A young couple ride aboard a Big Blue Bus. (File photo)

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 — Benjamin Franklin coined the phrase, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and the City Council will surely be learning his meaning Tuesday night.

It’s expected to approve a three-year, $955,080 contract with the Harder Brake Lathe & Electric company to perform preventative maintenance and inspection services at the Big Blue Bus’ six major facilities.

That level of maintenance “has not been conducted consistently onsite,” according to a city staff report.

The company will provide inspection and maintenance for the heating and cooling, plumbing, in-ground hoists, methane detection, fuel and electrical systems at the three onsite and three off-site locations.

Harder Brake Lathe & Electric was the only company that turned in a completed bid.

If approved, the City Council will pay out $300,000 for this year. Future funding of $318,000 and $337,080 will be contingent on council approval.

That’s the largest component of the $1,115,588 consent agenda.

 

Software upgrades

 

The City Council is expected to approve a $265,000 contract with Rimini Street Inc. to provide maintenance and support for two systems that manage City Hall’s payroll and financial operations.

City Hall uses J.D. Edwards One World and Peoplesoft Human Resources Management Systems to manage municipal finances and payroll, respectively.

Oracle, a software company, owns both systems, and was the only organization that could provide maintenance.

Rimini Street stepped in to fill the void, and guaranteed it could do the same work for less money. Officials checked with other municipalities that use the company for maintenance, including Overland Park, Kan. and Eugene, Ore. to make sure their performance was up to par with Oracle’s.

The $265,000 would be paid out this year, and would cover a three-year term.

 

Backhoes

 

Because sometimes it’s better to hoe your own row, staff is recommending that the City Council approve the purchase of two new backhoe loaders for the Public Works Department.

The two loaders are used to install, repair and replace underground portions of the local water system, and are replaced every 10 years.

Coastline Equipment, a California-based company, beat out three other companies with its $255,088 bid. The off-road equipment does not run off of alternative fuels, but the diesel-powered engines meet state air requirements, according to the staff report.

 

Rental cars

 

Enterprise Rent-A-Car has tried to brand itself as the company that will pick you up, but a possible vote by the City Council could make it the group that locks you up.

The City Council will consider a $97,000 contract with Enterprise for vehicles used by the Santa Monica Police Department in specialized crime-fighting operations.

Enterprise was the only company that bid on the contract.

 

Bus-ted

 

Staff is recommending a $286,524 contract with the Wincal Technology Corporation to repair and maintain on-board camera systems on Big Blue buses.

The sensitive cameras and recording systems need maintenance to overcome the rough conditions on the buses. The footage and images they capture is used for safety, and also to substantiate passenger complaints.

Problems with the cameras have resulted in lost data. Under the terms of the contract, Wincal Technology would inspect each of the cameras for clarity and loose connections once every three months. The firmware would also be checked and updated as needed to make sure they continue to work.

The City Council will have the opportunity to approve $90,000 on Tuesday night. The remaining $200,000 would be contingent on future votes.

 

New digs, new furniture

 

Furniture comes at a price. In Santa Monica, it’s $80,000.

Staff is recommending an $80,000 contract extension with Interior Office Systems to provide, install, modify and possibly store furniture for the Big Blue Bus Operations Building.

The company, called IOS, provided furniture for the Operations Building as part of the rehab of the building that was begun in 2011. The contract at the time was worth $891,995, and was part of a nearly $4.3 million allocation for tenant improvements, furniture, graphic production and other services for the site.

Since, the department has reorganized and the communication work space has been reconfigured, resulting in a need for new furniture. Delays to the project also forced IOS to store some furniture, which cost the city approximately $17,000.

The installation of new furniture, shelves and cabinets will cost approximately $60,000, according to the staff report.

That leaves $20,000 over the remaining three years to pay for any additional changes.

Although City Hall does not have standards for large purchases of furniture, the pieces in question are made from recycled and low-emission materials.

 

Peering into the future

 

City Hall is suggesting a $28,500 extension on a $70,000 contract with an accounting firm to estimate the future costs of health care and other retirement benefits for city employees.

According to the staff report, City Hall has an existing contract with AON Consulting &  Insurance Services to meet a requirement that local governments report retiree benefits, not including pensions.

That would include medical benefits, for the most part.

AON was originally contracted for five years at $70,000, but spent $66,500 of that on full valuations in 2008 and 2010 and partial valuations in the odd years.

The increase would ensure that the company could conduct a full valuation in 2012.

 

ashley@smdp.com