A Tuesday works study session began with a brief bit of business as the Spokane Valley City Council approved a contract renewal with Senske Lawn and Tree Care.
The council unanimously approved the contract with the landscaping company at the urging of Mike Stone, parks director, who noted the company’s exemplary customer service.
“We have a very good relationship,” Stone said.
The 2012 contract is for $680,801, a 1-percent increase over 2011. However, Stone said the increased cost has more to do with added responsibilities than rising expenses. This year, Senske will also have to maintain the new Greenacres Park, which will cost the city an additional $60,000 over last year’s contract. Plus, there will be the added maintenance of a new picnic shelter at Terrace View Park.
That latter item caught the attention of Council Member Chuck Hafner.
“What do they do for maintenance?” he asked.
Stone said the shelter generates revenue for the city through rentals for family picnics and weddings, along with other get-togethers. Garbage cans get need emptying, spills need cleaning and Senske crews oftentimes return several times during the day, especially if there are multiple events scheduled.
“They’re there every day, but they do bring in additional staff,” Stone said.
City Manager Mike Jackson said the shelter rentals don’t make a profit for the city, but they do offset the cost of maintenance somewhat.
Council Member Arne Woodard asked if there were other landscaping companies in the area that could handle the existing contract, which was put in place in 2010 for one year with six one-year renewals.
“I’d guess about six or seven,” Stone answered.
“I’d like to compliment the parks,” Woodard said. “Every time I drive by them, they’re beautiful.”
The cost increase also takes into account for rising costs for fuel, fertilizer, weed control and materials such as steel and copper. Along with routine tasks such as mowing, trimming and maintenance of the facilities, the company also removes graffiti and handles lawn irrigation.
Senske has held the city’s park maintenance contract ever since taking over for Spokane County in 2005.