NORTH OGDEN -- After lengthy discussion, the city council decided it won't outsource lawn maintenance for parks and snow removal -- yet.
The vote was unanimous, but future discussion will be held regarding the benefits of outsourcing, just not for next year's fiscal budget year.
The city manager went over the results of bids to outsource the services that included mowing the city's lawns at its parks and removing snow from parks and city-owned parking lots and sidewalks. A committee also was appointed to look over the bids. One member will be City Councilman Wade Bigler.
Former Community Services Director Dave Nordquist pleaded with the council not to outsource. He told the council it would be a "huge mistake."
"The savings is minimal, and you have someone that would be coming from three counties away to do the work," Nordquist said regarding the low bid the city was considering from a contractor in South Salt Lake.
One issue would be severance pay to the full-time city employees who would be laid off, about $150,000. That made switching the services basically a wash, City Manager Ron Chandler said.
Councilman Brent Taylor suggested changing some of the positions to part time and waiting for some of the longtime employees to retire or quit before considering outsourcing again.
Councilman Kent Bailey wasn't so sure about leaving the idea of outsourcing totally closed. He would like the council to look over the numbers in greater detail in the future, but said he knew the council needed to make a decision now, so employees would know how to proceed, and so the council can pass the budget with the right figures.
"We've just got to decide if we want to in-house or out-house the work," he said.
Taylor pointed out that employees do other work besides mowing lawns and removing snow -- they hang lights at Christmas and do other odd jobs the community services director may need done. In an email, Taylor said:
"The loss of direct control, the risk of a poor privatization experience, and the required buyout payments to employees were ultimately not justified by the relatively small savings the city would realize only after several years."