Town postpones audit decision on auditorium

Fort Frances town council will wait another two weeks before deciding who it will hire–if anyone–to analyze documentation to ensure it is paying its fair share of the “multi-use” project.
Three companies were asked to submit proposals–KGS Consulting, Kuch Stephenson (which is working on the ice project here), and Engineering Northwest.
But Community Services manager George Bell noted only one came in with details council was requesting, along with a cost estimate between $2,300-$2,800 to examine the documentation.
Another submitted a proposal but didn’t include all the information council was looking for–if the auditorium costs account for the 12 percent of the entire project the town is being billed.
“Personally, I would like to have another one to see how they would approach it,” Bell told the committee of the whole Monday, suggesting council consider giving the companies more time to bring forward their proposals.
“There’s no doubt they felt rushed in putting these together,” he added.
According to the contract it signed with the school board, the town is to pay $2.3 million for the project’s net construction costs, less any dollars raised by the community auditorium group ($570,000) and less any senior government funding (the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund came through with $1.25 million).
But the town’s final bill is expected to come in around $3.4 million, which includes the architect’s and construction manager’s fees.
Meanwhile, Coun. Sharon Tibbs asked if draft recommendations from the town’s solicitor in 1995 were put into the contract. Answers on that were expected to be back for council’s next meeting Oct. 13.
In related news, council unanimously agreed to delay paying the $440,000 in invoices until it received an internal financial update from the town’s treasury department, also expected at the next meeting.
The last statement showed the town’s contribution to the project was just shy of $800,000, CAO Bill Naturkach said.
But council did agree payment on any future invoices on the project would have to be approved by the committee of the whole.
Also Monday, council passed a bylaw to enter into a conditional non-repayment agreement with the Heritage Fund for a 434-seat auditorium.