A man waits for a Big Blue Bus at the corner of Broadway and Fourth Street on Monday. (Photo by Daniel Archuleta)

A man waits for a Big Blue Bus at the corner of Broadway and Fourth Street on Monday. (Photo by Daniel Archuleta)

Editor’s note: This story is part of an ongoing series that tracks the city’s expenditures appearing on upcoming Santa Monica City Council consent agendas. Consent agenda items are routinely passed by the City Council with little or no discussion from elected officials or the public. However, many of the items have been part of public discussion in the past.

 

CITY HALL — Waiting for the bus will feel a bit more luxurious if the City Council approves over $7.3 million for hundreds of new bus shelters spread throughout the city.

City officials chose West Valley Investment Group for a $6,680,909 contract to construct the shelters and Arcadis US for a $621,500 deal to manage the work.

The project will be split into two phases because money is too tight to build all of the shelters in one go. All but 10 of the 313 bus shelters will be completed during the first phase, but proposed signage will be put on hold until the second.

City Hall expects that will cost just over $1 million.

City officials originally put the project out to bid in January 2012, but rejected each of the three submittals that came in.

The process itself showed questions about the reliability of solar panels worked into the design meant to power signs that display real-time information about bus arrivals. The signs might not run in less-than-perfect conditions, according to the staff report.

Designers revisited the plans and created a different power system that draws electricity from existing infrastructure meant for stoplights. They also upgraded shelters along the Exposition Light Rail Line route to make easy transfers from the rail line to buses.

All told, the two contracts make up just under one-quarter of the $26,126,003 in proposed spending.

 

The little things

 

As anyone with a debit card knows big purchases like $7.3 million bus shelters hit you hard, but it’s the little ones that really add up.

The City Council is expected to approve $15.4 million in small contracts and purchase orders, all of which exceed the mandated $100,000-limit for City Council approval.

The buys include a wide range of goods and services split into two categories: Purchase orders awarded in a formal bidding process and those that breach the $100,000 threshold either because an incumbent won an informal bidding process or had a contract that came with a pre-approved renewal period.

Formal bids included a paint contract with Sherwin-Williams and a contract with a company called Brenntag, which provides sulfuric acid for the water treatment plant, while the other list ran from car washing services to garbage can repair.

 

Wastewater main

 

Because leaky sewer pipes are no picnic, City Hall proposes to invest $1.3 million to replace or fix up thousands of feet of pipelines that crisscross the city.

The money will replace pipes with a 6-inch diameter with new, larger pipes that are 2 inches bigger over roughly 5,400 feet of the 150-mile wastewater system. A new lining system and rehab of existing mainline pipes will make these segments last much longer, according to a report.

Officials chose Vasilj, the lowest bidder on the project, to complete the work, most of which will take place south of Interstate 10. It should be completed by spring 2014.

 

Big data

 

Santa Monica can’t build large data collection centers in remote areas of Utah like the federal government is, but it can spend $3.5 million over the next five years to enhance its own data storage capacity.

City officials recommend four companies — CDWG, EnPoint, Nth Generation Computing, Inc. and PCMG — to provide the hardware and software needed to maintain government tech.

That means servers, data storage, virtual memory and the machines to make it all happen. Some of those components come from specific brands like Hewlett Packard, Dell and VMWare, according to a report.

Under the proposed contracts, City Hall would spend $700,000 with the companies each year for five years with CDWG and PCMG taking $150,000 each and EnPoint and Nth Generation coming away with $200,000 each.

 

Storm drain fixes

 

The City Council is expected to approve almost $275,000 to fix up six storm drains in various states of disrepair.

Workers installing the Exposition Light Rail Line discovered the problems when scoping out the storm drains within the project limits. The pipes had collapsed in some places, and otherwise had cracks and holes.

Skanska-Rados Joint Venture, the contractor building Expo, will complete the work.

 

Taking care of business

 

The Finance Department wants to continue its relationship with a California-based software company to keep an eye on Santa Monica’s 21,601 licensed businesses and the money they bring in.

City Hall has used HdL Software, LLC. since 1998. The company’s new product, HdL Prime, makes online business license applications and renewals easier. It would also streamline the collection of taxes associated with parking, hotel stays and utilities, as well as other assessments collected by City Hall, according to a report.

The system will cost $209,325 over the next five years with another $20,050 in annual user fees. Only $110,050 is up for approval Tuesday night.

 

Going to the well

 

The City Council is expected to approve a contract with an environmental consultant to close out 26 years of work cleaning up soil and groundwater at the bus depot on Sixth Street.

Officials expect that the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board will give City Hall the green light to finish monitoring at the Big Blue Bus site on Sixth Street in light of evidence that over two decades of work has cleaned petroleum-based pollutants from the water and soil.

ICF Consulting performs environmental assessment, remediation and closure services for City Hall, but its existing contract ended on May 13. Officials recommend extending it another year so that the firm can finish a closure report for the county board.

The work will cost $185,000.

 

Keep it down!

 

A change of policy at the Federal Aviation Administration is forcing Santa Monica to revisit contracts with companies that provide noise monitoring and flight tracking information for the public.

The FAA announced in January that it would no longer release flight tracking data directly to City Hall, instead forcing officials to go to a private company called Exelis Inc.

Exelis already maintains Santa Monica Airport’s noise monitoring system, a tool that helps enforce Santa Monica’s stringent airport decibel limits, but a different company, Brüel & Kjær, provides online flight tracking for the public.

Officials recommend that the City Council drop Brüel & Kjær and instead change the contract with Exelis to include flight tracking through June 2015 with two one-year renewal options.

