City awards $827,585 in mowing contracts

By Tom Joyce -

Mowing is big business in Mount Airy, where city officials have awarded contracts to private-sector entities totaling $827,585 for upcoming work at municipal-owned sites.

That sum, for three separate contracts, will cover mowing operations for a five-year period beginning on July 1 and ending on June 30, 2023, involving various locations.

Mount Airy Parks and Recreation, which includes grounds-maintenance operations, advertised for informal mowing contracts in April in light of present contracts expiring on June 30.

“We had an above-average response on bid submittals this cycle,” Parks and Recreation Director Darren Lewis states in a memo summarizing that process. Lewis added that his department made recommendations on companies to be selected for the work based on their quotes, experience and references.

The Mount Airy Board of Commissioners officially awarded the three contracts in a 5-0 vote during their last meeting in late May.

Boyd’s Landscaping is the recipient of two of those, including a five-year $350,960 contract for mowing services at Oakdale Cemetery, a site known as the Old Methodist Cemetery and areas within the city’s Municipal Service District in the downtown area. That represents an expense of $70,192 per year.

Mowing in flood-control areas and mowing and maintenance along U.S. 52 also will be handled by Boyd’s Landscaping at a cost of $386,875 over the five-year period, $77,375 annually.

Lewis told the commissioners at their last meeting that mowing in the flood-control areas is required of the city government by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

However, the Surry County government will reimburse the city about $20,450 annually for all fees associated with the flood-control maintenance portion of the contract, due to local flood-control projects being a joint city-county effort. This will total $102,268 over the five-year period.

While Boyd’s Landscaping was the only business bidding for the flood-control/U.S. 52 landscape maintenance contract, Lewis recommended awarding it to Boyd’s due to the “complexity” of the flood-control segment. That contractor has handled this task since 1999.

The third contract, for boom mowing in municipal rights of way, was awarded for the first time due to previously being performed in-house using city crews and equipment. Boom mowing involves heavy-duty cutting in limited-access areas such as parks, roadsides, those with overhead growth, ditches and other locations.

A boom mower has the ability to reach into trees, down embankments and over obstacles such as guardrails.

Lewis advised the commissioners that the boom-mowing operations are being farmed out in lieu of the city buying a new boom mower costing $120,000, to replace worn-out equipment.

The board subsequently approved a five-year, $89,750 contract for boom mowing of city rights of way to Lowe’s Mowing. That represents a per-year expense of $17,950.

By Tom Joyce

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.