Lawn Doctor to be kept in house

City of Joondalup grass will continue to be maintained by the same specialist.
City of Joondalup grass will continue to be maintained by the same specialist.

City officers had originally recommended awarding the contract to Turf Master, which had come in with the lowest price: $642,440 over three years.

However, at the August 19 council meeting, Mayor Troy Pickard recommended hiring Lawn Doctor, which would cost $774,598, ‘due to past experience with Turf Master and the satisfactory performance of Lawn Doctor’. His recommendation was unanimously accepted.

‘I believe that it’s in the City’s best interest that our current supplier Lawn Doctor be afforded the opportunity over the next three years to continue to deliver a service,’ he said.

‘I accept that the Lawn Doctor is $130,000 more over three years than Turf Master but personally I am comfortable with that extra expenditure to provide certainty and comfort to the City.’

At the August 12 council briefing, corporate services director Mike Tidy said the qualitative score benchmark was set at 60 per cent and because Turf Master was the cheapest tender to score more than 60 per cent (68.2 per cent), it was recommended.

‘Turf Master demonstrated a sound understanding of the required tasks,’ a council document said.

‘It currently provides similar services for local governments including the cities of Wanneroo, Stirling and Gosnells.

‘It is a well-established organisation with industry experience and the capacity to provide the services.’

Cr Brian Corr said the City had allocated $284,000 for 2014-15 in the budget for the supply and application of turf enhancement products and with Lawn Doctor charging $249,370 in the first year, the City was still saving about $35,000.

However, Cr Tom McLean said he had concerns about ignoring the officers’ recommendation given Lawn Doctor would cost more than $130,000 more.

‘I was part of the council eight years ago when we had the disagreement with Turf Master so I understand all the emotions that go with it,’ he said.

‘At what point in history do we put history aside and go with the processes of evaluation and recommendation, given that our disagreement with Turf Master was eight years ago and since then, Turf Master is being used by other local councils and apparently doing a good job.’