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City expected to spend $2 million on lot mowing service

By Staff | Feb 25, 2012

Cape Coral City Council is expected Monday to approve a bid for two mowing services to cut the grass on vacant lots throughout Cape Coral.

The award bid, expected to cost the city just over $2 million, will go to Montgomery Mowing Services, Inc. of Punta Gorda and CBI Inc. of Cape Coral.

The reason for contracting two services is for “insurance reasons, according to District 6 Councilman Kevin McGrail.

“If you contract one company and there are problems, how do you respond?” McGrail said. “If it happens in summer, you get snakes and vermin. It’s insurance to respond to an unresponsive company.”

The city issued the bids in September for mowing vacant lots in Cape Coral for the next three years. Montgomery and CBI submitted the only bids.

CBI will be awarded cutting rights to districts north of Pine Island Road, while Montgomery will take the land to the south.

For CBI, it’s a continuation of what they have done for more than 20 years, according to owner Chris Brown.

“It’s basically business as usual. We hope to perform on the contracts in a safe and timely manner,” Brown said.

The contract is to begin April 1 and will expire Dec. 31, 2014, the contract says, with an option of another three years upon completion.

The city has had issues in the past with some contractors who were unable or unwilling to perform the task and have had to terminate their contracts.

“When we used smaller companies, they underbid and weren’t making money and service went downhill,” McGrail said. “Rather than chase down eight non-performing companies, we bid them as larger projects.”

Brown said much of these problems were to do with the housing boom in 2004-05 and the escalating cost in fuel.

“The companies didn’t bid accordingly and couldn’t anticipate the drop in vacant lots and the cost of doing business,” Brown said.

By awarding two companies the contract, the hope is to minimize that possibility.

It was that possibility that got Montgomery its contract. But their being from out of town has created some concern.

In fact, CBI tried to invoke the city’s local vendor preference ordinance, which gives city vendors a chance to match offers from out-of-area businesses, to get the entire contract.

The city was uncomfortable with having one company do the whole project, Brown said, adding Montgomery does good work and hopes they do a good job.