(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 — The City Council will be asked to get the ball moving on the Palisades Garden Walk and Town Square parks tonight with over $8 million in new appropriations for the two parks.

The money comes on top of the “not to exceed” contract of $39 million awarded to W.E. O’Neill Construction Company in June 2011, and includes money for additional scope of construction, a contingency fund of 7 percent and allowances for testing and inspection services of $5,126,248.

The new contract total is $47,090,523.

That’s slightly larger than the total for the consent agenda expected to be approved tonight, which comes in at $45,594,159, largely as a result of money spent on the two parks, seismic improvements for the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and city-funded enhancements to designs for the Exposition Light Rail stations planned for the city by the sea.

Seismic improvements

Staff is looking for increases to the contracts for the Civic Center improvements that are similar in nature if not cost.

According to a staff report, the council will need to approve an additional $16,944,432 to pay for pre-construction and design services, extra construction costs for features required under the American Disabilities Act, a contingency for the city and allowances for testing and inspection services.

The City Council approved a $35 million contract with Morley Construction Company for the construction services — forgetting design and pre-construction — in June 2011.

The money will go toward renovations and seismic upgrades to the aging Civic Auditorium, which received landmark status in 2002 after the City Council upheld a Landmarks Commission designation on appeal.

The train is coming

City Hall is expected to pay $25.35 million for its portion of the Exposition Light Rail line and enhancements to the Downtown station expected to arrive in Santa Monica by 2015.

Municipal coffers will be tapped for Santa Monica’s portion of a 3 percent local match for the $1.5 billion slated to be spent on the second phase of the $2.4 billion project which will run from Culver City to Santa Monica.

That comes out to $16.5 million.

City Hall has also spent the last several months in negotiations with the Exposition Light Rail Authority for improvements to the three stations planned for Santa Monica at Memorial Park and 17th Street, Bergamot Station and 26th Street and Fourth Street and Colorado Avenue.

Modifications at the last station include softening the curvature of the tracks which will allow the trains to move more freely through the intersection at Colorado Avenue and Fifth Street, reduce wheel noise and keep development options open for the surrounding land.

Those changes are expected to cost City Hall $8.85 million.

Well relocation

The City Council will decide whether or not to front over $1.4 million to relocate a municipal well so that a private school can make improvements on its sports facilities.

The Windward School leases city land at the Charnock well field for its football, soccer and baseball fields. The football field and the baseball field overlap, a situation which could be fixed by moving the football field approximately 50 feet.

To accommodate the change, an existing well would also have to move approximately 50 feet, a task which the school has offered to pay for, according to the staff report.

City Hall has an existing relationship with the firm Black and Veatch, and staff proposes using that firm to complete the work and then getting reimbursed by the school for the $1,421,417 it would cost to get it done.

Traffic study

Staff is recommending a $740,000 contract increase with a company to investigate the possibility of modifying roads near Fourth Street to improve access to the freeway and new Downtown attractions.

The analysis would look at modifying the Fourth Street bridge to improve pedestrian and bicycle access, and realign the I-10 off ramp to open up the area for better circulation and access.

It would also look at the possibility of capping the freeway.

The contract would include the feasibility of the proposed changes, how much they would cost and what options that would open up for city-owned land adjacent to the Downtown Expo Light Rail Station.

According to the staff report, the study could help improve traffic conditions on Fourth Street, and may be necessary as increased development in the Downtown area — including new parks, the Exposition Light Rail Station and other attractions — brings in additional people and vehicles.

Staff proposes amending an existing contract with AECOM to complete the work.

Excelling at delegation

City staff is looking to abdicate responsibility for constructing a portion of a bike path planned to run next to the Exposition Light Rail line and within the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s property.

The project consists of 1.3 miles of bike path that will stretch between Centinela Avenue to 17th Street. It will be 17 feet wide and will have nine access points in the city.

There will also be signage, fencing, lighting and landscaping.

City Hall was originally responsible for designing and building the bike path, and received $2,018,650 million in funding through the federal government, of which it spent $352,350 on design services.

The Exposition Construction Authority, known as Expo, took over responsibility for the design and construction of the project, and left MTA to administer the remaining $2,018,650 grant funds.

City Hall is still on the hook for a local match for the grant, which comes to $672,000.

If approved Tuesday, City Hall will write the check to Metro as part of the grant obligation.

Public art

A major work of public art planned to be included in the Palisades Garden Walk park will cost City Hall $440,220 if the City Council gives the thumbs up.

The piece, designed by artist Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, will be composed of 49 telescoping stainless steel poles each affixed at the top with anemometers and wind vanes.

