The new equipment will include portable radios and component parts to replace older equipment that Motorola no longer supports, as the need arises. (File photo)
The new equipment will include portable radios and component parts to replace older equipment that Motorola no longer supports, as the need arises. (File photo)
The new equipment will include portable radios and component parts to replace older equipment that Motorola no longer supports, as the need arises. The equipment will help city agencies, like the Big Blue Bus and the police department, communicate on one platform. (File photo)

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 $2.5 million for the purchase of Motorola radio equipment over the next five years to connect the Big Blue Bus, Public Works, fire and police departments.

The new equipment will include portable radios and component parts to replace older equipment that Motorola no longer supports, as the need arises.

City Hall needs to buy from Motorola because the company uses a proprietary form of encryption technology the police department uses to keep its radio communication secure.

The purchase is the biggest on the $6,471,572 consent agenda that the council will consider Tuesday night.


New cars


The Public Works Department also requested the purchase of seven new trash trucks, four that load from the front and another three that load from the side.

The total cost of the vehicles, which all run on natural gas, is $1,946,871, and they all come from Boerner Truck Center, a California-based company.

Boerner Truck Center was the lowest bidder in both cases, which constitute two different consent agenda items. In each case, Boerner Truck Center was able to provide equipment that included equipment used previously by employees, lessening the amount of retraining needed.


Real estate consulting


The City Council is expected to approve a contract with Real Estate Consulting Services, Inc. to manage city-owned residential properties for the next two years.

The contract extension would cost $916,850 for a contract total of $2,547,714. The company would oversee 26 apartments, a 105-space mobile home park and a single-family dwelling. That means overseeing occupancy, property maintenance, record-keeping and reports to city officials.

Real Estate Consulting Services has managed city properties for three years. In 2009, it was chosen out of three proposals received by City Hall.


Charge cards


If you have an American Express card, this one’s for you.

City Hall needs a company that can accept American Express credit card payments from the public, and it proposes to pay $240,000 for the service.

The contract is part of the California state government’s agreement with the American Express Travel Related Services Company. It will replace a five-year contract entered in 2010 with TransFirst Health and Government Solutions, Inc., which had a higher processing fee.

The contract will last at least through June 2014.


A voice in government


City Hall proposes contracting with two lobbying groups to ensure city interests are protected at the state and federal levels for a total of $445,556.

The first contract is with Shaw/Yoder/Antwih, Inc. and will cost $229,556. The firm will monitor state proposals, legislation, administrative regulations and other developments and let city officials know when policy or programs may be impacted.

This year, big issues will include the dissolution of redevelopment agencies, affordable housing policies, tenants’ rights, major public transportation issues and environmental policies.

The second contract is with the Ferguson Group, which will represent local interests in Washington, D.C. for $216,000.

The lobbyists will work on issues including money for water infrastructure improvements, preserving money set aside for improvements on Lincoln Boulevard and Big Blue Bus purchases as well as activities with the Federal Aviation Administration around Santa Monica Airport.

The Ferguson Group has worked with City Hall since 1994.

Both contracts will last five years.


Broadcasting contract


Santa Monica College will continue broadcasting City Council meetings, assuming the City Council approves an extended contract Tuesday night.

The $167,772-contract ensures that meetings are broadcast between 8 p.m. to midnight on 89.9 FM KCRW, the local public radio station. City Hall has contracted with the college for 20 years to provide live broadcasts of regular City Council meetings on a signal that reaches an approximate 150-mile radius through Southern California.

The new contract reflects a 10 percent increase over the previous version because the rate has gone unchanged for 10 years, despite the fact that the consumer price index, a measure of the change in price of goods and services, has gone up 20 percent in the same time period.

It would last through 2015.


Lease extension


City officials recommend $142,119 to the Toyota Motor Credit Corporation to extend the leases on 36 Toyota RAV4 electric vehicles for a two year period.

The current leases expired in October and November 2012. The new lease term for each would reach back to that point and continue through October and November 2013.

Ten of the vehicles will be replaced with new models, a purchase approved at a recent City Council meeting. Those 10 will be returned to the company when the new vehicles arrive.


Fighting the flames


The Santa Monica Fire Department proposes to swap old for new, buying one fire fighting aircraft using the trade-in value of four surplus fire trucks.

The new aircraft will replace a version that’s almost 40 years old and used for emergency responses out of SMO. It will be able to respond to fire emergencies off of airport grounds and back up a vehicle from 2000.

The total cost would have been $184,793 , but the trade-in value of the other four trucks was $97,500. A 10 percent contingency brings the total contract with Firetrucks Unlimited to $96,022.


Plan check


City Hall recommends re-upping an existing contract with a software company that provides product maintenance and technical support services for a computer system that allows architects and design professionals to upload plans for review.

Avolve Software created ProjectDox, a system that helps with plan submittal and revision processes to prevent the loss of plans and delays, according to the staff report.

Avolve Software is the only company that can provide critical support and regular software updates for the system, which is used by several divisions in City Hall.

The full contract extension costs $77,868.


Inspection scheduling


Officials plan to extend a contract with an Oregon-based firm that provides systems that let contractors schedule building inspections by phone or online.

The Selectron Integrated Voice Response and Integrated Web Response systems also integrate with City Hall’s land management system. It takes the data collected and transfers it to the permitting system, sharing important information between the two systems to cut down on the amount of manual entry work needed.

The contract would cost $89,060 for a five-year period.


Let’s play


The Public Works Department is requesting a third change to a contract with Katherine Spitz Associates, the design company responsible for a new playground expected to open this year.

The change is worth $33,759 and would cover revisions to construction documents and plan check changes including increased strength and size of structural foundations; redesigned entrance way, ramp and gate; and more slip resistant concrete sidewalk finishes.

The original contract for the playground, which is specially designed to include play elements that engage children regardless of disability, was not to exceed $120,038. The current revision puts the total contract with Katherine Spitz Associates at $160,919.

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