Shoppers buy fresh apples from Ha Farms at the Dowtown Santa Monica Farmers Market on Saturday morning. (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 — Vendors that participate in one of Santa Monica’s four weekly Farmers’ Markets may find themselves with an extra fee in 2012 if the City Council at its meeting Tuesday approves a recommendation that vendors get business licenses.

A recent review of Farmers’ Market operations showed that vendors have not been required to get business licenses in the past because of a misunderstanding of the municipal code.

If approved, vendors would be required to get business licenses by July 2012. Staff expects this would bring in an additional $18,000 in revenues.

Farmers were largely unaware of the proposal as of Monday morning.

“I’m totally against it,” said Kanji Yasutomi, owner of Yasutomi Farms. “Should we have to buy business licenses for every market we attend? That would cost quite a bit.”

Yasutomi sells his vegetables at eight markets in the area.

The business license proposal is the only item on the consent agenda that would bring in money to City Hall’s coffers.

The remainder of the consent agenda is expected to cost $3,739,168.

Real estate purchase

City staff will recommend that the council approve $2.25 million to buy up land next to the City Yards on the 2300 block of Michigan Avenue.

The new property would give City Hall the flexibility it needs to make major improvements to the facility, including possibly rebuilding the yards completely.

Staff negotiated a sales price of $2.2 million, with an estimated $55,000 for closing costs. The majority of that will come from five existing city accounts, including the general fund, water fund, resource recovery and recycling fund, wastewater fund and vehicle management fund.

The remaining $700,000 will be financed by the sellers at 5 percent a year in interest over a 10-year term.

The City Yard is presently home to a waste transfer station and recycling center, as well as buildings used by the fire department to train first responders.

Parking Structure 6 construction

The City Council is likely to approve a roughly $1.1 million contract with a construction management firm to oversee the demolition and rebuilding of Parking Structure 6.

The structure is slated to be demolished and rebuilt to include approximately 369 additional parking spaces as part of the Downtown Parking Program approved in February 2006.

Staff recommended Kitchell, a California-based company, on the strength of their proposal, experience, references and the strength of their proposed management team.

Kitchell also underbid the other two applicants, Swinerton and Vanir.

Parking Structure 6 was closed on Feb. 13. Demolition is expected to begin this month, with a completion date set for 2013.

Traffic got you down?

Staff is requesting $175,000 to begin design work on the final phase of improvements to the city’s traffic control system.

The last portion of the five-part project will upgrade the traffic signal system at 12 intersections along Montana Avenue and San Vicente Boulevard.

RBF Consultants was chosen to complete the design work for the project.

The new system will provide centralized control over traffic signals and other traffic management technology in the city, like devices that detect motorists and bicyclists, cameras and controllers that give transit buses and emergency vehicles priority at lights.

The first three phases of the job are already complete. Work is under way on stage four, which involves construction along Arizona Avenue, the office district and Mid-City area. Stage four-c is in the design phase and includes improvements to 26 intersections along Ocean Park Boulevard, Neilson Way and Main Street.

Eye on the pier

For lovers of community process, City Hall is about to launch another opportunity for participation.

The City Council will consider a contract with Moore Iacofano Goltsman, Inc. to gather community input for the new master plan for the iconic Santa Monica Pier.

The work will cost $106,020 and focus on priorities and ideas for the pier, as well as its operations, uses, needs, character and future. The information will aid the new interim Pier Board in crafting a vision for the pier.

MIG also provided services for work on the Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) and is now working on the airport visioning process, which is in its second phase.

Historic preservation

Staff recommends a $75,000 extension to an existing contract with PCR Services Corp., a Santa Monica-based firm that assesses the historic nature of potential landmarks and other structures and districts.

Preserving and protecting neighborhoods was identified as one of City Hall’s highest priorities, a task which has fallen to the Landmarks Commission and the Historic Preservation Program.

The commission has asked for assessment on several properties of late, including the Village Trailer Park on Colorado Avenue and the Midas building at Fifth Street and Colorado Avenue.

Evaluation for historic resources is needed in development review process as well.

Each time an area is up for landmark designation, it costs between $6,000 and $8,000.

Rather than find a new firm when the current contract amount with PCR gets low, staff recommends extending the contract by $75,000. This is the fifth such contract extension.

Calling all applicants

The City Council is likely to approve a contract with a firm to seek out qualified candidates to fill the shoes of the current city clerk, Maria Stewart, who will retire in May.

The council appoints the position, which is relied upon to run elections, report out of public meetings and maintain the city’s legislative history.

Alliance Resource Consulting has been selected for the $28,500 contract. The firm will weed through a pool of candidates who will then go before a selection panel.

The City Council will then interview top candidates during a special meeting.

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