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(photo by Daniel Archuleta)

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 — New police vehicles and computers will set City Hall back over $1.8 million if elected officials agree to the purchases tonight.

City staff proposes to buy 50 new vehicles for the police department, 45 of which will be black-and-white Ford Crown Victoria Interceptors and five of which will be police administrative vehicles.

Only Wondries Fleet, a California-based company with a dealership in Alhambra, responded to the bid, in part because the Ford Motor Co. discontinued the cars in 2011.

According to the staff report, it was cheaper by approximately $20,000 per car to buy up Wondries’ stock of Crown Victoria’s and reuse existing equipment in retired cars than it would be to buy a different vehicle type.

The Dodge Charger is also available for police work.

The new cars will cost $1,240,457 for purchase and delivery.

The police department also proposes to spend $565,292 on 75 new mobile computers for the existing fleet to replace computers which are failing.

Computers installed in police vehicles connect officers to calls, look up information in law enforcement databases and support the mobile video systems.

If approved by the City Council, the police department will get $1,805,749 in new vehicles and equipment, the majority of the $2,507,020 consent calendar.

New trucks

Two City Hall divisions are requesting replacement vehicles for their fleets so that they can continue maintaining the water system and cleaning up streets and alleyways.

The Street Maintenance Division requested a new dump truck to replace two older models which will both improve service and help achieve City Hall’s goal to reduce emissions.

The truck will have a 24-cubic yard body, and will cost $252,358. It will be used to haul materials for repair and maintenance of the city’s streets and alleys.

Staff also recommends that Frits Ford be awarded a contract for a new valve maintenance truck for the Water Division. The new truck, valued at $197,413, will replace the last vehicle in the Water Division’s fleet that can’t operate on alternative fuels.

Together, the two vehicles cost $449,771.

Lighting the way

The City Council will consider changes to two contracts Tuesday to update street lighting systems between Colorado Avenue and Pico Boulevard so that new lights can be installed as a part of the Palisades Garden Walk project.

Lights on Main Street between the two major thoroughfares are on a high-voltage series except for a portion in front of the RAND Corp., which was upgraded to a lower-voltage version when the new building was constructed.

That made it more advanced than the other lights on Main Street, and so parallel conduits were installed so the lights in front of the RAND building didn’t disrupt the rest of the system.

New lighting with arch-shaped poles approved by the council for the Palisades Garden Walk and Town Square, however, requires the lower-voltage system, meaning $165,000 in upgrades on the stretch of Main Street.

The council will consider expanding its existing contract with Dynalectric to upgrade the electric work and another $16,500 for the TCM Group to inspect the work.

Both companies have existing contracts with City Hall for the Annual Street & Park Lighting project.

Parking citation administrator

Parking citation got you down?

If the City Council approves a staff recommendation Tuesday, Santa Monica residents will still be able to complain to Sheri E. Ross, an independent administrative hearing officer who decides contested tickets.

The proposal extends Ross’s contract for three years, and she would receive approximately $80,000 per year for her work. She’s already served in the role for two years.

The State of California requires any municipality which gives tickets to provide an impartial review process for contested citations.

Those reviewers, who cannot be city employees, receive a flat fee per hearing and compensation cannot be linked to decisions.

On average, Ross hears 4,300 cases per year. The rate for the first year of the three-year extension is $17.50 per case, with an estimated annual cost of $75,250. The rate increases by one dollar for each of the other two years.

She has also worked with Los Angeles, West Hollywood and Beverly Hills.

Land swap

City Hall is seeking a landowner willing to swap holdings in Downtown for city-owned land sufficient to build a new fire station to replace the 57-year-old facility on Seventh Street.

The station, which will replace Fire Station No. 1, needs 22,500 square feet in the desired area with approximately 150 feet of street frontage to enable the fire department to keep a minimum of five apparatus bays on site.

The station will have to cover Downtown Santa Monica from Olympic Boulevard to the south, Ocean Avenue to the west, Adelaide Drive to the north and 11th Street to the east.

Staff hopes to build it in an area bounded by Santa Monica Boulevard, Washington Avenue, Fifth Court and Seventh Court.

Staff hopes to entice landowners in that area to part with three contiguous parcels totaling a minimum of 22,500 square feet for properties between addresses 1338 and 1344 Fifth St. and 1323 Fifth St.

According to municipal records, 1338 Fifth St. is a parking lot.

The current facility was built in 1955, and is in need of seismic retrofitting, facility upgrades and building improvements required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Officer retires

The police department will part with a valued employee Tuesday when service dog Anton retires.

The 11-year-old Anton has served with Sgt. Douglas Kohno for the past seven and a half years. In that time, he has been involved with many felony arrests and has received commendations for his work.

The department will give Anton to Kohno for the customary sum of $1.

The department will not purchase a replacement dog.

Putting a stop to it

City Hall will have to go back to the drawing board to find a company able to build 350 bus stops if the City Council takes the staff recommendation to reject three bids for the project.

None of the three bidders managed to give City Hall all of the documentation or information needed under the terms of the project.

Staff recommends rejecting all three bids and getting new ones with updated technical requirements that would include clarifications for what staff expects in a proposal.

The Bus Stop Redevelopment Project would systematically replace over 350 bus shelters in Santa Monica with improved shelters that include seating and bus schedule information on either real-time electronic signs or a phone-in information system.

The project is expected to cost $6.5 million.

ashley@www.smdp.com

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