The Malibu City Council voted on Tuesday to move forward with hiring of consultants that will help put together a Community Facilities District, as part of the city's effort to find a way to cover design and other initial costs for the proposed Civic Center Wastewater Treatment Facility.
The Community Facilities District (CFD), which will be comprised of select commercially zoned property owners within the civic center who are willing to assist with the cost of the EIR and design, is expected to pay for the design and Environmental Impact Report (EIR).
With a 4-0 vote, the council approved a Bond Counsel Agreement with Stradling, Yocca, Carlson & Rauth for bond counsel services to establish a Communities Facilities District (CFD), which will be used to fund the design of and environmental work for the planned sewer. Councilmember Skylar Peak was absent.
The council also approved an agreement with Stone & Youngberg to provide investment banking and underwriting services, as well as an agreement with David Taussig and Associates, Inc. for tax consultant services associated with the creation of the district.
In 2010, the State Water Board imposed a civic center septic prohibition that required a central wastewater facility to be constructed for the Civic Center properties. The prohibition area, which included some 500 properties, mandated that the owners cease discharge into their septic systems.
The commercial properties within the Civic Center, which are in Phase 1, are required to connect to a central wastewater facility by 2015. The residential properties, which are in Phase 2, are required to connect by 2019.
In August of 2011, the City of Malibu and the Regional Water Quality Board entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that allowed more flexibility in the phasing of the project, but mandated that the city meet strict timelines to ensure that progress is being made on the design and construction.
Malibu has already paid $2.5 million for ongoing design costs and that cost could rise to $4.5 million to fully cover all of the costs, according to City Manager Jim Thorsen.
During the meeting, Councilmember Lou La Monte said the city should not pay for it from its coffers.
“The people that are benefiting from it are the ones that should begin to start putting money up," La Monte said.
The proposed CFD would be comprised of commercial property owners who would finance the remainder of the design costs and reimburse the city for a portion of funds that have been spent. Tuesday's decision does not require any residential Phase 2 areas, such as Serra Canyon, Malibu Colony, and the Civic Center Way condos, to participate in the CFD.
Ozzie Silna, a Serra Canyon resident, said he wants to know more about what will be required.
"We will be taking legal action if necessary against everybody who has violated our best interest," Selna said of the consensus at the last Serra Home Owners Association meeting.
Joan Lavine, who lives within the septic ban area, objected to the hiring of the consultants.
“The resolution fails to discuss or to submit for consideration competitive bids by any alternative proposed firms. This is highly objectionable. The City should let out these proposed contracts for at least a period of 30 days, and present competitive bids to the City Council to select from,” Lavine wrote in a letter.
Once the district is formed, the city will utilize the bond proceeds to pay the engineering design consultant, RMC Water and Environment, to complete the EIR and final design. The final construction of the wastewater treatment facility would be dependent upon the formation of an Assessment District comprised of all Phase 1 commercial properties, according to the city.