Note: David Schmitz will take over as the city’s Parks and Recreation Director on Monday after serving as interim director since September.
Last month, the College Station City Council approved an innovative new landscape maintenance contract that will save the city approximately $125,000 while increasing the frequency of maintenance at neighborhood parks. The new contract also covers 26 additional park sites, which will allow the Parks and Recreation Department to focus on the maintenance of park assets such as playground equipment and water fountains.
The contract was the result of a rewarding journey that began last summer, when we began to explore responsible ways to reduce operations and maintenance costs, specifically in regard to grounds maintenance. To take advantage of economies of scale, the management of all landscape maintenance of city properties — except regional parks and athletic facilities — was consolidated into the Public Works Department.
Staff then took a holistic look at landscape maintenance and made significant changes to our approach. We solicited proposals for the city’s landscape maintenance needs and compared those proposals to the city’s cost to perform the same work. Request for Proposals (RFP) solicited from contractors were divided into seven categories:
1) Neighborhood Parks (includes neighborhood parks and Wolf Pen Creek Park)
2) Facilities (city buildings and Northgate District)
3) Electric (CSU electric substations)
4) Water/Wastewater (CSU water and wastewater sites)
5) Economic and Community Development (E&CD residential sites)
6) Finish mowing (primarily street right of ways and medians)
7) Rough cut mowing (primarily shredding of rights of way)
Eight vendors submitted bids on the categories in the RFP. After thorough evaluation, it was determined that Public Works could provide mowing service for part of category 6 and all of category 7 at a lower cost than the lowest-bidding contractor. Staff also concluded that the other services in the proposal could be completed more cost effectively by a landscape maintenance contractor. Three vacant positions in the Parks and Recreation Department were transferred to Public Works to assist with the rough cut mowing.
An added benefit was that the number of park sites included in the new contract increased from 11 to 37. Along with that, we were able to increase the frequency of cuts per year from 18 to 28, if needed.
This success story is an example of our commitment to find meaningful ways to effectively trim our costs while continuing to provide outstanding service to the citizens of College Station.
Parks and Recreation Director