Dec 12 2018

Chester Nakahara, Director of Piedmont Public Works wrote to:

Bruce [Joffe],

On September 6, 2016, the City Council approved a new street sweeping schedule after operating for years under the former schedule. The former schedule was complicated and was loosely based on specific tree leaf drop cycles, impacted streets, and driver efficiency. It was Council’s goal to make the schedule easier to remember and therefore promote more cooperation.

Moving of the cars was still voluntary, but it was our hope that the online neighborhood groups would establish their own regular notifications for each sweeping day in each neighborhood.  I know this voluntary cooperation can be frustrating, but on the whole, it works well for Piedmont as our streets are clean for an urban setting. We know this through our annual reports for the Alameda County Clean Water Program. In addition, this new schedule helps the City achieve approximately 20 – 25% more scheduled sweeping compared to the old schedule. This does not include any “supplemental or emergency sweeping” that usually occurs on the off-weeks and during storms. I’m not sure the system you suggest would significantly impact what our peers already consider a pretty clean city. I agree that it might affect how it looks in front of your house, but we have to look at street sweeping with a bigger lens over the whole city.  Also, remember that you can call Public Works for supplemental sweeping

Creating a system as you suggest would have significant impacts. These include:

  • Increase Police personnel and costs for daily enforcement of parking restrictions, towing, impounding vehicles, and administering enforcement.
  • Increased costs and aesthetic impacts for a massive signage program throughout the City, which is largely residential in character.

Chester Nakahara, Director of Public Works
City of Piedmont
(510) 420-3061

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Hi Chester [Nakahara],

     Thanks for your responsive reply.

     I am glad to know that Piedmont now has a standard, regular street sweeping schedule.  I didn’t know what the schedule was for Rose Avenue this year.  How will the City notify us about the schedule when next year’s sweeping season starts?

     I am also glad to know that the volunteer notification process – neighbors posting signs four days in advance, calling the Public Works office, and calling the Police Dept when cars have parked in violation – works in some neighborhoods.  It does not work in the Lower Piedmont neighborhoods.

     You sited increased cost for not having a professional procedure of permanently posted signs (“no parking during these street sweeping days”), but what about the cost of the expensive machine NOT sweeping curbs because cars are parked on sweeping days?  As I said in my previous letter, taxpayers paid a lot of money for the street sweeping machine, and that money is wasted if the machine can’t clean the gutters because cars are parked on sweeping days.  And what about the cost of having to clean out storm drains because they are filled with unswept leaves?

     I suspect those costs would be reduced if the City conducted street sweeping more professionally, without depending on volunteers to keep cars off the street on sweeping days.  The benefits of cleaner leaf removal could be greater than the cost of posting signs (a on-time expense) and the cost of increased enforcement (paid for substantially by the fines imposed on violators).

Please reconsider your response of continuing to conduct street sweeping as a volunteer-assisted operation.

Sincerely,

Bruce Joffe, Piedmont Resident

Dec 4 2018

12-4-18

Dear City Administrator, City Council, and Public Works Director,

While street sweeping is conducted by a Public Works Department professional driving a very expensive street sweeping machine, our city’s street sweeping program is run like an amateur volunteer activity.  Effective street sweeping requires that the machine sweeps up fallen leaves in the gutters, otherwise those leaves wash down into our storm drains and clog them.  Yet, cars routinely park on streets scheduled for sweeping, so the machine just sweeps around them, missing most of the gutter leaves.  Why do cars remain on streets during sweeping days?

The answer is because clearing the streets depends upon an intensive and frustrating volunteer effort.  Local residents have to find out and remember when their street is scheduled for sweeping (there is no fixed day or time).  Then, volunteer residents have to tie or tape floppy cardboard “no parking” signs to trees or poles in front of their houses.  Then, they have to call the Public Works Department to report and register that they have mounted the temporary signs.  Oh, and the report must be made four days before the scheduled street sweeping day.  Then, on street sweeping day, the volunteer has to check to see if any cars are parked where the signs were posted, and if so, call the Piedmont Police to report a violation.  Then, this is the frustrating part, they have to wait to see if a cop will come out to ticket the violating parker.  Sometimes a parker has moved his car before a cop comes out.  Often, someone will park in the empty space after the cop has left, causing the volunteer to call the Police Department again to request street sweeping enforcement.

