Hoping to get an early start on entering into contracts to cut city grass in the 2018 season, officials published requests for bids in December but the two bids were rejected as troubling.

The city asked firms to bid on 10 city properties, including the two city cemeteries, six city parks, the detention pond at Hawthorne Subdivision and city hall.

Thorne Lawn and Landscape, Festus, bid $705 per cutting and C & C Lawn and Landscape Pacific bid $2,010 per cutting.

C & C Lawn and Landscape cut the city grass in 2017.

City Administrator Steve Roth said City Clerk Kim Barfield had contacted the Des Peres officials for a reference for Thorne Lawn and Landscape and they gave a favorable review.

Roth said the contractor had viewed the sites and is familiar with the property, but he has concerns whether the company could perform the contract at that price.

City ordinances require aldermen to award the contract to the lowest responsible bidder, but Alderman Mike Pigg said the low bid was too low to be considered.

Pigg said he worries that the low bidder had not understood the amount of acreage involved and the time, labor and equipment to do the job. He also fears that the company might in good faith try to perform for that price, but would lose money and would eventually walk away from the project leaving the city with no contractor.

“We’ve been here before,” he said. “What do we do if we don’t have a contractor in the middle of the season?”

Pigg said the only reasonable thing to do is to reject both bids and put the grass cutting out to bid again.

Cody Schuster, owner of C & C Lawn and Landscape, said he would step in once the season begins only if he could get in all the cuts for the season. He said once the season starts, his crews are scheduled and to fill in would require evening and weekend work, which costs more.

“For any company that would take this on in the middle of the season, the prices would be outrageous,” Schuster said.

Following a motion and favorable vote to reject both bids, Roth said he will rebid the service with a late January due date and bring the bids to aldermen Feb. 5.