The City Council this week will consider maintenance and upgrades to the San Marino Police Department that, like much of the deferred care for municipal buildings, is likely long overdue.
The council is being asked to use up to $66,700 to fumigate the building to address termite infestation and to spend as much as $108,500 for an electrical infrastructure upgrade that will, among other benefits, allow the department to implement state-mandated updates to its 911 system. Both items include a 10% contingency fee to cover any unforeseen additions to the bill.
The report in the council’s agenda for the meeting on Friday details how the SMPD building this year has experienced an especially troublesome bug infestation that involves more than the termites that have returned since the prior fumigation in 2012.
“The termite damage is evident,” Police Chief John Incontro explained in a phone interview. “With the insect problem, we’ve been trying to do other things but it’s just not working, and it’s gotten bad to the point where our light fixtures are just full of wings of termites and spiders and other bugs. We’ve had officers get bit by bugs. Last week I had a spider run across my back.”
Photos included in the agenda showcase the collection of bug carcasses inside ceiling light fixtures and also a sticky bug trap that has accumulated a large gnat catch. Incontro added that even keeping food at the station has been problematic because of the pervasiveness of the bugs.
Additionally, the city staff is recommending upgrading an existing amp panel and feeding in an additional panel specifically tied to the station’s computer servers. Besides facilitating the 911 system improvement, the report indicated, such a move would help alleviate future problems with the heating and cooling systems. Indeed, the latter proved during this summer’s heat waves that it needs attention.
Aside from issues of comfort, the unreliability of the cooling systems puts the servers at risk of overheating, according to the staff report. Though an enhancement of the server room’s air conditioning was recently completed, the report added that the broader electrical system still had deficiencies that inhibited reliable operation.
The proposal is to upgrade to a 225-amp panel to 400 amps and to sub-feed a new 100 amp panel for the computer servers.
“Everything was done in 1995,” Incontro said, referencing when the station was last rewired and upgraded, “and in the 25 years since then, we’ve become more power dependent. It’s just the way policing and work is done nowadays. The electrical system was not built to easily grow, so we need that equipment. It’s been a bit of a hindrance to upgrading our 911 system.”
If approved, fumigation at the station would tentatively be from Nov. 25-28, to take advantage of a holiday weekend that will limit staff on site anyway. The electrical work would take two to three weeks, during which the department would temporarily relocate operations to trailers placed in the City Hall parking lot.
The council also plans to introduce amendments to the city’s tree preservation ordinance and to certify a pay raise for City Manager Marcella Marlowe, as stipulated in her contract following her recent performance review.
The meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. Friday and can be viewed via Zoom — at us02web.zoom.us/j/83286696892 — while public comments can be submitted at firstname.lastname@example.org.