by Kim Hynes (WICHITA, Kan.)
While most of us are breaking out our lawn mowers, the City of Wichita's are sitting idle. For the first time, the city has contracted its mowing out to private companies. The changes are supposed to save the city $1 million.
Instead of using city employees, the city hired seven companies to pick up trash and mow grass. The private companies will maintain about 75% of Wichita's 6,000 acres. "I think it's a good deal. This is an opportunity to keep me employed locally," said Buck Egbert. He works for one of the private mowing companies.
On top of providing work to local companies, the change is also saving the city money. The goal was $1 million but Parks Director Doug Kupper says it's actually closer to $1.8 million. "We're real happy," he said. Kupper is also happy because the change didn't cause layoffs. He says 46 of the 50 city mowers were transferred to other departments. He says the other four chose to leave.