The City of West Kelowna will continue to save almost a quarter of a million dollars a year, after cutting back from their contracted services.
Since the city was incorporated in 2007, they have been contracting out their mowing services. At the time, this cost the city about $240,000 annually, however, costs have continued to rise over time.
At the end of 2019, a tender bid to extend their mowing services only resulted in one offer, of over $400,000 per year. The adoption of this lone bid would have resulted in a 0.6 per cent tax increase, or $12 a year increase, per household.
This caused the city to examine its options for potentially moving services in house.
It’s been one year since moving services in-house, and the city has found that even after purchasing new equipment and hiring more staff, this service now costs just $228,400, $204,498 less than what the cost for mowing services would have been in 2020, had council accepted the bid.
West Kelowna’s parks and fleet operations manager, Stacey Harding, said not only is the city now saving money, but the quality of work has also increased.
Now, a team of four city staff are in charge of mowing all 130 sports fields, community and neighbourhood parks, and roadside boulevards, within West Kelowna city limits.
“One of the benefits of hiring local people is they’re a part of the community and they have a vested interest,” he said on Jan. 14.
It was his recommendation that the city move its services in-house. With costs continuing to escalate each year, Harding started to question what they were doing.
Roughly one year ago, council announced their full support for this proposal, something Harding was happy to see.
“Certainly council is very enthusiastic about reducing costs, so they were very supportive. From staff’s perspective, we really appreciate the support we got from council… they were very receptive to listening to new ideas,” he said.
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