Trimming Costs in Santa Ana

The Santa Ana City Council this week postponed the approval of an $865,000 tree-trimming services contract and the purchase of two street sweepers.

Councilman Carlos Bustamante proposed that the council delay buying the street sweepers for 30 days to give city staffers the opportunity to “explore other options,” like leasing them from other public agencies. According to a city staff report, buying the two vehicles would cost $619,960.

Bustamante’s proposal passed 4-3, with council members Michele Martinez, Sal Tinajero and Claudia Alvarez dissenting. The minority council members said they felt Bustamante was prematurely trying to  push the outsourcing of a city service.

The city plans to outsource about half of the city’s street sweeping services, according to Raul Godinez, Public Works Agency executive director. Tinajero said he suspects that Bustamante only wanted to wait on buying more equipment so he “can make the argument to contract out.”

Martinez said she voted against postponing the purchase because it was “too premature to assume we are contracting out without doing any kind of assessment of delivery methods.”

Mayor Miguel Pulido proposed waiting 30 days before approving a contract for tree-trimming services because he wanted to work with city staff on ways to reduce the number of trees that would be trimmed.

“I’ve had some meetings with staff where we’re talking about a different scope, where there’s not as severe of trimming,” Pulido said. “If we can bring this down by $300,000 or more that would be a good thing, and I want to look at it in context of our new tree-trimming policy”

The vote to postpone the tree-trimming contract passed unanimously.