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Cities Outsourcing

Palo Alto and San Carlos, California are leading a trend designed to ease city budget gaps by outsourcing city landscape duties to private contractors, thus eliminating city workers. Other cities, such as Newport Beach, California are renegotiating with contractors to lower costs. This is a growing trend, which may offer additional work for landscape contractors.

The city workers who trim trees for the city of Palo Alto and San Carlos, California are likely to see their jobs disappear this summer.

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The Palo Alto's plan to close its projected $7.3 million budget gap involves contracting out many of the maintenance services currently performed by city staff. The council began this process when it approved 3-year contracts with two landscaping companies. The move will eliminate five full-time positions and save the city $314,000 in the first year, according to a report by Director of Community Services Greg Betts. ''In-house maintenance has several advantages as it has historically shown to provide better control over field safety and service levels, more timely response to special recreation events/program support, and responsiveness to emergency situations and the public's use of the facilities because the employees are located within the city limits and can be deployed quickly,'' Betts wrote. ''However, using a private company and contracting out the larger facilities results in significant budget savings. ''

San Carlos Council Votes To Outsource Parks Upkeep

A private firm will take over parks maintenance in San Carlos after the city council voted to approve two contracts that officials say will save hundreds of thousands of dollars compared to what the city currently spends to keep its green spaces tidy. The one-year agreements were approved 4-0 by the council, and will result in the elimination of six maintenance worker jobs.

Officials say the companies will maintain the city's open spaces, medians and 15 parks for a total of $281,000 per year, less than half of the $719,000 the city currently pays for maintenance. Officials say the savings will likely be even greater, as the contractors will assume other costs like vehicle replacement and insurance.

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September 18, 2019, 5:31 am PDT

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