‘Funds’ Being Spent for Water Studies
• What If Future Revenues from New Center Fall Short?
BY BILL KOENEKER
BY BILL KOENEKER
In a move that highlights how municipal finances might have already become dependent on the projected revenue stream from the city’s lumberyard shopping center, the Malibu City Council next week is poised to spend over $2.6 million for final designs and documents for a Civic Center centralized wastewater treatment system based on the boutique facility getting one of its final permits.
The on again-off again financing for the treatment system plans had been stalled last October when council members decided the uncertain shaky financial situation did not warrant spending the money.
“The city council expressed concerns for funding of large projects and studies during these uncertain economic times, especially in light of the fact that the lumberyard had not obtained its waste discharge permit for their site,” wrote Special Projects Manager Bow Bowman, in a staff report to council members.
The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board approved the permit for the lumberyard project on Dec. 11.
“With that approval, the city is assured that the lumberyard project can open as anticipated in February and the city’s financial future is substantially improved,” added Bowman.
Early last year, the opening of the high-end shopping center was anticipated to be taking place in October. That is apparently when the council’s worries began to take shape.
Later, there was another announcement that the center would be open by mid-December. City officials at that time indicated they would issue the final permit. That is when the power struggle between the city and the RWQCB began setting off a chain of events.
Two years ago, after purchasing the former Chili Cook-Off site now know as Legacy Park, the council hired RMC Water and Environment to begin the preliminary studies for the Malibu Civic Center Integrated Water Quality Management Plan.
By December 2007, the council had upped the ante to over $2.5 million for the consultants to continue final designs and environmental studies for the work on stormwater improvements, which continued to move forward.
The current amendment to the contract would bring the total fees for RMC to over $5.1 million.
“The final centralized wastewater treatment system design is now being scheduled to move forward,” said Bowman, who noted the project has trailed the stormwater project due to several reasons, including that there is no site for a treatment plant.
“However, in light of recent developments with the La Paz project and direction from the council to conclude the procurement of a suitable site, staff determined the project could move forward,” Bowman said.