Aug 5 2014

CIP Meeting to Discuss Projects for WW Funding

 –  Wednesday,  August 6,  CIP Review Committee will once more meet at 5:30 p.m. in the small City Council Conference Room to discuss possible projects eligible for Measure WW Funding.  –

~~ Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) ~~

The CIP Review Committee plays an important role in recommending to the City Council many of Piedmont’s expensive capital improvement projects.

A long laundry list of projects ranging from curtains to safety matters have been discussed.

At previous meetings, interest focused on needed improvements particularly to Hampton Field, where water and sand has harmed the tennis courts presenting dangers and the outfield is rendered useless during wet weather. The large cost of Hampton rehabilitation would likely require phasing of the work.

Funds derived from the East Bay Regional Park District’s voter approved WW Bond measure can be used by Piedmont for specific projects. (Read about the project list.)  Piedmont’s entitlement is $507,000.

The CIP Review Committee meeting is open to the public.  However, The Brown Act meeting notice requirement appears to have been breached as time, date and location of the meeting was announced but timely notice of the meeting agenda was not distributed to aid citizens interested in participating in the meeting.  Prior CIP meetings have been held in locations outside of general public view. None of the Committee’s meetings have been broadcast or recorded.

The majority of the members on the CIP Review Committee are composed of those from the Park Commission or Beautification Foundation. There is no active representation from the Planning Commission or the Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee.

Following an interview process, four members of the seven member CIP Review Committee were appointed by the City Council.  They are: John Cooper (Chair)Ryan Gilbert (member of the Public Safety Committee), Bobbe Stehr (former member of the Planning Commission and member of the Piedmont Beautification Foundation) and Jamie Totsubo (member of the Park Commission).

Piedmont Garden Club’s Piedmont Beautification Foundation appointee:  Michelle Winchester (President of the Piedmont Beautification Foundation)

Park Commission representative: Sue Herrick (Chair of the Park Commission and member of the Piedmont Beautification Foundation)

Recreation Commission representative: Nick Levinson (Chair of the Recreation Commission)

City Council liaison observer: Vice Mayor Jeff  Wieler alternate: Councilmember Teddy King 

Staff to the CIP Review Committee are:

 Chester Nakahara (W) 420-3061 & Mark Feldkamp (W) 420-3064


One Response to “CIP Meeting to Discuss Projects for WW Funding”

  1. In his account of this meeting in his weekly column, Councilman Wieler dismissed many of the innovative public proposals for the use of WW funds. First, if the CIP committee wants to receive public input, it needs to hold evening hearings this fall on a draft report. Meetings during business hours in July and August will not draw many Piedmonters to City Hall. Councilmen Wieler dismissed many of the larger projects because of the need for CEQA environmental review (required of all WW projects) but many of these projects can use the CEQA analysis prepared for the Moraga Canyons project, a fact acknowledged by East Bay Park representatives. The traffic, noise and parking elements of that review could likely be applied to the Coaches Field expansion and Blair park proposals. Rather, Mr. Wieler would have WW funds go towards tennis court repair and bathroom upgrades but that is not in the spirit of Measure WW, passed by 72% of county residents:

    “To continue restoring urban creeks, protect wildlife, purchase/save open space, wetlands/shoreline, acquire/develop/improve local and regional parks, trails and recreational facilities, shall East Bay Regional Park District be authorized to issue up to $500 million in general obligation bonds, provided repayment projections, verified by independent auditors, demonstrate that property tax rates will not increase beyond present rates of $10 per year, per $100,000 of assessed valuation?”

    Rather than raid WW funds to pay for routine maintenance projects, it would be better to use these funds for an innovative public-private partnership such as Coaches Field expansion or upgrades to the Aquatic Center.
    Finally, to Mr. Wieler’s suggestion that the city invest in “lottery tickets” to pay for large projects, the city is by no means cash poor. The Facilities and Equipment Repair funds are well funded and the need for many of these projects unproven. The Facilities Repair fund is particularly based on boiler-plate assumptions – new roof, paint, restroom/kitchen upgrades whether needed or not. In addition, there is the question of what is the “new normal” for property transfer tax revenue. Revenues these past two years have shattered the $2.6M estimate used in budget projection and it could be that at this time next year the city has a windfall to do Coaches expansion or Blair Park, maybe even Hampton.

    Rather than consider the mundane suggestions of Mr. Wieler, I hope the CIP committee will think big, in the spirit of WW, and recommend project that increase open space and expand recreational facilities in Piedmont. To that end, Coaches expansion and Blair Park dovetail perfectly. A small parking lot at Blair Park will increase public access to this open space and facilitate game-day parking for an expanded Coaches. This is perfectly in keeping with the 2008 General Plan that calls for expanded active and passive reaction in Moraga Canyon.

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