Niagara Gazette

Local News

June 25, 2014

With grass growing high, new contractor hired for city lawn services.

Niagara Gazette — City lawmakers have replaced a contractor hired earlier this year to clear weeds and brush from vacant city and privately owned lots.

During a special meeting Wednesday afternoon, the city council voted to replace Baker's Tree Care Services of Youngstown with Falls contractor K.J. Smith Enterprises, the second lowest bidder on the contract. 

A resolution submitted to council members from Mayor Paul Dyster's administration said the request for the new contractor was due to Baker's Tree Care Services' inability to "perform under the bid."

A call to Baker's Tree Care Service seeking comment late Wednesday was not returned.

The measure calling for the company's replacement passed in a 3-0 vote with Council Chairman Charles Walker, Councilman Glenn Choolokian and Councilman Andy Touma voting to approve.

Councilman Robert Anderson Jr. and Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti were absent.

Assistant Corporation Counsel Thomas O'Donnell said the new contractor could begin work as soon as all their paperwork is filed with the city, which will take a few days.

"We're asking that you terminate (Baker's Tree Care Service) and move onto the second bidder," O'Donnell said.

John Caso, the deputy director of the city's department of public works, said the company ran into equipment issues and fell behind. Delays in service caused several vacant properties around the city to become overgrown with grass and weeds. Some of the properties are owned by the city. Others are held privately. In situations where privately held lots are not being tended the city has the ability to mow the properties and charge the owners for the service. 

City officials admitted Wednesday that the process has lagged so far this year.  

"We have to track what's going on in the field and, if we're not getting a response back, then we have to report back to our superiors," Caso said.

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