Staffers asked DGI to reduce budget proposal
Greensboro’s city manager and city attorney released a memo early Thursday clarifying staff’s role in asking DGI to alter its budget proposal for managing downtown activities. The edited proposal was submitted four days past the submission deadline. DGI’s original budget proposal came in at $997,771, which exceeded the program budget of $600,000. The budget proposal was part of what DGI President Zack Matheny described as a “50-page document” his staff prepared in advance of the April 8 deadline set by a city request for proposal.A selection committee headed by Assistant City Manager David Parrish met on April 11 to review both proposals submitted by potential contractors. In addition to the DGI proposal, downtown developer Eric Robert and a group of grassroots business and property owners proposed to manage the marketing and public space management components for the Downtown Business Improvement District.Robert’s group proposed a $300,000 budget to market the central business district, activate streetscapes and enhance retail activity. DGI’s proposal exceeded the budget by 66.6 percent, mostly due to a $336,324 line item for events management. DGI is expected to take over responsibility for Fun Fourth and Festival of Lights following the retirement of Betty Cone of Grassroots Productions. Selection committee members, including Parrish (who was listed as a reference on DGI’s application), asked DGI to lower their budget proposal to comply with the city’s $600,000 anticipated budget. It is unclear how the city will provide money to DGI for future events management. Robert and Evan Morrison, owner of Hudson’s Hill and a member of the grassroots team bidding for half of DGI’s budget, objected to staff having allowed DGI to alter their proposal after the submission deadline. During a public hearing on the matter Tuesday night, council member Mike Barber called for a hasty recess in the middle of Robert’s comments. Video of the meeting shows Barber waving his arm to hasten council away from the dais and out of public view. After a 17-minute recess, Mayor Nancy Vaughan asked that the item be postponed until June 7. City Manager Jim Westmoreland and City Attorney Tom Carruthers penned a memo in response to Tuesday’s events. The memo provides a justification for asking DGI to alter its proposed budget, included in Attachment A of their submission. “The selection committee requested a clarification with respect to Attachment A submitted by Downtown Greensboro Inc. as part of its proposal,” the memo reads. “Specifically, it was requested that Downtown Greensboro Inc. (DGI) revise Table 4 to show program items and calculations pertaining to the City budget of $600,000 rather than DGI’s overall budget.”The memo states that Section 5.2 of the RFP allows staff ask potential contractors “to provide additional information.””The selection committee determined that DGI was the best-rated bidder. The recommendation remains to award the contract to Downtown Greensboro Inc.”View both DGI budget proposals and the city clarification memo above.