Spending constituent tax dollars judiciously is a chore that every elected official tackles. In recent years, the mantra of taxpayers has been to demand that their dollars are spent efficiently and wisely.
According to the publication “US Bureau of the Census, Survey of State and Local Government Finance, 1977-2020,” local governments — cities, townships, counties, school districts and special districts — spent $1.8 trillion in 2020. It is estimated that state and local governments nationwide spent as much as $72 billion in 2020 on parks, sports fields and green spaces — a portion of which is directed to purchase of mowing equipment and mowing contracts. Being entrusted to spend that much money prudently is the charge that every purchasing manager lives under.
State and local governments manage around 199 million acres — or 8.7% — of the land in the United States. Those spaces include city and county parks, sports and recreation fields, golf courses, and state parks, forests, and wildlife management areas. Many of these spaces require some maintenance, including mowing on a regular basis.
Wide open spaces need wide area mowers
Maintaining grassy areas in parks, sports fields or in other state- and municipal-owned spaces is a full-time job. The grasses are usually turf or ornamental rather than the taller, tougher and harder to mow grasses along roadsides that would require a rotary cutter. These spaces are uniquely suited for wide area mowers or flail mowers.
Wide area mowers, like Land Pride All-Flex Mowers, make the task of turf maintenance more manageable. All-Flex Mowers are well suited for mowing green spaces, sports fields and other large, open spaces. They feature three decks with three blades per deck for a total cutting width from 11 to 22 feet and heights from three-fourths inches to 5 1/4 inches. With their sleek frame design and precision engineering, operators can make tight turns with no windrows; the tight turn radius is comparable to a zero-turn mower with much faster results. The efficiency that a Land Pride AFM provides allows operators to mow nearly 10 acres per hour with the 22-foot model.
Fleet managers looking to spend tax dollars intelligently should look for wide-area mowers that offer ease-of-maintenance features. Maintenance of any mower, but especially fleet mowers, is an important factor in limiting downtime and lengthening the life of the machine. All-Flex Mowers manufactured by Land Pride offer several ease-of-maintenance features — like easily accessible blade spindle bearings, wheel bushings and wing pivot points — that allow operators the ability to perform needed maintenance quickly and get back to mowing. Units that are not easy to maintain usually mean maintenance is done less frequently leading to downtime and shortened service life.
Fleet mowing requires not only a reliable mower but also a reliable tractor. Mowing crews are consistently working eight or more hours per day, five days per week, so you need a tractor and mower pair that will do the same; because mechanical breakdowns are costly in both time and money. Land Pride All-Flex Mowers are some of the most reliable in the industry and feature warranties of up to five years on gearboxes and a full year on almost everything else. They are also performance-matched to Kubota tractors — that means the tractor and mower are matched in weight, horsepower and other key specifications. The reliability of Kubota tractors pairs well with the proven performance of Land Pride mowers.
Stretching the budget
A quality tractor-mower combination for maintaining open spaces can be a big purchase for any municipal equipment budget. Smart fleet managers look at ways to stretch the budget while getting the highest quality for the dollars invested. That’s where cooperative purchasing comes in. In the typical request for quote bid, agencies are stuck with the lowest bid, even if it’s not up to the quality standards that fleet managers want.
Cooperative buying works like this: A highway maintenance manager identifies their needs. After that, the manager can contact a manufacturer and the manufacturer can direct them to a contract, allowing the agency and manufacturer to work together on the purchase. This enhanced customer service is one thing that sets cooperative buying apart from the bid process. Since the manufacturer has already gone through the competitive bid process, the purchase process is streamlined, allowing the agency to go from identifying the product needed to issuing a PO, often at thousands of dollars less than retail. The competitive bid process has been satisfied by the cooperative agency that issued the contract.
There are many cooperative buying groups that government agencies can be a part of. Land Pride and Kubota offer contracts with several: Sourcewell (www.sourcewell-mn.gov); H-GAC (www.h-gac.com); and BuyBoard (www.buyboard.com) — just to name a few. With so many cooperative contracts available, buyers need to choose the one that best meets their buying needs. Organizations like the three listed above make sure everything is transparent. They maintain all of the paperwork and the contracts are competitively solicited, evaluated and awarded by a public agency that is bound by laws regulating the process. Everything is available for public review.
By purchasing through a cooperative contract, fleet managers in many government agencies can take advantage of the time- and money-saving benefits that these contracts provide. Buyers can be connected to manufacturers easily and without worry. As noted at the beginning of this article: Spending tax dollars is a chore that every government agency tackles; cooperative purchasing will help streamline the process. For information, visit www.landpride.com