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County centers
are ‘on time
and on budget’

Wegner fights rumors to the contrary

by Mark Vasto
Landmark reporter

Seeking to head off any rumors to the contrary, Platte County District 2 Commissioner Steve Wegner leveled a few serious questions at County Park and Recreation Director Brian Nowotny at the Thursday's county commission meeting.

“Would you say the community centers are on time and under budget?”

After Nowotny indicated that yes, they were, Wegner went a little further.

Would county parks and recreation sales tax revenue more than cover expenses for the building? Would there ever be a reason to go back to the voters and ask for another sales tax?

Yes and no, came the reply: yes, the sales taxes would cover the expenses and no, there shouldn’t be a reason to go back to the voters for an additional tax.

After the meeting, Wegner enthusiastically pointed to the county’s robust sales and local use tax growth. Sales taxe revenues have risen 5% and use taxes have grown almost 80% from the previous year. The county will meet its budget projections, Wegner said, with a 5% sales tax growth and 50% use tax growth.

“We’re on track,” Wegner proclaimed, adding that the county had yet to realize income from new developments like Zona Rosa and the Parkville Commons.

Nowotny agreed.

“We’ve been working with our construction company (J.E. Dunn) foremen on these estimates,” Nowotny explained. “We work with them every step of the way. Every time we had a bid go out, J. E. Dunn gave us a construction estimate, using all of their experience, and told us what we should get those bids in for. Each trade contract, of which there are 50 of them, have been handled by J. E. Dunn and their super-analytical process. We use that to establish our budget.”

Nowotny said that over the lifespan of the project, many of the contracts came in under budget, and some came in a bit higher.

“When we added them all together, the bottom line total was that we came under budget by about $300,000,” Nowotny stated. “From the very first bid to the last.”

Nowotny said that the money has been placed in a contingency fund. He said that the county commission may decide to use the money to add programs or add more construction to the project. Two of the items being discussed are an amphitheatre at the North Community Center site or a playground.

“The playground was one of those things, unfortunately, that was value engineered out,” Nowotny said. “It was easy to value out because it was something that could easily be added at a later date.”

More than likely, however, Nowotny expects the commission to spend part of the money to make sure the schedule stays on pace.

“Were still on schedule,” Nowotny said. “But we’ve had a wet spring. (J.E. Dunn) is telling us that the schedule is becoming very challenged. The project has weather days built in but we’ve lost over 50 days to wet weather.”


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