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Santa Monica’s Senior Ride Program, Living Wage Increases Top City Council’s Expenses

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and MarkHarding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Convention and Visitors BureauWhen one lives in a city as breathtakingly beautiful and unique as Santa Monica, inevitably that city will be shared with visitors.

By Jason Islas
Lookout reporter

April 9, 2014 - - The Santa Monica City Council Tuesday approved $3.4 million in routine expenses, including a $2 million contract for a long-standing senior ride program and $380,000 in living-wage increases.

By far the most expensive item on the Council’s $3.4 million list of routine expenses was the contract for the “Dial-A-Ride” program, which provided discounted curbside service for seniors and disabled adults since 1983, according to City officials.

“Clients make phone reservations for trips to and from any location within Santa Monica, for any purpose, seven days a week,” officials said, adding a round trip costs a dollar.

“Evening service to any location within the City is provided on City Council meeting dates,” staff said. “Monthly shopping excursions are also offered.”

The City Council also approved a $380,000 increase in its contracts with Diamond Contract Services, which provides cleaning services for the Pier and Santa Monica’s public safety facility, in order to account for a rise in workers’ wages.

Earlier this year, the City Council voted to increase the wages of the City and its contractors’ lowest-paid workers from $14.08 to $15.37 an hour.

The idea, originally brought before the Council by Mayor Pam O’Connor, came about after the City Council approved two new hotels in Downtown Santa Monica only after the developer agreed to pay a $15.37 an-hour minimum wage. (“Santa Monica Mayor Wants Higher Living Wage for City Employees,” January 27, 2014)

Also approved Tuesday was a $222,000 contract with Select Electric, Inc. to build a new signal light at the intersection of Olympic Boulevard and Avenida Mazatlan, near City Hall.

“The current 4-way stop configuration of the intersection has become inefficient due to the increased amount of pedestrians and vehicles,” staff said.

“Additional pedestrian and vehicle traffic is anticipated with the extension of Olympic Drive between Main Street and Ocean Avenue as part of the Village Development Project,” staff said, referring to the 318-unit mixed-use development next to Santa Monica’s Tongva Park.

The City Council also approved $258,500 for a contract with Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Company for concept designs of the new City Services Building, a 40,000 square foot office building proposed near City Hall for City employees.

Those employees currently work in space leased by the City, which officials said is both inefficient and costly.

Another $162,675 was earmarked for improvements to the City’s vehicle maintenance reporting software over the next five years.

“The Street and Fleet Services Division requires the use of a vehicle maintenance reporting system to aid in the management of the City’s 928 vehicles and pieces of equipment repaired and maintained by the Fleet Management section,” staff said.

“In order to implement the new system, including configuration, retroactive platform testing, installation, integration with the fueling system and communications devices, training, software updates, and prompt technical support, staff recommends authorizing a five-year contract with Chevin Fleet Solutions, LLC,” staff said.

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