CITY HALL — The long-awaited reinforcement of the Palisades Bluff could soon begin.

The City Council tonight is expected to approve two construction services contracts for the Palisades Bluffs Stabilization Project, which will involve installing a series of horizontal drains to remove groundwater that accumulates behind the bluffs, hoping to minimize landslides as a result.

The contracts are part of an estimated $5.8 million spending package that will come before the council.

The pair of deals for the bluffs project will go to Jensen Drilling Company for $1.9 million and Vanir Construction Management for approximately $428,000. About 80 percent of the project will be federally funded with the remainder coming from a local match of Redevelopment Agency money.

An estimated 82 horizontal drains will be constructed and installed near the base of the bluffs adjacent to Pacific Coast Highway and north of the California Incline.

Ice skating back for another season

A local holiday favorite will return next month when the Bayside District Corp. (BDC) plans to open its outdoor skating rink for a third straight season.

The City Council tonight is expected to authorize City Manager Lamont Ewell to negotiate a license agreement with Bayside for both 1324 and 1326 Fifth St., which has been the site of the skating rink since its inaugural season in 2007.

The proposed lease agreement will run from Oct. 1 through Feb. 15, 2010, during which the time the rink will be open to the public from Oct. 30 to Jan. 18.

Approximately 56,000 paid skaters came to the rink last season. The paid attendance figure is expected to increase to more than 60,000 this year.

Bayside officials said their goal is to produce a program that is as energy efficient as possible, purchasing renewable energy from City Hall. The public/private management company, which oversees Downtown, said it will add a smaller 400 square-foot ice rink for children this year that will test a more energy efficient technology.

“If this technology proves workable, BDC may use it in next year’s rink,” a city staff report said.

Smoothing out streets

A series of streets will soon get much needed attention thanks to some stimulus funds.

All American Asphalt and construction management company Tetra Tech are expected to receive contracts — $2 million for the former and $207,972 for the latter — for a citywide street resurfacing project that will cover 15 locations in Santa Monica, including 26th Street from Carlyle Avenue to Montana Avenue, and Ocean Park Boulevard from 14th Street to 25th Street.

The project will involve cold milling, grinding, rubberized asphalt overlay, restriping, sidewalk removal and construction, and curb and gutter removal and reconstruction. The street locations were chosen for their deteriorated conditions.

City Hall received about $2.6 million through stimulus funding. While the majority of the project will be covered through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which was signed by President Barack Obama in February, a small portion will come from Proposition C and general funds.

Maintaining the ‘green’ reputation

In continuing with City Hall’s status as an environmentally conscious city, the council is expected to approve a contract with EcoMotion to provide project development and implementation for the popular Solar Santa Monica program.

In an effort to make the city self sustaining by 2020, the program was established three years ago to pair residents with approved solar panel suppliers who offer competitive prices.

The initiative has been successful. In fiscal 2008-09, Solar Santa Monica assisted 25 residents and 135 businesses.

Solar systems today produce more than 1,000 kilowatts of peak-time electric power in Santa Monica, offsetting over 1.8 million kilowatt hours and 1.2 million pounds of greenhouse gases every year, city staff said.

The program will now focus more on energy efficiency, solar electric and solar thermal systems for multifamily housing, including affordable housing, and larger commercial developments.

With a $250,000 contract, EcoMotion will be asked to provide support on various policy initiatives previously supported by the council, including developing an energy efficiency and solar loan program for property owners that’s based on state legislation.

The council is also expected to approve a $245,500 contract with Community Partners, which serves as the fiscal manager for Sustainable Works, an environmental awareness organization known for its greening programs for residents and businesses. City Hall has allocated money for outreach programs to engage the community in its Sustainable City Plan since 1998. Sustainable Works is the organization that provides these programs.

New engines for buses

The Big Blue Bus will get new engines for its transit coaches.

The council is expected to approve a $400,000 contract with Ironman Renewal and Harbor Diesel and Equipment to overhaul the engines for the Big Blue Bus’ Detroit Diesel Series, and another $200,000 contract to Cummins Cal Pacific and Ironman Renewal for the public transportation agency’s natural gas and diesel engines.

“Engine overhaul services are necessary as a normal part of wear and tear throughout the useful life of a transit coach,” a city staff report said.

While the Big Blue Bus does not currently perform engine overhaul on its vehicles, it is considering bringing the service in-house once its new maintenance facility opens.

Another decade for the Jonathan Club

After more than 75 years in Santa Monica, an oceanfront social club will get to keep its beach space for another 10 years.

The council is expected to approve a resolution making official its findings last month that there has been no material change in the public’s need for roughly 39,000 square feet of beach parcels that the Jonathan Club has leased since 1984.

Such a finding is required for the council to extend the lease for the three parcels.

During the next 10 years, the club is proposing to pay an annual rent of $125,000, contribute another $75,000 yearly for beach improvements, and release claims that it overpaid rent by about $212,000.

“While additional beach improvements and beach recreational opportunities are needed, such improvements and opportunities need not be sited on the leased parcels during the next 10 years,” the city staff report said.

A realtor for City Hall

The council is expected to approve an additional $50,000 to a contract with Allan D. Kotin & Associates, which advises city officials on real estate economic matters.

The firm has provided financial feasibility services on acquisitions related to the Downtown Parking Strategy and also reviewed bids for the development of a mixed-use cinema project at the current site of Parking Structure 3.

“An amendment to the existing contract is proposed to allow the firm to continue its economic advisory and financial feasibility services to the city,” a staff report said. “The consultant’s services are needed for upcoming real estate transactions and public projects.”

Fines to increase

Violating the municipal code could soon burn a bigger hole in the wallet.

The council will be asked to update the administrative citation schedule of fines for violations of the Santa Monica Municipal Code, which covers offenses from littering in a public place — $250 — to smoking in an elevator or public restroom — $500.

The schedule of fines has not been updated since 2004. Fines range from $75 to $1,000. The floor will not change.

City staff said it has identified areas where the current citation amount is “insufficient to bring about compliance.”

“Staff has determined that the existing fine amount for many of the listed violations is below the average of what other cities impose,” the city staff report said.

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