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A driver searches for a parking spot on Monday afternoon at the parking structure on Colorado Avenue and Fourth Street. The City Council tonight is expected to approve a new contract for management of all Downtown structures. (photo by Brandon Wise)

<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 — When it comes to its involvement with the roughly two dozen boards and commissions that advise on matters such as housing and historic preservation, the City Council wants to make sure that all parties are on the same page.

That mutual understanding should come in the form of a letter that is expected to be finalized by the City Council at its meeting tonight, seeking to clarify the role of its liaisons to the boards, commissions and task forces and providing information about special opportunities that the volunteer members have to speak before the elected officials.

The approval of the letter is part of the council’s consent calendar, which includes roughly $16 million in spending. There are no significant financial impacts associated with either writing or disseminating the memo.

The council appoints members to approximately 23 boards and commissions whose scope covers matters ranging from architectural review to the Santa Monica Public Library. Several of the boards hold quasi-judicial power, such as the Planning Commission.

While many of the boards and commissions have a councilmember appointed as a liaison, not all of them attend the meetings, tied up with obligations such as day jobs and other commitments.

The letter states that the liaison may neither vote nor chair the commission and is mainly available to provide background information on council policies and discussions. Councilmembers are also not required to attend the meetings, but should at a minimum make themselves available for contact with the board members.

“They may serve with or without attending the meetings of their advisory bodies,” the letter said.

Members representing their board, commission or task force are also exempt from the two-minute time limit restriction that applies to other speakers during the council meeting. But when speaking personally and not in representation of the board, members will be held to the same restrictions as the general public, the letter states.

New operator in town

The management duties for about a dozen public parking garages in Santa Monica will soon be shifted to a different company.

Central Parking Corp. is expected to begin overseeing a series of city-owned structures, including six in Downtown, the new Annenberg Community Beach House, the Civic Center and the Santa Monica Public Library, taking over for Parking Concepts Inc., whose contract with City Hall will expire on June 1.

The council is expected to award a 37-month contract worth about $15.7 million, which does not include two one-year renewal options estimated at about $12.2 million together. The options will begin in fiscal 2012-13.

City Hall has hired an outside agency to oversee off-street parking since 2000, covering approximately 10,000 spaces and generating more than $16 million in annual revenue.

The contract with Central Parking Corp. will also cover the beach and Santa Monica Pier lots, the bicycle valet program and maintenance of all elevators and parking access machines. Macerich, which owns Santa Monica Place, will be responsible for maintaining the elevators in structures 7 and 8, which are adjacent to the mall.

Low-emission vehicles for SMPD

The Santa Monica Police Department is slated to get a series of new three-wheeled scooters for its parking enforcement division.

The council is expected to purchase nine new low-emission vehicles for approximately $237,000, replacing a group of old scooters that are scheduled to be phased out.

The scooters travel at a maximum speed of 40 mph and their small size allows easy maneuverability in tight spaces, according to a city staff report.

The Big Blue Bus is also expected to receive new brake reline kits, which provide parts and hardware that are necessary to refurbish brake assembly. The kits will be purchased from American Moving Parts for $400,000.

melodyh@smdp.com

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