PTLS council awards landscaping contract

Matt Patterson

The Pinetop-Lakeside Town Council unanimously approved a landscape maintenance contract on June 16 with In-Bloom Nursery – It’s Magic Landscape & Design for $70,500.

The contract will run from June 16 through June 30, 2023, and will renew annually up to four years.

The Public Works Department put out an invitation to bid in April for year-round landscape maintenance services so the Public Works crews could concentrate on Woodland Lake Park, Mountain Meadow Recreation Complex and Jack Barker Memorial Park, the town’s larger parks.

Public Works Director Matt Patterson told council that in the past the department has hired seasonal workers for the summer months to assist the department with landscaping maintenance work and to meet the high seasonal demands. The temporary workers were helpful but required constant supervision from the department, which reduced the overall efficiency of the hiring. In order to solve the problem, town staff felt a more permanent solution would be to transition that work to an independent contractor.

In 2017, the town issued its first invitation to bid for landscaping services and the contract was awarded to In-Bloom Nursery – It’s Magic Landscape & Design. Due to the additional help provided by the contract, Patterson said the public works crew has been able to primarily focus on the parks.

The town still hires temporary help for the summer but those workers are used for the three main parks since events have increased.

Patterson said the town placed an invitation to bid in April on the town’s website and in the White Mountain Independent for a period of two consecutive weeks. The town also sent the bid packet to four local landscaping companies and held a mandatory pre-bid meeting for contractors to outline bid particulars and answer any questions regarding the scope of the project. Only one contractor attended the meeting and only one bid was received, which was from In-Bloom Nursery – It’s Magic Landscape & Design.

Councilor Sterling Beus asked how many additional employees it would take to handle the work the town is outsourcing and what that cost would be. Patterson said it would take two additional employees, which would be around $73,000 in salaries with an additional $45,000 in benefits, for a total of around $118,000. The equipment the town did have for the smaller work areas was old and it no longer has it. The town would need mowers and a truck and some other miscellaneous equipment that would bring that total annually to around $131,000.

Councilor Lynn Krigbaum inquired about the monthly cost being listed the same each month with the degree of work being less in the winter months, but also noting she believed the town is getting a bargain. Patterson said the company asked the town to spread the annual amount out over the year to help carry its company through the winter months.

Watson asked about the landscaping for the entrance signs. Patterson said that the foliage was a type of evergreen that was covering up the sign. Public Works asked It’s Magic to trim it but was advised it would kill the foliage, so the landscapers removed them and are looking for a different type of colorful plant to replace it with.

The approved contract will be for five years and will be brought back annually for any addendum that may be needed.

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Barbara Bruce is a reporter for the White Mountain Independent, covering arts and entertainment on the Mountain and the Pinetop-Lakeside town government.

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