July 24, 2014 - 10:38
Airport committee meets
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Members of the county’s airport committee met April 22nd at the Ducktown Community Center to discuss payments made to contractors at the airport for a past project.

Members of the county’s airport committee met April 22nd at the Ducktown Community Center to discuss payments made to contractors at the airport for a past project. Third District Commissioners Randy Collins, Sheena Gaddis, and Daren Waters heard from County Executive Hoyt Firestone as well as William Bracken about money paid out. Bracken initially brought the issue to the county commission during the March meeting.

Firestone told the committee he got copies of all the payments made to the county for matching grant funds. He said the county then paid the money to the contractors as they were invoiced. He said if the entries from the trustee’s office were added up, everything came out correctly. Firestone said the county did not pay anything from the general fund and all matching funds came from the airport tenant.

In regards to a specific amount of $5000 questioned by Bracken, Firestone said a deadline had not been met and there was an additional charge in the amount of $5000. He said there was an amendment made for the retainage because it went beyond the contract deadline. He said the engineer would answer questions if there were any.

Bracken explained he had no doubt the tenant gave the county what he was supposed to. He said that was not his issue, and that he had the final document from TDOT showing what was paid. Bracken said $410,000 was earmarked for McKinney from TDOT, but that the county gave them $419,000. He said another contractor was paid $337,455 instead of $336,000.

According to Bracken, the problem is in consistency and in the way money was accounted for. He said the amount withheld (retainage) was inconsistent, noting 5% was withheld from on check and not another. Firestone said each request was different and had specific instructions and not every invoice asked for retainage. Bracken said the county didn’t know how much it owed because there was no consistency in money withheld.

“What we sent them is more than what we retained,” Bracken said. Firestone said TDOT would disagree. Bracken asked why the numbers were off by $9000. He said $6000 was retained, but $15,000 was paid out. Bracken said retainage was paid out when it was not retained.

Gaddis asked who calculated the amount paid out and if the invoices had it. Bracken said when the project began, someone named Rachel was doing it, but that it had changed hands a couple of times. Firestone said the project began when he was not in office. He said it began in 2008 and expenses began in 2009.

Waters asked when the $9000 amount came into play and when the check that included the extra 5% was written. Bracken said the $9000 was paid out in 2012 and the first check went back to 2010. Waters said there was no way current Budget Director Kelly Morgan could have been responsible for the checks. Gaddis asked when Rachel and Ruth swapped out. Firestone said 2010.

Gaddis said if there was an error, there was nothing that could be done about it at this point and that Morgan was doing a good job. Bracken agreed Morgan was doing a fine job.

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