The City of Oakdale took its next step toward privatization of public works services on Wednesday, Oct. 31, when it publicly opened bids on a potential contract for city park maintenance.
Public works personnel, a union official, one of the bidders, and interested city residents were present in the lobby of city hall when Operations Manager Dee Tatum, accompanied by Human Resources Analyst Michelle McKinsey, opened the sealed bids.
The city announced that only two landscaping companies submitted bids by the noon deadline.
“We’ll be looking them over this weekend to see if they meet the compatibility to the request,” said Tatum prior to opening the sealed envelopes.
Tatum initially stated that the bid amounts would not be revealed and would only provide the name of the firm that had bid. When questioned by Burchell Hill resident Linda Johansen and OE3 Business Representative Mike Eggener to their understanding of the city’s request for proposals, Tatum then included the bid amounts with the tendering firm’s name.
Grover Landscaping of Modesto listed they could complete the required duties for $357,384 per year, or $1,027,152 for the three-year contract.
Sierra Landscaping Corp. of Walnut Creek proposed a much lower bid of $206,471 per year, or a total three-year fee of $619,413.
Due to the noticeable variance, Tatum repeated that both bid sheets would have to be reviewed to ensure compatibility with the city’s request. He anticipated a Nov. 19 announcement of who the city would select if the process goes through.
The current Oakdale 2012-2013 budget shows $179,599 in personnel costs and $74,050 in operating costs for park maintenance, a total of $253,649 per year, allotted by the city. It is unknown if the bid proposal required additional duties or personnel.
“It makes me feel a lot more comfortable hearing Grover’s amount,” said OE3 Business Representative Mike Eggener who represents the city public works employees. “Grover in preparation came and interviewed the parks people. They’re a lot more familiar with the city.”
Grover Landscaping is contracted by the city for services for the Bridle Ridge and Vineyard landscape and lighting maintenance districts.
“We’d love to do the work,” said Chris Wagner of Grover Landscaping after the bid opening. “The other bid raises my eyebrows and appears too low for what the package asked for.”
“If the city is trying to save money, this bid process isn’t going to do it,” said Eggener. “This is what we’ve been trying to explain to the council.”
Eggener said he wondered if the city is projecting a $425,000 deficit for next year; it wasn’t going to be made up by outsourcing.
“Outsourcing is not viable,” Eggener said. “Also, you have to ask how much was spent for this (bid) process.”
The Oakdale City Council has repeatedly stated they are only exploring if public works outsourcing would be monetarily beneficial to the city.