Rosasco slightly lowers finance contract with Marathon

rmccarthy@keynoter.comJuly 12, 2014 

With the Marathon City Council kicking the tires on establishing an in-house Finance Department, longtime contracted accounting firm Bishop Rosasco & Co. offered on Tuesday to significantly reduce the dollar amount on its current contract.

In a Monday letter to City Manager Mike Puto, Bishop Rosasco owner Peter Rosasco said he would reduce his base rate $50,000, from $365,736 per year to $315,736 per year.

In addition, Rosasco said he would eliminate an hourly rate setup on his separate contract to manage the city's stormwater and wastewater funds. The new base rate would be $60,000 per year, while Mayor Dick Ramsay said he was on pace to collect $166,000 in the current fiscal year.

"However, please be advised that if additional services are approved and requested, this amount could change," Rosasco wrote.

Rosasco said the reason for separate contracts is because of major fluctuations in the workload to manage $130 million worth of loans, grants and contracts related to the city's largely completed sewer and stormwater projects.

"You ramp up at the height of the project. It was a tremendous amount of work to make sure we were in compliance," he said. "As the contracts wound down, which is what happened, the natural course of events is it's less time to manage those utility funds."

The contract reductions are the result of a meeting Rosasco had last week with Puto and Ramsay, which came about due to comments made by Vice Mayor Chris Bull and Councilman John Bartus at the July 8 council meeting.

Bull and Bartus indicated they'd spoken with Rosasco prior to that meeting and that he was willing to reduce his rate. The council declined on July 8 to issue a bid request for financial services until after this summer's fiscal year 2014-15 budget season.

Tuesday, Councilman Mark Senmartin was clear that despite the contract reduction, he wants to explore in-house financial services. He proposed the idea for a bid request.

"I want to make the point that that proposal by itself spurred the $150,000 savings we're looking at for the city," he said.

The $150,000 savings estimate was established by adding the $50,000 base-rate reduction and an estimated $106,000 savings on the current year's utilities contract.

"I'm very happy Mr. Rosasco has made these figures work for us better for the future. That doesn't mean I'm still not interested in looking for proposals for an in-house finance department," he said.

Rosasco's firm has contracted with the city since 2003 for financial services and Rosasco was director for most of that time. He ceded that post to longtime assistant Jennifer Johnson on April 22 after concern was voiced with his involvement in a hotel project.

Bishop Rosasco & Co. has been paid an average of $499,629 per year from 2008 through 2013, according to figures provided to Senmartin by Rosasco.

Rosasco told said he believes that, if approved on July 22, his amended contract would take effect on Aug. 1. The Bishop Rosasco contract expires on Sept. 30, 2015.

The likely arrangement would be that Bishop Rosasco receives monthly installments based on the new $315,736 base and $60,000 utilities contracts.

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