Manglano-Ovalle was chosen out of 14 applicants by a selection panel consisting of five prominent arts administrators and curators. He’s famous for work that includes sculpture, video and other disciplines.

He also collaborates with scientists on projects that evoke objects that are difficult to touch, like DNA molecules or clouds.

According to the staff report, it was this aspect of his work that endeared him to the panel.

The piece is expected to cost $440,200 upfront, and then $2,000 in annual maintenance.

BBB upgrades

Staff has requested another $600,273 in upgrades for the Big Blue Bus system to cover devices that would allow buses limited control over traffic lights in an effort to improve traffic flow and new fare boxes.

Trapeze, Inc., an Iowa-based company, is recommended for the $400,273 contract for devices that give buses priority at stop lights under certain conditions.

Officials have already installed its Transit Master system, a system that provides the Big Blue Bus with real-time tracking information of its buses.

The contract would involve software licenses for 56 buses and upgrade kits for 26 of those vehicles, as well as labor and installation.

The new equipment will give the buses the ability to request priority when they hit traffic signals, particularly if the bus is already behind schedule or has a heavy passenger load.

GFI Genfare, an Illinois-based company, was selected to provide replacement parts and service for fareboxes, which were last replaced in 2001.

That is a one-year, $200,000 contract.


City Hall will likely award a contract for the purchase of sulfuric acid to Univar USA, Inc., a Washington-based company, for a one-year contract of $381,375.

Sulfuric acid is used at the Arcadia Water Treatment plant to adjust the acidity level of the water before it goes into a reverse osmosis unit. The procedure extends the life of the expensive membranes that compose the units and reduces the need for staff to clean them out.

Legal services

Staff recommends that the City Council approve a one year, $300,000 contract with the specialty labor law firm Liebert Cassidy Whitmore.

The firm specializes in representing municipalities in employee discipline matters, workplace investigations, Personnel Board Hearings, labor law-related training and the preparation of legal reports.

LCW has worked for City Hall for several years. The proposed contract will last one year with four options to renew.

Consulting services

Staff recommends that City Hall increase a contract with a financial advisory firm by $150,000 as the scope of its work continues to grow.

The Public Resources Advisory Group, based in New York, has provided analyses on City Hall and the Redevelopment Agency’s debt capacity and affordability. It has also served as a financial advisor for the debt financing for Parking Structure 6 and refunding of some bonds for the Public Safety Facility among other projects.

City Hall expects to need the firm’s services in the future, and proposes a $650,000 contract for the next five years, although only $150,000 will be allocated in this fiscal year.

Real estate advice

The City Council is expected to approve two contracts totaling $150,000 for real estate and economic development advice.

Staff recommends bringing on Keyser Marston Associates for $80,000 and extending an existing contract with Allan D. Kotin & Associates by $70,000 for advice on complex property transactions involving leasing, acquisition or creating joint public and private development partnerships.

The consultants would be used on an as-needed basis, particularly for the proposed development at Fourth Street and Arizona Avenue and the leasing structure at the Bergamot Station arts Center.

The contracts will be paid for through redevelopment funds.

BBB admin building

City Hall is expected to enter into a $27,577 contract with a California-based company to deconstruct trailers used to house employees while the Big Blue Bus administration building was being built.

Workers finished construction on the building on Dec. 2, 2011. Prior to that, dispatch and operations staff were put in trailers on the Big Blue Bus campus.

This will constitute the third contract modification with Design Space Modular, for a total of $366,299.

Expensive bathrooms

Further complications with bathrooms constructed on Santa Monica Beach will result in another $21,952 added to the construction contract.

According to a staff report, a problem with a sewer will force workers from the Monarch Plumbing & Mechanical company to remove and replace a concrete curb, sidewalk, asphalt paving and the immediate emergency replacement of 20 feet of sewer line.

The work will ensure the integrity of the new piece, and prevent sewage backup which could endanger public health.

Pool replastering

Staff is requesting an additional $16,350 to finish work replastering two municipal pools at the Santa Monica Swim Center

Sea-Clear Pools began construction to replace and repair the plaster on two municipal pools during the center’s winter closure period between Dec. 19 and Feb. 5.

As the company worked, it found problems with five main drain sumps and covers at the pool would need to be replaced in order to meet the requirements of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services.

Sumps are pumps that raise water against the grade.

To put the project out to bid would take too much time and would force Santa Monica College and the Community and Cultural Services Department to cancel or reschedule classes, so staff recommends increasing the contract amount without further process.


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