Whew!  It has taken a lot of time just to describe the process.  Most of our neighbors don’t have time to actually go through this process.  My wife, Karen, followed the city protocol – to the letter – because a lot of leaves have been accumulating.  She even raked the leaves away from the gutter into the street to help the machine collect them.  In spite of her efforts, four cars parked on the street, ignoring the signs she posted.  This is not the way to run a professional city service, and, the lack of adequate sweeping costs our city extra expense to clean out clogged storm drains.

The solution is not rocket science; it just requires looking at what most other cities do.

(1)    Establish a regular schedule for sweeping each street.

(2)   Post permanent signs saying “No Parking” on those specific dates and times.

(3)   Deploy police to enforce the regularly scheduled “no parking” rules.

This is how Oakland conducts its street sweeping parking restrictions on Linda, Kingston, and other nearby streets in that city.

My wife and I are not going to continue performing this tedious volunteer work to aid the city’s street sweeping.  Many of our neighbors don’t do so either, because they are not home during sweeping times or because it is too much of a burden.  It is long past time for Piedmont to run its street sweeping operation professionally.

Taxpayers paid a lot of money for the street sweeping machine, and that money is wasted if the machine can’t clean the gutters because cars are parked on sweeping days.

Sincerely,

Bruce Joffe, Piedmont Resident

Sep 29 2018

Monday, October 1 Council meeting will begin with a Closed Session for conferences with Legal Counsel regarding litigation.  The existing litigation is Jordan Thobe vs City of Piedmont et al.  In addition, there are two anticipated litigation cases – Initiation of litigation pursuant to Government Code §54956.9(d)(4): (Two Cases)

The regular agenda includes the Consent Calendar starting at 7:30 p.m :

10/01/18 – Approval of the Biennial Update of the City’s Conflict of Interest Code (City Council Policy #24)  

This item includes statements required by the Piedmont Planning Commissioners, Police and Fire Pension Board members , but without explanation does not include the Piedmont Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee members.

10/01/18 -Authorization for the City Administrator to Sign Three Documents Related to the East Bay Sewer Collection Systems Agencies 

Regular Agenda:

10/01/18 – Consideration of a Resolution in Support of East Bay Regional Parks District Measure FF 

10/01/18 -Consideration of a Report on Traffic and Safety Conditions on Oakland Avenue 

Consideration of directing Staff and Coastland Engineers to prepare a proposal for professional engineering services to develop the required designs and construction documents for the crosswalk enhancements at Oakland Ave. & El Cerrito Ave, and Oakland Ave & Jerome Ave.

10/01/18 – Consideration of the Award of the 2018 Street Traffic Striping Project to Chrisp & Company in the Amount of $276,414.95, Determining the Project to be Exempt from CEQA, and Setting an Overall Project Budget of $336,386.40

READ FULL AGENDA  here
The Council meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1, City Hall. The meeting will be broadcast live on Cable Channel 27, and from the City website under videos.  For additional information contact the City at 510/420-3040.
May 19 2018

Higher Parcel Taxes for Piedmont Services and Sewers –

The Piedmont City Council will meet at City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue, on Monday, May 21, 2018, 7:30 p.m. to consider the items on their AGENDA. The meeting will be broadcast live on Channel 27 and from the City website under online videos. 

05/21/18 – 2nd Reading of Ord. 744 N.S. Amending Chapter 9 (Garbage) of the City Code to Conform to the New Collection Services Agreement

05/21/18 – Presentation from Boy Scouts of America, Piedmont Council

05/21/18 – PUBLIC HEARING Regarding the Proposed Budget and Fee Proposals for FY 18-19 and the Levy of the Municipal Services Tax and Sewer Tax

Parcel taxes for City services and the Sewer Fund Tax are proposed to be increased. 

a. Presentation of Report from the Budget Advisory & Financial Planning Committee

b. Report on the FY 18-19 Budget Proposal

Majority of Piedmont’s costs are for personnel. Excerpt below:

“While continuing the cost-sharing agreements and significantly reducing our future obligations for retiree medical, the new contracts approved by the City Council include adjustments to base pay designed to bring employee compensation to within -3% of the median for comparable cities in our region.

