Courthouse costs explained

Published 9:28 am Wednesday, January 2, 2019

At a December meeting of the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors, costs associated with the new Charlotte County Courthouse were questioned.

However, County Administrator Daniel Witt said he met individually which each Board of Supervisors member to answer questions or concerns regarding the matter.

Daniel N. Witt

According to Witt, the courthouse project initially began with a $13.9 million budget that was raised to $14.25 million after an additional $125,000 was appropriated following an August meeting of the Supervisors.

At that time, Skanska’s Project Manager Tim Burge revealed costs for the new courthouse exceeded the original $13.9 million budget by $125,000.

However, Witt said “the interesting thing about this … during the course of the project, when you borrow this ($12 million), as it’s sitting in the bank waiting for the draw down it’s getting interest. “You’re earning interest on money that you’ve borrowed …”

Borrowed funds for the project total $12 million, while about $2 million was utilized from the local general fund for the project.

A reimbursement totaling $108,506 was made to the general fund early in the process for attorney’s fees.

Currently, $141,067.44 in interest has been accumulated as of Oct. 31.

Wylliesburg/Red Oak Supervisor Kay Pierantoni previously said she reviewed county bills from August through November and the county has spent $33,300 with Skanska and $20,528.69 with Glave and Holmes Architecture.

She said since the county took occupancy in the new courthouse, a total of $53,828.69 had been spent.

Pierantoni said at that time, Burge blamed the overage on citizens, however, the exit signs in the Clerk’s Office were not up to building code.

She questioned why Skanska or Glave and Holmes did not catch the error.

Pierantoni also previously said soundproofing around doors at the courthouse was another error that was not caught.

Witt said previously Blair was working on the exit signs, working to install sound seals, repairing the lift at the judge’s bench and replacing the front doors.

In addition, the replacement of glass was also slated to be done and light fixtures for J&D court have been ordered and are waiting on arrival, he said at that time.

“So to now say that we’re going to come in $5,000 under budget … until we get close out documents, Blair (Construction) agreed to pay $250 a day …” Pierantoni said at the December meeting of the Supervisors.

At that time, she said $22,000 did not cut it if the county did not have close out documents, because the clock should still be running.

Witt said closeout documents had been submitted to the architect previously, so liquidated damages stopped as of Nov. 30.

He said regarding expenditures for the project, $4,797.26 remains.

Expenditures totaled around $14.20 million for the project.

“Because of the interest and because we didn’t draw down (from the loan) because of other reasons, we have $204,000 that the Board appropriated that we’re not going to be using,” Witt said.

In reality, he said the $125,000 appropriated did not have to be done, however, Burge was basing his budget on the original $13.9 million figure and $159,000 was still outstanding.

The $125,000 was appropriated to be completely safe, according to Witt. “That was OK that they did that,” he said.

Witt said sometimes more money is appropriated than needed and if it is not spent, it stays in general fund reserves.

He said Burge did not know about the $141,067.44 in interest accumulated as of Oct. 31, as it was not in his budget.

Pierantoni previously predicted January would see an influx of bills to the county.

Witt said bills to be paid in January would total about $153,000.

He said for the months of November and December, Glave and Holmes and Skanska agreed to not bill the county anymore for the project.

“Otherwise, it would’ve gone over the budget and we agreed that we weren’t going back to the Board to ask for money, that we needed to stay within this budget …” said Witt.

He said the equivalency of what the two companies donated in services totaled $17,677.