Offer by City Council would close door

Oct. 29, 2013 @ 07:34 PM

A $1,500 sponsorship offering from the City of Henderson should close the last of 18 doors on the Farmers Market building project.

The building has run against a tight budget and one of the items left off as a costs measure were roll-up doors. But Pete Burgess, a member of the Farm Bureau Board of Directors, has been gaining sponsorships for the 18 doors.

The City Council gave tentative agreement during a work session Monday evening. A formal action is still needed, but count Burgess among the many smiling.

“All 18 doors are sponsored now,” Burgess said. “That was the easiest project I have ever done. The general construction of the building is just about to be completed, then the doors will go up before Christmas.”

Henderson’s donation pays for one door, and a city logo will be on it. The doors are an add-on plan after contractor Calvin Davenport Inc. finishes work next month.

The council plans to scrape the $1,500 together from the city savings account as an undesignated fund balance transfer.

Burgess said raising the $27,000 for the doors was made easier by sponsors ready to help.

Comments from City Council members Monday night were mostly positive about having the Farmers Market building within the city, and they wanted to help make sure that happened without any further problem or delay.

“It is within the city limits,” Councilman Mike Inscoe said. “It would bring additional revenue to the city.”

Councilman Jim Kearney Sr. said he was concerned about the city’s savings fund being tapped again, but he was not against helping the facility with $1,500.

City Manager Ray Griffin reported that the city’s budget left no funding for any contingencies during the year, and the city’s public building operating fund went down $15,000 to $73,000 for the year, leaving “no flexibility for unanticipated expenses,” he said.

Every expense has to be approved through a budget ordinance to transfer funds from the undesignated fund balance.

Councilwoman Sara Coffey said she was not too upset to help a worthy cause.

“I think this is an awesome thing, and we ought to help,” she said.

The building located just off Beckford Drive is a project that came together with a $400,000 grant from the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission and $100,000 from N.C. Agriculture Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund. Another $50,000 came from the county commissioners as a match to $50,000 offered by the Farm Bureau.

The contractor originally bid $729,000 for the project, but the cost of construction fell to a base of $525,000 through recommended reductions on a number of aesthetic building features.

“We knew when we bid out the contract that we would not have enough for the roll-up doors,” Burgess said.

In addition to eliminating the doors, parking areas were left unpaved and builders used cement board instead of brick siding. Attractive roof cupolas and rear entrance canopies were also removed from site plans, saving enough money on construction costs to fit the tight budget.

Burgess said the donors for doors should be very pleased with the sponsorship signs that are going on the roll-up doors so they’ll be visible in lowered and raised positions.

The ordinance to provide the $1,500 fund to the Farmers Market project will be placed on a future agenda for an official council vote.

 

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.