By Brian CHERNICK
Glendale City Council on Tuesday voted to approve over $100,000 additional funds for Central Library. Council members found themselves busy with a nearly four-hour general meeting and two joint meetings and a special meeting the week before the Labor Day.
A joint meeting with the Successor Agency concluded with a vote amending a contract with AMEC Foster Wheeler Environment & Infrastructure, Inc. (AMEC) that would increase the library budget by $125,298. AMEC was hired by the city for the Glendale Central Library Renovation Project.
Construction of the Central Library began July of last year with a $15 million budget. The request to increase the budget is slated to cover additional concrete, rebar and welding inspections of the project after unforeseen consequences were unearthed during construction.
The increased budget will go toward geotechnical and soils engineering and materials testing, waterproofing and vapor barrier instillation and batch plant inspection. These inspections are typically performed by specialty consulting firms, and thus were excluded from AMEC’s original budget proposal. However, AMEC can perform these inspections in-house.
Roubik Golanian, director of Public Works, stated that rather than going through a third-party, having AMEC perform these tasks could save at least three months of construction time. Golanian expects major work to be completely by Dec. 23 as opposed to March 2017, which was originally estimated.
The grand opening is slated for March 17.
Additionally, Council unanimously voted to support Measure A that will appear on the ballot in November. Measure A moves to raise funding for park renovation and expansion in Glendale.
Formally titled “Safe, Clean Neighborhood Parks, Open Space, Beaches, Rivers Protection, and Water Conservation Measure,” the ballot item aims to replace expiring local funding for open, public spaces and raise $94.5 million per year for parks countywide.
Glendale alone will raise $1,895,000 through a property tax of 1.5 cents per square foot of developed property. The measure estimates that the average homeowner with a 1,500 square foot house will pay approximately $22.50 per year.
In return, Glendale will receive $790,000 back per year. The remaining amount is planned to be recuperated through additional, competitive grants.
Concerns were expressed by Councilman Ara Najarian regarding the lending of more money than the city would be receiving through the Measure. City Manager Scott Ochoa assured Najarian that initiatives such as these are ones which Glendale might not take up on its own accord and that other grants could be awarded to return nearly all funding levied by the city.
Also, Christine Powers, Commission on the Status of Women’s program supervisor, requested the transfer of funds from the commission to the Community Foundation of the Verdugos (CFV). Powers and the commission estimate 5%-7% will be made from the $80,000 in funds, which are to remain in the account into perpetuity. Only up to 4.5% of funds derived from the fund are to be used by CFV.
The motion passed with all but Councilman Gharpetian voting against it after expressing concerns how the funds were to be raised and spent.
The council also fielded a presentation from Glendale Water & Power (GWP) on fiber utility business plan to build-out infrastructure and provide high-speed internet to city businesses and utilities.
The benefits of fiber optic internet appeared great enough to the council members to vote in favor of noting and filing for future planning and funds appropriation.
Another joint meeting with the Housing Authority voted to accept a late submittal of a construction proposal for a project at the former Rockhaven Sanitarium. The proposal was received 10 minutes past the deadline for submission. The delay was due to a bomb threat on one of the company’s buildings a day prior to the deadline.
Mayor Paula Devine was the only council member to vote against the extension, arguing that the reason for delay was not adequate for amending the rules.
“I think it’s unfair to those who got them in on time,” Devine said. “And I think it gives a perception of our [Response to the Request for Proposals] process.”
The Rockhaven Sanitarium has been a focal point for Devine since she took office as mayor, with her stating that selecting a future use for the area would be one of the challenges she would face.