Sandy Springs will soon rebid most of its street and park maintenance contracts for fiscal year 2018, while adding a new one for stormwater ponds. Three other contracts are set for extension with council approval.

The decision, approved by consensus at the Sept. 6 City Council work session, follows caution and debate over the city giving no-bid extensions to its general service contractors and a tennis center.

The “field services” contracts up for rebid cover such needs as street, traffic signal and landscape maintenance. Six current contracts, totaling about $5.5 million, will be rebid and partly restructured into seven contracts to separate out park maintenance. The existing contracts run through June 2017 and will be bid this winter.

A new contract, estimated at $100,000, will focus on maintaining stormwater ponds. City Public Works Director Garrin Coleman said a recent survey found more than 30 city-owned ponds, largely for stormwater. The city intends to build more, including the Marsh Creek pond project underway on Johnson Ferry Road. Coleman said the city expects the contract amount to be lower in subsequent years after initial cleanup work.

Three other maintenance contracts are recommended for no-bid extension for various reasons. The city’s sign contractor customized a truck for the job, and “we thought it only fair to allow five years [for them] to recoup investment,” said City Manager John McDonough.

A tree removal contract has a fixed budget anyway, Coleman said. And a contract to mow along the interstate is “pretty complicated” due to insurance requirements and the $257,000 contract is a relatively small budget item, he said.

Sandy Springs has drawn national attention for its model of outsourcing almost all government departments and services to private contractors. This year, the city chose to offer no-bid extensions for its biggest contracts, fearing disruption as it conducts such major efforts as the City Springs development and a new zoning code and land-use plan.

In a press release highlighting the rebidding of most field services contracts, McDonough said, “The procurement process is a time and labor-intensive procedure. From a risk management standpoint and ensuring a maintained standard of service, we felt it a best-practice to stagger the contract bid process.”

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