May 25 2020

Budget Advisory & Financial Planning Committee Meeting

Wednesday, May 27, 2020       3:00 p.m.

Consideration of 2020 – 2021 Piedmont Budget

Via Teleconference

Zoom link:  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88326534001

Members of the public may comment on agenda items. See details on agenda linked below:

2020-05-27 Budget Advisory & Financial Planning Committee

May 23 2020

Go to Zoom to view Piedmont policy makers being selected by the City Council at the Special Council Meeting on Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. 

 https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84991118184

Candidates for the following  appointments will be interviewed:

Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee, CIP Review Committee, Civil Service Commission, Park Commission,  Planning Commission, Public Safety Committee, Recreation Commission, Mosquito Abatement Representative, Parking Hearing Officer. 

COVID -19 policies have opened an opportunity for Piedmonters to see and hear first hand how and who is selected to serve on Piedmont appointed bodies from the Planning Commission to the Recreation Commission and so forth. 

It has been the long held practice by Piedmont officials not to publish applicants’ names or announce appointee’s names until the individuals have been notified by the City Clerk of their appointment.  However, if you watch the interview process on Zoom you will know the names of applicants and appointees, pending Council selection.

Although not a secret process, candidates have generally been asked to leave the Council meeting as other competing candidates are interviewed. Staff members and the public could always be present during the interviews.  Staff members often play a role in who is selected by offering information on the candidates.  All candidates are required to be interviewed by the City Council to qualify for appointment.

Volunteers interested in being appointed now or in the future will find the process informative as questions are posed and answers given.

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There is no staff report to support the Agenda of the Special Council Meeting on Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at 6:00 p.m.   The public can view and make comments. For details on participation or viewing, click below:

5/26/20 council-special-agenda.pdf5-26 (Special)

May 18 2020

The March 16 Shelter at Home order in Alameda County caused an immediate decrease in crime in Oakland, especially  in residential burglaries, according to study of daily crime statistics in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Oakland by the Public Policy Institute of California.  (Read report here).  The Piedmont crime blotter appears  to show a similar decrease.

“Comparing the average weekly number of reported crimes in February to the number reported for the last week in March shows an overall drop from about 6,150 to 3,620—a decrease of 41%. Declines have been particularly large in the two Bay Area cities: about 69% in Oakland and around 55% in San Francisco.

Overall reports of violent crime dropped from a weekly average of about 1,880 in February to about 1,360 in the last week of March—a 28% decrease. Oakland experienced the most dramatic drop—from about 200 to 70. The number of reported assaults dropped from 1,430 to around 1,100 (22%). The overall decrease in robberies—from about 350 to 260—was driven largely by the Bay Area.  … a slight increase in reported commercial burglaries across all four cities suggests that burglars may be shifting from residential to commercial targets now that so many people are at home at all times of day.”    Analysis by Public Policy Institute of California

May 17 2020

What are Piedmont’s priorities? Schools, Community Pool, or other items?

Surveys on the way?

Resolution No. 21-2020 from the April 20, 2020 Piedmont City Council meeting directed the Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee (BAFPC) to “complete a comprehensive examination of potential funding mechanisms for city renovation projects,” which on its May 7, 2020 agenda, the BAFPC defined as a “Discussion of Potential Financing Options for Improvement of City Facilities.” 

Which is it – funding mechanisms or finance options?

While this may seem like semantics to some, the method matters. A funding mechanism can be any number of things – reallocation of city funds, grants applications, public-private partnerships – while financing means one thing – bonds and new taxes to pay for them. The BAFPC is looking only at bonds and a new 0.15% tax to raise anywhere from $30 to $70M for new projects over the next 30 years.

https://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/government/commissions___committees/budget_advisory___financial_planning_committee

That’s too bad because the city has several other tools at its disposal to come up with creative, long term funding mechanisms to pay for these improvements – a pension fund surplus of over $12M, an expiring sewer replacement program and well over $10M in other funds to re-allocate to other improvements. That would take some creative thinking on the part of BAFPC, but as the committee is progressing to have its recommendation to the City Council in time for the November 2020 ballot, that thinking is likely not going to happen. But before it makes bond recommendations, BAFPC has recommended the City talk with the School District to coordinate taxation on City residents.

BAFPC rightly asked what additional debt does the School District need to take on in the near term to address other school needs. As of May 7, those discussions between the City and the District appeared not to have happened and really should in light of the Governor’s recent proposed cuts to education. The School District’s long-term financial projections are much more dire than those of the City.

And what will be built? Council says “renovation”, BAFPC says “improvement.” Same thing? Maybe, but take a look at the pool for example. The City had a pretty good Community Pool lo these many years, the only problem being scheduling between lap swimmers and the high school and competitive swim teams. Now the city is proposing an Aquatics Center with accommodations for these two groups, at a much greater cost to build and operate.

The squeaky wheel gets the oil, but is it too much to ask that the pool improvement be a 50/50 public/private partnership? That’s not a question that BAFPC can answer, but for Council and the community to answer.

Council directed staff to hire a consultant to conduct outreach and education in Piedmont on the renovation projects and options for paying for them, so be on the lookout for computer and phone surveys. Get your 2 cents in now, because the “back of the envelope” cost for this bond initiative is $1000/household.

Zoom into the BAFPC meeting 7 p.m. Thursday, 5/21 to learn more.

