Feb 9 2017

Finance Director Kiran Bawa will leave the City staff as of March 6, 2017, having arrived in March 2016. 

Finance Director Kiran Bawa to leave Piedmont for Virginia –

City Administrator Paul Benoit announced that Finance Director Kiran Bawa will be leaving the City of Piedmont effective March 6, 2017. Ms. Bawa will leave Piedmont to move to Virginia to fulfill an unanticipated family obligation. During her time here, Ms. Bawa helped revise the City’s purchasing procedures, spearheaded the implementation of financial transparency software, and worked tirelessly to ensure that taxpayer dollars were well spent.

Ms. Bawa came to Piedmont in March 2016 from the City of Oakland, where she served as Budget Director. Prior to her work in Oakland, Ms. Bawa served as capital planning and grants manager for the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District.

“I am very sorry to see Kiran leave Piedmont,” said City Administrator Paul Benoit. “In her short time here, she quickly learned and understood how Piedmont’s finances work. She also helped to move Piedmont forward in significant ways. Her hard work and great interpersonal skills helped her become an invaluable member of Piedmont’s management team.”

“I was extremely delighted when the Council appointed me as Finance Director in 2016, Finance Director Kiran Bawa said. “The work environment was excellent and professionally satisfying. The Council, staff, and the community provided all manner of support as well as opportunities to make financial operations more efficient. While I do not wish to leave Piedmont, my upcoming move to the east coast to be with my future husband is the primary factor.”

The City Council and City Administrator will work in the upcoming weeks to develop a plan to replace Ms. Bawa as Finance Director.

Feb 9 2017

Park Commission Meeting:  Stay Off My Turf!

On February 1st, 2017, I attended the Park Commission meeting from 5:30 to 6:25 p.m.  I was one of only three people in the audience section, and the only person there who was not a returning attendee.  The main focuses of this meeting were an update on Hampton Park, the Linda-Kingston Triangle, the installation of new playground equipment for the Recreation Center Tot Lot, and the Monthly Maintenance Report.

Celebration was in order after Staff Liaison, Nancy Kent, revealed that the no-netting, sand-based sod was successfully installed at Hampton Park earlier in the day.  This natural sod will serve as a great improvement to the muck that generations of young Little League prodigies were forced to endure.  Also, the new irrigation sprinklers were fully functioning, proving that the drainage was working properly.  The sod needs a month to take root, so the public is implored to stay off the turf!  The Commission felt hopeful that the field will be ready for public use by March, just in time for baseball.

I am thrilled to hear of this progress, because I personally grew up playing on the old Hampton grass, and can attest firsthand to its dire need for improvement.  Youth sports are a critical area of character development for many children, and I am glad that the city realizes the value in keeping these fields safe and up to date.

The Commission then went on to discuss how the city is still waiting for PG&E to “give [them] power” to the Linda-Kingston Triangle.  The recently completed beatification project needs the electricity to power its light fixtures. Nancy Kent shared that the Mayor of Piedmont had submitted the Triangle to an awards program, that recognizes innovation in public streets.  The Mayor believes that the Triangle should be recognized for making traffic safer, creating a better pedestrian route, providing a subtle gateway into the city, and functioning as its own mini-park.  The Mayor will hear back later this month if the Triangle is to be recognized.

A complaint was filed by a citizen that the Linda-Kingston Triangle has reduced parking in the adjacent streets.  However, this complaint has no valid basis because the Park Commission created the Triangle in a very careful manner that took zero parking spaces from the community.

Next the Commission discussed the installation of the new playground equipment for the Recreation Center Tot Lot.  The old playground equipment was deemed hazardous by certified inspectors back in July, 2016, forcing the Recreation Department to start from scratch.  The purchase of the new equipment was approved in November, and by mid-January the playground was completely installed.  Thanks to the efficiency of those working this project, the turnaround time was very quick, providing a safer and improved structure for the Recreation Center.

Lastly, the Monthly Maintenance Report discussed the damaging effects of the recent rain storms that have ravaged Piedmont.  The storms have been keeping all the city workers on full alert because as one member of the audience put it, “the trees are toppling like dominos”.  The most affected residential areas have been along St. James Drive and La Salle Avenue, while Dracena Park, Piedmont Park, and Beach Field have taken the hardest blows for the Parks Department.  Beach Field has suffered from a tree that fell onto the field itself (taking out a lamppost on its way down) and another that fell onto the roof of the Beach Field bathroom building, thankfully causing only minor damage.

Due to this increase of falling trees, all twenty park-pedestrian-pathways have recently been cleared and cleaned.  Also reported was the decaying of many London Plain Forest trees, which have been declining due to old age and drought.  Although the average lifespan of street-trees is now unfortunately less than twenty years, many of these London Plains have been in the Piedmont community for almost eighty years.

The meeting was described by Park Commissioner, Betsy Goodman, as “good, fast, everyone was happy”.  While Goodman acknowledged that some city government meetings could “drag on,” she was proud and pleased with how “very efficient” the meeting went overall.

