EDITORIALS

The grass is growing

PAT FRIDGEN

Antrim Township finds itself knee-deep this spring in a “grassy” predicament. The situation leaves lots of questions.

Antrim Township Supervisors decided to get bids for mowing the grass at the parks and municipal properties. In particular, the Antrim Township Community Park was expanded so quickly in recent years, the mowing became a bigger job than the township employees could handle. The time period also included changes in the township staffing. What kind of planning was done to prepare for the accelerated development of the park, especially with the realignment of township staff?

Despite the fact that eight mowing companies got information on the prospective job, just two submitted bids. It seems the township was too late in the season to attract any more than that for such a large job.

The two bids were more than $50,000 apart. While the low bidder has admitted he underbid, he was willing to do the job, but the wide margin between the bids has caused the contractor problems in providing sufficient bond for the project. The contractor is between a rock and a hard place. And despite trying to work with him, township officials still don’t have a contract for mowing. Interestingly as well, the higher bid was within what was budgeted for the job and still officials did not hire that contractor.

Meanwhile, the grass is growing and township employees have been given the assignment to mow the three township parks, municipal building grounds and water plant. Township administrator Brad Graham said he anticipates using two part-time college students, a current employee and possibly another person, in-house or hired, to mow the township properties.

The township created the situation and unless the contractor can get things resolved and do the job, the mowing could be rebid with likely even higher prices or the township staff will have to continue the work. What of these employees’ normal responsibilities won’t get done because of the mowing work? In the end, how much will it cost the taxpayers to mow the grass?