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 — After 15 years shuttling passengers around the Westside, City Hall says five 15-year-old, 40-foot buses are three years past the end of their useful lifetimes.

Accordingly, the transit department is asking the City Council to approve $4.9 million to buy five bigger, 60-foot buses that run on compressed natural gas instead of diesel to replace them.

The proposed contract with North American Bus Industries would allow the Big Blue Bus to operate fewer buses during the evening rush hour, saving $200,000 per year, a City Hall report said.

The council tonight is expected to approve the bus purchases as part of a package worth $7.4 million.

Trying to maintain

The city of Santa Monica owns 148 buildings, and according to City Hall it’s time to review each and every one of them to complete a comprehensive “condition analysis study.” It’s a task expected to cost $282,000 that will allow City Hall to come up with a plan to maintain and improve its infrastructure, according to a City Hall report. The contract is with the firm Faithful + Gould.

The council is also being asked to approve $325,000 worth of contracts for additional consulting on the Land Use and Circulation Element, City Hall’s update to its general plan for growth and development.

One contract for $100,000 would go to the Phipps Group for work on neighborhood conservation and historic preservation initiatives. The other proposed contract, for $225,000, is with the Odermatt group for consulting on the integration of the Expo Light Rail line in Santa Monica.

Eye on you

With the goal of catching criminals in the act, as well as protecting against liability claims, the police department is asking the council to approve $275,000 for a new mobile video system.

The purchase would replace a 5-year old system the departments says “has repeatedly proven effective in documenting the actions of suspects committing criminal activity.”

The Santa Monica Police Department has been awarded $246,000 under the federal COPS technology grants program, a City Hall report said.

The council is also being asked to approve $1.4 million for property management services at the City Hall-owned Mountain View Mobile Home Park located at 1930 Stewart St. The proposed contract with Real Estate Consulting and Services includes all operating costs for a 39-month period.

Food on the way

In a move reflecting the weak economy, the Housing and Economic Development Department is asking the council to adjust a lease agreement with a cafe that plans to rent space in the Civic Center parking garage.

The lease modification would eliminate the base rent for the first year in business, charging the cafe, Trimana Grill, only a “percentage rent” equal to 10 percent of its gross sales. The adjustment is intended to give the cafe’s owners a break “as the business establishes itself in an untested location and creates a customer base,” according to a City Hall report. The recommended modification also lessens the rent for the remainder of the term.

The council also is expected to honor the memories of two longtime Santa Monica leaders.

City Hall recommends naming the off-leash area of Joslyn Park “Herb Katz Dog Park” in honor of former Mayor Herb Katz, who died in 2009 from cancer.

The other recommendation is to change the name of Beach Park No. 1 to Dorothy Green Park to commemorate the life of Heal the Bay founding president Dorothy Green, who died in 2008.

nickt@www.smdp.com

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