SLO Council approves $760,000 downtown renovation

November 17, 2011


The San Luis Obispo City Council approved a $761,500 renovation project of a two-block stretch of Higuera Street downtown to be started next year.

By a 3-2 vote Tuesday, the Council awarded a $646,000 contract to the Madonna Construction Company to replace the sidewalks between Morro and Garden streets with mission-style tiles and to install lighting in trees in a project dubbed the “Downtown Beautification and Maintenance Project.” The contract exceeded the March 2011 project estimate of $590,000.

Council member Dan Carpenter argued against use of general fund money to close the $121,000 gap between the total cost and the contract awarded. Carpenter voted for the plan, however, when Mayor Jan Marx and Vice Mayor John Ashbaugh agreed to cut $25,000 designated for a project liaison and to take the remaining $96,000 from other capital improvement projects.

“I’m honoring the decision the previous council made in committing the project to be 600,000 plus,” Carpenter said.

Council members Kathy Smith and Andrew Carter held firm in their rejection of the project, even after Carpenter’s proposed cuts.

“I think the only difference between what was proposed by staff and what we passed was $25,000 for a liaison, so I don’t see that as any great improvement to the financial status of this project,” Smith said. “I don’t think we can afford to do the nice to have projects at this time.”

Public comment speaker Jody Frey agreed.

“Lately it seems like we’ve been getting projects like the parking that was $11,000 and now it’s 4102,500,” Frey said. “We’re looking at making a deal with Chevron for $11.1 million, so I’m just wondering where all this money is coming from.”

Despite economic concerns, most members of the public who spoke during public comment agreed with  Marx and Ashbaugh that the spending was necessary.

“It is not the fault of city staff that the bid came in higher than the estimate,” Marx said. “It is the fault of the recovering economy.”

Marx said that the time to invest is now and she expects the economy to quickly improve.

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I’d be more than happy to put lights in trees for a mere $60,000…

Jan Marx is obviously signed up to the the Dave Romero special retirement package offered by the Copeland family. Its nice that we taxpayers provide Jan such an opportunity to cheat the public for her own benefit. She is true slime.

and now she is on the Madonna family payroll as well. Good going Jan….You should move to Kabul there is some real corruption there…you would fit right in

“It is not the fault of city staff that the bid came in higher than the estimate,” Marx said. “It is the fault of the recovering economy.”

What planet does she live on? Recovering economy? Only a lawyer ($300 per hour charges) who’s a part time mayor could come up with such nonsense.

Hey, Jan and council members, I guess that means you don’t need to screw down staff pay after all? If the economy’s improving, maybe raises are in order.

As for spending all that money on pretty sidewalks, it’s a disgrace. We need to occupy city hall, take it back for the people who live here instead of having all the riches go to developers and business cronies who live out of town, bugt make their bucks here. These city people are really, really out of touch.

Its the fault of the recovering economy? Considering the lack of work and competition between contractors because of the economy, it makes more sense than ever to adhere to job advertising and the public low bid process. Next question would be who in SLO’s engineering staff came up with a estimate that was $590,000 off and do they still have a job when their laying off employees who are competent in their field of expertise unlike this individual.

I’m so glad Madonna Construction is here for our semi-annual tear up the same streets events.

It just doesn’t feel like San Luis Obispo unless some shady back room deal has been cut with a council that is only too happy to spend other people’s money.

Whadda country!

What could be more beautiful than lights in trees?

$600,000 of lights in trees!

It seems as though the City Council should concentrate more on safety issues rather than “beautification”. There are many sidewalks downtown that are accidents waiting to happen.