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‘Greenscaping’ of medians becomes a fertile topic

By Staff | Sep 24, 2013

A consent item on the city council’s agenda drew a lot of attention from the public and from the council during its regular meeting Monday at City Hall.

The “greenscaping” of the city’s medians had the public concerned about the potentially high contingency costs, with some also questioning whether the city would make sure it was getting what taxpayers would be paying for.

The greenscaping median maintenance was awarded to three vendors on Monday, Superior Landscaping & Lawn Service, Giranrd Environmental Services and Championship for approximately $469,000.

However, during public comment, Charlie Myers was concerned about the allocation of $93,600 included in the cost to cover irrigation repairs or tree replacement, which is about 20 percent of the price.

Another resident, Dan Shepard, who works in the landscaping business, said he has seen more than his share of dying trees in the city because those responsible for the medians aren’t fertilizing them.

“Trees I planted personally, I’m getting calls from residents they’re dying. They need fertilizer and they’re starving to death,” Shepard said. “They just drop fertilizer on them once a year. They can’t just be watered.”

The city also looked at the quote from the city’s insurance program. The $2,385,979 price tag is about 11 percent more than last year’s $2,147,013.

However, a look at the claims filed against the city showed less than $1 million in 2012 and claims generally around $2 million or less, except for 2008, when they spiked to $6 million.

The city has self-insured since 2004, largely because of the size of the city and because it was paying almost double for the same amount of protection.

The city’s risk manager, Mike Quigley, recommended the city stay with the strategy that has saved it millions of dollars in that time, thanks to the tenacity of Quigley against frivolous claims and damage done to city property, something that has made it the envy of many municipalities in the area.

“This is an outstanding flagship program for municipalities in Florida,” Councilmember Kevin McGrail said.

“We were paying $2 million more before you came here. You can imagine what the cost would be then,” Mayor John Sullivan said. “It has brought us big savings.”

In other business, Gary Aubuchon unveiled the signs that will be used for the city’s Bike/Ped route a network of 90 miles of bike path’s throughout the city.

They will be similar to the ones you see for the state’s “Adopt a Street” program, which can help raise revenue for the upkeep of the paths.

The routes are sponsored by several major businesses which, in turn, raised funds from the public to build the routes they agreed to sponsor. All the routes are paid for.

The signs will be in place by November and all the routes are expected to be completed by the end of next year.

The city also certified the primary results and set the date for the general election, Nov. 5, which was a formality, and unanimously approved the city’s strategic audit plan for 2014.