In addition, employees will receive compensation adjustments in each of the next three years designed to result in a 3% annual net pay increase. These compensation changes, after almost 7 years of declining net pay, bring our employees closer to median a result in an overall 9% increase in salaries as compared to the prior year budget, which conservatively assumed a 2% salary increase. In addition, as compared to the prior year projection (2017-18), the most significant changes in personnel costs are as follows:

 Health Insurance – Increasing $266,400 over last year primarily due to an estimated 10% increase in medical premiums and the conversion of two positions from non-benefited to benefit eligible. Premiums are adjusted by health care providers on January 1, 2019 and any increase above the established baseline will be shared equally between the City and employees.

 Retirement – Employee retirement costs are increasing $248,900 over last year. After a 4- year phased approach to benefit cost sharing, all City employees have assumed the full cost of their “Employee Contribution” in 2017-18. In addition, employees will continue to contribute a portion of the Employer’s Contribution. In 2018-19, CalPERS will begin phasing in the lowering of the discount rate from 7.5% to 7.0%. As a result, the City expects its contribution and unfunded liability payments to increase by 10%. In total, the City expects to pay approximately 18.3% of salaries in 2018-19 compared to 17.0% in the prior year.”

05/21/18 – Consideration of the Default Electrical Service Option for East Bay Community Energy Residential Customers

Piedmont’s proposed environmentally focused electrical energy program will impact all Piedmont PG&E ratepayers. The City Council action being considered is an effort  to lessen the use of energy sources determined to harm the environment, such as gas, oil, and coal.

 READ the report above for an explanation. 

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To send comments to the City Council as a whole, and/or regarding a City Council agenda item, please email citycouncil@ci.piedmont.ca.us. <CLICK

To send via U.S. Mail, please use the following address:

City Council
City of Piedmont
120 Vista Avenue
Piedmont, CA 94611

Apr 26 2018

By accelerating its sanitary sewer replacement program, as recommended by the Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee on which I served, and by prioritizing the repair of the leakiest reaches of pipe, Piedmont has avoided incurring any fines, unlike many of our neighboring jurisdictions. I’m proud of the efforts of our staff to expedite this largely invisible but very important work. Councilmember Tim Rood

Note that Piedmont is one of a few Cities affected by the EPA Consent Decree to have no fines assessed. That is a direct credit to Public Works Director Chester Nakahara and our City Engineer’s diligence in making steady progress with our system upgrades and keeping us well ahead of schedule. City Administrator Paul Benoit

See below the press release regarding violations and fines assessed by the US EPA for sewage discharge violations by other cities.

Press Release USEPA fines

Mar 18 2018

City Council Agenda Monday, March 19, 2018 –  7:30 p.m. City Council Chambers, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA

Cell Towers City Price & Terms of Payment

Closed Session:  The City Council will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the City Hall Conference Room a. CONFERENCE WITH REAL PROPERTY NEGOTIATORS (Govt. Code §54956.8) City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue; Negotiating Parties: City and Gulf South Towers Negotiators: City Admin. & Atty; Under Negotiation: Price & Terms of Payment

(Gulf South Towers is noted as in the business of cell towers.  Click links below for more information.)

http://gulfsouthtowers.com/about-us/

http://www.buzzfile.com/business/Gulf-South-Towers-318-302-4830

b. CONFERENCE WITH LABOR NEGOTIATORS (Govt. Code §54957.6)

Regular agenda:

03/19/18 – Receipt of the Annual Progress Report on the Implementation of the City’s Housing Element

03/19/18 – Consideration of the Climate Action Plan 2.0 as Recommended by the Climate Action Plan Task Force

03/19/18 – Approval of a Resolution Adopting East Bay Clean Energy’s Brilliant 100 Plan for City of Piedmont Municipal Electrical Accounts

03/19/18 – Receipt of a Report on Updates to the City’s Facilities Maintenance Program

03/19/18 – Consideration of Fixing the Employer Contribution at an Equal Amount for Employees and Annuitants Under the Public Employees’ Medical and Hospital Care Act; AND Electing to Rescind Health Benefit Vesting Under Section 22893 of the Public Employees’ Medical and Hospital Care Act

03/19/18 – Consideration of FY 16-17 Year-End Appropriations and Carryforwards

03/19/18 – Consideration of FY 16-17 Year End Fund Transfers

03/19/18 – Consideration of the FY 17-18 Mid-Year Financial Report

03/19/18 – Consideration of a Date for a Council Work Session to Discuss Possible Amendments to the City Charter

For copies of attachments, older reports or if you have questions about this material, call the City Clerk’s office at (510) 420-3040.

