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 — The City Council Tuesday is expected to approve a $3 million contract for energy from a company that uses renewable sources.

The cost represents a $300,000 savings over an 18-month period compared to the original contract with Commerce Energy, which was renegotiated from $0.0665 per kilowatt hour to $0.0602 per kilowatt hour.

The drop in price is attributed to the impact of cheap natural gas on California markets, according to the staff report.

City Hall buys electricity from Commerce Energy, which guarantees its energy comes from fully renewable sources, and pays Southern California Edison approximately $2.5 million each year for transmission and distribution through the electrical grid.

The contract is estimated at $3 million from Oct. 1, 2012 through May 30, 2014.

It represents half of the $6,088,277 that council members could approve Tuesday.

 

Wastewater

 

Staff is recommending Mike Prlich and Sons, Inc. for a $1,677,014  contract to replace aging and damaged sewer lines throughout the city.

According to the staff report, the Wastewater Main Replacement Project has targeted roughly 5,000 linear feet of sewer pipeline which will be replaced over the course of six months.

The pipes in question were chosen based on age, condition and capacity demands ferreted out through video and visual inspections.

The company will be tasked with replacing 6-inch-diameter pipes with 8-inch models and repairing and replacing access points to make maintenance easier.

City Hall put the project out to bid in early August. Of the 32 contractors that requested information, nine responded with completed bids. Mike Prlich and Sons, Inc. came in almost $300,000 lower than the next lowest bidder.

 

New rides

 

City Hall has on its wish list two new utility vehicles, a truck used to clean and maintain sewer lines and a tractor.

The first, called a jetter vacuum truck, costs $373,287 and comes equipped with a vacuum to pull debris from lines and basins which is then stored in an on-board tank.

Jetter trucks are commonly replaced every 10 years. This one’s predecessor managed to make it an extra four years before it was deemed that repairs would ultimately be too expensive to justify.

City Hall received four bids and ultimately chose Municipal Maintenance Equipment, Inc., the lowest bidder.

The second, a John Deere tractor, will be used by the Beach Maintenance Division to clean, maintain and groom sand at the beach.

The tractor will cost $128,518. A lower bid was rejected because the vehicle didn’t meet the standards and the company did not provide a sample for staff to evaluate its performance.

 

Lights, camera, action!

 

CityTV has a brand new studio to produce local television and election spots. Now all it needs are cameras.

The City Council is expected to approve $276,553 to buy four new cameras including lenses, viewfinders, pedestals, camera control units and other related support equipment. The lot is expected to last between eight and 12 years.

Of the 421 vendors who got the call, 31 downloaded the bid. Only one, by a New Jersey-based company Ikegami, was officially opened.

 

Booster pump

 

Staff recommends General Pump Company, Inc., a California-based outfit, for a three-year, $540,000 contract to maintain the water pumps that produce the vast majority of Santa Monica’s water supply.

Pumps at Charnock, Arcadia and San Vicente Booster Stations ensure that drinkable water is available to Santa Monica residents. Keeping those boosters in working condition requires expertise beyond that of city employees, according to a staff report.

City Hall received four bids and selected the General Pump Company, Inc. for the work as the lowest bidder. The company has done work for City Hall in the past.

If approved, $180,000 will be available from the 2012-13 budget. Additional funding will be contingent on future council approval.

 

Traffic flow

 

The City Council is likely to approve a $150,000 purchase of new software to run 110 traffic signals after the current contractor, Siemens, announced it would no longer support its product.

City Hall bought Siemens’ i2TMS software package in 2004 to manage its traffic signals, a system which is in the process of a costly five-stage update to bring fiber optics and increased centralized control to intersections throughout the city.

Siemens announced in 2011 that it would stop updating and providing service for the software used to coordinate the lights, at which point City Hall put out a call for bids for a new software system.

A total of 31 bidders checked out the project, but only five submitted proposals.

A selection committee consisting of staff from Planning and Community Development and Information Systems departments evaluated the proposals and selected Intelight, Inc. for the job.

The company is the only one that provides a client system capable of running from a web-based browser and requires no installation. That means less maintenance and easier remote access for staff.

 

Containing costs

 

City Hall decided to put itself back on the market for a new medical bill review provider after its current company, Aon eSolutions, informed officials it would be upping its prices.

The Risk Management Division of the Finance Department processes approximately 5,100 medical bills each year for injured city workers. Each bill has to be reviewed for compliance and checked against the state’s fee schedule for medical services.

That’s a pretty important step given that it saved City Hall $3.3 million last fiscal year alone.

City Hall uses outside firms to complete that work. That firm manually reviews bills to ensure charges reflect medical services approved by staff and electronically reconciles bills with state fees.

Aon eSolutions told City Hall that its new software would increase the amount of savings, but that it would charge more in return for the improved service, causing staff to shop around to see if it was still the best deal.

Staff decided to replace Aon eSolutions with InterMed Cost Containment Services, a California-based company, for a five year, $750,000 contract. Officials believe that InterMed can save City Hall another $100,000 to $200,000 off its medical costs.

Only $150,000 is included in the 2012-13 budget. Additional funding is contingent on future council approval.

 

Paying the bills

 

The City Council is expected to approve a five year, $290,930 contract with a Canadian computer firm to update its billing software.

City Hall uses the NorthStar utility billing system to keep track of customer accounts for municipal services like water, sewage, recycling, fire inspections and more.

An increase in the number of jobs that the system has to accomplish necessitated an upgrade to better automate the system, and staff selected Harris Computer Systems for the job.

It didn’t have much choice.

Harris was the only company qualified to provide support for the software.

Only $107,554 will be authorized Tuesday night. The remainder is contingent on future approval.

 

Squeaky clean

 

Safety personnel need to keep safe as well, and a potential purchase of $45,351 worth of sanitary gloves and anti-microbial wipes will help with the job.

Police Department staff use the gloves and wipes to protect themselves as they clean up crime and other messes around Santa Monica.

The contract attracted five bids, and was ultimately won by Empire Safety, which came in lowest at $45,351 for the 2012-13 year with two renewals for a total of $145,800.

 

 

 

ashley@smdp.com