City settles dispute over Community Center costs

Monday, May 23, 2005

BERRYVILLE -- A dispute between city officials and the contractor for the Berryville Community Center was settled last week when payment terms were reached after almost two days of arbitration.

Mayor Tim McKinney reported to members of the City Council that a settlement was agreed upon by both parties wherein the city agreed to pay the contractor an additional $85,000. The contracting firm and its attorneys had sought some $345,000, mostly because of delays encountered due to specification changes, construction plan errors and similar items, reported McKinney.

Attorney Tom Kieklak and City Attorney Scott Jackson argued the city's case, assisted by testimony from the mayor and Building Inspector Carl Goins.

McKinney said he was pleased that the city was able to stay within 3.7 percent of the original $3.9 million project total. He expressed concerns that, had the arbitration run its course, the arbitrator could have imposed a higher settlement.

In other action, the council approved Ordinance 841 on its first reading. The ordinance will re-zone a lot at 30 Wilson Drive from C-2 to R-1. The residence, owned by William Hodges, was apparently overlooked in the city's annexation of that area near the Highway 21-221 junction. The re-zoning was given a favorable recommendation May 10 by the Board of Zoning Adjustment.

Danny Inman presented the aldermen with a preliminary design for reconstruction of the entrance to the Berryville Memorial Cemetery. Liking what they saw, the Council directed Inman to obtain cost estimates on the proposed stone and stainless steel entrance, and bring it back to the council table.

The aldermen voted to allow Mayor McKinney to conduct negotiations with Randall Fowler of HBE concerning the location of high-speed internet antennas on some city-owned facilities. The mayor said he saw this as an opportunity to produce some additional revenue for the city.

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