The Denison City Council recently rejected a bid to provide landscaping maintenance services for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, so city workers could take on the work internally.

Denison opened the project up for bidding last month and received a single bid from SF Landscaping for $117,780.59. Denison City Manager Jud Rex said the city would be able to perform all of the work in-house for an estimated $82,279.59 and requesting the council reject the single bid.

“We received only one bid who has provided the service in the past,” Rex said. “The price has gone up considerably. The plan is to do this landscape service in-house using temporary labor. Not using existing staff but hire temporary workers to provide that at a reduced cost.”

Before the discussion and vote, Denison Mayor Janet Gott recused herself from the item, and left the council chamber because Stephen Fulencheck, owner of SF Landscaping, is married to her niece. The council the voted to reject the bid as requested.

Denison previously awarded two separate mowing contracts to the same firm in previous months. The first was for the city’s mowing and maintenance needs in an amount of $224,600. The second contract was for the city’s utility mowing in the amount of $68,260. At that time, the city split those contracts into two separate bids to reduce costs after rejecting a higher bid just months prior when it was a single item. The city saved an estimated $90,000 by splitting the contracts with the reduced bids.

At the time, Rex said the city opted to split the bids after learning certain contractors had indicated their interest in the work was limited to portions of the services contract. City officials decided it was better to split the contracts in order to receive more favorable bids.

Richard A. Todd is the Denison-area reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at