In an effort to again overlook a costly error made by former City Manager Brian Brooks, the Forney Council recently decided to simply ignore
a huge mistake made on the Trinity Street road reconstruction project.
At the Council’s September 19, 2017 meeting the council agreed to spend zero money to complete sidewalk installations along Trinity Street.
After spending $487,479.00 on the termination of the city manager and approving an operating budget in which revenues now only exceed expenditures by $19.00; when this council was presented with yet another $200,000 bill to correct a mistake made by former city manager Brian Brooks, they chose to instead take no action and leave the problem for a future council to correct.
In February 2014 Trinity Street was named the #1 Worst Street in Forney from a list compiled by former City Manager Brian Brooks and former Public Works Director Chris Metz.
Former Mayor Darren Rozell and then Council Members Robbie Powers, Mary Penn, Scott Regan, Ray Stephens, Darrell Hobbs and Andy Parker used this list to select Trinity Street as the first major roadway improvement project to be paid for solely by the taxpayers of Forney.
As the below article will attest, the Trinity Street project was initially estimated to cost $1,879,000.00 according to former Public Works Director Chris Metz.
Last month at the August 1, 2017 city council meeting, Capital Improvements Project Manager Candy McQuistion aided by Assistant City Manager Wendle Medford and Forney's new Public Works Director Ron Sullivan reported to the Council that the Trinity Street project is now very near completion, and that a managerial error made in the design approved for the project needed to be brought to the councils attention.
The City has to date spent more than $2,270,181 on road repairs to Trinity Street, which is a dead-end street that fronts approximately 30 homes in the downtown area.
During this meeting CIP Manager Candy McQuiston said “We just wanted to update the council and make them aware that the sidewalks do not connect throughout the project. This project was for roadway improvements consisting of water, sewer, drainage and street improvements to Trinity Street. We now want to make sure the council knows that there will be a difference in what was approved in the original design versus the adopted ordinance.”
Explaining, McQuistin said “Apparently a meeting was held with the homeowners and the city manager in which the citizens were allowed to choose if they wanted a sidewalk or not.”
After a lengthy discussion, it was the councils recommendation that McQuiston get bids on what it would cost the city to install the missing sidewalks throughout the area.
The below pictures are from the August 1, 2017 Central Improvement Projects presentation.
Six weeks later during the September 19, 2017 council meeting, CIP Manager McQuistion next reported to the council that it will cost an estimated $200,000 to finish installing the sidewalks.
A representative from Pachaeo Design explained to the Council that Brian Brooks was present at meeting with the residents living on Trinity Street, and that during this meeting he told the homeowners that if they didn’t want a sidewalk all they needed to do was place a dot in front of their home on the project map and the city would not install a sidewalk in front of their property.
It was Brooks who made the unilateral decision to override the design approved by the council, and it was Brooks who apparently gave no consideration to the fact that the sidewalk area in front of these homes is considered property within the city right-of-way.
Forney's first ever taxpayer funded road improvement project will now finish out with no sidewalk connectivity because under the guidance of the current council, there is simply no extra money left to correct yet another Brian Brooks mistake.
Because he lives in the downtown area, newly elected Council Member Kevin Moon made the homeowners living in downtown some very specific promises while campaigning. After listening to CIP Manager Candy McQuiston's report on the finished project, Moon stated “It’s unfortunate that it got to this. It’s was just poor planning, I think.”
Confirming the additional cost needed to complete the project according to the council approved design, McQuistion stated “Being conservative, it would be about $200,000. The sidewalk modifications would be about $119,000 and the relocation of the utility poles would be another $7, 000 to $10,000 per pole and that's including the water meter replacements too.”
Beware Forney homeowners, especially those living on Redbud Street. These are the same council member's who will soon move on to debating the sale of municipal bonds needed to fund roadway repairs on Redbud Street, which has an estimated price tag of $3.5 million dollars.