Sarasota News Leader

05/16/2014

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THANKS TO THE COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR, THE END OF THE COUNTY'S MOWING CONTRACTS ORDEAL MAY BE IN SIGHT OPINION EDITORIAL EDITORIAL S a r a s o t a C o u n t y A d m i n i s t r a t o r To m Harmer deserved a medal last week for doing what no one else has seemed to come close to doing over the past two-and-a-half years: He translated into easy-to-understand English two gigantic reasons for the county's mowing contract morass and presented a way to come to terms with them once and for all. Based on Harmer's May 7 comments to the County Commission, we have high hopes that the mowing woes saga will be a thing of the past in about six months. That is when staff will come back to the commission for a thorough discussion of ļ¬ndings after reviewing acre- age in all eight of the county's mowing zones. The presentation will include comparisons of mowing expenses for the past eight years and information about how comparable counties handle their mowing contracts. Commissioners Joe Barbetta and Christine Robinson were absolutely on target when they pulled a mowing contract renewal from the board's May 6 consent agenda to ask why the board should spend $255,645 more than the original bid amount to renew the contract for another year. With no satisfactory explanation after about 20 minutes of discussion, the commissioners asked for more details from staff. That led to about 45 minutes of exchanges the following morning. Spencer Anderson, who heads up the department that handles mowing, might OPINION

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