By Josh Arntz
The Dickson Herald

Published Jan. 9, 2015

The Burns mayor set a special-called meeting later this month to go over an itemized construction budget for the new ball park complex.

Mayor Landon Mathis asked the Burns Commission during their regular meeting Monday about authorizing him to purchase park construction materials totaling less than $10,000 without seeking their approval first; or whether the commissioners should meet to vote on the purchases.

Mathis sought their input in an effort to speed up “progress” at the site.

“We are on a time deadline,” Mathis said. “How does the council approach it?”

Vice Mayor Steven Hayes cautioned the commission to “watch our expenditures,” but didn’t think materials would be considered in labor-related bids.

Potter advice

Hayes asked town attorney Tim Potter if the commission had to bid everything for the construction project.

Potter explained if the commission employs different suppliers and “entities” for work proposals under $10,000, then no bids were needed.

“What you can’t do is have one entity break their job up into multiple… sub-projects because that’s circumventing the bid process,” Potter said.

Potter “assumed” materials for the construction needed to be bid.

Mathis reported items like doors, siding, windows, block, etc., would cost less than $10,000.

“I don’t foresee any bids being… other than the lighting bid… it’s just going to be a lot of little things,” he said.

Clear record

Potter suggested the commissioners vote on construction expenditures based on an itemized list.

“My opinion is, given the gravity of this project, that it would be a good idea to itemize everything and have a meeting and have this body approve it,” Potter said. “I just think that it would be good practice for you to vote on it.”

Potter posited “most lenders and providers” will “understand” the processes involving government expenditures.

“They’re dealing with a governmental entity, it’s going to require approval by you,” Potter said, “and there’s going to be a turnaround when an invoice is paid.

“They can’t expect to be paid in a week if they’re dealing with a municipality,” he added.

Potter stressed the need for a “clear record” of everything approved for the park project.

“And I wouldn’t want to assume that responsibility if I were you, of approving a $2,000-$3,000 item without the whole body voting and approving it,” he said.

Mathis reported town Parks Director Chris Ward was “pretty close” to completing a budget for the construction, and hoped to have it ready by the special-called meeting.

“We’ll just go at it from there,” Mathis said.

Mathis called the meeting for Jan. 20 at 6 p.m. at Town Hall to address an itemized budget to complete phase I of the ball park complex, specifically for purchasing materials, and possibly to consider field lighting bids.

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