Jessica Cejnar / Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019 @ 2:19 p.m. / Local Government
City Re-issues Bid On Pebble Beach Emergency Project Despite Tight Deadline
Though the timeline to spend emergency relief dollars runs out at the end of the year, city staff are resuming a search for a project consultant to address storm-caused erosion on Pebble Beach Drive.
The Pebble Beach Drive bluff stabilization project seeks to repair damage from Preston Island to Sixth Street caused by storms in December 2016. The total project cost is roughly $3.8 million with the preliminary engineering phase costing about $458,000.
About $405,467 of that cost is expected to come from the Federal Highway Administration’s emergency relief program, according to the staff report. But Public Works Director Jon Olson told the City Council on Monday the FHWA only gives emergency relief funding recipients two years from the time of the disaster to finish a project.
Olson said staff will re-issue the request for qualifications for the preliminary engineering, environmental, permitting and design work for the Pebble Beach project and request the FHWA allow the city to extend the project timeline. However, city staff won’t know if that extension has been granted until November, he said.
“It’s a complicated project that requires lots of consultants of different types and specialty studies,” Olson said of the bluff stabilization project. “The only study we were able to accomplish to date is a geotechnical study.”
The City Council unanimously approved staff’s request. However, Crescent City Mayor Blake Inscore noted that the process delayed a project that two years ago was a “slam dunk.”
“It’s not as if we have lots of staff resources to apply to a project that’s now becoming a very slim likelihood (of receiving) approval,” Inscore said. “The funding was secured, the timeline, it seemed very reasonable for us to be in construction…”
According to Olson, after a previous request for proposals only netted one response, Caltrans requested the city reject that bid and resume its search for a consultant. The state transportation agency asked the city to re-issue the request for qualifications in the hopes that it may get more responses, Olson said.
Complying with Caltrans’ request would ensure the city is in line with its Local Assistance Procedures Manual, which describes requirements for local governments to receive federal or state emergency aid, Olson said.
The California Coastal Commission also requires an extensive list of special studies before it will issue a coastal development permit for the Pebble Beach Drive project, Olson said.
The FHWA may grant the city a project extension to allow it to meet the requirements for a coastal development permit, according to the staff report. But a local government’s lack of money or staff to complete the project is not a feasible reason for an extension, according to the city’s staff report.
Olson noted that if the city were to move forward on the project without getting an extension on its deadline, the FHWA would not reimburse any money it spent on the project.
“We’d like to go through the RFQ process one more time, award a contract, but say don’t do any work yet until we know that we get the time extension,” Olson said. “Since monies for this particular project were not spent, they’ll begin reallocating those monies. At the Congressional level, even if we do get a time extension, we don’t know if the money will still be available for the project.”
Crescent City isn’t alone in facing a time crunch to expend emergency disaster relief funds, Olson said.
“There are things going on legislatively to try to correct this,” he said. “For example, extending the length of time to spend disaster funds from two years to six years.”
Crescent City Manager Eric Wier said the staff time to re-issue a request for qualifications for the preliminary engineering portion of the Pebble Beach Drive Bluff Stabilization project will be minimal.
In other matters, the Crescent City Council unanimously approved “carryover funding” for the second phase of installing directional signs on the U.S. 101 corridor through town and a re-siding project for the Cultural Center. Staff requested an amendment to the 2019-2020 city budget for $73,140, according to the report.
This will cover the cost of purchasing the highway signs as well as the materials for the Cultural Center residing project.
The City Council also unanimously approved a budget amendment of $14,000 to finish repairing the staircase at Fred Endert Municipal Pool’s slide. Of the $145,741 budgeted for the project during the 2018-19 fiscal year, the city spent $131,191, leaving $14,550 in the maintenance budget unspent.