Mar 21 2013

Citizen Asks if City is Billing PRFO for Amounts Due

City Costs for Blair Park Sports Field Still Owed –

Resident Aaron Salloway addressed the Council during  the Public Forum at the March 18 City Council meeting.  Once again, he requested an accounting of the cost to the City of the Blair Park sports facility proposal by Piedmont Recreational Facilities Organization (PRFO) and payments received by the City after more than $250,000 in staff time expended and $220,000 remaining reimbursement due.  “I’m concerned about the City’s effort to recoup the outstanding funds from PRFO.  The agreement with PRFO requires the City to provide notices of amounts due.  Yet the negotiations seem to go on and on.  What is there to negotiate at this time? …  Surely the members of PRFO do not intend to dishonor either their legal or their ethical obligations in this small community.”

Salloway urged a public hearing with full disclosure of what negotiations have taken place over time as well as the expenses and reimbursements, and an understanding of how the City has sought to enforce its rights under the agreement and what lessons should be learned.  “By no means should the PRFO debt be forgiven,” he said.

While Council discussion is barred by law during the Public Forum, Mayor John Chiang reminded Salloway that the City does not bill for staff time. The City Administrator assured Salloway that the City does intend to meet again with PRFO, “Getting everybody together with modern scheduling is a little difficult.”

2 Responses to “Citizen Asks if City is Billing PRFO for Amounts Due”

  1. How can we mandate accountability? For the 33 years I have lived here, I have seen a consistent pattern of “favors”.

  2. Although the Aug. 8, 2011 Indemnification-Reimbursement Agreement between PRFO and the City required a resident Public Records Act Request to unearth it, the fundamental basis for the agreement is crystal clear: PRFO is to pay the consultant and legal fees associated with the now tabled Blair Park Sports Complex. The litigation between the City and FOMC essentially came to a halt when the project was rescinded May 7, 2012 by PRFO; since then until the Nov. 19, 2012 dated final settlement the City spent another $31,400 in legal fees just for the settlement talks. The $220,000 previously owed has grown to over $250,000 and four months later residents have no open discussion or implementation of the terms spelled out in the Aug. 8 2011 Agreement.

    Mr. Salloway also reminded council of the $250,000 Staff time and Mayor Chiang stated these are lost taxpayer dollar that cannot be recouped. While true, how taxpayer money is spent is still of concern to some residents, as is lost opportunity costs.

    There are other hidden taxpayer costs. Significant legal work was paid for and declared “staff function” in addition to the $250,000 in staff time. Mr. Grote declared the legal work was for careful review of the LSA produced EIR. The Lozano-Smith CEQA attorneys were hired at the outset of the LSA work when no document existed. This legal work was fundamental to creating the EIR document and hopefully legally defensible positions; these costs would not exist had there been no Blair Park Sports Complex proposal. Taxpayers will not recoup these significant fees.

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