Tempe rolls out landscaping referral program

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The City of Tempe is rolling out a new program it says will help residents win the war on weeds in their yards.

It's called Tempe Landscape Referral.

"The City uses its, basically, bulk purchasing ability to get you the best rate possible," said city council member Kolby Granville.

Using that power, the City of Tempe has contracted with three landscaping companies to offer discounted rates for basic yard upkeep.

"You contract with them, they do the work.  You pay on a monthly basis: $35 a month for the front yard and $70 a month during the summer months," Councilor Granville said.

Each company has been pre-screened and has agreed to a pre-negotiated price. That's the extent of the City's involvement unless a dispute arises.

"They don't have to go out and get a bunch of different bids from a bunch of different landscapers. It's just the three. Call them, and it's done. We come do the service; it's all taken care of," said Joe Shill of Somerset Landscape Maintenance.

We're told that it can mean up to 25 percent discount, which is a pretty sweet deal. The City calls it a win-win.

"Tempe's happy because we've got a higher quality of life, more livable community. You're going to be happy because you're getting the best rates possible," said Granville.

The trio of landscapers selected all told us this will likely end up being a pretty good deal for them, too.

"Well, we're definitely hoping to pick up some more business and employ some more people," said Jose Hernandez of Artistic Land Management.

Most of the neighbors who spoke with 3TV seemed pleased with the program.

"It's a good idea in the respect that the price is fair," said one area resident, Steve.

Others, though, worry the City is playing both sides with this program.

"You don't get to be the good guy and the bad guy; sorry. They go, 'oh, I'm going to fine you, but I'll give you this option to pay my people.' I don't know," said Carl Ikegami.

"Our goal is never to cite people. Our goal is just to make a livable community," Granville said.

The city councilor told 3TV this program is designed to do just that while giving residents' backs and wallets a nice break.

"We want a place where people drive the streets and say, 'I'd live there', and I think if we can create an environment where people can do that as cheaply, cost-effectively and safely as possible, I think that's a great idea," said Granville.

You can find more information on Tempe's landscape referral program online.