Editor‚Äôs note: This story is part of an ongoing series that tracks the city‚Äôs 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 ‚Äî Lincoln Boulevard will become a slightly more pleasant ride if the City Council approves over $2 million to resurface a portion of the road stretching to the city limits.
The project would include resurfacing the existing asphalt pavement on Lincoln Boulevard between Interstate 10 and roughly Ozone Avenue, repairs of damaged sections of the concrete parking lane, installation of video cameras at five intersections and update striping on the road, according to a report to council.
Gone from the project are suggested bus-only lanes, which were axed when a deeper analysis of transit data showed that the special lanes would not improve the timeliness of Big Blue Buses by more than a couple minutes.
The work breaks into two contracts, one for the actual resurfacing and the second for construction management.
Sully-Miller Contracting Co., of Brea, Calif., came in as the lowest bidder for the $2,010,872 construction contract, while Onward Engineering beat out seven other firms for the $176,000 construction management contract.
Onward Engineering will be required to mail a general notice to properties within 500 feet of the proposed work three weeks before construction begins. A second notice would be distributed by hand to each adjacent property two days before the start of work.
Much of the work would be done between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. to minimize disruption to local traffic. Noisy pieces of the project, like grinding, would happen between 8 p.m. and 12 a.m., according to the report.
The project constitutes more than half of the $3.98 million consent agenda up for consideration Tuesday night.
The Public Works Department requested a $1.3 million extension to a contract with an environmental consultant to continue monitoring groundwater in Santa Monica and take on new responsibilities at the City Yards.
The City Council originally hired ICF Consulting in 2008 to test for groundwater quality at the City Yards and install a system to clean contamination leftover from the Gillette Company and its impact on the Olympic Well Field.
Since, the contract with ICF has been expanded twice, first in May 2009 and then in June 2011, taking the full contract through May 13, 2013 and providing extra funds for assessment or remediation of other problem areas.
That became useful in City Hall‚Äôs attempts to address contamination leftover from the former Douglas Aircraft Facility in Santa Monica, now owned by Boeing. City Hall netted a $39.5 million settlement from Boeing in 2012 related to environmental problems.
Under the new extension, ICF would be asked to install five new groundwater monitoring wells and continue monitoring old wells at the Gillette property, City Yards and Bergamot property.
Wells installed in 2012 and those added in 2013 would also be included.
ICF will close out work at the City Yards by shutting down 28 sparge wells, 12 monitoring wells and other equipment related to groundwater monitoring and cleansing in the area.
The company would continue to offer its expertise in answering questions from governmental agencies, Gillette and Boeing regarding environmental issues at the sites.
The $1,370,805 extension brings ICF‚Äôs full contract with City Hall to $3,775,098.
On foxes and hen houses
The City Council is likely to hire MuniServices, LLC to audit certain tax receipts to ensure City Hall is getting all of the money to which it is entitled from utility users and companies.
The company charges $425,000 for a five-year contract, and an additional 25 percent of revenues recovered by City Hall through its audits.
MuniServices has been providing audit and revenue enhancement services to California cities, including Santa Monica, for 20 years, according to a report. In the past four years alone, it has netted over $1 million in additional revenue for City Hall.
MuniServices manages that work by conducting audits and reviews of major utility providers and using its payment databases to find companies that could be paying certain taxes to neighboring cities, but not to Santa Monica.
City officials have put a greater emphasis on recovering money owed as the economy has continued to limp along and outside forces ‚Äî like the loss of the Santa Monica Redevelopment Agency or recent proposed increases in pension costs ‚Äî continue to take a toll on municipal budgets.
Bringing in the bacon
Although City Hall tends to spend millions on its consent agendas, Tuesday night‚Äôs agenda is set to be net positive.
The City Council will have the opportunity to approve two revenue generators, which are expected to accrue an additional $4.7 million to City Hall.
The largest is the sale of 19,389 square feet of city-owned property at 2525 Michigan Ave., right next to what will be the incoming Exposition Light Rail station at what is now the Bergamot Station arts complex.
An additional 12,821 feet will be used for construction for roughly 24 months.
Appraisers for both City Hall and the Exposition Light Rail Authority determined the fair market value of the property and landed on figures $717,000 apart.
The $4,076,835 selected was a compromise between the two, according to the report.
City Hall will also play temporary landlord to Cirque Du Soleil so that the famous circus can set up shop on the parking lot located at 1550 Pacific Coast Highway for performances during the winter of 2014.
The acrobatic company will pay $1,088,808 to set up their performance space in the parking lot to put on a production of “Totem,” an exploration of the evolutionary progress of the human species.
Cirque Du Soleil beat out horse-themed Cavalia for the spot.
The company will be on site from Jan. 2 through March 29, 2014, with performances running from Jan. 17 to March 16. That‚Äôs one week shorter than the previous run of “Ovo,” a performance that illustrated the world of bugs.
While there, they will take up 719 of the 1,173 spaces in the parking lot, and provide free shuttles on weekends from the 2030 Ocean Ave. beach lot for visitors to the Santa Monica Pier and beach. They will also promote their event with pier businesses, the Convention and Visitors Bureau and provide sponsorship of the Twilight Concert Series, as well as other benefits.
All told, City Hall can expect to make $644,001 off of the lease, after accounting for lost parking revenue from the lot. Officials also believe the General Fund will swell by another $200,000 in sales and hotel taxes indirectly generated by Cirque Du Soleil.