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Stump grinding bid re-awarded

Rusty Gourley, owner of Gourley Tree and Stump Removal, of Elmore, cuts a stump Tuesday afternoon in Worthington. More than 750 stumps are slated for removal. (Brian Korthals/Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- The bid for grinding the stumps left from tree damage caused by the April ice ice storm has been re-awarded to another company.

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At the July 8 city council meeting, the bid was awarded to Prairie Landscaping for $41,034. However, Prairie Landscaping owner Allen Drost recently sent a letter to the city resigning from the stump removal contract.

"Mr. Drost was not able to fulfill the commitment of the contract for the stump grinding," Worthington City Administrator Craig Clark said. "We have moved on to Gourley Tree Service, who is out and about doing stump removals as we speak."

Gourley Tree and Stump Removal was the second-lowest bid received by the city. The original bid was for $70,074.

"They agreed to $65,000," Clark said. "We were able to negotiate that, otherwise we would have rebid."

The company is based in Elmore. The bid was for 776 tree stumps, the result of the work done by Ceres Environmental Services Inc. in relation to the April storm.

"They said they can still deliver on the time frame, which is the end of the September," Clark said.

Drost and Prairie Landscaping had started on the work and completed about 50 stumps, Drost said. Because the contract was not met, the city did not pay him for the work. It also cost him a deposit of $4,100 -- a number equal to 10 percent of the bid.

"It's going to cost me about $9,000," Drost said.

According to Drost, there were multiple unforeseen issues in removing the stumps..

"The biggest thing was they wanted me to go back and forth to the same stump over and over," Drost said. "I'd do it, clean it out, they would find spots that needed to be redone, I would do it and they kept doing it. Three times I would have to keep coming back to the same stump when two should have been enough."

Another issue was the network of roots and utilities with which he had to deal.

"I was following the roots 15 or 20 feet across the yard," Drost said "I'm getting into other tree roots then. They still want me to grind them out, and I just can't do that. The work I thought I had to do wasn't even close to what their expectations were. I didn't realize I had to chase roots 15 or 20 feet across the yard. That was the biggest issue, was probably them and the utility lines. There was more utility lines that went through the stump than I realized."