As the Pulaski County Maintenance Department prepares to take over lawn care at county properties, the county council has approved a funding measure that would allow the department to keep its new part-time employee.
When the county commissioners voted last week to allow Maintenance Director Mia Salyers to cancel the county’s mowing contract with TK Lawn Service, they said the change wouldn’t require her to hire any new staff members. But during this week’s council meeting, Salyers clarified that she would have to move a temporary part-time employee to permanent status.
“I had an overage to hire a temporary employee for 10 weeks,” she explained, “and in that 10 weeks’ time, we’ve redone the Circuit Court floor. We’ve done preventative maintenance, which saves a ton of money, if a system breaks down. It’s not going to break down if you do the preventative maintenance on it.”
She said the additional staff member has also allowed the department to increase its cleaning schedule at the Highway Garage, which is now the county’s primary meeting space. It’s also freed up the maintenance tech to start a work order system for issues at the Justice Center. “We’re basically redoing the entire Maintenance Department and how it runs,” she said.
Salyers said the mowing contract was still technically up in the air as of Monday’s council meeting. But it’s already been decided that the Maintenance Department will take over snow removal, so the extra help will eventually be needed, anyway.
She initially asked council members for an additional appropriation of just over $10,000, to cover the part-time employee’s salary for the remainder of the year. Instead, the council voted six-to-one to transfer that money out of the line item currently used to pay the mowing contractor. That wouldn’t leave enough money for Salyers to buy a second mower, but she said the new staff member may be able to fix one that isn’t currently usable.
Ken Boswell cast the lone opposing vote, saying he needed more detailed cost comparisons to make an informed decision. It was pointed out that county officials had previously agreed that outsourcing the mowing was the cheaper option.