The Park Commission meets the first Wednesday of every month at the Piedmont City Hall.  The purpose of this group is to help manage and make improvements to the public parks of the community.

Sam Rosenbaum, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Feb 9 2017

If you have a great capital improvement idea, the committee would like to hear from you.

Deadline: Monday, March 6, 2017 –

The Capital Improvement Projects Review Committee (CIP) is soliciting proposals for new city projects which would enhance our community. Ideas submitted by individuals, community organizations and City staff are all considered.

Download the > Proposal Form. Proposals are due no later than March 6th at 5:00 PM at 120 Vista Avenue, Public Works Department. 

All applicants/residents that have submitted proposals will be personally invited to attend the CIP Meeting to be scheduled in March. At this meeting, applicants will be asked to briefly describe their projects to the CIP Committee. The CIP Review Committee will then determine which projects will require a site visit.

The CIP Site Visit Tour will be scheduled for a Saturday in early May. The tour will commence at City Hall at 9:00AM and then will proceed to CIP tour stops located throughout the City. At each of the tour stops the CIP Committee will see the locations for proposed projects first hand.

At noon a working lunch will be provided at City Hall for Committee members, city staff, and interested citizens. At this working lunch the CIP Review Committee will attempt to compose their list of 2017-2018 CIP projects that they recommend as a part of this year’s budget process. The CIP chair in conjunction with CIP Review Committee members will be asked to prepare a list of recommended projects and narrative that will be forwarded to the City Council for consideration in the budget process.

Completed forms should be returned to the Department of Public Works, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont.  If you have questions regarding the CIP process, please contact Nancy Kent, Parks & Project Manager, at (510) 420-3064.

Feb 9 2017

The Budget Advisory & Financial Planning Committee will meet on Monday, February 13th at 6:30 pm. The meeting will be held in the East Wing of 801 Magnolia Avenue (Piedmont Center for the Arts Building).  This location does not provide for broadcasting of the meeting. Those interested in City finances and a potential bond measure may speak at the meeting.

The agenda lists a review of the 2016 -2017 Mid-year Financial Report and the City’s bonding capacity. 

The City has been studying and planning improvements to recreation facilities including a new aquatics center with potential for-profit activities such as a food concession, etc.  In addition, the City has been considering various Civic Center projects. Fiscal projections have indicated a need for additional funding to finance the projects. Bond funding has been mentioned as a potential source of funding.

The City’s bond capacity informs many decisions.

Bond approval per the City Charter and State laws requires approval by 2/3rds of Piedmonters voting on any bond measure.

Feb 5 2017

Everyone can follow Piedmont High School sports on the new website!

Piedmont Athletics is ready for action!
New website blends Athletics, Boosters & Hall of Fame.

The Piedmont Athletic Department is proud to announce the launch of PiedmontAthletics.com, a new website that celebrates our student athletes’ competitive spirit and provides our athletic community with lots of great information about Piedmont High sports.

The new website features unique team pages for all boys and girls sports, downloadable rosters and schedules and links to useful resources.  Athletic Director Vic Acuña believes the athletic department has the website it needs to take Piedmont Athletics into the future and to the next level. “For the last 4 months we’ve been planning and building a website that leverages our new branding, delivers a substantial amount of information about our sports programs and is easy to maintain. This is the type of website that you will find in major sports programs around the country. The new athletics web site hits it out of the park,” beams Mr. Acuña.

The new website has been in production for many months as alumni, parents, local photographers and athletic department staff contributed to the content and visuals. “Today’s sports marketing campaigns take advantage of crowd-sourcing to create a community feel”, according to brand designer and web developer Steve Humphries. “The new Piedmont Athletics website allows the fans of our teams to contribute photography, score results and their fan experiences, simply by tagging their social media posts with #PHSResults.”

The new Piedmont Athletics website also houses the PHS Boosters Club resources and information, along with the Piedmont Sports Hall of Fame website.  “Our board is excited to have a place to celebrate and support our student athletes and hopefully provide an easier platform to help our parents with all things related to their athlete,“ says Boosters Club President Beth Barrett.

Visit www.PiedmontAthletics.com, a new resource for the Piedmont sports community.

Click HERE to view the announcement for Piedmont High School’s NEW Athletic Website!

Feb 5 2017
In 2016, the City of Piedmont experienced a 3.6% increase in crime as compared to 2015, from 224 UCR reportable crimes in 2015 to 232 in 2016. This represents the first annual increase in overall crime since 2012 and is attributed to the increase in robberies.
Robberies and burglaries realized an increase from 2015 to 2016. The City has experienced 65 reported burglaries in comparison to 51 in 2015, an increase of 27%. Robberies also increased from the two incidents in 2015 to 17 in 2016. Three of the robberies were home invasion robberies where the suspects entered through unsecured entrances, encountered the residents and took items such as cash, jewelry and computers by means of force and fear.
Burglaries, motor vehicle thefts, and larceny theft (a UCR term for general theft) represented 85% of the City’s total reportable crimes (198 out of 232). These property related crimes have continually decreased over the last four years. From 2015 to 2016 there was a decrease of 3.4% (205 to 198); and since 2012, property crimes have decreased 40.5% from 333 reported in 2012 to 198 reported in 2016. Larceny thefts accounted for 55% of the total property crimes in 2016, with the vast majority of those being thefts of property from parked, unoccupied vehicles.

