BOC signs five-year deal for lawn care

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- County commissioners recently locked in lawn maintenance costs for five years by renewing a contract with the current provider, Durden's Lawn Maintenance.

Commissioners approved a one-year contract with optional annual renewals for four additional years, at an annual cost of $98,463. Additionally, commissioners agreed to owner Billy Durden's request for a 90-day written notice if the county decides to terminate the contract; a 60-day severance penalty; additional provisions for uncontrollable or unforeseen circumstances, including expenses, as they occur; and keeping the fuel adjustment provision in the previous contract.

Durden has held the county contract for nine years. The lawn maintenance contract was last put out to bid in 2006. Last year, Durden agreed to reduce his price by 4 percent, or more than $12,000, to help offset the county budget shortfall.

"It would appear to me it is in the best interest of the county to lock in a price for five years," Commissioner Mort Ewing said.

But Commissioner Nancy Schulz disagreed.

"I would think we would want to bid something out at least every five years to make sure we get the lowest bid possible," she said.

Schulz made a motion to renew the current contract for the remaining year left, and then put it out to bid. Her motion died for lack of a second. Ewing's motion to approve a one-year contract with the option of four additional renewals was approved by a vote of 4-1, with Schulz in opposition.

"Mr. Durden has proven he does an outstanding job for the county. We've looked at other options in the past and no options have been cheaper," said Commissioner Tim Fleming.