The city of Tempe, Arizona recently launched a new program, under the name Tempe Landscape Referral, that aims to help residents win the ongoing war on weeds in their gardens and yards.
“The City uses its, basically, bulk purchasing ability to get you the best rate possible,” said city council member Kolby Granville.
Using that buying power, Tempe has contracted three local landscaping companies to offer discounted rates for basic yard maintenance, such as weed removal. “You contract with them, they do the work. You pay on a monthly basis: $35 a month for the front yard and $70 a month during the summer months,” Councilor Granville explained.
Each company has already been pre-screened by the city and has agreed on a pre-negotiated rate. This is the extent of the city’s involvement after the program’s launch, unless an issue arises.
“They don’t have to go out and get a bunch of different bids from a bunch of different landscapers. It’s just the three. Call them, and it’s done. We come do the service; it’s all taken care of,” said Joe Shill of Somerset Landscape Maintenance.
The new program means up to a 25% discount for residents, a perk which the city feels is a win-win situation for the city, its residents, and the landscaping companies. “Tempe’s happy because we’ve got a higher quality of life, more livable community. You’re going to be happy because you’re getting the best rates possible,” said Granville.
The trio of landscaping companies involved in the new program agree it is a good deal and will provide them with more opportunities. “Well, we’re definitely hoping to pick up some more business and employ some more people,” said Jose Hernandez of Artistic Land Management.
“It’s a good idea in the respect that the price is fair,” said one area local, Steve.
However, others are worried the city may be playing both sides of the fence by launching this program. “You don’t get to be the good guy and the bad guy; sorry. They go, ‘oh, I’m going to fine you, but I’ll give you this option to pay my people.’ I don’t know,” said Carl Ikegami.
Granville strongly disagrees with sentiment. “Our goal is never to cite people. Our goal is just to make a livable community. We want a place where people drive the streets and say, ‘I’d live there’, and I think if we can create an environment where people can do that as cheaply, cost-effectively and safely as possible, I think that’s a great idea,” said Granville.
The program is designed to give the backs and wallets of Tempe residents a break.