COVINGTON -- Six years ago, Gary Campbell, owner of G&G Landscape Management Group, told county commissioners he could provide landscape services for less money than the current provider. Now, he'll finally get the chance to prove it.
Commissioners awarded the landscape maintenance services contract to Rockdale-based G&G Tuesday, at a total cost of $67,680. The one-year contract is nearly $30,000 less than the one approved earlier this year for Durden's Lawn Maintenance. More work is also included in the contract, so, in a nutshell, the county is getting more work for less money.
Grassy areas at the Judicial Center, Administration Building and Parking Deck have been added and there will be an increased service level at the Historic Courthouse and parking lot, Administration Building and Parking Deck and the Health Department.
The Board of Commissioners later terminated that contract and issued a Request for Proposals after learning that owner Billy Durden had been operating without a business license. It was confirmed by County Manager John Middleton Tuesday night that G & G has a valid business license.
"I'm very excited about being awarded the contract," Campbell said. "I look forward to working with all the county employees and contract staff at the (recycling centers) ... I want to commend the county employees who have been maintaining these accounts during the bid process because it's going to make my job a lot easier when we start, and they did a good job."
Campbell also thanked those who participated in the bid and interview process.
"I know they were trying to get the best value for the county and I think by going through the process, they did. G & G has been in business for 17 years and I think we proved to the county we have the staff, experience and the equipment to deliver a quality product at a reasonable price," he said.
The county received proposals from 14 contractors and after a review, six met the requirements under the RFP criteria. Those six contractors were interviewed by a committee consisting of Middleton and four county staff members. They recommended the contract be awarded to G & G, the low bidder.
G & G will be responsible for mowing, weed eating, cleaning, and chemical weed control as needed for the neighborhood recycling centers, Animal Control, Gum Creek Voting Precinct, Hill Top Facility, Mansfield Community Center, Public Defender's Office, the Judicial Center, Administration Building and Administration Parking Deck.
In addition, the contract includes work at the Historic Courthouse, Judicial Center and parking lot, health and mental health facilities, along with pruning and removal of shrubs, plants and trees when needed at certain sites and installation of pine straw a specified number of times a year depending on the site. Seasonal plantings may also be required at some sites, the cost of which will be negotiated at the time of installation.
There will be no extra charge to accommodate fuel adjustments, which was included in the previous contract. In 2012, the county paid Durden's $100,590.41, which included more than $2,000 in extra fuel costs.
Durden's Lawn Maintenance did not submit a proposal., though owner Billy Durden did attend a pre-bid conference. Durden, who has held the county contract for 12 years, could not be reached for comment.
Campbell tried to get the contract back in 2007, bidding $22,000 less than Durden. His bid included spreading of pine straw and flower planting, while Durden's did not. The Purchasing Department recommended the contract be awarded to G & G, but commissioners picked Durden anyway, and Campbell appealed. His appeal was denied by the county's purchasing director and then by Middleton, at that time the administrative officer. The appeal was denied because the RFP process provides for qualitative factors in addition to price, and 70 percent of the evaluation criteria were not price related, according to Middleton's report at that time.