Despite a handful of residents objecting to the decision just before it was made, the Santa Clarita City Council unanimously approved Tuesday night up to $375,134 in renovations to The Cube’s dining area.
In addition to the ice rink upgrades, the five-member council also approved a contract not to exceed $1.8 million for recurring streetlight maintenance services and as-needed services arising from emergencies and/or streetlight knockdown replacements.
Specific to The Cube renovations, residents speaking during the public comment portion of Tuesday night’s City Council meeting argued against the newly proposed renovations, demanding that the funds for improving The Grille be taken directly from the revenue the city-owned ice rink brings in.
The proposed improvements, according to city staff, would include an expansion of the kitchen area to include a beverage center, which will better accommodate additional types of special events and larger groups of patrons. The upgrades will also include a countertop area with seating, new fixtures, lighting, flooring and plumbing.
“With supposed huge water problems, food shortages, enormous infrastructure problems, homelessness, illegals, etc., etc., etc., … have you checked out how many actual residents use this facility?” asked Diane Zimmerman, a speaker during the public comment section of the meeting. “You rent it out and supposedly we, the owners, are taking in a great amount of money for its use. Should that not be the money used to go towards all these expenses?”
City Manager Ken Striplin, following public comment, took time to explain that even with the proposed renovations and operational costs, The Cube continues to be fiscally healthy and positive.
During their previous meeting, the council approved amending the budget appropriations for Fiscal Year 2021-22 as it relates to The Cube after the ice rink’s performance exceeded initial projections after it opened in April 2021.
According to city staff, the rink has an average monthly foot traffic of 35,535 people and will generate for Fiscal Year 2021-2022 a forecasted $3,906,396 while having listed expenditures totaling $2,436,854.
As for the streetlight contracts, the City Council also approved awarding the street light maintenance contract to Taft Electronic Co. for an annual amount of $120,000 plus an additional $480,000 for expenditures related to streetlight servicing and emergencies.
The move comes after a cost-benefit analysis was conducted by City staff, which revealed that the city could save money by transitioning the overall management of streetlight maintenance from the private contractor they’ve had for the last three years, Tanko Lighting, and hand those responsibilities over to an in-house team.
“The transition to in-house management creates additional operational efficiencies, while also generating annual savings of more than $96,000 by reducing recurring contractual costs,” reads the meeting agenda. “While the management of the streetlight program is now a City function, there is still a need to contract for field repairs in support of the streetlight system.”
Both items were passed as part of the 5-0 vote in favor of approving the consent calendar — a list of agenda items elected bodies generally vote on as a block instead of individually.