Posted: Sunday, April 14, 2013 9:00 am
The city of Manhattan Beach will conduct an inventory of all trees on city property for the first time in more than a dozen years and will better keep up with trimming of large trees.
Last week, the Manhattan Beach City Council awarded a three-year contract for tree-trimming and inventory services to West Coast Arborists, Inc., an Anaheim-based organization. The estimated annual fee for the service is $130,000.
West Coast Arborists will inventory trees on city property and advise the city in terms of trimming larger trees and setting up policies for trees on public property. Public Works Director Jim Arndt pointed out that the city has a particular concern with trees over 30 feet tall that need trimming.
The city has not conducted a tree inventory in more than a dozen years.
“I think we all know large trees in large areas can cause concern if not kept up maintenance-wise,” Arndt said. “This is for trees the city is responsible for, trees in city parks, city medians and on city facilities.”
West Coast Arborists is offering Manhattan Beach a similar contract to their 2010 agreement with the city of Beverly Hills. The Manhattan Beach contract is being offered for 2010 prices as well. Arndt said that the company has a good reputation for professionalism and expertise.
“[West Coast Arborists] are premiere arborists, known for what they do,” he said. “Landscape firms trim trees but not like dedicated arborists. We’ve upped the ante on what kind of service we’ll be seeing in our trees.”
There was some discussion on whether or not the city should have conducted an open bid before choosing to “piggyback,” as council members phrased it, off of West Coast Arborist’s contract with Beverly Hills.
Arndt said he was confident that West Coast Arborists was the right choice for the city and that the cost of the firm’s services was based on consistent unit prices.
“If the question is, ‘Could we do it cheaper?’ I suppose,” Arndt said. “But can we do it with more expertise or better special abilities? No.”
Currently, the city’s under-30-foot trees are being trimmed by two different landscape contractors for an extra cost.
After West Coast Arborists conducts its inventory, in which the firm will log the diameter type, condition, trimming strategies and geo-codes of the city’s trees, they will make a recommendation to the city on how to handle the maintenance of the trees.
Currently, “parkway” trees, those city-owned trees that adjoin private property and are the responsibility of the adjoining property owner not the city, are not included in the contract and inventory. Council members directed staff to look into including those trees in the contract.
“I would like to see an inventory of (parkway) trees, especially if they’re overgrown, not being maintained,” said Councilmember Wayne Powell. “That is absolutely essential. This is long overdue. I’m glad we’re getting to where we should be.”
West Coast Arborists estimated it will take four to six weeks to complete the inventory. They will return to the council in July with the results.
“Trees are very important to our city,” Councilmember Tony D’Errico said. “This is aggressive, and it is a good thing in my mind. I feel comfortable that the vendor selected is the right vendor.”