Township considers parks contract
The Woodlands Township executive committee has recommended that the parks nd pathway maintenance contract be rebid, while the streetscape contract will continue under the developer's control through until 2014.
The issue caused some debate in 2007 when the two contracts were bid out together and Brickman, the developer's contractor, was awarded the street maintenance bid, even though it was $1 million higher than its nearest competitor.
Houston Grotech Services won the bid for the parks contract for $1.23 million annually to provide maintenance for the community now 115 parks and 170 miles of pathways for three years.
With its contract expiring at the end of December 2010, Houston Grotech offered the township a three-year extension at the 2007 rates. Instead the executive committee is recommending that the process begin to bid out the contract because it requires a 90 day termination notice. The full board will decide the issue at its Feb. 24 meeting.
We very rarely receive complaints," said John Powers, assistant general manager for community services. But because of the lower price field, I feel they struggle to perform the contract. I think it is an appropriate time to look at the market and see what other providers do or to allow Houston Grotech to provide pricing where they can perform."
Meanwhile, the Brickman contract to maintain 180 miles of streets and medians and about 800 neighborhood entrances, could continue through 2014. As part of a consent agreement with The Woodlands Land Development Co., the developer would retain control over the streetscape contract through 2014.
This was part of the negotiations to keep streetscape separate," said Nelda Luce Blair, chairwoman of The Woodlands Township and of its executive committee.
Under an agreement between the developer and the Community Associations of The Woodlands, which was inherited by the township as part of the transition, The Woodlands Development Co. will provide the landscaping contract unless the services, timing or pricing is not comparable to private firms.
In 2007, the last time the streetscape contract was bid, Brickman was awarded the service for $2.1 million. In 2010, the budget includes $2.27 million for their streetscape maintenance. The increase is due to new areas that have developed in the community and an increase in the consumer price index, said Powers. Both elements are built into the Brickman contract.
Blair said this agreement was part of the overall transition between the Community Association and The Woodlands and is just one of the elements to ensure a seamless change.
It was to make things as painless as possible," Blair said. We wanted as little change for residents as possible."
In 2007, the maintenance contracts caused a rare split between The Woodlands Community Association, representing older villages, and The Woodlands Association, representing newer villages and The Woodlands Commercial Owners Association, representing Town Center businesses.
The Woodlands Association and The Woodlands Commercial Owners Association approved the Brickman contract, even though Houston Grotech, the lowest bidder, was $1 million less, saying that that bidder did not meet the bonding requirement. The bid was based on a 1,700 page document that participants were given three weeks to complete.
The Woodlands Community Association, however, rejected the bid and brought in an outside consultant to review the bids for comparability. The WCA asked that streetscape contract be rebid and awarded the three year contract to Brickman following that process.
Maintenance Contracts in The Woodlands
The Woodlands Township executive committee recommended that the contract for park and pathway maintenance be rebid, but a contract for maintaining medians and neighborhood entrance signs in The Woodlands will continue through 2014. Following are the contracts and what is covered:
Parks and Pathways Maintenance, Houston Grotech: $1.23 million
170 miles of pathway
Streetscape Maintenance, Brickman: $2.1 million
775 neighborhood signs
180 miles of street and medians
465 irrigation systems
Source: Community Association of The Woodlands, Township
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