Jul 3 2011

How Should Piedmont’s $500,000 of WW Bond Funds Be Used?

Coaches Playfield

The use of the one-time $500,000 WW Park Bond Fund money for artificial turf and lighting on Coaches Field is envisioned by the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Review Committee in its FY 2011-12 recommendations, although the Piedmont City Council has not yet held public hearings on the various possible uses of the WW funds.  The Council has promised hearings will be held prior to a determination on the use of the funds.   Measure WW funds are restricted, but are available to Piedmont for a variety of capital projects:  senior center,  tennis courts improvements, purchase of maintenance vehicles, historic preservation, public swimming pools, and many more uses.  Maintenance and repairs expected to last less than 25 years are not eligible, nor are operational and staffing costs.

CIP Committee’s final report will be presented to the Piedmont Park Commission on Wednesday, July 6, with highlights noted below:

  • Coaches Field:  $500,000 Measure WW regional park bond funding (Piedmont’s one-time share of restricted funds useful for recreational, senior, park facilities, etc.) would be available for Coaches Field in FY 2012-13 to supplement $650,000 already allocated and set aside in a reserve fund to complete the funding of lights and artificial turf totaling $1.15 million
  • 801 Magnolia: $75,000 in CIP funds allocated to seismic and structural work, with public discussion about uses for the east wing of the building
  • Ronada/Romona Triangle:  $70,000 in CIP funds allocated to create a landscaped triangle to enhance traffic safety
  • City Hall Wall Replacement: $15,000 in CIP funds allocated to replace a dilapidated stucco wall at the west side of the courtyard entrance

The CIP report is part of a long term plan for City funding of capital improvements.

For Coaches Field, $500,000 in WW bond funding would supplement $650,000 of CIP funding (from the General Fund) allocated to Coaches Field in past years , bringing total funding to $1.15 million to cover the installation of artificial turf and lighting.

For 801 Magnolia, the Committee further recommends a supplemental allocation in FY 2012-13 of $75-125,000, after an end use is approved and costs are better known.  This would bring total funding to $200,000 for estimated structural/seismic costs.

Additional suggestions were made regarding the CIP procedures and policies.

  • Financial Reporting: Improved summary project reporting to clarify total dollars allocated to projects and dollars left over after completion of projects
  • Return of Unused Funds:  Unused CIP funds to be retained and reallocated to other projects on the CIP list.

Due to limited revenues and substantial new expenditures, including an initial pool operating subsidy of $380,000, the 2011-12 City budget did not include any new funding for capital improvement projects.  CIP funds were also drawn down recently when over $2 million dollars from the fund was used to pay for private underground utility district cost overruns.

This year, the CIP Committee was limited to reallocating leftover funding from prior years or considering anticipated new funding, such as the Measure WW bond funds.   As a result, public input for new project proposals was not solicited and a “wish list” of projects received from staff was not recommended for funding. The only recommendation for a new project was $15,000 for necessary replacement of a dilapidated courtyard wall at City Hall.

Read CIP Final Report

2 Responses to “How Should Piedmont’s $500,000 of WW Bond Funds Be Used?”

  1. Why is there $650k sitting in a CIP reserve fund “earmarked” for Coaches turf/lights when these improvements will only benefit private sports groups who service non-Piedmonters as well as residents? . Why shouldn’t this money be used to plug holes in the budget, address long-term liabilities of the City and reduce the impact of looming revenue shortfalls on the taxpayers of Piedmont? It is precisely this sort of subsidization of private interests that makes it difficult for voters to take the need for another parcel tax seriously. The following quote illustrates the “process” the City used when it began funding the Coaches Field turf/lights CIP account.

    “The user groups (NOLL/SOLL Little League and Skyline Lacrosse Club) have indicated their seriousness in studying this issue including the funding issue.The city budget for 06-07 has $200,000 in funding in the CIP committed to this concept, although no specific project or plan has been studied or approved”*


    “No specific project or plan”!? Now, courtesy of the taxpayers of Piedmont, we have over $600,000 in this fund simply because the private sports clubs “indicated their interest” in turfing and lighting Coaches. Let’s return this money to the General Fund where it belongs. The right answer to the question posed in this article is: The $500,000 in WW funds should be used where it will benefit ALL Piedmonters, not at Coaches Field.

  2. The article on WW bond funds states at the end of the first paragraph “Maintenance and repairs expected to last less than 25 years are not eligible, nor are operational and staffing costs.”
    Is someone claiming that artificial turf at Coaches field will last 25 years? Most of the discussion I have heard from turf proponents and manufacturers is a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years for artificial turf. How can the $500k in WW bond funds be used if in fact “maintenance and repairs expected to last less than 25 years are not elgible?”

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