Read the complete report, including the locations of crimes, here.

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Feb 5 2017

2030 Climate Action Plan

The City Council is looking for five volunteers to help update the City’s Climate Action Plan. Resident input is vital to the process of creating the 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target and strategies to reduce emissions.

The City is specifically seeking residents who have an interest or expertise in environmental issues and climate science to serve on this Task Force. The City Council will appoint four of the Task Force’s members and the Board of Education will appoint one Piedmont High School Student.  Applications must be received at City Hall on or before the deadline of February 24, 2017. Download application here.

The Task Force will meet approximately once a month, beginning in the end of March, for one year or until a Draft 2030 Climate Action Plan is completed, whichever is earlier.

All meetings of the Task Force will be noticed and open to the public.

Feb 5 2017
T-Mobile formerly leased City property at 898 Moraga Avenue for wireless communications equipment. The Lease expired, but T-Mobile remains on the property on a month-to-month basis. In April 2016, the City discovered that T-Mobile had not been paying its electricity utility charges in accordance with the terms of the lease. The proposed Settlement Agreement provides for the payment of $13,731.28 to the City for past electricity charges, and establishes a monthly rate for future electricity charges that will be paid by T-Mobile to the City in conjunction with its monthly rent payments. The Settlement Agreement does not alter any other terms of the existing lease.
Read the Settlement Agreement here.
Feb 5 2017

Bike lanes to be added to the Oakland Avenue Bridge along with bulbouts.

The Oakland Avenue Bridge designed by architect Albert Farr in 1910 is proposed to undergo changes. – 

Grant funds may be available through “One Bay Area Grants (OBAG2)” supporting focused growth, regional transportation priorities, and the Bay Area’s land-use and housing goals.

OBAG 2 is projected to total about $800 million to fund projects from 2017-18 through 2021-22.  Some $354 million in federal funds will be directed to Congestion Management Agencies.  They are responsible for soliciting, evaluating and selecting eligible projects within their counties.

Piedmont’s OBAG Grant proposal for Cycle  #2 is $169,000 for Oakland Avenue Improvements developed with the help of Coastland Engineers. The Oakland Avenue Bridge construction proposal includes: resurfacing, new bike lanes, relocation of a fire hydrant, a “bulbout” at the corner of Howard and Oakland Avenues.

The Council has heard from public speakers that pedestrians face a perilous walk on the narrow bridge sidewalks, originally 6 feet wide. No proposals have been made to return to the original sidewalk width.  Bike lanes are proposed on the roadway.

Bulbouts often reduce one or two parking slots and are controversial. Some drivers may cut across the bulbout, bumping up over the curb and down as they make a tight turn.

According to the staff report there could be a shortfall of over $200,000 for the project. – 

“The Engineer’s Estimate for the construction cost is $400,000, so the grant will cover approximately 42% of the projected cost. The additional funding will most likely come from Measure B and BB Bike & Pedestrian Funds.

“On a separate but related note, the City is currently working on a pedestrian railing and lighting project across the Oakland Avenue Bridge which was not included in the OBAG2 project application since the goal is to have this installed prior to 2019 when the OBAG2 monies will be available. “

The Alameda County Transportation Commission, which has a Piedmont representation, will announce the projects they select on July 31, 2017.

Read the full report with diagrams of the proposal showing bike lanes and bulbouts  here.

Read agenda for Monday, February 6, 2016 here.

 

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Jan 29 2017
Should elderly and disabled persons be accommodated on the price and availability of  backyard waste can service? Do you want to or like carting all of your garbage cans in and out of your backyard every week?  Would Piedmont look cleaner if everyone had backyard service?

Your input is needed by the City to assist in Piedmont’s upcoming contract procurement for waste disposal.  

You can help by doing the following:

 +     Filling out the City’s online waste survey linked below:

 (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/piedmontcommunitysurvey

(Paper versions of the survey will be available at the Public Works Counter at City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue.)

+     Attending the Thursday, Work Session on Waste Disposal:

Thursday, February, 2,  at 7 p.m.

     Veterans Hall, 401 Highland Avenue. 

+       Contacting your council members and letting them know the service you think is appropriate at: >  citycouncil@ci.piedmont.ca.us.

Click here to see the slide show given at the Community Workshops.  To learn more about solid waste services in Piedmontvisit: www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/recycling-waste.shtml


 For more information on the current procurement effort and to add your name to an email notification list for the solid waste services procurement process, please contact Jennifer Gavin in the City Planning Department at jgavin@ci.piedmont.ca.us or 510-420-3054.

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