Tree Specialist Contract Doesn't Trim Budget Enough for Pawlak
Third Ward alderman voted against a five-year contract for Kramer Tree Specialists for brush collection services.
Third Ward Alderman Ray Pawlak cast the lone dissenting vote Monday on a motion to approve a five-year city contract with Kramer Tree Specialists of West Chicago to collect brush from 2011 to 2015.
"It's not that I'm opposed to what Kramer has done—I think their service has been exemplary," Pawlak said. "I'm just concerned with the length of the contract, which is five years. Three years I might consider, but not five."
Other aldermen disagreed, saying that a five-year contract might be a better deal in the long haul.
"Like anything else, if we can lock in our costs at a reasonable increase for the foreseeable future, I would go with the five-year contract," Fifth Ward Alderman Craig Miladra said.
The contract calls for Kramer to receive about $18,900 a month to do twice-a-week brush pickup service. The contract charges increase annually, so that Kramer receives $20,650 a month in 2015.
Three other companies—Care of Trees of West Chicago, Davey Tree of Elgin and Asplundh, which has offices in Oswego and Burr Ridge—were contacted by Streets and Fleet Superintendent Steve LeMaire but chose not to submit bids.
LeMaire explained to the council's Committee of the Whole that the city's options for subcontracting are limited by the number of local companies capable of doing brush pickup service.
"The others did not have this type of equipment," he said. "Asplundh was interested but does not at this time have the equipment or manpower."
Pawlak also was concerned, a least a little bit, about the aggressiveness of the bidding process.
"Kramer was the only bidder. I felt in these economic times that certainly once someone sees that Kramer is being paid $18,000 a month that escalates over the course of the contract, someone would want to get involved in this service."
Fellow Third Ward Alderman Dawn Vogelsberg agreed with Miladra and the majority, saying that locking in a five-year contract with a company whose service is recommended by city staff and has been generally well received is a good thing.
"If we're happy with it today, we'll be happy with it in five years," she said.