<i>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.</i>
CITY HALL — One of the biggest polluters of the Santa Monica Bay, pigeons could soon lose easy access to their toilet.
The City Council tonight is expected to approve a $107,758 contract with Bird Busters to install a net directly beneath the Santa Monica Pier where pigeons roost and frequently defecate, creating challenges for City Hall to meet bacterial levels set forth by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board.
The contract is part of an estimated $1.8 million spending package that includes everything from a redesigned Web site for the Big Blue Bus to structural engineering for the new CityTV studios.
City officials said they believe that installing the net and thereby eliminating the roosting sites beneath the pier will reduce bacteria pollution caused from pigeon feces. A consultant hired last year to evaluate various projects that would keep bacteria levels below the board’s requirements identified netting as the most effective solution for deterring birds.
The council will also be asked to extend a month-to-month contract for custodial services at the pier through June 30, 2010.
That $426,000 extension will be granted to High Tech Building Maintenance, which began covering the pier when City Hall’s previous contractor, The Resource Collection, filed for bankruptcy in May 2009. Its contract was terminated after City Hall discovered that the company had not paid its employees since April, a breach of the terms under the agreement.
There appears to be a lot more work to be done before CityTV can move into its new studio at 1654 19th St.
Nonzero Architecture, which is responsible for designing and preparing bid documents to convert the former automotive repair shop into a space suitable for a cable television station, will need an extra $8,056 to perform structural engineering design work to accommodate mechanical requirements for the building, including constructing a new attic that will hold some equipment.
The architectural firm was hired late last year on a $198,550 contract, including a 10 percent contingency that was exhausted when City Hall hired a civil engineer to redesign the storm drain system because existing drawings were deemed inaccurate.
CityTV was previously located at 525 Broadway in a commercial building that is slated for redevelopment.
Keeping it running
The consent calendar includes a series of contracts for the Big Blue Bus, including $14,883 for new batteries, $8,719 for filters, and $1.24 million for biodiesel fuel.
But perhaps the most pertinent to actual customer service is the redesign of the BBB Web site.
The public transportation agency is expected to hire Mortar Advertising LLC to not only revamp the site, but build a new online application that will allow riders to plan their trip before leaving their home.
“This contract would also include interface design services for new online applications including real-time bus information and online trip planning,” a city staff report said.
The contract is part of a $7.5 million effort to improve technology and communication between BBB and its growing customer base. The agency just recently installed a series of signs at bus shelters along Broadway and Santa Monica Boulevard that inform riders when the next bus is due to arrive.
Higher parking rates on pier’s birthday
Cars might be better left at home on the day of the Santa Monica Pier’s centennial.
City officials are considering raising parking rates on Sept. 9 — the pier’s 100th anniversary — at various lots and garages throughout Downtown.
The proposal includes setting rates at $25 for vehicles entering beach lots after 2 p.m., $15 after 6 p.m. for structures 1-9 along Second and Fourth streets, and $10 at the Civic Center Parking Structure starting at 6 p.m.
The revenue from the increased rates is anticipated to bring in about $65,000, helping to cover City Hall-related expenses for traffic management and maintenance related to the event, which will include a ceremonial procession, rededication of the pier, and a 20-minute fireworks show.
City Hall is planning on reinstating a contract with Commerce Energy to buy renewable energy for various city facilities through June 30, 2010.
Assuming that City Hall consumes the same amount of energy as the previous year, which was more than 17 million kilowatt hours, the cost savings for this fiscal year is estimated to be $1 million.
“Purchasing renewable electricity for city facilities is a key strategy supporting the energy goals in the Sustainable City Plan,” a city staff report said.
Some sources of extra money
The Santa Monica Police Department is slated to receive a $103,805 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety that will go toward enhancing enforcement programs such as DUI checkpoints and motorcycle safety operations.
The grant is one of a few items on the consent agenda that will involve bringing in money to City Hall, not expending it.
A new lease for city-owned property at 3300 Pico Place is also on the table, estimated to bring in about $7,560 in rent through the life of the agreement, which is slated to end July 31, 2012.
The tenancy will go to Morgan Auto Services, which has rented the property since 2003 to use for parking seven tandem spaces. The lease is based on a rate of $90 per parking space.
City officials, who considered transforming the lot for public parking, said the parcel is small and irregularly-shaped, located in a remote spot just next to the I-10 Freeway. They opted to keep the lot for private uses, concluding that striping it would not yield as many parking spaces as an operator who manages tandem spots.