LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - You’ll no longer see city workers cutting grass at local parks. The city said it’s saving taxpayer money by outsourcing lawn care services.
The city has high turnover in the Parks and Recreation department and decided to outsource lawn care services and maintenance at parks around the Lake Area.
“We had put a pause on hiring those spots until we decided what we wanted to do," Mayor Nic Hunter said. “The labor market and the labor pool right now in Southwest Louisiana is very tight. With the economic boom, many good things come and another thing that comes is a very tight labor pool and have had some trouble in filling those entry-level positions.”
Hunter said this decision will save the city over $100,000.
“This crew of 7 employees. Labor costs plus equipment, trucks, fuel, is costing the city right now about $230,000 a year. By outsourcing, the company who had the lowest bid came in at about less than $100,000," Hunter said. “That also does not take into consideration any types of workmen’s comp claims or liability claims that may happen with those city employees. If a city employee cuts their finger, has an accident, it’s on the city’s insurance. If that is outsourced to a private company it’s now on that private company’s insurance.”
The two employees who made up what should have been a 7-person crew have now been moved to other positions within public works.
“The two existing employees, they made lateral moves to other city departments. So they were not terminated, they’re receiving the same amount of pay, just working for a different city department," Hunter said.
He said the move is a win-win for both the city’s parks and the taxpayer’s dime. The contract with the lawn service company is a year long and the city said the contract will go out for rebidding annually.