The Newton County Board of Commissioners recently gave a five-year extension of its lawn maintenance contract to locally owned Durden’s Lawn Maintenance.
We were disappointed enough the first time around, when the board declined to bid out the contract to find out if any lower-priced options were available.
Now, we’ve learned this week that the extension was apparently given without any checking whether Durden even had an up-to-date business license.
It seems that owner William Durden, has had the gall to repeatedly operate his business without a license for at least some period of time, and in some cases perhaps years. So while the citizens of the county were seeing some of their tax dollars go to a local business, the owner of that local business was refusing to pay his fair share. No wonder he could offer the lowest price.
The people who should be most embarrassed by this revelation, besides Mr. Durden, are the county staffers who should have realized such a situation and notified the county manager and board at any point during the past several years.
We hope that moving forward, the county will fully vet all businesses that are about to receive public money.
Yes, it’s a shock that a county contractor would have the gall to operate outside the county’s rules, but should anything surprise us in this business climate? Next time, let’s get it right.