The school is closing, but it’s in arrears for rent & utility payments.
Frederick, Md (KM). The Frederick Board of Aldermen on Wednesday discussed a proposed amendment to the city’s lease with the Trinity School on its facility on New Design Road near Stadium Drive.
City staff say the school is $41,263.92 in arrears in rent from October, 2016 to March, 2017., and it also owes the city $6,666.92 for its proportionate share for its electricity usage.
Under its lease with the city, the Trinity School pays rent to the city to use its facility, and pays 100% of water, sewer, trash collection and telephone service. But it pays 55% of the electric bill, with the city Parks and Recreation Department paying the remaining 45%.
The school says it will close in June 30th, 2017 due to declining enrollments.
Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak asked how did this situation with the Trinity School got this far. “We’re talking almost $50,000 being owed, and a tenant still being in a building,” she said.
Mayor Randy McClement said the city learned about the school’s arrears last year, and contacted them to ask about it. He said they tried do to some fundraising, but the amount raised did not meet their expectation. The Mayor told the school he could not waive fees or make changes to the lease. “In an effort to try to find a way to get them caught up for them and for them to be to the end of June. We’re here now at this point,” he said.
The changes to the lease would allow Trinity to vacate the building by June 30th, 2017. They would pay $1.00 per month for rent from October, 2016 to June, 2017. They would pay all outstanding utilities. The city would not collect the outstanding rent of $41,263.92, or future rent from April to June. Director of Finance, Gerry Kolbfleisch, said the city would forgive an amount owed by Trinity for rent which totals $61,886.88.
Alderman Michael O’Connor said this is probably the only way the city will get some of its money back. “If we don’t go forward with the amendment, we’ve seen the last utility payment and the last rent payment from this tenant,” he said.
But Alderwoman Kuzemchak said that’s not necessarily true. “I don’t believe by not being for this you won’t be paid the bills that you’re owed,” she said. “I don’t believe that. I know some of these parents. They wouldn’t stand for that. They’re going to be horrified when they read about this.”
An attorney for the school, John Hanrahan, said his client will pay the outstanding utilities. “This school has every intention of making sure that money that the city is owed out of pocket in the form of utilities are paid 100-cents on the dollar,” he said. “We don’t want the city in any way being left holding the bag for money out of its pocket, out of the citizens’ pockets, in not being made whole in that regard.”
There was some reference to the city evicting the Trinity School for non-payment of its rent. But Jackie Gambill, who chairs the school’s Board of Trustees, said the city won’t get any money if it pursues eviction. “You’re not going to get any payment then. And, additionally, I think your utilities will be increased because you’d be paying 100% of the utilities in that building,” she said.,
A decision on this proposed lease amendment is expected at a later date.
By Kevin McManus