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CDD Supervisors Surprised By Landscape Bid Opening

After several meetings where Westchase CDD supervisors were warned their 2014 landscape bidding process would likely produce a significant increase in Westchase’s landscaping costs, the district’s Aug. 11 bid opening held one surprise.

The lowest bid offered a potential decrease of 2.4 percent.

In recent months, warned that other communities were paying as much as 15 percent more for their landscaping than Westchase, Community Development District (CDD) supervisors tucked a tentative 20 percent increase in landscaping costs into the draft of their 2015 budget. Under the district’s current contract held by Mainscape, the Westchase CDD is paying $744,270 annually. According to CDD Field Manager Doug Mays, Mainscape recently declined to renew its three-year contract for another year at no increase because the company was simply not making enough from its current contract.

According to District Manager Andy Mendenhall, 11 landscaping companies recently picked up the district’s bid specifications, five submitted answers to the district’s pre-qualification questionnaire and four were judged qualified to bid. Bids of qualified companies were opened Aug. 11. The lowest bidder was Davey at $726,159. That bid represents a decrease of $18,111, a 2.4 percent reduction over the current contract. Luke Brothers bid $781,230 and LMP bid $817,260 for the same work. Current contract holder Mainscape offered a bid of $939,034.

Davey is a familiar name in Westchase as the company performs landscape maintenance work for a few of the community’s subassociations.

CDD supervisors will vote to accept one of the bids at their Aug 25 special meeting, when they will also finalize their draft budget. After their recent Aug. 5 meeting (but prior to the bid opening), the district projected that Westchase homeowners would see an operations and maintenance assessment of $524.38, an increase of almost 32.24 percent over last year’s $396.01 assessment. That increase was largely driven by the expected 20 percent increase in landscaping costs and a $400,000 increase budgeted for parks. The latter represents the first year’s payment on borrowing for an expected capital improvement project, needed to bring Westchase’s playgrounds into compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Should Davey win the landscaping contract, the district could budget nearly $150,000 less for landscaping, dropping the expected assessment.

Due to the complexity of the district’s assessment methodology, which charges Westchase commercial properties and residential properties differently for rights-of-way maintenance, WOW cannot offer an accurate estimate of the potential decrease. The district, however, will update projected assessment tables after supervisors finalize the landscape contract and their budget on Aug. 25. That meeting, which will be held at 4 p.m. at the WCA office building on Parley Drive, represents a continuation of the public budget hearing held on Aug. 5. Residents are welcome to attend to offer their input.

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

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