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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Council Appropriates $1.2 Million for Furniture and A/V for New City Hall

• Critics Who Fought to Keep All of the Theater Seats Are Proven Right as Money Now Has to Be Allocated for an Overflow Room to Accommodate the Public

BY BILL KOENEKER



The Malibu City Council on a 4-1 vote with Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich dissenting, approved this week spending $1.2 million for work station furniture and audio/visual equipment for the new city hall while at the same time learning that a dispute between the contractor and one of its subcontractors has delayed progress.
In another action, the council appropriated $525,000 from the certificates of participation and $18,000 from the general fund city hall revenue fund for the ongoing construction and improvements at the new city hall.
The council has earmarked $270,000 for furniture, fixtures and high density filing systems and $300,000 for audiovisual and broadcast equipment.
Assistant City Manager and Administrative Services Director Reva Feldman insisted the items were already budgeted and did not represent additional costs.
She said the adopted budget included $5 million for the construction and remaining design contract.
Conley Ulich wanted to know if the high costs of the audiovisual and broadcast equipment had been vetted.
Mayor Jefferson Wagner and Councilmember Laura Rosenthal said, as members of the council subcommittee, they had toured the ongoing construction at the new city hall and had spent a lot of time going over the issues.
The mayor revealed there was a conference room earmarked as an overflow room where some of the broadcast and a/v equipment will be installed.
No one, including Conley Ulich who was vocal on the issue, mentioned about the need for an overflow room after designers had convinced the council to remove seating from the theater/council chambers despite a major public outcry against doing so.
“The overflow is a big issue,” the mayor said.
“The overflow has never been an issue on my six years on the council. We don’t need to purchase overflow equipment. I can support the furniture. I cannot support the a/v,” Conley Ulich said.
Councilmember John Sibert disagreed. “We do need the a/v in the conference room.”
Rosenthal said she did not understand Conley Ulich’s concerns. “Other people can just choose to sit in the conference room,” she said.
Feldman said some of the a/v costs are an upgrade from current equipment, citing an example, to be able to use sound on a/v equipment used during council sessions.
Councilmember Lou La Monte, who said he has the most experience with such equipment, said, “$300,000 is a lot of money, but not a lot of money for this equipment.”
Construction began in August and is expected to be completed by February 2011. Upon completion of construction, the furniture, fixtures and filing systems will be installed, according to Feldman, who indicated the expected occupancy date is March 2011.
The city will be using some of the furniture from the current City Hall space, including conference tables, chairs, filing cabinets and work stations. However, since the majority of the workstations and file cabinets in the existing building are built in and do not belong to the city, the city needs to purchase furniture, fixtures and filing cabinets, Feldman noted.
Feldman touted the cost savings of purchasing pre-owned furniture.
Additionally, the city will require audiovisual and broadcast equipment the city does not own.
Feldman indicated the funding will consist of $5 million in COPS, or borrowed funds, and $640,415 from the city’s general fund, and $18,000 from revenue from the surplus property sale.
The estimated costs breakdown is $640,415 for the design contract, $3,975,000 for the construction contract, $300,000 for the estimated change order.
The council was also called on to settle a dispute between a contractor and subcontractor.
City Attorney Christi Hogin said the main issue had become the subcontractor had not shown up on the job, causing delays, and the contractor asked the council to grant the prime contractor’s request to substitute a listed subcontractor, which the council did.

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