Friday, October 23, 2015

TOP STORY >> Construction projects are over budget

Leader staff writer

Construction of the new $13.5 million Cabot Sports and Aquatic Complex under contract is $110,000 over budget.

Advertising and Promotions Commissioner Tommy Hignight asked about the project during Tuesday’s commission meeting.

Cabot Parks and Recreation director John Crow said, “When the budget was set, it was almost three years before we started. Prices change over time, but the funding did not.”

He explained that the parks department still has to pay for a playground at the sports complex that will cost $80,000, plus batting cages and the football amenities. The parks department will also have to purchase all the entry and marquee signs and scoreboards.

“Part of the funding for that is through some surplus that we have left over. We have a sponsorship program that is helping out with the purchase of the scoreboards. Five of the nine scoreboards advertising sponsorships were sold. Sonic wants to be the title sponsor of the water park,” Crow said.

He said, too, that the $5.2 million expansion of the community center is only $60,000 over budget.

Hignight talked about planning the A&P budget for 2016. He believes 75 percent of the food and lodging tax revenue should be for the Parks and Recreation Department. Around $65,000 a month would go to parks.

In other business, a ballot vote was held to re-elect Billy Johnson to the open position on the commission. The decision will be sent to the city council for approval.

The position has a four-year term. It is for a Cabot restaurant or motel owner or manager who collects the 1.5 percent food and lodging sales taxes. The commission received two other nominations for the spot, Greg McClellan and Johnny White.

The commission ap-proved the Cabot Gymnastics Academy request of $600 for the Glitter Extravaganza meet Nov. 15-16. The funds will be used to purchase T-shirts.

The commission granted Cabot City Beautiful’s request for $4,500 for the Cabot Christmas parade on Dec. 13. The additional money will be used for the incentive program that compensates bands for travel to Cabot. Three additional high school marching bands from Brinkley, Harding Academy and Pine Bluff are coming.

The parade will have six high school bands. The A&P Commission has already funded $6,000 for the parade.

Parade organizer Matt Webber said the Shriners would also be coming with clowns to march in the parade.

The commission approved the Cabot Youth Foot-ball Association’s request for $4,754 for caps, backpacks and awards for players ages 8 to 14 in the first Arkansas Elite Youth Football Championship tournament in Cabot on Nov. 21-22. Football program president Greg Sled said they anticipate 22 local and out-of-state teams to play.