Mehlville accepts bids for lawn care, new buses

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By Erin Achenbach, News Editor

The Mehlville Board of Education considered and unanimously accepted two bids Feb. 3 for bus replacements and lawn care bids. 

Bus bids

Proposition R, a 49-cent tax-rate increase passed in 2015, has funded multiple capital improvements including replacing the district’s school buses. Five to six buses are replaced each year. 

“This year is a little bit different than last. I had some concerns about Midwest Buses and their buses but I’d like to pilot one this year and do like a little trial period,” Director of Transportation Dan Gilman said. “So this year I recommend buying one bus from Midwest Bus … and then purchase three types of buses from Central States … and then one wheelchair bus.” 

The bid from Midwest Bus for one conventional bus was $92,953, while the bid for the three conventional buses from Central States was $324,132, or $108,044 for each bus. The bid for the wheelchair bus, also from Central States, was $132,964. The total bus purchase for all five buses was $550,049. 

“The wheelchair bus is a little unique. It does have seat belts. … There’s only two big buses on the lot that are equipped for this and I’m going to use it for special needs, like the Special Olympics and things like that. That’s why the cost is a little higher,” Gilman said.

Lawn care bids

Facilities Director Mike Gegg presented bids to the board for lawn care services at five of the district’s schools, which would be funded through the Facilities Department capital budget. 

“Due to the current labor shortages and the ability to hire new employees, contracting a lawn care service to cut the grounds .. would assist our current crew with the ability to maintain and address other needs that the district has. These needs include mulching, trimming, dead branches, trimming bushes, just all the other needs that grounds consist of,” Gegg said. 

Before the pandemic, the district had five full-time employees on the grounds, with two or three additional seasonal employees eight to nine months out of the year, said Gegg. Additionally, in the summer the district would hire three to four college students to assist in grass cutting. 

“If we go back to 2021, we average about four full-time staff, zero seasonal and two summer college students. … So we were hurting pretty bad trying to keep up with grass,” Gegg said. 

The facilities director recommended the board contract with Loyet Landscaping Maintenance for $36,062. The contract would include 26 cuts at Hagemann, Point, Rogers and Trautwein Elementaries, and Washington Middle.  

Gegg said he hoped contracting out  lawn services would be a temporary solution until staffing problems could be remedied.