Mar 15 2018

Trees, Recreation Facilities, Water Fountain for Dogs in Dracena Park, Lights and Plantings at the Community Center, Art Center Landscaping, Street Sweeping, Arbor Day –

The Park Commission Meeting of March 7, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. was held in the Piedmont City Council Chambers, and covered several issues and updates with regards to the state of Piedmont’s community spaces, upcoming Arbor Day, monthly maintenance and park safety updates, and more.

The March meeting began with the regularly-scheduled 10-minute public forum. There was one speaker. Piedmont High School Senior Yasi Parsa thanked the hard work of the Park Commission and strongly encouraged a continuous implementation of drought-resistant plants in Piedmont, whenever possible, due to its resulting conservation of water and environmental benefits.

The first item on the regular meeting agenda was the Approval of Park Commission Minutes for February 7, 2018, and Park Commission Chairperson Jamie Totsubo confirmed that there were no corrections by the Park Commission members; all members accepted the minutes as presented.

The second item on the agenda was an update on Community Hall Lighting and Planting and Civic Projects Donation from the Piedmont Garden Club.  Nancy Kent, Parks and Facilities Manager, said that the existing light poles at Piedmont Community Hall were replaced by four Spring City Light poles with new LED fixtures. Kent said the lights are dimmable and that she is happy about their implementation.

In my opinion, the lights are important to improve because good lighting is so necessary in a communal and ceremonial space.

Kent also said that the Evergreen Hedge and declining cherry trees in the courtyard will be replaced by a new Laurel Hedge and White Flowering Dogwoods, in the week of March 19th. She said baskets will be hung at the community hall lights, and that the Piedmont Garden club will donate to the City to have the plants selected and the baskets hung.

Former Park Commission Chair and Park Commissioner and future Piedmont Beautification Foundation (PBF) president Patty Siskind donated money to the Park Commission for the Dracena Dog Park, in order to install what she said is a much-needed water fountain for dog owners and patrons. She also introduced a diagram with succulent plants that are drought-tolerant, and said the design of the baskets at the Community Center can embody “thrill, fill, and spill,” which, as Kent went on to clarify, means a possibility of minimal irrigation for the succulents.

Following this, an update was given by Kent on the city’s playgrounds. According to this report, the safety of the playgrounds at the Piedmont Park, Recreation Department, Hampton Field, Lower Dracena Park, and the climbing and swings at Beach Elementary school, were reviewed this year as part of the facilities maintenance program requirements. As a result, the Recreation Department’s equipment has been replaced, and four of the five play structures received the Gold-Edge Certificate of Compliance. There was also an adjustment that was carried out on the playground equipment at Hampton. Oak tree branches were pruned away from the Recreation Department and the Piedmont park climbing structure, and the gap between a slide structure was fixed as well. According to Kent, this year’s report was a good.

Subsequently, there was an update on the Linda Beach Master plan during the meeting. Kent said that currently, the Plan is in an interim stage, and an online survey of more than 240 responses was taken on the Park’s preliminary design options. Kent reported that there were a lot of different ideas, and no main consensus. She also said that there are three very similar design presentation meetings on the Park Masterplan; the first will be presented March 21st at the Recreation Commission, the second at the Park Commission on April 4th, and the third one at the City Council Meeting of May 7th. The staff will review the public input taken from the three meetings and make another presentation, Kent said.

Following this topic was an update on the Heritage Tree Policy. Totsubo said that at the last Park Commission meeting, a Heritage Tree Selection Sub-committee was chosen, which is permanent for as long as the Heritage Tree Policy exists. A motion was made during the March 7th meeting to approve this appointment of Commission volunteers Jim Horner, Patty Dunlap, and Robin Wu.

Park Commission member Jim Horner said that he encourages people to send in applications for the trees, and that the deadline is Friday, March 16. Kent confirmed that it was a fillable PDF available on the City website.

An update was also given on Arbor Day by Commissioner Brian Mahany, who discussed the Arbor Day poster. Arbor Day, he said, will be on April 19th at 5 p.m., inside the Piedmont Park Community Center, lasting most likely under an hour. The Piedmont Jazz Lab band and PHS jazz band combo will perform at the event. Keynote speakers will be Commissioner Jim Horner and Mayor Bob McBain. Mahany said that while a two-sided banner could cost more, some of the benefits include a relatively nicer view of the images on both sides, and an alleviation of the sun shining through. He said there are two bids of $950 dollars for the most likely one sided banner.

