City officials are considering removing some service roads at the Woodlawn Cemetery to make room for more burial plots. (photo by Brandon Wise)

(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 — Even cemeteries are business opportunities these days, and City Hall is preparing to invest heavily to try and get a return out of Woodlawn if the City Council assents at tonight’s meeting.

City council members are expected to sign off on $298,323 in improvements to a new sanitary sewer main serving the mausoleum, construction of concrete curbs, gutters and cross gutters and maintenance of all streets within the cemetery’s grounds.

The improvements are part of the Cemetery Business Plan, approved by the City Council in April 2009, to help the cemetery support itself.

Staff recommended VCI Telecom, the lowest of 13 bidders at $271,202.40. One company, the Western Group, did submit a lower bid, but it did not meet the project requirements, so staff deemed it “non-responsive.”

The extra $27,120.60 covers a 10 percent contingency budget.

Woodlawn’s upgrades are only the second largest expenditure of a series totaling $1,648,245.24 on tonight’s consent calendar.

Sprucing up the place

The council is expected to sign off on improvements to City Hall worth $531,300 as part of a federally-funded seismic retrofit project.

According to a staff report, the Federal Emergency Management Agency gave City Hall funding to bring the building up to code after the 1994 earthquake. While those offices are being upgraded, staff will be moved to the former Information Systems Department space.

In addition, Human Resources and City Clerk departments need more room for their staff, which has outgrown the current office space. This project includes improvements to those two offices as well as work to expand them into space that used to belong to the Revenue Division.

City staff recommended California Averland Construction, Inc., which was the lowest of nine bids.

Love a man in uniform

Aramark Uniform Services will receive a seven-year, $525,000 contract for uniform and floor mat services if the City Council gives the OK tonight.

City staff also recommends that the council approve a $15,000 contract extension to cover the next two months of services, bringing the total expected cost for the 2010-11 fiscal year to be $75,000.

The company was chosen in June 2010 to provide uniform, floor mat and laundering services to all other city departments, and was asked to extend those services to cover the Big Blue Bus system as well.

Beefing up security

Staff recommended a $200,000 increase in a contract to provide security for the Big Blue Bus system while officials search for a company to replace the current provider.

The BBB is currently in the process of selecting a new on-site security firm, but needs to retain the current provider, U.S. Security Inc., until the end of June 2011.

According to the staff report, the advertisement posted by city staff drew 40 bids from private security companies by Feb. 20, 2011, which made it difficult to choose a new company quickly.

The cost of extending the contract is $200,000, bringing the grand total to $671,903. Staff expects to bring the new contract to the council by April 26.

History in the making

Two firms which both specialize in analyzing historic resources are expected to get a bump in their respective contracts totaling $70,000.

Staff requested a $20,000 increase in City Hall’s contract with Jones and Stokes Associates, an international firm with a Los Angeles-based office, for a total of $90,000 over the course of one and a half years for its work evaluating properties’ eligibility for the designations of structure of merit, landmark or historic district.

A second firm, Santa Monica-based PCR Services Corp., is up for a $50,000 contract increase to total $157,950 for a three year contract.

That company analyzes proposed alterations to landmark structures and other buildings considered to be historic resources. It also analyzes eligibility for the titles of landmark, structure of merit or historic district, similar to Jones and Stokes.

In both cases, the firms were chosen from a list of eight qualifying companies.

Burn, baby, burn

The Santa Monica Fire Department requested an additional $8,622.24 to add turnout timers to a system that lets firefighters keep track of their response times.

The turnout timers will let firefighters see the actual time it takes for them to leave the station for each call, from the moment the call comes in to the minute they’re en route to the incident.


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