As of July 1 the Encinitas Fire Department will have a permanent, full-time response unit in Olivenhain, which will in that part of the city.
Wednesday night in a 4-1 vote with Deputy Mayor Kristin Gaspar opposed, Encinitas City Council gave city staff the OK to lease an office space for the new operation.
Under the five-year lease, the city will pay $1,700 per month until April 2013 for the office space at 770 Rancho Santa Fe Road, according to a city staff report (PDF file attached). After that, the co-tenant—a chiropractor—will move out and the rent will increase to $2,200. In July 2013 the rent will start increasing by 4 percent every year.
Gaspar said while she supported the idea of having a fire unit in Olivenhain, she did not feel comfortable supporting the terms of the lease. She said she would have liked to see the city have more time to negotiate terms of the lease, like a lower percentage of annual rent increase. The city’s budget for this project is not to exceed $700,000 and City Manager Gus Vina is still finalizing the cost breakdown based on Gaspar said she wasn’t comfortable signing off when she had not yet seen an outline of those start up costs and operating costs.
Mayor Stocks and Councilman Muir said while they certainly understood her concerns, they felt it was important to note that the lease includes a one-year termination clause as a safety net. They also said they trusted that the city manager would stay under budget, and felt it was important to not delay the project’s timeline.
Councilwoman Teresa Barth also suggested that in the future, city staff recruit professionals with expertise to help secure the best deals possible, which in this case would have likely been a real estate agent who is well-versed in lease agreements. She also said she would like to see that idea placed a future city council agenda for more discussion.
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