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Hanging baskets could be back by summer

Bids for project due on May 21

Hanging baskets might be back in the Village by summer now that the city has issued requests for proposals to put up new flower-filled baskets.

In a meeting last week of the La Jolla Business Improvement District, Alicia Martinez-Higgs of the city’s Economic Development office told the advisers (four Promote La Jolla board members) that bids are due in on May 21. After that, she said, it will take a couple of weeks to get the contractor selected and the work started.

But she noted that it’s dependent on the contractor’s schedule and ability to get the baskets ordered and couldn’t give a specific date.

In other action, Higgs asked whether the group felt it was an appropriate time to launch a planned survey of merchants to find out where they think efforts should be focused and what activities should be supported. The consensus was to wait until they can show some progress.

Nancy Warwick, a Promote La Jolla board member but not an adviser to the LJBID, said it didn’t make sense to survey people “with absolutely nothing happening.”

On Tuesday, the city council was to consider a 2011 budget to continue the LJBID, which has taken over some of the projects previously handled by Promote La Jolla. The budget, based on assessments on merchants in the downtown Village area, would enable many of those activities to resume.

Meanwhile, PLJ, two former board members and the former executive director still face a potential lawsuit from the city attorney’s office. At press time on Tuesday, negotiations were reportedly continuing between representatives for the city attorney and PLJ’s insurance company. The deadline for a negotiated settlement has been extended twice.

To avoid the lawsuit, the city attorney has said the organization and individuals must take action to repay the city $112,070 identified in a 2009 city audit as allegedly having been misused or doubled billed.