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 City Council is expected tonight to approve over $6 million on two contracts to complete an annual paving and sidewalk repair project, which is supposed to improve street conditions and pedestrian and bicyclist safety.

Improvements would take place mainly in the Ocean Park neighborhood, south of Pico Boulevard and west of Lincoln Boulevard. They would include better street striping and video imaging at seven signalized intersections, on top of normal repairs.

As the job progresses, workers will also begin putting in place key components of the draft Bicycle Action Plan, which mostly consist of new striping.

City staff recommended PALP, Inc. for the construction contract of $5,569,836 and CivilSource, Inc., for the $509,388 construction management contract.

The funding for the project comes from a mix of sources, including the general fund, Redevelopment Agency and water, wastewater and miscellaneous grant funding.

Measure V, a parcel tax to improve ocean water quality through infrastructure projects, will also be used.

The project constitutes just under half of the $14,056,861.75 consent calendar.

Biodiesel fuel

Municipal diesel vehicles will be getting a power boost Tuesday night if the City Council approves a $5.1 million contract for biodiesel fuel.

Biodiesel fits in with the Santa Monica ethos of sustainability and reduced emissions. As a result, 62 buses, over 70 vehicles as well as large trucks, compressors and other machines run on biodiesel.

The material burns more cleanly, is produced domestically and is compatible with diesel engines, storage tanks and distribution equipment that City Hall already has.

Staff chose contractor General Petroleum Corp. after a competitive bid process was begun in June that elicited eight responses.

Lighting the way

After one failed attempt, lights on the Santa Monica Pier and some city streets will be replaced with energy-efficient bulbs using federal grant money if the City Council gives the OK.

The $683,466 expenditure would replace 576 100-watt lights with LED street lights on residential streets as well as 702 light fixtures of various types on the pier.

It would also cover 4,500 linear feet of perimeter lighting on the outer edge of the pier.

Staff estimate that the replacement materials will use 40 percent less energy than the current bulbs, and have a longer lifetime, reducing maintenance.

C.T. & F., Inc. came in with the lowest bid.

This is the second try at finding a company to complete the project after council members rejected five bids during the July 12 meeting because of problems with the bid documents.

Santa Monica districts get planned

The City Council will get the opportunity to select companies that will determine the layout of two critical pieces of the city — the Downtown and Bergamot districts.

As Downtown readies for a wave of incoming projects including the Exposition Light Rail line, staff are pushing forward to create a plan for the district to map out land-use, circulation and building requirements.

Staff recommend planning firm Torti Gallas and Partners, Inc. to take on the bulk of that work, which will involve translating the policies detailed in the Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) into practical standards.

Torti Gallas and Partners’ work will define building heights and floor areas for construction in Downtown, as well as transportation and parking modeling and financial analysis for proposed development in the area.

The planning will cost City Hall a total of $655,500.

Similar work will be conducted for the Bergamot area by a different firm, The Planning Center DC&E for a proposed $546,485.

The money will come from a federal grant, and will be used to determine urban design, planning, transportation planning, shared parking strategies, economic analysis and infrastructure needs for the mixed use district that will grow around the coming light rail station.

Staff’s oft-repeated goal is to create a community around the Bergamot Station that is both attractive as well as accessible to alternative forms of transportation like walking and biking.

The recommendations put forth by The Planning Center will form a basis for zoning code standards for the Bergamot Transit Village and the Mixed-Use Creative District that sit within the geographic boundaries of the Bergamot Area Plan.

Cooperation makes it happen

Los Angeles County has asked Santa Monica and three other cities to buy into an emergency communications program to bolster local response in the face of a major disaster.

The Los Angeles Regional Common Operational Picture Platform is the long-winded name for the Antares communications system that would link Santa Monica, Culver City, Beverly Hills and the City of Los Angeles to federal and state agencies that already have the system.

The hardware and software involved would help get news and information out on major and minor incidents and help coordinate responses to large scale, regional emergencies.

Staff recommends that the $250,000 contract go to Future Concepts Inc., the only company that provides the Antares system.

Pay-per-space parking, the next generation

Staff have requested a quarter-million dollar expenditure on new pay-per-space machines for beach parking lots to replace those that are broken or on the brink.

Three of the 18 machines don’t work at all, but perhaps more importantly, the parts for the Lexis pay-by-space machines haven’t been available since 2008, leaving staff to repair broken machines by cannibalizing others and using spare parts.

Replacement of these machines with modern versions would cut down on labor and maintenance costs, as well as ensuring that functional pay machines are available to the public.

The machines would be purchased for $250,000 from Digital Payment Technologies.

Roger Wilco!

City Hall will either re-up its lease at an antenna site or risk disrupting the Big Blue Bus and other regional transportation services.

Officials currently pay to put transponders for a computer dispatch service at a site on Saddle Peak that is owned by the American Tower Corp., a Delaware-based company.

That infrastructure provides communications between BBB vehicles and the dispatch offices, and also helps locate and monitor buses.

The recommended $214,890 lease extension would ensure the use of the Saddle Peak antenna site for another five years.

Airport repaving

Asphalt around the Santa Monica Airport will get a makeover if the City Council approves $186,571 in resurfacing work Tuesday.

The 60,000 square feet of pavement surrounding 22 hangars and about 48,000 square feet of parking lot pavement will be stripped clean and resurfaced as part of the contract between the airport administration and its lease-holders.

Staff recommend the Sully-Miller Contracting Co., which turned in the lowest of four bids.

Lease extension

City Hall is requesting another five months on a lease for the Office of Sustainability and the Environment before it relocates to its permanent home on Fourth Street.

The company that leases out the space at 1212 Fifth St. agreed to lock in the same rent amount for the five months after Jan. 31, 2012, when the original lease expires.

In the meantime, City Hall will finish up on improvements at the Fourth Street location.

The total cost of the extension, parking spaces and additional expenses will be $41,619.75 over that five months.

Auditing services

Very few enjoy doing taxes, and even fewer do them correctly.

That’s the premise of a consent agenda item that proposes hiring tax audit firm Hinderliter, de Llamas and Associates to examine tax records to ensure that all of the half-cent transaction and use tax passed by voters in November will end up in city coffers.

According to the staff report, taxpayer error can impact the amount of money given back to City Hall by the state Board of Equalization.

Over the last 10 years, Hinderliter, de Llamas and Associates has recovered $4.507 million in sales tax revenue that would have gone to other jurisdictions because of those taxpayer mistakes, according to city staff.

The firm will be allowed to keep a quarter of whatever it helps recover as payment.


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