The Fort Smith Board of Directors will receive an update on the River Valley Sports Complex lawsuit during a special meeting and study session Tuesday.
The city is being sued for outstanding payment for goods and services that were provided for the sports complex, according to a memo from City Administrator Carl Geffken to Mayor Sandy Sanders and the directors. The memo says the four plaintiffs in the lawsuit say the city owes around $200,121.
Fort Smith had originally asked that the complex be added as a third-party defendant, because its principals had hired the vendors. A jury trial, however, was held Sept. 10-11 and it was determined that the city has the responsibility to pay for the services.
City Attorney Michael Jones will update the board on the verdict and the events that have happened since the trial, according to the memo.
Also on the agenda is a resolution permitting Geffken to bid at the sale of the former building for the Arkansas Department of Transportation District 4 headquarter site on Towson Avenue.
According to a memo sent from Geffken to Sanders and the board of directors, the city would use this building for the Street Department for two years. ArDOT said it would allow Fort Smith to have the site if it took over the road maintenance of Towson from Garrison to Zero and Highway 45 from Zero to 71. It also offered the building in exchange for the maintenance of the Phoenix and Interstate-540 interchanges.
The original offers weren’t approved, however, because the city said the cost would exceed its ability to pay, according to the memo. The city’s appraisal of the site in 2016 was $300,000, but the appraisal ArDOT had done in 2018 said the site was worth $391,000.
The building has been put up for auction on Oct. 16 at 11 a.m. According to the memo, there is a board of directors meeting that evening at 6 p.m. It was recommended that the board approve Geffken’s authority to bid on a “contingent basis” or a bid that will be approved after the actual bidding process. According to the memo, the board will have the ability to discuss and vote on the resolution at the special meeting. If the city has the winning bid, the directors will vote on the amount at their Oct. 16 meeting. The memo states that if the city has the winning bid, but the board does not approve the bid amount, the land will go to the next bidder.
According to the memo, the reason for purchase would be to move the Streets Department from 3900 Kelley Highway in order to make room for the Utilities Department as it has grown to comply with the consent decree.
The board will also look at employee benefits and review the agenda for the Oct. 16 regular meeting. They will meet Tuesday at noon in the Fort Smith Public Library Community Room.