The contract for the mowing of Brazil's cemeteries was decided Wednesday night, but not without much thought and discussion.
Bids were initially opened during the March 9 meeting of the Common Council of the City of Brazil, tabled until its April 13 meeting to allow more information to be gathered, then tabled until Wednesday's meeting to ensure all the council's questions were answered.
However, the matter still came down to a tiebreaker.
The Council received bids from Specialty Lawn Care (23 mows for $23,899.99), Alexander's Lawncare (18 mows for $14,490) and Mullenix Lawn Service, Inc. (18 mows for $24,750).
The bid from Mullenix was eliminated from consideration as proof of liability insurance had not been provided in the package, as requested in the specifications, leaving the council to choose between Alexander's and Specialty, which held the contract in 2010.
After delaying the decision, in part, to review a list of Alexander's references since its bid came in more than $9,000 less than the others, the biggest concern Wednesday regarded staffing and equipment available to complete the work.
The representative from Alexander's said the company currently has two mowers and three employees at the current time, but is already preparing to hire additional manpower, and could purchase or rent additional mowers if the company were awarded the contract. During the April 13 meeting, representatives from Specialty said it currently has eight employees and four mowers, although they were buying a fifth.
After discussing the options, council member Steve Lamb made a motion to award the cemetery mowing contract to Alexander's, which was seconded by Council President Sam Glover. However, council members Brad Deal and Bill Lovett voted against the motion, which -- with Pat Heffner not in attendance -- tied the vote at 2-2, leaving Mayor Ann Bradshaw to cast the deciding vote.
City Attorney Traci Lawson informed the mayor and council that bid protocols state if the "most responsive and responsible bidder is not chosen, a reason must be stated as to why the decision was made to go with a higher bidder.
After a short recess, in which Bradshaw spoke privately with Lawson, council members were given the opportunity to give their reasons for their votes.
"This is nothing personal because we gave Specialty the opportunity when they came in as a newcomer," Glover said. "I based my vote on the significant savings it would be of taxpayer money."
"I stand on the point of how well the cemeteries have looked and families expect them to look nice," Deal said. "Specialty has already proven its ability to do a good job and they have the equipment and manpower available, which is something I am unsure about with Alexander's."
After hearing the reasoning of council members, Bradshaw cast her vote against Lamb's motion, resulting in a separate motion made by Lovett to award the contract to Specialty, which passed by a 3-2 vote, with Lamb and Glover in opposition.
"I need to make sure things are done properly for the taxpayers, as well as the families with loved ones in the cemeteries," Bradshaw said. "I chose to vote for Specialty because I am concerned with Alexander's ability to do the work with their current equipment and staffing."
Bradshaw also encouraged Alexander's to bid again in the future.
In other business during Wednesday's meeting of the Common Council of the City of Brazil:
* An ordinance was approved on the first reading, with suspended rules, to amend Ordinance 18-2009, which set the 2010 salaries for city employees. Lawson said the Indiana State Board of Accounts has recently been conducting its audit of 2010 finances and discovered a typographical error for hourly rates, which stated an employee in their fifth year was to be compensated at $10.31 per hour, which was less than compensation for a fourth-year employee. Lawson said the figure should read $11.31 per hour, which the council approved, and
* Lawson presented a draft of a new ordinance, which updates the policy regarding use of city-owned credit and purchasing cards and is compliance with SBOA regulations. After briefly discussing the contents and suggesting modifications, the matter was tabled to allow Lawson to make the adjustments and complete the ordinance, which will be considered during the council's next meeting, which is at 7 p.m., Wednesday, May 11, in the Council Chambers of City Hall.