A young girl plays in one of the fountains Monday that line the Third Street Promenade. The landscaping around the fountain is slated for upkeep. (Daniel Archuleta daniela@smdp.com)

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 — Santa Monica may be a green city, but it needs a little help to keep its greenery going strong.

Staff put forward TruGreen Landcare, a Maryland-based company, for a $1.7 million annual contract to tend to almost 350 current and future parks, gardens and other landscaped areas throughout Santa Monica.

Under the terms of the agreement, the company will provide at least 28 full-time staff to tend to Santa Monica’s landscaping for five years with the option to extend the contract an additional two years.

If all seven years are used, City Hall will pay TruGreen Landcare $12,117,791 over the life of the contract.

Staff selected TruGreen Landcare out of a field of four companies vying for the job.

TruGreen was the second-cheapest of the lot, and had more experience and better recommendations than the other companies, according to the staff report.

The contract represents just under half of the money that will likely be appropriated through Tuesday’s consent agenda. City Hall is also expected to accept $559,801 in grants and other payments.

 

Santa Monica Pier Corporation

 

The City Council is expected Tuesday night to put aside $507,350 to help fund the newly-minted Santa Monica Pier Corporation.

The organization, formerly known as the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corporation, takes roughly one-third of its $1,535,350 in revenues in the form of grants from City Hall.

Another $455,000 comes from rentals, film permits, merchandise sales, the visitor center and corporate promotions. The remaining $573,000 is expected to flow in from program sponsorships like the Twilight Concert Series.

According to its budget, the Santa Monica Pier Corporation intends to spend all but $6,850 of its cash on management services for the carousel and pier deck, staff salaries and benefits and events.

 

Thinking ahead

 

The City Council will consider a half-million planning contract that will take a deeper look into the uses and needs of the Santa Monica Pier and a small portion of the Santa Monica Airport.

Staff selected IBI Group, a consulting firm, to put together enhancement plans for both the pier and 40 acres of non-aviation land at SMO.

The company will look at access, parking, uses, design, engineering, recreation and the development of guidelines for both the pier and the section of the airport, amongst other things.

At SMO, the company will focus on creating a feasibility study for a Sustainable Transportation Incubator.

IBI Group will also create a demographic and economic analysis of the pier to help craft a program for the iconic destination that serves its audience.

The company won the $500,062 contract out of a field of five proposals for the work.

 

New rides

 

City Hall is looking to buy nine new vehicles and one agricultural tractor to replace aging equipment.

The new vehicles will come from four different companies for a total of $564,968.

The Trans-West Truck Center will provide one Transit Connect electric vehicle, two propane-fueled 4×2 pickup trucks and one propane-fueled 4×4 pickup truck for $152,503.

An additional three cutaway-cab trucks will come from Santa Monica Ford at a cost of $208,394.

Two Nissan Leaf electric cars that cost $75,553 will come from the Wondries Fleet Group and Cal-Coast Machinery Inc. will deliver a new John Deere tractor for $128,518.

 

Michigan Avenue

 

Staff recommends Meléndrez, a California-based company, for a $164,000 contract to provide outreach and design services for a long-awaited piece of bicycle infrastructure on Michigan Avenue.

The Michigan Avenue Neighborhood Greenway would link the beach, Downtown and Civic Center with the Pico Neighborhood, Bergamot Station area and the Exposition bicycle and pedestrian path that will connect Santa Monica to the greater Los Angeles region.

Meléndrez was chosen out of seven firms that responded to the call for proposals. The company will provide two community meetings including an audit of walking and biking habits and a festival-like event to demonstrate components of the design.

The project will be paid for through a Caltrans Environmental Justice grant, local development and Planning and Community Development funds.

 

Addressing the dead

 

The City Council will consider extending a contract with an embalming service to cover cremation and the transportation of human remains at Woodlawn Cemetery, Mortuary and Mausoleum.

City Hall began providing mortuary services at Woodlawn in June 2011. By November 2011, the company that was providing transportation for remains and cremation could no longer deliver on its contract, forcing City Hall to cancel it.

Snyder’s Embalming Service, which already did the embalming work at Woodlawn, stepped in with a similarly-priced bid to perform the other two services.

Staff recommends Snyder’s for a $100,000 contract to provide embalming, decedent care, transportation of bodies and cremation at Woodlawn. It is the only Southern California company able to provide all of the related services.

 

Banking services

 

Staff recommends extending an existing contract with Bank of America set to expire on Sept. 30 in order to wait out possible changes in banking needs brought on by the end of redevelopment agencies.

According to the staff report, City Hall may need to extend its contract with Bank of America by three to six months in order to create a “prudent and efficient selection process” with which to evaluate banks and allow enough time to negotiate a new contract and transition to a new bank if staff decides to leave Bank of America.

Staff chose to wait longer with Bank of America while state officials finalized legislation dissolving redevelopment agencies.

The legislation could impose new rules or bank account structures which staff would need to know about before selecting a new bank.

The bank charges roughly $30,000 to $35,000 per quarter for its services, meaning that the delay should cost no more than $70,000.

 

Motorcycle parts

 

Long Beach BMW looks likely to win a two-year, $142,000 contract to provide parts and repair services for the Santa Monica Police Department’s motorcycles.

The company was one of two that responded to the request for bids. Although their per-hour labor costs are higher than their competitor’s, the amount saved on parts and after-hours repairs will offset that expense, according to the staff report.

Only $67,600 is available to pay for services this year. The remainder of the contract will be funded through future council approvals.

 

Police grants

 

The Santa Monica Police Department won two grants worth $549,322 which will be used to pay for extra staff time to support the Crime Impact Deployment program and buy new equipment.

The Department of Justice awarded the department a $33,776 grant which will be used to pay for overtime costs associated with intelligence gathering for the Crime Impact Team.

The team identifies crime trends and then responds to those locations to enforce laws and, hopefully, reduce criminal activity.

The remaining $515,546 comes from the Urban Area Security Initiative grant to pay for an automated license plate reading system and airport security enhancements as well as training for both the police and fire departments.

 

Carousel building rental

 

The Santa Monica Pier Corporation hopes to lease a piece of the pier’s Carousel Building to set up a visitor center and gift shop, according to a staff report.

The visitor center would replace a gift shop currently operating on a month-to-month lease, and pay approximately $10,479 annually for the space.

Money from the gift shop and visitor center would help support the Pier Corporation’s other work.

 

ashley@smdp.com