County releases request for proposals for Siesta Village upkeep

A mandatory pre-bid meeting will be held June 21 at the Siesta Village Gazebo. Photo by Norman Schimmel

The request for proposals for a new maintenance vendor in Siesta Key Village went out just after midnight on May 31, Sarasota County officials have announced.

The Village has been without a vendor since Aug. 15, 2011, when the contract expired with the first and only firm hired by the Siesta Key Village Maintenance Corp.

Since then, county staff has been handling all of the upkeep in Siesta Village.

Bids for the new maintenance contract are due by 2:30 p.m. on July 11, according to the announcement from the county’s new eProcure system.

A mandatory pre-bid meeting has been scheduled at 9 a.m. June 21 at the Village Gazebo, located at the intersection of Ocean Boulevard and Canal Road.

The eProcure message says, “Vendors are highly encouraged to bring a camera.”

The announcement on an eProcure webpage notes the bid solicitation is for “Grounds Maintenance for Siesta Key Village.” It adds that that includes mowing, edging, plant — but not tree — trimming and landscaping, including design, fertilizing and planting, but not grounds maintenance.

Mark Smith, chairman of the Maintenance Corp., told The Sarasota News Leader late in the afternoon of June 1 that he had not seen news of the RFP, because he was having computer difficulties after completing renovations of his architectural firm office on Siesta Key.

Smith noted he had asked Sarasota County Commissioner Nora Patterson on May 21 to check on the status of the RFP. Patterson had asked for that information at the end of the commission’s May 23 regular meeting.

On May 29, Smith told the News Leader he was dismayed he still had had no word about the RFP.

Catherine Luckner, president of the Siesta Key Association, had received the June 1 notice about the RFP from Tom Maroney, general manager of business operations for the Public Works Department.

“Good news and we really appreciate it!” she wrote Maroney in an email.

Maroney has been the supervisor of the Siesta Village upkeep since the contract with JWM Management expired in August 2011.

When JWM’s contract was close to expiration last August, John Meshad, owner of the firm, told Smith he did not plan to seek the bid again.

JWM Management and the Maintenance Corp. had come under fire from Siesta Village property owner Chris Brown, who had filed a lawsuit against Sarasota County on Jan. 31, 2011, saying he felt the firm had been paid too much in many instances for the work it had undertaken.

Siesta Village property owners are assessed a special tax to cover the upkeep of the Village.

In the aftermath of the lawsuit’s filing, the County Commission revised the ordinance governing the upkeep to provide more specific guidelines about the handling of the work.

James K. Harriott Jr., the county’s director of public works, had told the County Commission in July 2011 that he expected the RFP would be ready in time for a new vendor to be hired before the end of the year.

However, Maroney has told the News Leader on several occasions that RFPs have been taking a slow route through the county’s Procurement Department in the wake of a scandal last year that ultimately cost County Administrator Jim Ley his job.

The request for proposals may be viewed at