Jan 16 2014

OPINION: New Council Faces Challenges

– Financial knowledge and years of experience –

The residents in our fair city have benefited from a long line of dedicated City Council members, including current office holders: John Chiang, Margaret Fujioka, Garrett Keating, Bob McBain and Jeff Wieler.  The range of talent in past and current members have helped steer Piedmont through flush and lean economic periods while maintaining an excellent level of city services.  Not an easy act to pull off.  And while increased revenues from higher home sales and other sources have helped offset rising operating costs – not to mention greater expenditures for personnel, the newly formed City Council along with our TBD City Administrator will face some tough fiscal and planning decisions ahead.

And it’s this fiscal showdown – a showdown municipalities across the country are facing with growing pension obligations matched with increased costs of running a city, aging infrastructures, transportation systems and technology – that I welcome the addition of Tim Rood to our City Council.

Holding dual advanced degrees in Architecture and City Planning from Cal, Rood has successfully managed multidisciplinary consulting teams in numerous cities, tackling just these issues: fiscal responsibility with demands for change and growth.  Integrating new demands for LEED accreditation in green neighborhood design, as well as accommodating more pedestrian and bicycle traffic, and installing greater safety measures in small and large communities, including Oakland, Martinez, San Rafael and Healdsburg, Tim’s experience is all about working with a range of professionals committed to making cities run well for its residents.  Coming off a two-year stint volunteering on our Budget Advisory & Financial Planning Committee, Tim Rood’s broad experience in civic planning will be a terrific addition to our Council and I urge neighbors to vote for him.

Denise Bostrom, Piedmont Resident

Editors’ Note:  The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Piedmont Civic Association.  The Piedmont Civic Association does not support or oppose candidates for public office. Information on candidates and their campaigns are welcomed.

One Response to “OPINION: New Council Faces Challenges”

  1. Denise raises a key point about City Council and the type of leadership that is needed at this time. There is the year-to-year fiscal oversight that councilmembers perform and with the General Fund surplus and stable real estate market, this task is pretty straightforward. It’s the long-term view, the “fiscal showdown”, that is the harder task and that will require some hard work by the next Council. The Budget Advisory & Financial Planning Committee has been doing a lot of the heavy lifting here, analyzing the 5-year budget projections and proposing fiscal solutions such as refinancing of the CalPERS Side Fund (kudos to Steve Hollis for that idea, vote for it!). Likewise, Tim’s analysis of the Sewer Fund in the BAFPC report showed how the City can finish rebuilding our sanitary sewers and balance our sewer fund with short-term loans from the General Fund, thereby minimizing any new sewer tax. Tim’s knowledge of the city’s long-term fiscal condition will be a key asset for the next Council.

    And Tim’s professional credentials will be invaluable to Council. The city’s Planning Department is in the midst of preparing major revisions to Chapter 17 of the Municipal Code, Design Review. New design guidelines for multi-use developments and revisions to existing residential guidelines will come to Council within the next term and Tim’s architecture and planning background will be a useful resource for Council to evaluate staff proposals. His experience with community projects will also help Piedmont implement projects stemming from the Bike/Pedestrian Plan and WW Bond fund hearings. I urge you to vote for Tim and work with him going forward.

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