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mowing, explained that Mainscape, which had the North Urban Zone contract prior to Mega Mowers, had informed staff of the extra acreage. Mega Mowers has been receiv- ing the appropriate higher pay from the time it was awarded the bid, Anderson and Harmer indicated. On June 18, 2013, before the commission approved the North Urban Zone contract with Mega Mowers, Anderson told the board that Mainscape was the third vendor to prove unsuccessful in that zone over the past year. The North Urban zone includes the areas north of Bee Ridge Road and west of Interstate 75. Pressed to explain those failures, Anderson replied that the three firms were "all unpre- pared for right of way mowing," adding that their previous experience was in han- dling contracts for landscape maintenance in developments. On the afternoon of May 7 — after the lunch break staff meeting — Harmer told the board that because of the mowing issues in 2012 and 2013, staff members "put an emphasis … on performance" and vendors "are perform- ing and maintaining the level of service that's expected of them." Then he pointed out that staff members have been working to validate the acreage num- bers for all of the zones, with the expectation they would have the results ready before the next countywide round of mowing solicita- tions in 2016. Some zones may not change at all, while others could prove to have lower acreage, he added. "Staff was very apologetic to me about n o t r a i s i n g t h i s s o o n e r, " h e t o l d t h e commissioners. % A slide shows technical contract specifications county staff has used to increase mowing contractors' pay if the firms were found to be handling more acreage than outlined in their winning bids. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sarasota News Leader May 9, 2014 Page 28

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