Castlecliff business Tree Truck will look after all 13,000 Whanganui District Council-owned trees for at least the next five years.
The company has been awarded a contract worth $2.34 million to carry out inspection and maintenance, less than the $2.87m the council had budgeted for.
At an operations and performance committee meeting, councillor Rob Vinsen asked if there would be a reduction in rates as a result of the contract coming in at $500,000 less than expected.
Chief financial officer Mike Fermor said the council had “quite a few unders and overs” in terms of budgets and it had to be realistic.
While there had been good news stories with awarding contracts, others were not so positive.
“We currently have about $127m of debt so I don’t believe we are over-rating people,” Fermor said.
From August 18 to November 1, the council awarded three contracts worth more than $200,000.
Fulton Hogan was awarded a $5.88m contract to resurface the Whanganui Airport runway and apron and put in hardstanding - a large, paved area to store vehicles - outside hangar one.
The airport project was budgeted at $6.99m.
Stage two of the Raupo St stormwater upgrade, awarded to Loaders, also came in under budget - $328,314 against $400,000.
Vinsen said the public should be reassured that the council undertook “a pretty robust tender process”.
“We do hear criticism in the community of council paying too much,” Vinsen said.
The tree maintenance contract had two submitters, with the other tendering $8.35m for the work.
According to a council report, there was no clear indication why the unsuccessful supplier had committed that level of resource to the project and a post-tender debrief was offered but not taken up.
Tree Truck’s contract runs for five years, with the option to extend it for a further four.
Mike Tweed is an assistant news director and multimedia journalist at the Whanganui Chronicle. Since starting in March 2020, he has dabbled in everything from sport to music. At present his focus is local government, primarily the Whanganui District Council.