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Rec Complex board to meet today; financials on agenda

Tense emails outline problems paying bills by Tia Lyons | August 5, 2022 at 12:00 a.m.

The El Dorado-Union County Recreation Complex Commission will convene at noon today for its regular monthly meeting amid issues purportedly involving unpaid invoices and cash deposits that are turned over to the city from the complex.

Discussions about the matter resulted in testy email exchanges this week between Greg Harrison, chairman of the complex commission and a member of the Union County Quorum Court, and Mayor Veronica Smith-Creer.

On Wednesday, Harrison sent an email to complex commissioners and city and county officials, notifying them that Flower Pot Lawn Care and Landscaping, who is contracted with the city to mow at the recreation complex on Champagnolle, will no longer render services due to three unpaid invoices.

Harrison said he received word from the business that crews planned to mow at the complex Thursday and would not do so again until the three invoices are paid.

Flower Pot is to be paid $1,327.98 every two weeks, Harrison said, noting that invoices were not paid in July.

He noted that a similar issue arose last spring and was one of several issues that Former Flower Pot owner Perry Pope addressed with complex commissioners during a regular meeting in April.

Four invoices that were reportedly outstanding at the time were later reconciled, Harrison said, noting that similar issues have cropped up over the past three years with other entities that do business with the city.

He pointed to a busy schedule at the complex in the coming weeks and months with leagues, games and tournaments, noting there are only two open weekends between Aug. 13 and Nov. 5.

"It is imperative that we maintain a mowing contract to keep the facility in the pristine condition our community has come to expect," Harrison wrote in an email Thursday.

He also said the Boys and Girls Club of El Dorado, manager of the complex, has recently experienced issues with getting City Hall staff to sign off on cash deposits that are turned over from the complex to the city each month.

Harrison explained Thursday that the situation has knocked the actual totals for deposits between Jan 1. and June 30 out of line with financial reports for the complex.

According to information Harrison said he received from the BGCE, who also serves as the complex's concessionaire, a total of $12,786.32 was deposited to the city during the sixth-month period.

However, $7,051.22 in total deposits appears on the financial report for the complex from Jan. 1 until June 30.

Mayor Veronica Smith-Creer elaborated on replies she sent to Harrison via email this week, telling the News-Times Thursday that the issues raised by Harrison had already been resolved.

Smith-Creer said the issue with the invoices largely stems from conversations she has had with the El Dorado City Council to establish a process by which invoices are submitted to the City Collector's office from the Department of Public Works, under which the Flower Pot contract falls.

The mayor said she has repeatedly asked council members to address the matter since they voted in December of 2020 to place the public works director and the El Dorado Water Utilities under their direct supervision and since the public works office moved last year out of City Hall to its new office next to the El Dorado Water Utilities' office on North Washington.

Smith-Creer said that since the total monthly invoice for Flower Pot exceeds $2,000, an amount that requires the council's approval, and the council has reduced its regular meetings from twice per month to once per month, the monthly invoices for Flower Pot are now split in half.

She said the city collector and accounts payable clerk begin processing invoices as they are submitted and invoices from public works are not submitted daily.

"Invoices stop at City Hall. They don't start at City Hall. Those invoices have to go through public works before they get to us," Smith-Creer said. "There has to be a purchase order. They can't be processed without a purchase order."

Smith-Creer also said the City Collector's office works to ensure cash deposits and other such materials are properly documented as they are presented.

She said the issue cited by Harrison with the BGCE may boil down to a simple misunderstanding about the process by which deposits are submitted to the city and documented.

"They're going to make sure it's signed off on. If people are going to try to point a finger at anybody in the city administration, I urge them to know what entire process is," Smith-Creer said.

The complex commission meeting will be held in the conference room of the BGCE main unit at 1201 N. West Ave.

The meeting is open to the public.

Print Headline: Rec Complex board to meet today; financials on agenda

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