At the discretion of the Dyersville City Council, the 2021 mowing season obligations have been separated into two different contracts and the manner in which it is awarded could possibly be changed next year.

While 70% of the contract will remain with J&J Lawn Care, Rick’s Lawn Mowing and Snow Removal was awarded the remainder of the work.

“We’re going to try something new this year and see how well it works,” City Administrator Mick Michel explained.

Of the nearly 180 acres the city requires to be mowed each week, J&J will cover Westside Park and the majority of the smaller lots while Rick’s will take the wastewater treatment plant, the school, several ditches and some of the larger lots.

J&J contract equates to $35,200 per year and Rick’s $15,000.

Overall, the cost of the annual contract is up approximately $5,000 over last year, or an 11% increase. Michel explained the bulk of the increase can be attributed to additional mobilization costs due to having two contracts instead of one.

Neither contract was put out to bid this year, but the council may require the contract go to bid next year.

In the past, Michel said the council has learned the hard way that going with the lowest bidder isn’t necessarily the best option, and with several large-scale baseball events scheduled to come to town, Michel said the council may want to ensure whoever is awarded the contract is capable of doing quality work.

The council also approved the hiring of staff for the aquatic center for the coming summer months, but City Clerk Tricia Maiers noted that application numbers were down this year, meaning adjustments might have to be made in what services the city can provide.

In a typical summer, Maiers said the city hires around 40 people, but this year that number is hovering around 30.

With fewer lifeguards available, the aquatic center may have to cut down on the number of swimming lessons it can provide. The potential reduction does not yet account for whatever COVID-19 guidelines may be imposed when considering group lessons.

Maiers noted they are keeping an open application policy to encourage more people to apply.