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 — The Santa Monica City Council is set to approve changes to a number of labor contracts, which are expected to lower the cost of personnel by nearly a quarter of a million dollars in the current fiscal year.

Contracts between City Hall and all nine bargaining groups expired on June 30. The newly-renegotiated memorandums of understanding include reductions in workers’ compensation benefits, and some groups, including firefighters and police officers, will see increasing contributions to their retirement funds.

The changes, along with alterations to the executive pay plan, are expected to cost $2,686,865 for this fiscal year, and $3,101,923 for fiscal year 2012-13.

That actually comes in as a savings of $245,770 this year, and $890,935 for the next.

The contract negotiations also open the door to a potential two-tiered retirement system, which would allow City Hall to lower benefits for new employees. That could also be a moneysaver.

The item represents a chunk of savings in an unusually inexpensive consent agenda, which totals $410,559 in expenditures and $316,799 received in grant money.

Property management

The company that manages the Mountain View Mobile Home Park may take over responsibility for four other municipally-owned residential properties.

At present, the Housing Division oversees properties at 419 Ocean Ave., 1930 Stewart St., 1616 Ocean Ave. and 1122 22nd St.

Another firm, Overland, Pacific & Cutler was selected in March to manage the properties, but the service would cost more than the $205,124 requested by Real Estate Consulting & Services, Inc. to expand its contract from just the Mountain View Mobile Home Park to cover the other buildings.

The contract covers day-to-day operations, coordination and supervision of maintenance and repair, payment of all operating expenses and leasing and rent collection.

Smart lights

Twenty-six traffic signals are slated to get smarter if the City Council awards a $164,000 contract to upgrade the systems in three western traffic corridors.

The contract rounds out the fourth in a five-phase project begun in 2006 designed to bring all of the traffic signals and other traffic management devices under centralized control using wireless technology.

By outfitting the lights with wireless infrastructure, staff can control them remotely using software called i2TMS, which will ostensibly help quell traffic by increasing control and flexibility over intersections.

So far, 85 lights in Downtown have been connected to this wireless network during the first three phases of work.

The work would be performed by Iteris Inc., and would cover the creation of plans, specifications and estimates for the installation of the upgrades.

Construction on the fourth phase should be finished by July 2012. The fifth phase, which would upgrade the lights on Montana Avenue and San Vicente Boulevard, only has enough funding to cover the design.

City Yards

A master plan for the City Yards begun in 2002 needs a final update to reflect two changes in use before it can finally be approved.

Nine years ago, City Hall authorized a contract for a master plan for the 10-acre site at 2500 Michigan Ave. with RNL Interplan Inc.

Basically, there was too much going on.

The City Yards, also called Corporation Yard, handled fleet, street and facilities maintenance, administrative offices, hazardous waste collection, a solid waste transfer station, recycling center, water and wastewater operations, traffic operations, fire training tower and classroom, a central warehouse and extra materials.

The master plan was meant to impose order on the operations at the site, and was almost finished in 2010. Since, officials have decided to move the Resource Recovery Center off-site and bring in the fire department training center.

To account for the changes, RNL needs another $41,435 for planning, a sum the council is expected to approve Tuesday night.

Emergency grant

As part of an ongoing effort to keep the Los Angeles region secure, the police and fire departments will get a $316,799 federal grant to train officers and buy an automated license plate reading system.

The bulk of the grant, $252,799, will be used to train fire department staff on hazardous materials, urban search and rescue and terrorism-specific information. The remainder will be used to buy the equipment for the license plate-reading device.

Museum of Flying donation

The Santa Monica Police Department will donate its 1973 Cessna 172 Skyhawk to the still-closed Santa Monica Museum of Flying.

The plane was used or 30 years in department operations before officials decided to retire it this year. No one wanted to buy the plane because of its age and condition, so the department decided to donate it to the Museum of Flying.

Water limits

City staff requested that the council impose a 10 percent cut in water use in an attempt to further City Hall’s goal of supplying all of its own water by 2020.

At present, city-owned aquifers produce 73 percent of the 11 million gallons used each day by Santa Monica residents.

Water use inched up in recent months after Gov. Jerry Brown announced the end of a statewide drought, hampering efforts to be self-sufficient within nine years.

ashley@www.smdp.com

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