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 kick off an entire evening of Santa Monica Airport-related items with a relatively light consent agenda that aims to improve the runway and other surfaces at SMO as well as beef up its existing landing fee program.

City officials are recommending an investment of $672,525 to maintain pavement on the runway and repair damage to sections of taxiways north and south of the runway.

The contract would also refresh and update markings there, and resurface a tenant parking lot used by the Santa Monica Arts Studio and the Ruskin Theater Group, which are across the street from the runway.

PALP Inc., a California-based company, was chosen for the job. City Hall only received two sealed bids, both of which were opened on March 12. The same company successfully bid for the city’s annual paving and sidewalk repair project, as well as the Ocean Park Boulevard “green street” project.

Over the course of four nights, PALP crews will close down the runway to all traffic from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. so that they can remove rubber that builds up on the surface as the plane tires hit.

That work needs to take place every two years to make sure the runway is safe, according to the city staff report.


Eye on the sky


The City Council will also consider extending an existing contract with a company that monitors planes taking off and landing at SMO as part of an existing landing fee program.

Vector-US Inc., a Virginia-based company, will install and monitor two additional digital cameras to expand the existing system. The cameras will specifically look for activities used to train pilots called “stop-and-go” and “touch-and-go” maneuvers, in which the aircraft lands and then immediately takes off again without leaving the runway.

The two cameras will cost $41,696, and Vector-US will charge $16,648 to pay for costs associated with operations, data processing and maintenance of the new equipment through June 30, 2015.

Vector-US Inc. already has a system in place that includes three overlapping pieces — cameras, a transponder receiver and federal radar data — to track planes that come in and out, but it cannot yet capture the repetitive flying that annoys neighbors around SMO.

That will become even more essential should the City Council approve a new landing fee structure Tuesday evening that would assess a $5.48 tax to any plane that lands at SMO.

The full cost of the system comes to $58,344, for a total contract of $458,344 over the course of four years, according to the staff report.




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