The Huntington Beach City Council on Monday night awarded a $1.6-million contract to a firm to oversee the first phase of upgrading the Police Department’s deteriorating headquarters.
With the 4-1 vote, Escondido-based Erickson-Hall will design the plans and prepare a cost estimate for the overall project. The company is expected to begin work immediately and complete the first phase within six months.
The council will consider a separate contract for construction work this fall.
Council members Patrick Brenden and Barbara Delgleize were absent, and Councilman Mike Posey wanted to postpone the vote so all members could weigh in.
Brenden also had requested a postponement to next month’s meeting.
However, Mayor Erik Peterson said the council has been discussing the project for months and that Brenden and Delgleize have been involved in the conversations.
During a study session in July, the council and police officials mulled how to address the 50-year-old building’s deficiencies, which include decaying plumbing, an overloaded electrical system, poor ventilation and a collapsing ceiling in the men’s locker room.
Officials estimate the modernization project will cost $23.5 million.
When council members considered options during the summer, an architectural firm advised them to remodel the existing building at the Civic Center because it would be cheaper than building a new one at an undetermined location for $55 million.
“This is such an extensive project,” said Councilwoman Kim Carr, who initially supported Posey’s motion to delay the vote. “We’re talking about $20 million here. I don’t see the harm in waiting two weeks.”
But Councilwoman Jill Hardy said the council needed to “address this as fast as we can. I don’t think we’re at a stage where this is a debatable project.”
In other business, the council approved amending an ordinance to comply with the Orange County Transportation Authority’s new rules for taxis.
OCTA began overseeing taxi licensing and permitting countywide in 1998. But with the popularity of ride services such as Lyft and Uber, OCTA’s taxi administration is revising how it collects revenue.
Instead of relying on permit and license fees from taxi operators and drivers, OCTA will rely on cities to contribute amounts based on their populations.