That option would make sure that officials can still connect specific airplanes to violations of the noise rules and track planes that deviate from the “Fly Neighborly Program,” which seeks to lessen tensions between pilots and the surrounding community.

The change will cost $143,103 in the first year and $105,782 in the second. Future years are contingent on council approval.

 

New rides

 

The City Council is expected to approve the purchase of three new electric vehicles from a California company for the Santa Monica Fire Department.

Public Works has its eye on three new Ford Focuses and selected Wondries Fleet Group for the $136,314 contract. Only one other company bid on the purchase, but Wondries met all of the criteria, including color choice required by the fire department.

 

More funds for parks

 

Santa Monica’s $47 million parks are likely to get slightly more expensive Tuesday if the City Council approves two contracts for testing and inspection services.

Construction delays meant that contracts for testing and inspection services ran out before Tongva Park and Ken Genser Square, Santa Monica’s two newest parks, were complete.

To finish the work, the City Council will need to approve $131,153 to extend contracts with Koury Engineering & Testing and Smith Emery Company, two subcontractors with W.E. O’Neil Construction Company, which holds the primary contract to finish the two parks.

 

Mapping it out

 

City Hall is looking to renew its contract with a software company that provides tech used in almost every city department for mapping and statistical analysis.

Esri, a California-based company, makes software that runs City Hall’s Geographic Information System, a computer system that allows officials to project diverse information onto maps of the city.

That comes in handy for land use studies, police and fire dispatch, traffic, infrastructure and a number of other critical city functions, according to a report.

City Hall has worked with Esri software since 1993, but has never had a multi-year agreement with the company. Officials hope to end that streak with a three-year, $167,535 contract with the company, which will freeze licensing prices and ultimately save money.

Only $111,690 will be approved Tuesday.

 

Slowing down

 

Although many would say traffic prohibits most drivers from approaching Santa Monica’s speed limits, much less violate them, City Hall wants to shell out $80,000 for a study to see how fast people should go on city roads.

If the City Council approves, the contract will go to Kimley-Horn Associates, Inc. The company will be tasked with updating a traffic survey that was completed in 2006 and finally certified in May 2009.

State law requires that municipalities redo the survey every five to 10 years.

 

Labor law

 

City officials recommend that City Hall increase its contract with a private law firm for labor-related legal services.

The proposed contract extension with Liebert Cassidy and Whitmore would cost $375,000 and would cover specialized legal counsel for employee disciplinary matters, training, Personnel Board hearings, litigation and advice.

The extra money was needed because of a large number of actions brought by those employed by the city, according to the staff report.

Only $75,000 would be approved Tuesday night.

 

Friendly biking

 

City Hall wants to invest another $70,000 into a pilot program meant to make it easier and safer for kids to ride bicycles to school.

The Safe Routes to School pilot program took root in four schools during the previous academic year. Alta Planning + Design, an Oregon-based company, designed the programs, which included education, encouragement, training and evaluation processes.

The extra cash would push the existing efforts forward by cementing formal roles and responsibilities for the programs so that they can become sustainable and less reliant on volunteers and parents,  which are “important, but can be inherently transitory in nature,” according to the report.

It will also pay for additional education efforts.

 

Master planning

 

Officials believe it will take another $16,640 to finish a plan for Santa Monica’s City Yards, an effort that has been underway since 2009.

This will be the fourth contract extension with RNL Interplan, Inc., which has completed several planning studies for the site on the east side of town off Michigan Avenue. It will help break the overall plan down into smaller pieces that can be finished individually as funding becomes available.

The change comes in recognition of the tight budget, according to a report.

 

Pedestrian safety

 

City officials want to study new locations for lighted pedestrian warning signs, which is good news for consultant DKS Associates.

The Oregon-based firm will likely get another $12,349 to take a look at other sections of the city that could benefit from the signs, which have LED lights embedded in the borders.

DKS has already taken a look at four areas, including San Vicente Boulevard at Fourth and 14th streets, Montana Avenue between Ninth and 20th streets and 23rd Street from Ocean Park Boulevard to the southern city limit.

However, officials believe they need more locations to better understand if the enhancements are effective, and are willing to pay for the information.

City Hall will also throw another $5,800 at KOA, a company that has been studying pedestrian safety around two local hospitals.

A detailed look at street lighting and 400 individual surveys of hospital employees and visitors identified the intersection at Wilshire Boulevard and 16th Street that might need changes or a signal.

City Hall did not expect that intersection would be a problem, and will have to pay the extra money to include it in the KOA contract.

 

Tribute to Gussy

 

If the City Council approves, the Stadium Court in Reed Park will get a new name Tuesday night.

The courts will be renamed Gussy Moran Stadium Court after the famous tennis player who ranked number 4 in the world at the height of her career and shocked onlookers with a short skirt that revealed lace panties at the Wimbledon Championships in 1949.

Moran died in 2013, and the City Council told officials to find a way to commemorate her life and achievements, and they chose to honor the fallen pro by putting her name on the courts where she played as a youth.

Signage for the court will cost $1,200.

 

Car share

 

City officials selected the Hertz Corporation to spearhead a two-year pilot project that will put rentable cars on Santa Monica streets in an attempt to wean residents off vehicle ownership.

The car share model allows people to rent cars for set periods of time so that they have a car only when they need it. Once the pilot project is under way, city officials will keep an eye on it to see if people in the city are actually using it.

In the meantime, City Hall would be expected to provide 10 parking spaces throughout the city. Signage will cost $1,000, according to the staff report.

 

 

 

ashley@smdp.com