FAIRFIELD — City Council members voted Tuesday to end the landscape contract with low bidder TruGreen LandCare Inc. of Fairfield and award a $190,080 pact to New Image Landscape Company of Fremont.
TruGreen’s $134,280 bid to maintain the Linear Bike Trail, which runs through the city to Solano Community College, was the lowest, but the city cited problems it said have arisen with TruGreen. Public Works Director George Hicks in a July letter to TruGreen wrote that Bermuda grass along the bike trail did not appear to have been sprayed and would take multiple herbicide applications to control.
The letter, which cited other problems, also recounted issues with TruGreen’s separate contract for Air Base Parkway landscape maintenance. The council on Tuesday rejected the company’s $138,000 low bid for that work and awarded the contract to Dominguez Landscape Services Inc. of Sacramento. A total of five companies bid on each of the two contracts.
George Guynn Jr., president of the Central Solano Citizen-Taxpayer Group, said before the council votes that the city should consider volunteers to maintain landscaping and suggested the council donate its pay and labor to aid that effort.
“It seems to always be the taxpayer who has to fork over more money,” he said.
Council actions Tuesday follow the Nov. 21 council meeting when Hicks said plummeting bids by contractors for landscaping work meant prices so low they weren’t close to covering expenses. Contractors 10 years ago had crews that knew the area but large companies now send different workers who may have to use Google maps to find landscaping sites, he had said. Fairfield is experiencing a dramatic increase in overgrown, stressed, dying and dead landscaping in various areas, Hicks said.
Jodi Adams, community association manager for the Rancho Solano Homeowners Association, supported awarding the contracts to new companies. Existing problems include overwatering of St. Andrews Drive where water pooled and weeds were growing in the street, she said.
Fairfield began outsourcing some landscaping in the early 1990s and in 2004 decided to contract for all such work.
Councilman John Mraz said the city staff determined that it would cost $750,000 a year to add 10 landscape workers – a cost that excludes supervision and equipment, he said. Mraz has said suggestions that Fairfield return to having city employees maintain landscaping are financially impractical.
Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.