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Bank contract moves forward
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Forsyth County News

A much scrutinized banking contract has received initial approval from Forsyth County commissioners.

The five-member panel voted 3-1 in favor of a banking services agreement with United Community Bank during a work session Tuesday.

A final vote on the contract is expected J uly 7.

In April, commissioners accepted the bank’s proposal for services even though the review committee ranked United Community second to SunTrust.

SunTrust had proposed that the county would not pay any fees, but the commission opted for United Community based on its positive customer service reviews.

That decision drew questions from residents and county employees, based on the potential cost to the county.

As proposed, the county would have paid an estimated $50,000 to the bank in fees per year.

However, the contract approved Tuesday offers a better deal, said Donna Kukarola, the county’s procurement director.

"The cost for the first 12 months is zero," Kukarola said, adding that the county and the bank will revisit that term after the first year.

The contract is renewable for up to four years and includes the ability to terminate with 30 days’ notice.

As he announced in mid-May, Commissioner Patrick Bell recused himself from Tuesday’s vote due to a recent loan transaction between a relative and the financial institution.

Bell originally made the motion to select United Community in late March.

He also voted in favor of awarding the proposal in April, which passed in a 2-1 vote.

Commissioner Jim Boff was the lone opponent Tuesday, as in all other instances regarding the banking services contract and proposal.

Boff has said he doesn’t see any reason not to go with the recommendation of the review committee.

The county previously banked with Bank of America, but decided to seek a new deal, citing customer service as the reason.