November 29, 2013 9:52:02 AM
NATCHEZ -- The city of Natchez is going to gather information about the cost of a grass-cutting contract for the city cemetery.
The Natchez Democrat reports the issue came up this week when Alderman Dan Dillard suggested the city to solicit bids for grass-cutting contracts for the cemetery, which is about 100 acres.
Mayor Butch Brown broke a 3-3 tie, defeating the motion.
Dillard said the cemetery could save money and increase efficiency if an outside company was hired to cut the grass. Dillard said the city has had savings by contracting out the mowing for highways and recreational areas.
"The staff is just overmatched," he said. "It's not that they're not doing a good job or working hard . (but) 100 acres of grass is more than they can manage."
Alleviating the grass-cutting duties for the staff, Dillard said, could allow them to tackle other jobs in the cemetery, such as masonry repairs and wrought-iron work.
The cemetery has been facing financial troubles for the past several years and recently increased fees to help bring in more money.
Dillard said the cemetery is a public property, and money from the city's public properties fund, which he said should have in it about $160,000, could be used for the grass-cutting services.
Brown said a potential problem with contracting out the grass-cutting would be that a great deal of edging and weed-trimming would be involved, likely increasing the cost of a contract.
City Attorney Hyde Carby said that since grass cutting is a service and not subject to bid law, the city could informally inquire about the cost of such services.