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Sarasota News Leader June 21, 2013 Page 32 WHY ALL THE PROBLEMS? Anderson noted that Mainscape was the third vendor to prove unsuccessful in the North Urban Zone over the past year. That zone encompasses the areas north of Bee Ridge Road and west of Interstate 75. "Which makes me think it might be our specs," Barbetta told him. Vice Chairman Charles Hines asked whether any unique feature of that zone exists "that makes it more difficult than the other ones to maintain." "It's the only zone where we've had a recurring vendor that's been new to roadside mowing," Anderson replied. The three most recent firms the county had hired were "all unprepared for right of way mowing," Anderson added. Their experience was in handling contracts for landscape maintenance in developments, he noted. These are not small companies, Anderson pointed out. "But they just have not been prepared to do that [right of way] work." The problems did not seem to be rooted in personnel or equipment issues, he said. With Mainscape, Anderson pointed out, "It's been a collective thing from the first day they started work." Before recommending the firm win the contract, he added, staff visited the company shop and inspected the equipment, which was brand new. "We met all their staff and we did as much as was reasonable to assure that they had the staff and the equipment to get the job done," Anderson said. Commissioner Nora Patterson. File photo firms hired for mowing] and a close eye [on the situation]. … I think you're doing exactly the right thing." His short-term recommendation to resolve the problem, Anderson told the commissioners, was to hire the firm that had offered the second-highest bid for the North Urban Zone in the latest procurement process. JLC Hauling, dba MegaMowers, had bid $834,682.38. Jackson Landscape Professionals Inc. bid $607,491.90, according to the documentation provided to the board, but it had bid on other zones as well, Anderson noted. Because Jackson had won contracts for three of those other zones, he said, the firm did not feel it could pick up another one. That left Mainscape as the next low bidder, at $622,413.75. Either the county is writing its specs impropCommissioner Nora Patterson commended erly, Barbetta said, "or the people bidding arAnderson for "keeping a short leash [on the en't being vetted."

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