By BRANDY RICHMOND brandykrichmond @yahoo.com
The Brazil City Council met in a special session Tuesday to interview persons who submitted cemetery lawn mowing bids.
Bids were submitted by Vision Quest at $18,500, D&G at $21,500 and Mullenix at $23,940. Representatives from two of the three companies attended the meeting to provide additional information and answer questions. D&G representatives attended a previous meeting of the City Council, so were told attendance at the special session was not compulsory.
Previous discussion of the cemetery lawn mowing bids indicated Council members have been concerned about the removal of grass clippings. David and Virginia Cronk submitted the D&G bid, and company representatives explained at a Council meeting in early March grass clippings would be removed. The company handles nine cemeteries, the largest being at least 20 acres. The company works in Parke, Vigo and Vermillion counties with five employees and two part-time employees. D&G has insurance and workers compensation.
Cindy Stearley and Wayne Harden of Vision Quest told Council members they have four 60-inch Dixie Choppers. After Councilman Jim Sheese explained the problem with excessive clippings, Harden said they could purchase catchers for the clippings. The company has four full-time employees and seven part-time employees, none of whom work without Harden's supervision. The pair said they believed it would take them from one to two days to mow all three cemeteries, a total of approximately 50 acres, and pointed out the company has $3 million in insurance to cover any damage to stones.
Stearley also said that due to the closeness of the stones, employees could use trimming machines. While Vision Quest mows for several businesses, she said the company had not handled any cemetery mowing in the past. She also said that if 18 mows are not enough, the company could perform additional mows at its own expense. Harden pointed out mowing around holidays like Memorial Day would be done to ensure the area is neat for visitors.
Meanwhile, Joe Mullenix of Mullenix said his company mows 23 cemeteries in the area, and if problems arise with additional grass, he mows it again and will pick it up if necessary.
"If you're not satisfied with the mowing, you don't pay for it," he said.
Sheese said there have been complaints about grass clippings on the large slab markers, which upsets those visiting loved ones' graves.
Mullenix employs six workers, and Mullenix said several have been there for a long time. He also said he buys new trimmers every year since they are worn out at the conclusion of the season. Due to previous work with the parks, the city already has access to his insurance documentation.
During the regular session that followed, the Council voted to approve Mullenix for the cemetery mowing bid. Councilwoman Pat Heffner, who made the motion, explained that while the Mullenix bid was more expensive, it is both a local company and one that has extensive experience in cemetery mowing. The vote was unanimous.
The Brazil City Council regularly meets the second and fourth Tuesday of the month in Council Chambers at City Hall. Meetings start at 7 p.m. and are open to the public.