Commissioners discuss potential litigation; Children’s Center money

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By Jennifer Caldwell

The Campbell County Board of Commissioners met on Monday evening in a workshop to finalize the agenda for the upcoming commission meeting.

Prior to the workshop commissioners met in executive session to discuss how the commission plans to proceed with Upland Design Group, Inc. and Kline Swinney Associates’ demand for arbitration.

Upland Design Group and Kline Swinney Associates provided design services related to the county’s new jail and claim they are still owed $66,300 for design services done on the project.

While attorney’s for Upland Design Group and Kline Swinney Associates argue their contract was terminated without cause, Commission attorney Kathy Parrott stated the contract was terminated for cause “because of defects in design and structural integrity in the work performed under the agreement.”

With the demand for arbitration served upon county government in December, commissioners must now decide whether to submit to the arbitration or dispute the claims levied against them by the joint venture.

Should the commission decide to dispute the claims, Parrott estimated the group would need to come up with $15,000 for litigation expenses for the case.

Commissioner Rusty Orick was ready to make a motion to go forward with the arbitration, however, Commissioner Adrion Baird argued there was no need to debate the issue at the workshop.

The group agreed to take action on the matter during next Tuesday’s meeting.

In other business, Commission Chairman David Young, took the opportunity to address confusion related to the $200,000 commissioners voted to give to the Children’s Center for a building.

The money, which was taken from the proceeds of the sale of the Kmart building, was given with the understanding should the Children’s Center cease to exist the money would revert back to the county.

In a later meeting, commissioners voted, unbeknownst to some, to place a lien on the property in order to secure the county’s interest in the property.

Representatives from the Children’s Center, including District Attorney General Paul Phillips, were on hand to stress the need to receive the money unencumbered by the county.

According to Phillips, if the county was placed as first lien holder on the deed it would prevent the organization from accessing loan monies to complete the facility.

“We just don’t want to mess up our ability to get funding,” Phillips explained.

Commissioner Stan Marlow told the group he felt somewhat responsible for the situation because he had the raised the issue of what would happen should the children’s center ever go bankrupt.

“This is probably my fault,” Marlow said apologetically.

Phillips told the group because the Children’s Center owned the property free and clear there was little chance the county would lose its money.

“I don’t think it is a risk to the county. The property is very valuable and is owned free and clear,” Phillips said.

After some discussion Commission Adrion Baird asked to place the item on next Tuesday’s agenda. At that time commissioners will vote on whether to give the Children’s Center the funds unencumbered.

“The intent of this commission was not to place a lien on the property,” Baird said.

Due to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday the commission will hold its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday evening at 6 p.m.