Council OKs $6.5 million in bonds for sewer system

From left: City Manager Jim Thorsen, Councilwoman Laura Rosenthal, Mayor Pro Tem Joan House, Mayor Lou La Monte and Councilmen Skylar Peak and John Sibert. 

Plans for a new sewer system in the Civic Center continued moving through the pipeline Monday as the City Council approved a resolution to begin selling up to $6.5 million in bonds to help fund plans for the facility. 

Under the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreed to with the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board in 2011, the City of Malibu must build a centralized wastewater treatment system in the Civic Center by November 2015.  

After interest, administrative fees and a $1 million reimbursement to city coffers are subtracted, the bonds should provide $4 million at the beginning of February to be used as funding for significant legwork on the wastewater treatment facility plans, according to the city staff report on the item. 

“Of the $4 million left, it’ll go to the consultant that will complete all the design work, also the [environmental impact report], obtaining permits, testing and drilling,” said City Manager Jim Thorsen. 

The city has spent $2.5 million so far on the project since the prohibition went into effect. After getting $1 million from these bonds backs, the city expects to get $1.5 million more when an assessment district is formed in 2015 for commercial property owners in the area. 

Plans to build the wastewater treatment facility have fallen eight months behind, according to Thorsen. The county water board outlined a schedule of “milestones” for the city to follow in its implementation of the treatment system. The EIR was supposed to be completed by March, but Thorsen estimates it won’t be done until October. 

City extends agreement with film permit consultant 

In a 4-1 vote, the City Council approved a contract extension with the firm that handles film permits in the city. 

Solid Waste Solutions has handled film permits for Malibu since 2000, according to a staff report. 

Councilman Skylar Peak was the sole vote against the extension, arguing that the city should issue a bid for proposals from other film permit firms. The city last issued a request for proposals (RFP) from permit companies in 2005. 

“I think the company we have right now does a good job,” Peak said. “But I’d be interested to see if we did have an RFP.” 

Malibu collected nearly $400,000 in film permit fees while SWS issued 611 permits for the 2011-2012 fiscal year. SWS charged the city $324,542 for its services. 

Councilwoman Joan House pointed out that SWS has not changed its rates for many years. 

“They’re charging us the same amount that was approved in 2008,” House said.