for $9,700, compared with $15,720 sought by the other firm.
Another matter pertaining to county space needs was more controversial and was resolved on a split vote.
Victor Walk, construction manager with the Moore County Public Works Department, presented a request for $76,500 in additional compensation sought by LS3P Associates, the architectural firm designing the county office building.
The additional payment was sought after the commissioners asked for a series of changes in the original schematic drawing.
Walk said that the changes approved by the board will cost $1,776,500, of which $76,500 covers the additional design fee.
The changes include provision of a Planning Board meeting room and a full open unfurnished basement, adding about 30,000 square feet to overall construction. The board also asked for a few other design changes.
The commissioners balked at the amount of the additional fee.
Commissioner Tim Lea asked Walk why the fee was not negotiated.
He replied that the fee is representative of the 5 percent standard for architectural service, an amount that applies to estimated cost of construction. He said the 5 percent is included in the original agreement with the firm. In fact, the amount requested is somewhat smaller than the 5 percent would total.
Architect Katherine Peele was not present, but Paul Boney, also of LS3P Associates, said his firm did not seek a full fee for all of the changes. He said the additional charges do not cover those changes not requiring new construction.
"We are just trying to do the right thing," Boney said.
However, Lea argued that the architects began work on the design before the commissioners had completed their initial study of the building plan, and he pointed out that change orders could be expected throughout the construction process, something that can add significantly to the total cost, especially if architectural fees increase accordingly.
When it came time to vote, Lea and Commissioner Cindy Morgan voted against the motion for the chairman to sign the $76,500 amendment to the architects' fee.
In other business, the commissioners adopted a new personnel policy, approved amendments to the wireless communications tower ordinance, and accepted the audit report presented by Martin-Starnes & Associates, certified public accountants.
The audit report, presented by CPA Marcie Spivey, included a reduction in the fund balance from $34.1 million last year to $29.1 million.
Part of the decrease reflects the transfer of about $2 million into a capital reserve fund to help pay for capital improvements still in the planning stages.
Changes in the fund balance place the 2009 total at more than 20 percent of the county's General Fund, compared with 28.5 percent in 2008.
The change keeps the county well within the stringent guidelines of the Local Government Commission, which recommends that local governments retain a fund balance of at least 8 percent of the General Fund.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at (910) 693-2479 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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