Garrett Keating, Former Council Member

MEETING DETAILS FOR THURSDAY 5/21 > 2020-05-21 Budget Advisory & Financial Planning Committee

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May 17 2020

Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 5 P.M.

II.A. Reopening Schools; Goals, Assumptions, and Considerations

CLICK  AGENDA BELOW FOR DETAILS.

https://agendaonline.net/public/Meeting.aspxAgencyID=1241&MeetingID=78377&AgencyTypeID=1&IsArchived=False

May 17 2020

READ the City Council COVID -19 EMERGENCY ORDER Confirmation of Emergency Order #2020-01

May 14 2020

Special Council Meeting to discuss Piedmont’s finances: taxes, fees, revenues, fund balances, and future expenditures.

Saturday, May 16, 2020, 9 a.m.

Pleas for greater access to budget meetings have been assisted by COVID-19 rules.  The City instructs:

Members of the public can participate in the meeting in several ways:
Computer or smartphone: Click on https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87949769104 
OR
Telephone:Dial (669)900-9128 and enter webinar/meeting number 87949769104

Citizens may download the Zoom application to a computer or smartphone and become familiar with how to utilize this tool before the meeting.

For decades, the Piedmont City Council has met away from cameras to discuss how Piedmont’s money will be managed.  Interested residents have gone to a conference room in the Police Department to hear from Piedmont’s department heads on proposed expenditures. Because of the COVID-19 crisis, the Council will have a virtual meeting presenting an opportunity for anyone to learn first hand from home or office how Piedmont’s money is planned to be disbursed.   Capital projects, fees, and taxes are also going to be considered. 

During the budget session, each department head presents the reasons they are requesting funding.  The Council and participants can ask questions during the process.

See the agenda linked below to learn how to participate during the Special Saturday, May 16 Meeting.  

City Council Agenda 2020-05-16 (Special)

Agenda:

1. Overview of the Proposed FY 2020-2021 Budget by the City Administrator

2. Review of Departmental Budgets for FY 2020-2021

a. Administration and KCOM

b. Public Works c. Planning & Building

d. Recreation

e. Police

f. Fire

g. Non-Departmental and Other Funds Budgets

Below are the proposed budget documents to be considered by the City Council for the fiscal year which runs from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021.

For questions on contents of the budget, please contact Finance Director Michael Szczech via email at mszczech@piedmont.ca.gov or by phone at (510) 420-3045.

If you wish to write to the Council regarding the budget, please send an email to the City Council at citycouncil@piedmont.ca.gov or send a letter via U.S. Mail to Piedmont City Council, c/o City Clerk’s Office, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, 94611.

City Council Agenda 2020-05-16 (Special)

May 13 2020

If you missed the May 12, 2020 Virtual Town Hall meeting, click below for the recording. The meeting takes about one hour.

https://piedmont.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=3&clip_id=2151

May 12 2020

SCHOOL BOARD CONSIDERATION IS ON MAY 13TH OF WHETHER TO PROCEED WITH CONSTRUCTION OF THE PERFORMING ARTS CENTER/NEW ALAN HARVEY THEATER OR WAIT.  FUNDING IS IN QUESTION.

 There has been some discussion of deferring for at least one year the second phase of the construction program — demolishing the 10s building and constructing a Performing Arts Center/New Alan Harvey Theater on the 10s site. The reasons for considering a delay include concerns over the sufficiency of contingency funds ($1.96 million), an interest in redesign to reduce overall cost, and, mostly recently, preserving the 10s building for increased social distancing.

Committee recommends moving ahead with the second phase and demolishing the 10s building.

A Measure H1 Facilities Program Update is linked here for your review.

READ the full staff report linked below:

PUSD 5132020

READ the agenda for the May 13 School Board meeting HERE.

May 12 2020

For the first time since its inception in 1965, the City of Piedmont will not hold the annual 4th of July Parade and party in the park due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

As disappointing as this is, the City recognizes that the most important thing right now is to keep the community safe and healthy. Because of the nature of the parade and party in the park, social distancing measures would not be possible to achieve, let alone enforce, during this event.

“Piedmont’s 4th of July celebrations are designed to bring the community together to celebrate Independence Day,” said City Administrator Sara Lillevand. “Unfortunately, given the intent of the shelter-in-place orders, holding a community celebration attended by thousands of Piedmonters and guests would not be a wise choice.”

The annual event is an all hands day for the City’s essential workers, including police officers, firefighters, and the public works crew, as they work in and amongst Piedmonters to keep the streets and parks safe and clean.

The City has been working to keep our responders healthy so our public safety department can continue to be fully staffed, and respond to Piedmonters in times of need. Placing the City’s first responders in large crowds on this day would not facilitate this goal.

Additionally, 4th of July block parties, which are a Piedmont tradition, will not be permitted. The City will not issue any street closure permits at this time for 4th of July activities. If State and County guidelines relative to gatherings change significantly, we will reconsider street closures.

FRONT YARD DECORATIONS THIS YEAR

We know Independence Day is important to our community. Residents are encouraged to share their spirit by decorating their front yard this year in the theme “Celebrate in Place.”

Awards will be given for best front yard décor. More information will be announced by the end of the month. The Highland Cup, and Saucer Spoon will be awarded to the houses with the best decorations!

KCOM TV will also be putting together a retrospective video about the parade and party in the park. Resident submissions of photos are welcome. More information on how to contribute will be put out later this week.

We want to thank our community for their cooperation and efforts in keeping Piedmont safe.

City of Piedmont