COVINGTON -- The Request for Proposal for landscape maintenance services for the county has been posted, County Manager John Middleton announced at the Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday night.
The RFP is posted on the county's website under Current Bid Openings. Sealed proposals will be accepted at the Newton County Administration Building, Administrative Services, 1113 Usher St., Suite 201, Covington, GA, 30014, until 10 a.m. Thursday, April 25.
A mandatory pre-proposal conference will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 11, at the Administration Building for all potential proposers.
According to the RFP, contractors are required to maintain at least $1 million per occurrence in comprehensive general liability, commercial automobile liability and statutory workers compensation insurance.
The bid package also specifies that the contractor must maintain a valid business license for the duration of the contract term, along with all applicable state licenses and permits. A current copy of all required licenses is required to be submitted with the proposal.
Digital copies of proposal documents, specifications and additional information can be obtained by contacting Mary Ann Patterson, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 678-625-1230. Hard copies can be obtained for $50.
County commissioners agreed to issue an RFP for the landscape maintenance service in late February. Commissioners initially awarded the more than $98,000 contract to Durden's Lawn Maintenance by a vote of 3 to 2. Following the Feb. 5 meeting during which Durden's was awarded the contract, the Citizen examined the business license file and discovered that owner Billy Durden was operating without a valid license. In addition, Durden's operated without a license from 2002 to 2006, during which time he held the county contract for lawn care.
Durden said he did not know he needed a business license during those years because he operated out of his home. When he was alerted to the problem by county staff, he paid the fees for those years, he said, and records confirm that.
Chairman Keith Ellis previously stated that he had concerns when he looked over the cost of lawncare service. He said there was an increase in costs that leveled off in 2010. While these could have been legitimate charges, the increase "raised my eyebrows," he said.
Durden countered that fluctuations in the cost were the result of sites being added or deleted from his contract, and that all of his invoices had been approved by the county. Durden has held the contract, which was last put out to bid in 2006, for 12 years.
Ellis said the county would have a "much clearer" purchasing policy in the near future, likely spelling out how often contracts must be put out to bid.
"I think the main thing I want to focus on as we get away from this is having a better program in place in the future," he previously told the Citizen.