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Contractor issues challenge to Radcliff council

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Mac Ford disappointed in council's discussion of extra payment

By Gina Clear

The owner of Mac’s Mowing and Tree Service took the opportunity during the public comments portion of the Radcliff City Council meeting Monday to issue a challenge to the members: Come join his crew during a limb pick up in the city.

After issuing the challenge, Mac Ford presented each council member and the mayor with a set of work gloves.

“I believe in my heart that the council doesn’t know what truly goes on during limb pick up,” Ford said.

Ford, along with some of his crew, attended the council meeting to voice his displeasure about a discussion held during a work session earlier this month. The council was discussing the possibility of paying $11,500 in excess of the contract for the company’s removal of limbs during a late-May storm.

Ford told the council his company brought in two additional chippers and trucks on top of the two chippers and trucks already in use and his crews worked 14-hour days. He also said crews removed limbs and brush from elderly residents’ backyards, entire trees and stumps, which went beyond the contract’s specifications.

He added that the company and city engineer Toby Spaulding reached an agreement to add a fourth pick up to keep up the city’s appearance during the Christmas holiday season.

“Let’s be honest, all during the holidays, the city looks like a dump,” he said.

Part of the argument in the prior council meeting was based on questions from Councilman Edward Palmer about how the $11,500 overage was determined.

In an interview following the meeting, Ford said the cost was calculated by taking a average limb collection of 650 to 750 stops and comparing it to the 1,200 stops the company did in May.

He said 70 percent more brush was picked up and he didn’t factor in overtime.

“Regardless how bad it is out there, we’re going to accomplish the task in the given time,” he said in the interview. “When you have a painful job, why would you drag it out?”

Councilwoman Barbara Baker said it was evident city staff needs to provide the service for residents instead of hiring contractors.

“Only thing this is proving is it’s better to do it ourselves than have a contractor hold us hostage,” she said. “I’m not paying.”

Ford said those comments brought him to Monday’s meeting.

“That was the purpose of my comments tonight,” he said. “It’s not about holding them hostage. We far exceed the contract requirements.”

The item was not on the agenda. No vote was taken. Councilmen Don Shaw and Don Yates were not present.

Gina Clear can be reached at 270-505-1746 or gclear@thenewsenterprise.com.