Masonry workers build a wall at Ricketts Park on Friday, March 29, 2013.
Masonry workers build a wall at Ricketts Park on Friday, March 29, 2013. (Jon Austria)
FARMINGTON — Confusion over a state wage decision cost the Connie Mack World Series Association $45,365 in unbudgeted expenses on an ongoing renovation project at Ricketts Park.

Kim Carpenter, the association's president and chairman, will approach Farmington City Council for assistance on Tuesday.

The wage policy, known as a prevailing wage, is the hourly wage, benefits and overtime paid to the majority of workers, laborers and mechanics in a particular area.

Under New Mexico's state statutes, any public contract or project more than $60,000 is subject to a provision guaranteeing a minimum wage and fringe benefits.

New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions officials said the city needed to pay the so-called prevailing wage on the Ricketts project, only to reverse the decision in a letter sent to the city on April 4.

Subcontractors working on the project, however, began paying at the prevailing rate before the April 4 notice from the state arrived.

"The additional pay is estimated at $40,000 of funds the association has already paid in wages but was not originally budgeted," Carpenter said in a letter to Farmington Mayor Tommy Roberts. "I have not sat idle with the expectation that the city would come to the rescue."

Carpenter and the association are looking to other sources of funding.

"I would however like to visit with you to see what the possibilities would be in obtaining assistance from the city," the letter said.

Roberts said the mixup in wage policy is unfortunate and stressed that city council should seriously consider assisting in the increased cost.

"I don't think there's anyone to blame for that," he said. "I think the council needs to consider sharing in that cost."

Ricketts Park is a city facility, he said.
Construction work is seen in a file photo from Friday, March, 29, 2013. The Connie Mack World Series Association will ask Farmington City Council on
Construction work is seen in a file photo from Friday, March, 29, 2013. The Connie Mack World Series Association will ask Farmington City Council on Tuesday for additional funding to cover unanticipated costs in an ongoing renovation project at Ricketts Park. (Jon Austria)


"I appreciate the vision of the Connie Mack World Series Association," Roberts said. "I think the renovations will make the facility much more appealing. The community has benefited from the partnership between the city and (the association)."

Two city councilmembers, however, say they will approach the funding request with caution.

"I'll just be very interested in hearing the presentation," said Councilwoman Mary Fisher in a phone interview Friday afternoon.

For Fischer, allocating additional funding toward the Ricketts Park renovation project could be difficult to stomach.

"I'm not saying no, but it's unlikely during these budgeting times," she said. "I'm sure Mr. Carpenter will give an excellent presentation. He always does. I'm always amazed at the number of organizations that come to us for funding. I certainly understand the money situation out there these days."

Fischer said she understands the challenging funding situation facing the Connie Mack World Series Association.

"I wish them all success," she said.

Councilman Jason Sandel echoed Fischer's comments.

"In general, I'm supportive of the remodel," Sandel said in a phone interview Friday afternoon. "I'm also in support that workers get a prevailing wage."

Sandel, however, said he was disappointed in what he called a lack of adequate planning for the project.

"The budgeting for this project has been disorganized," he said. "I'm disappointed that the city didn't plan for the prevailing wage. I don't think the budgeting process has been existent. This is not the model of how we need to be conducting projects."

Greg Yee can be reached at gyee@daily-times.com; 505-564-4606. Follow him on Twitter @GYeeDT.