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Basket bids hung up in city process

Installing new hanging baskets in the Village was one of the key items on the budget when the La Jolla Business Improvement District budget was approved.

But actually getting them approved and installed is taking longer than anyone involved ever thought.

On March 10, five Promote La Jolla board members voted unanimously to recommend a contract with Helix Environmental Construction Group for removing the old wire baskets, installing and planting 122 new, plastic ones and maintaining them for 12 months. The bid amounted to $375 per pot, said PLJ Secretary Glen Rasmussen.

Shortly after, when the four PLJ board members who are advisers to the city-managed La Jolla Business Improvement District recommended the contract to the city staff, a member of the Streetscape Committee called the move “procedurally wacky.”

Egon Kafka contended that PLJ did not get a second bid and that the cost was higher than it should be.

Rasmussen said there was no formal bid advertisement although he had written a call for bids in the Light and he and PLJ Vice President Jennifer Clark had personally sought bids from others. That included La Jolla Landscape, which had the $2,500 monthly contract with PLJ.

Clark said Friday that she was excited about getting new baskets up. “We need to make the Village look great for tourists,” she said.

On Monday, city officials said they had asked the advisory board to fill out a form required in the contract process. It was not clear at press time whether they would require a second bid or if the Helix bid might be approved so baskets installation could begin.