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 — City Council will consider spending $8,549,673 in tonight’s consent calendar, with most of that ($6,825,464) going toward seven new buses.
New Flyer of America, Inc. is slated to get the bus contract, which would be covered entirely by federal and state grants along with Los Angeles County transit sales tax funds.
The current 40-foot buses are at the end of their useful lives, according to city officials.
The new 60-foot Compressed Natural Gas-powered buses are more reliable and efficient, city officials said. Seating would increase from 40 to 58 seats per bus. This will help reduce overcrowding on high volume routes.

Credit card fees

Last fiscal year City Hall processed 8.1 million credit card transactions. Parking-related credit card usage, which accounts for 98 percent of total card transactions, was up 10 percent of the prior year. Non-parking usage was up 19 percent, with much of that increase coming from online purchases.
All these transactions translated to $2.2 million in credit card processing fees for City Hall last fiscal year — a 15 percent increase from the year prior.
For this reason, council is being asked to add $1 million to its contract with TransFirst Health and Government Services. This would result in a five-year amended contract of nearly $7.4 million.

Radios

Breaker, breaker, council will consider dropping $200,000 on the police and fire department’s public safety radio system. Motorola Solutions has been maintaining the system since 1998 and city officials recommend it stay that way.
“The systems are interoperable and share infrastructure equipment located at the Public Safety Facility and at remote locations throughout the city,” city officials said in a report. “The Police Department utilizes a proprietary form of voice encryption technology developed by Motorola Solutions, Inc. Support for the system and replacement parts and equipment compatible with the system are available only from Motorola”
Many police departments have public radio frequencies but Santa Monica does not. The Daily Press has, in the past, attempted to gain access to the radio frequencies in order to remain better informed on public safety happenings.

Civic consultant

The contractor selected to guide future plans for the Civic Auditorium is set to get an additional $377,665 from City Hall. HR&A was selected back June and paid $75,000 to enact the first phase of the plan for the Civic, which has been shuttered since last year as it needs a seismic retrofitting. The additional money will cover the second phase.
There will be a handful of public meetings about plans for the Civic held in coming months, including one this Saturday.
The cash to upgrade the Civic was originally set to come from the redevelopment agency; the agencies were liquidated statewide to plug a budget gap.

Door through Door

Council will consider adding $146,544 to a contract with WISE & Healthy Aging, a local nonprofit, for its Door Through Door Ride Attendant Service, which runs in conjunction with City Hall’s Dial-A-Ride program.
“Dial-A-Ride is a curb to curb program, but some people with mobility issues need assistance from their door to the curb, and from the curb to the door of their destination,” city officials said in a report.
In its first year, the WISE program is on track to providing 1,800 rides.
“The added capacity to provide attended rides through the existing Dial-A-Ride program will meet the needs of Santa Monica’s older adults as they age in the community and experience more mobility issues,” the report said.
dave@www.smdp.com

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *