Nov 16 2018

Correction Provided by Piedmont School Board Member

The Piedmont Post November 14 cover story on campaign finances reported that my campaign “self- funded roughly $6,500”. That is incorrect and would be a surprise to my campaign’s fundraising volunteers and to the dozens of campaign donors.

I did start my campaign with $2,200 from my 2014 campaign. During this 2018 campaign, my campaign raised $5,000, six donations of $100 or more and the remaining donations of $99 or less. One of those $99 donations was from my husband in support of the campaign. I did not self-fund.

Total spending on the campaign was just shy of $6,700. Because I did not need the funds, I declined the CTA donation. When I close the campaign account, the remaining funds will be donated to the Piedmont Education Foundation endowment fund.

Respectfully,

Amal Smith

Re-elected Piedmont School Board Member 

Nov 15 2018

Street paving, tennis courts, budget actions –  

November 19, 2018 – the Piedmont City Council staff reports are linked below.

11/19/18 – Approval of Agreements Related to the Repair of Cavendish Lane. 

“Cavendish Lane is a street which extends west from Park Boulevard and is located immediately south of Trestle Glen Road. It is approximately 1/10th of a mile in length, ending in a cul-de-sac. Cavendish Lane and its right-of-way are located within, owned, and maintained by the City of Oakland. The cul-de-sac is located at the extreme west end of the street and serves four homes located within the city of Piedmont. The only access to these four Piedmont homes is via Cavendish Lane.”

a. Reimbursement and Indemnification Agreement with the City of Oakland

b. Agreement with Coastland Civil Engineers for Project Specific Engineering

11/19/18 – Consideration of the Rejection of All Proposals for the Corporation Yard Solar Photovoltaic System Project 

11/19/18 – Consideration of FY 2017-18 Year-End Appropriations and Carryforwards      Street paving

 11/19/18 – Consideration of FY 2017-18 Year End Fund Transfers 

“In FY 2017-18, conservative budgeting combined with favorable revenue trends resulted in net income of approximately $3.5 million in the General Fund. Specific revenue categories that exceeded budget and accounted for the majority of net revenue include real property transfer tax (+ $1,045 K); secured property tax (+ $484 K); supplemental property tax (+294 K); mutual aid revenue for wildfire assistance (+$480 K); and recreation revenue (+ $232 K).”

11/19/18 – Consideration of the Issuance of Bid Documents for the Recreation Center Tennis Court Resurfacing Project and Direction to Staff Regarding Fundraising 

The November 19, 2018 Agenda can be read HERE.

Nov 15 2018

All PUSD Schools will be closed on Friday, November 16th due to poor air quality conditions.

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All Athletic Programs and extra-curricular activities are cancelled for Friday, Nov. 16th and over the weekend.

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Updates will be provided prior to our scheduled return to classes on November, 26th.
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I hope everyone stays safe and has a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday.
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Sincerely,
 Randall Booker, Superintendent of Piedmont Unified School District
Nov 13 2018

Police  Will Present Tips to Prevent Financial Exploitation of Seniors

With the holiday season upon us the Piedmont Police Department will partner with the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office for an interactive program focused on seniors staying safe during the holidays whether shopping, being approached for donations or from other type of fraud common during this time of year.  Attendees will also learn about general financial exploitation, how to safeguard oneself and seek assistance. 

All are welcome to attend as this information will be useful to share with elder family and friends.

Jeremy Bowers, Piedmont Police Chief

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Piedmont Community Hall, 711 Highland Avenue

RSVP to April Scott 510/420-3010 or ascott@piedmont.ca.gov

 

Nov 12 2018

During the winter holiday period in recent years, packages delivered to front porches have disappeared.

Over the summer, packages were stolen from porches in the 800 block of Blair Avenue, the 1500 block of Grand Avenue and the 100 block of Sunnyside Avenue, where packages were taken from the front porch of several homes. Vehicles associated with these thefts were a newer blue/grey 4 door hybrid SUV and a white moped/scooter with a black seat.  If you have any information regarding these thefts, contact Piedmont Police Department Detective R. Coffey at 510-420-3015.

Police tips for safe package delivery:

 1-Don’t leave packages out for extended periods of time. Reach out to your neighbors and ask them to bring packages inside.

2-Use an alternate shipping address like work or a friend/relative that you know will be home to receive packages.

3-Choose shipping options that provide for advanced package tracking, allow you to redirect a package, receive detailed updates on estimated delivery time, and send an email or text once your package has been delivered.

4-Install a security camera. Security cameras can deter burglars, keep your packages safer, and help you keep an eye on your home while you’re away. Products like Nest Cam Outdoor and the Ring doorbell are inexpensive ways to increase security.

Strange Car in Your Driveway? ——–

Caution:  If this happens to you, do not engage.  You are advised to call the police.

On Wednesday, November 7 a Piedmonter returned home to find an older model sedan parked at the top of his driveway, blocking access to his garage.  There were two occupants in the car.  After several minutes of waiting to see if the car would back out of his driveway, the homeowner gave a light toot on the horn. There was no reaction to his horn. The strange car did not move.

A few minutes later a female passenger got out of the intruding car and informed the homeowner they had car trouble and were trying to figure it out.   She then explained that they had just delivered a bin in the neighborhood.

Five minutes later the car backed out of the homeowners’ driveway and drove off with no evidence of car trouble.

When encountering suspicious situations such as described above, residents are advised to promptly call:

Piedmont Police Department at 911

or 510/420-3000. 

Nov 12 2018

Potential agreement between the City Council and the School Board –

An introductory discussion of adding a police resource officer into the Piedmont Unified School District will be considered on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 during the 7:oo p.m. Board of Education meeting held in City Hall.  The meeting will be broadcast live on Cable Channel 27 and via the City website.

To view the report go to item VII and click on the Superintendent’s report > https://agendaonline.net/public/Meeting.aspx?AgencyID=1241&MeetingID=67947&AgencyTypeID=1&IsArchived=False

Nov 12 2018

2017-18 City Revenue exceeded annual budget by $3.5 million.

The Piedmont Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee met on November 7, 2018 to consider Piedmont financial matters and consider recommendations to the City Council.

Handouts were provided to the Committee at their meeting.

The following is an abbreviated Power Point Presentation prepared by the Director of Finance and provided on November 7, 2018, to the Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee.  The presentation is printed below for readers interested in Piedmont’s financial condition in a limited form allowed on the PCA website.  Charts are excluded.  To view the original document inquire with the Piedmont City Clerk at 510/420-3040.

2017-18 Fiscal Year Report Actual vs. Budget

FY 2017-18 Highlights

•Revenue exceeded annual budget by $3.5 million

Major variances include:

• Transfer tax exceeded annual budget by $1.0 million.

  • Home sales up 4% over last year (132 vs 127)
  • Average Sales Price increased 7% to $2.3 million

• Property taxes exceeded annual budget by $0.8 million:

  • Secured property tax +$484 K
  • Supplemental property tax +$294 K

• Mutual Aid \ Strike Team revenue was $0.5 million as we participated in battling seasons severe wildfires.

• Recreation revenue up $0.2 million due to increased contract program offerings

Transfer Tax – Recent History

Property Tax – History / FY 18-19 Budget

Note: In the Ten Year Plan, we use the 10 year average growth rate of 4.4%

FY 2017-18 Highlights

Major variances include (continued):

• The following categories also contributed to the revenue gain:

  • Business Licenses + $138 K
  • Building Permits + $132 K
  • Motor Vehicle License Fee + $129 K
  • Interest
  • Ambulance Fees
  • Utility Users Tax
  • Community and Veterans

Hall Rental + $ 50 K

+ $ 90 K + $ 71 K + $ 61 K

•Overall, expenditures were under budget by ~$16,000

• All operating departments were under budget with the exception of Fire.

The drivers of the overage in fire were:

• Higher overtime costs, offset by lower regular salaries and retirement costs, which resulted in a budget overage of $235 K.

• This overage is more than offset by the $480 K received for our assistance in battling state’s wildfire’s.

• Premiums for workers compensation and liability insurance were $152 higher than budget.

•In summary, General Fund operating net revenue (revenue less expenses) exceeded budget by $3.5 million.

Update on CalPERS Pension

Components of our pension cost

• Our pension costs consist of the following:

• Normal cost = the present value of the future benefits to be received that is “earned” in the current year of service.

• Actuary’s calculate this based on a series of assumptions, including:

• Demographic: Years of service, salary at time of retirement, retirement ag age of death

• Financial: CalPERS portfolio earnings (discount rate)
• Expressed as a % of payroll and paid in monthly installments.

• Unfunded Actuarial Liability (UAL) = Excess of actuarial accrued liability over value of the pension fund assets.

• Caused by lower than expected investment returns, changes in demogra other assumption changes (lowering assumed discount rate).

  • Amortized over 20-30 years.
  • Expressed as a $ amount and paid annually.

Employees eligible for retirement:
Safety Tier 1 – 11 eligible, 2 retiring in 2018-19 Misc Tier 1 – 7 eligible, 2 retiring in 2018-19

Payoff of Unfunded Liability is included in our long range plan.

City of Piedmont Pension Tiers – Statistics

Funded CalPERS

City of Piedmont UAL Layers – Safety Tier

• Purpose of the slide is to show what comprises the UAL (Unfunded Accrued Liability), and what affects each year.

• Note – The payoff of the UAL is included in our long term plan.

What is Happening at CalPERS?

• CalPERS’ Portfolio – Annual Earnings is Forecast for next 20 yrs = of 6.6%

• Anticipating Negative Cash Flow for another 9-10 years (due to increasing number of retiree’s).

• Began cutting discount rate. First year affected is 2018-19.

• Policy regarding Amortization on Unfunded Liability to change in 2021.

CalPERS – Recent Changes Change in discount rate from 7.50%:

Rate • 6/30/16 valuation
• 6/30/17 valuation
• 6/30/18 valuation

Initial Full 7.375% 18/19 7.25% 19/20 22/23 23/24 24/25 7.00% 20/21

Risk Mitigation Strategy
• Move to more conservative investments over time • Lower discount rate in concert
• Likely get to 6.0% over 20+ years per Bartel.

Amortization Changes

• Beginning with UAL layers established on or after June 30, 2019 (which affects payments beginning in FY 2021-22) the following changes will be made:

• Amortization of Investment Gain\Loss and Demographic changes will b shortened from 30 to 20 years.

• Eliminate all “Ramp Up and Ramp Down” except for the ramp up on Investment Gain\Loss. This will reduce the amount of “negative amort which will lower interest paid.

• Good news is total interest paid will decrease, but payments wi————-

How will these changes affect the City ?

• Last year, engaged Bartel and Associates to estimate these future co

• Projections assumed discount rate will decline from 7.375% in 2018-19 to 7. 2020-21 per CalPERS policy. And a further decrease to 6.0% over the next 20

• Will need to refresh Bartel’s assumptions to include recent amortization changes.

• ROI for FY ending 6/30/17 was 11.2 %

• However our Unfunded liability increased slightly due primarily to the chang discount rate.

• FY ending 6/30/18 ROI was 8.4 %

• Both our Normal cost and our UAL payments will increase significant steadily over the next 15 years

Effect on General Fund

• The City began addressing the issue earlier this year:

• In May we opened a Section 115 Irrevocable Trust account with the Public Agency Retirement Services (PARS) with a contribution of $2.0 million.

• Projections indicate total expenditures (which includes planned capital transfer exceed revenues in 2023 through 2030. In these years the City may draw from PARS account to ensure a balanced budget.

• In order to not allow the General Fund reserve to drop below 18% of expenditures will need an additional $0.75 million contribution this year, as noted at our previous meeting.

Review of Proposed 2017-18 Year End General Fund Transfers

Year End General Fund Transfers • Recap of variance to budget (000’s):

Year End General Fund Transfers

• We recommend allocation as follows:

• $2.5 million to the Facilities Maintenance Fund.
• $0.75 million to the Pension Rate stabilization fund (PARS)

Equipment Replacement Fund

• At June 30, 2018, the Equipment Replacement fund balance was —- million.

• Based on a review of estimated equipment needs for the next 1 years, and planned annual transfers into the fund, no additional funding is currently needed.

Status of Trust Funds – OPEB and Legacy Police & Fire Pension Fund

• Police & Fire Fund
• Twelve remaining beneficiaries (5 primary, 7 survivor). • Annual benefit payments currently ~$225,000.
As of 6/30/18, the plan is OVER funded by ~10.5 million

• OPEB Fund

• Currently OPEB is UNDER funded by ~$13.7 million…however,

• Retiree benefits has been reduced to the PEMCHA minimum for all hirees May 1, 2018.

• Will realize a significant cash savings when these employees retire. Cur the average annual cost for a retiree is ~$10,000 compared to ~$1,600 the PEMCHA minimum.

Status of Trust Funds – OPEB and Legacy Police & Fire Pension Fund

• Due to the small number of retiree’s remaining in the Police and fund, coupled with the changes made to the OPEB fund:

• We are projecting the overage in the Police & Fire fund will grow and o the under funded OPEB trust in approximately 12 years. Around 2030.

Increased funding of OPEB is not recommended at this time. Employee contribute an estimated $100,000 to the fund through payroll deduction FY 2018-19.

Facilities Maintenance Fund

• The maintenance and improvement of city facilities has necessarily been a high priority for the City Council

• Staff completed a review of all City facilities in March of this year report detailed the following through FY 2021-22:

• Annual Operations: Annual recurring expenses required to maintain City facilities, including regular such as janitorial, alarm, pest control, heating systems, fire safety, and annual inspections.

• Annual Maintenance & Repairs: Cost of maintaining, repairing, or replacing various miscellaneous it of the City’s facilities that are malfunctioning, broken, or otherwise have reached their serviceable life.

• Consultant Services: Professional consulting services involving investigation, analysis, and recommendation which form the basis of the project’s next steps. Also included in this category are expenses related t project management services on an as-needed basis since the breath of the projects exceeds Staff capabilities.

• Deferred Maintenance Projects: Planned and prioritized major construction projects of a specific na undertaken to replace, achieve compliance, and/or modernize existing facilities that have been prev deferred.

(a) Assumes the $800,000 bequest from the estate of Anne Kroeger received in FY 2015-16 will be used for Recreation Center upgrades.

Assume 3% annual growth after FY 22-23

Cash Flow Forecast and Investment Results

Cash Flow Forecast

• Prepared a four year cash flow forecast to determine if we invest idle cash.

• Cash flow is very choppy.

• Heavily dependent on property tax receipts

• Flow will allow us to invest approximately $6 – $7 million longer term (up to three years) fixed income securities

Multi-Bank Securities

•Opened account with Multi-Bank Securities •Specializes in fixed income securities •Dedicated account representative
•Easy to use investment platform

• Platform has the ability to assure CD’s purchased do not exceed the maximum insurable by the FDIC ($250,000 pe institution)

Investment Strategy

• In the past, the City invested all Idle cash in LAIF (Local Agency Investment Fund).

• Began investing idle cash with MBS Securities in April.

• In process of building three year CD ladder

• CD’s are currently the best yielding fixed income security allowable under our investment policy, and its fully insured.

Investment Strategy
• Portfolio @ 10/31/18 (000’s):

• Current LAIF Yield is 2.16%. • Was 1.35% back in January

• CD ladder will increase interest earned (as compared to LAIF) in FY 2018-19 by approximately $35,000

Transfer Tax Update Year to Date – October 31

Transfer Tax Update

YTD receipts fairly consistent with past 4 years

  • Average seasonality indicates annual transfer tax to be in the $3.0 – $3.2 million range

Transfer Tax Update

• Receipt pattern tends to be choppy the first six months, but fairly consistent the remainder of the year

• Average seasonality indicates annual transfer tax to be in the $3.0 – $3.2 million range

Questions ? Contact City Clerk at 510/420-3040. 

Handout_GF_Pension_LTP

 

Nov 12 2018

      League of Women Voters of Piedmont

                        Holiday Luncheon

 The Rollercoaster of the US-Russian Relationship

 Guest Speaker  Anastasia Edel

Anastasia Edel

               Friday, December 7, 2018

                       11:00 am – 2:00 pm

               Piedmont Community Center

            711 Highland Ave, Piedmont CA

The League of Women Voters annual Holiday Luncheon will feature Russia Expert, Anastasia Edel on the Rollercoaster of the US-Russian Relationship. Ms. Edel is a Russian-born American writer and social historian who teaches in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Berkeley.

In her early life in the Soviet Union and later Russia, Ms. Edel witnessed the ascension of Mikhail Gorbachev, the introduction of perestroika, the fall of the USSR, and the ascension of Boris Yeltsin.  In 1995, she moved to England, and in 2003, to the Bay Area.  She has a unique cultural perspective on Russia and has explored the myths, beliefs, and historical developments that feed Putin’s anti-democratic ideology.

Ms. Edel is the author of Russia: Putin’s Playground, a concise guide to Russian history, politics and culture.  Her writing has appeared in The New York Review of Books, The New York Times, Project Syndicate, Quartz and World Literature Today. She’s a staff art critic for the Piedmont Post and is currently at work on a new book, The Gone Empire.

The speaker and lunch is $30 in advance or $35 at the door. Members of League of Women Voters receive a $5.00 discount.  To reserve your spot, visit LWVPiedmont.org, select the Russia Expert link and click the RSVP box. Payment via credit card, debit card or PayPal is accepted. Payment via check should be payable to LWVP and sent to Ward Lindenmayer, 40 Highland Avenue, Piedmont, CA  94611.

There is no fee for the speaker portion of the program.  Lunch following the speaker at 12:00pm.   Please reserve your spot December 1, 2018.

Nov 6 2018

UPDATED: The following are results from Piedmont voters as of 5:04 p.m. on November 9, 2018.  Those elected and measures approved are noted with an *.

School Board:

* Megan Pillsbury    2662    32.19%

* Amal Smith      2243    27.13%

   Julie Caskey     2091    25.29%

   Hari Titan      1265   15.30%

   Write-in       8    0.10%

City Council:

*Betsy Smegal Andersen   3714   34.55%

*Teddy Gray King     3367    31.32%

*Tim Rood     3276    30.47%

  Sunny Bostrom-fleming    348    3.24%

  Write-in    45     0.42%

Measure BB

*Yes     3049     65.21%

   No      1627     34.79%

Measure CC

*Yes     3013    66.62 %

   No      1510    33.38 %

Final results are pending until completion of all ballots counts and the election results have been certified. The results should be considered firm.

Readers can view any updated Piedmont results at:

https://www.acgov.org/rovresults/236/index.htm

Nov 5 2018

Win or lose on November 6, I want to say thank you.

First, thank you to everyone who supported me in this school board campaign. My biggest thanks to my couldn’t-have-done-it-without-him, uber-campaign-volunteer husband, Rick Smith, who brought his own expertise to the campaign, took on all tasks with good humor, and has been fully and selflessly supportive throughout my time in public service. Deep appreciation to Mary Ireland who, amidst all the work she is involved in, found time to develop and manage my website and design some of my materials.

I am grateful to my campaign committee who signed up early and provided insight, support, and wise counsel: honorary co-chairs Doug Ireland, Valerie Matzger, and Sue Smegal; and committee members Conna McCarthy, Cathie Geddeis, Hilary Cooper, Charlotte Ero, Anne-Marie Lamarche, June Monach, and Rich Raushenbush. And I am honored by the Piedmonters who publicly endorsed my campaign, sent in contributions, agreed to lawn signs, hosted events, voted for me, and were gracious and generous with their encouragement.

Thank you to my fellow candidates. Campaigning with you made me reflect more fully on what I want to accomplish, hone my message, and up my game. It is so important for our democratic process to have choices for open seats and our community is well served by your participation.

It is a privilege to serve this community and to work alongside smart, dedicated, savvy, direct, thoughtful people, from co-school board members, to district leaders/teachers/staff, parents and students, and
civic volunteers. It is my experience that we all work with integrity and honor, keeping our commitment to our true north principles of “kids first” and “all means all.”

I am honored to have served this community for 18 years and, if things go the way I hope, will be honored to serve another four. And if they don’t, then I wish the new board members all the best, knowing they will bring their best selves, as well as their unique perspectives and expertise to this board and this incredible community.

Respectfully,
Amal Smith, Candidate for Re-election, Piedmont School Board