FROM HERE TO THERE: A forklift operator raises a load of lumber at the site of Parking Structure No. 6 on Monday. (Photo by Daniel Archuleta)
FROM HERE TO THERE: A forklift operator raises a load of lumber at the site of Parking Structure No. 6 on Monday. (Photo by Daniel Archuleta)
FROM HERE TO THERE: A forklift operator raises a load of lumber at the site of Parking Structure No. 6 on Monday. (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 is expected to approve another infusion of cash into the municipal bus system, this time in an effort to reduce reporting errors by taking people out of the equation.

The system, provided by Pennsylvania-based Trapeze Inc., involves a module installed on each bus that communicates certain operational information wirelessly every time a bus stops to refuel or add fluids like coolant and motor oil.

Right now, employees have to type in their vehicle’s identification number, mileage, dispenser number and their own employee number, which can lead to mistakes, according to the staff report.

The Enterprise Asset Management system takes out the opportunities for error.

The system would cost $152,725 for a period of four years, but the staff report recommends paying the full amount upfront.

The new software is the most expensive item on the relatively-modest consent calendar, which comes out to $390,359.


Doing a rebuild


As they approve another electronic system for the Big Blue buses, the City Council will also be asked to say yes to a repair contract for the buses’ electronic systems.

Intercon Technologies Inc. wants $100,000 a year to repair worn out electronics on the buses, but that’s quite a bit cheaper than buying brand new units, according to the staff report.

The company can fix mirrors, controller panels, battery chargers and other equipment, preventing City Hall from purchasing new models from the manufacturer.

Although 32 companies downloaded the bid documents, only Intercon Technologies turned in a complete bid.

The full contract is for one year with two, one-year renewal options. Future funding will be contingent on City Council approval.


Parking costs


Things always seem to cost more than one expects they will, and that’s never more true than when it comes to the city of Santa Monica’s construction projects.

The City Council will likely approve an additional $82,500 in the first contract modification with Willdan Geotechnical, the company contracted to inspect and provide material testing for the demolition and rebuilding of Parking Structure 6, which is located on Second Street near Broadway Downtown.

As construction went forward, workers discovered extra work for the testing firm, including support structures that needed to be tested to ensure they could bear a higher load and additional support structures that needed to be installed and checked out.

Some details, like electrical service and a certain permits, were delayed, meaning in some cases that the firm did not know exactly what it was bidding on and had to revise its price upward.

According to the staff report, the total budget for the project will not be increased because of unexpected cost savings during the demolition of the original parking structure.

The project is expected to be completed by December.


Suit up


Staff is recommending a three-year, $150,000 contract with Castlerock Environmental to test for and dispose of asbestos and other hazardous materials encountered during demolition.

Asbestos can be found in older ceilings, flooring, ventilation ducts and other building components, while mold tends to build up in water-damaged areas or other places with insufficient ventilation.

To get rid of it, you need a contractor that has specific state certifications to remove, package and transport the waste to an appropriate disposal location.

Castlerock was the second-lowest of seven bidders that went out for the project. The lowest, Asbestos Instant Response, does not offer a warranty on their work, knocking them out of the running.

Castelrock will only receive $50,000 this year if the contract is approved. The remaining two years’ worth is contingent on future council approval.


Under pressure


There’s an environmentally-friendly way to do anything these days, including pressure washing a bus.

The Big Blue Bus will likely get another $50,000 worth of “green” cleaning solution from DeltaGreen that’s used to take the worst grime off the buses before preventative maintenance inspections and vehicle repairs.

DeltaGreen was one of three bids opened in November. The Office of Sustainability and the Environment rated its product the highest, a stamp of approval that helped it secure the spot as best bidder.

The full cost of the purchase order with DeltaGreen is $150,000, but future funding will be contingent on council approval.


In the club


Many exclusive clubs have fees, and that’s true even of those wrapped around public service.

City Hall is likely to put out $2,634 to join the U.S. Conference of Mayors, an organization that facilitates collaboration with other cities on national issues.

The conference includes representatives from 1,200 cities with populations of 30,000 or more. Its primary purpose is to promote effective national urban policy and strengthen the connection between cities and the federal government.

Although Santa Monica did not participate in 2012, issues like homelessness and gun control are on the docket and City Hall wants to take part in the national search for solutions.


Environmental monitoring


Santa Monica has to pony up some cash to keep up with federal requirements to monitor pollutants in the local watershed.

The city by the sea works with Los Angeles to control pollution that runs into the Santa Monica Bay including bacteria, heavy metals and toxic organic chemicals.

The Los Angeles Regional Board adopted individual maximum levels called “total maximum daily loads” for each kind of pollutant, and performs regular monitoring to make sure runoff doesn’t exceed those limits.

That costs money, although Santa Monica doesn’t shoulder much of the burden given that it occupies less than one-third of 1 percent of the total land area in the watershed.

City Hall will pay $7,500 over a three year period as part of its agreement with Los Angeles. Only $2,500 is required now.


New cots


City Hall proposes to use $50,000 in federal grant funding to purchase roughly 230 emergency cots compliant with disability laws.

The grant funding comes from the Department of Homeland Security’s Urban Area Security Initiative. The cots will be divided amongst Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and Culver City, with Santa Monica receiving at least 25 percent of them.

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