Lastly, a monthly maintenance report was given by Public Works Department Supervisor of Maintenance Dave Frankel. First, he said that weeding in Piedmont parks has been a focus in the past month, due to rainy weather. He said there was planting done at the Community Hall Circle, at the Bonita Avenue corner of 801 Magnolia Avenue, and at the Piedmont Center for the Arts, by Public Works Department staff.

Trees were removed from the Wildwood Avenue entry to Piedmont Main Park, and the staff has also cleared creeks, trash racks, and catch-basins, during rainstorms.

Frankel also said that California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) is back in town, and that they are working on the removal of Acacia trees and weeds in the Park courtyard and at Blair Park.

Frankel reported that Davey Tree Company is in town, working on PG&E line clearing work, and that the Public Works Department staff has been planting street trees such as some Southern Magnolias on the corner of Monticello Avenue. They also removed a Magnolia tree on Moraga Avenue, which was hit by a car, as well as some decaying American Elm trees on Highland Avenue.

Frankel noted that if anyone wants to have their street swept, they can currently contact the Public Works Department, as they are not servicing sewer lines.

Commissioner Horner said that he thinks that having succulents at the Piedmont Community Hall is a good move, because they are durable, long-lasting, freeze-resistant, and look good.

I agree that they have aesthetic value and can last, and I think that since these plants will also conserve water, it is a really good idea.

Nearing the end of the meeting, Mayor McBain thanked Chairperson Totsubo for her fine work on the Commission as both a member and chairperson, and said that it was a pleasure to work with her for many years. He said that there will be a ceremony in May for honoring Totsubo and other civic volunteers.

“Having been here so many nights and evenings, what a great job you’ve done,” McBain said. “I want to say thank you for all your work and help, and you have made things better, so thank you.”

Totsubo thanked McBain and reminded those interested to send in applications for a vacant spot on the Park Commission, saying they are due Friday, March 9, at 5 p.m.. She also thanked all of the staff, expressed her confidence in their work, and said it was a fun, seven-year learning experience.

“I know I’m leaving an amazing group of smart and talented commissioners, who can navigate complex issues,” Totsubo said. “And I’m confident and happy that Arbor Day will be in good hands for many, many years to come, so good luck, Robin and Jim, Patty, Betsy, Eileen, and Brian. Good luck, and have fun with your time.”

The meeting ended with Commissioner Betsy Goodman handing an orchid to Totsubo on her retirement, thanking her generosity towards serving as the Chair during a time when the Commission was young.

After the meeting, I interviewed Dave Frankel, and asked him why he attended the meeting, including any difficulties and problems that may have caused him to attend. He said that he gives monthly maintenance reports on the park staff’s activities to the Park Commission at their meetings, and that regarding his takeaway from the meeting, he was disappointed that Jamie Totsubo was leaving. He said she is a wonderful and outstanding Park Commission chairperson.

According to the Piedmont City website, the Commission meets on the first Wednesday of each month, making recommendations to the City Council about improvements to the public parks, and managing the street tree improvement program of the city.

by Yasi Parsa, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Apr 23 2017

Blight, Commercial zone, winter impacts, paving, and solar panel installations.

On the twentieth of March, 2017,  the City Council discussed at their meeting  the rundown house of 954 Rose Avenue,  the dates to discuss Zone D in the City Code,  the City’s response to the winter storms,  the paving project, implementing solar panels, and actions regarding the damage to Cavendish Lane roadway.

The rundown house was an important and key point at the meeting as it was claimed there was a lessening of neighborhood value by hazardous, safety concerns. It had been over a decade and the property had not changed indicating to the City there was a need  for the City to take action. The property owner had started to make progress and had asked for an extension from the 27 of October to the 6 of January, but no further progress  was made.

Currently, the homeowner’s hut is falling in the neighbor’s driveway. Also, there is a big hole about four to five feet from the sidewalk; the staircase and chimney are broken; and there is a hazardous tree. In this meeting, many neighbors spoke upon these matters. One neighbor who is putting her house on the market expressed that she had to play guard for the house on Halloween as children think it is a haunted house. She also has to help the delivery guy to deliver packets to the owner and stated that people ask her: “Is it a crack house that you live beside?”

The difficulty in this case was that there was no previous similar case making the situation new territory. The Council realized the nearby property owner needs help as his renters are leaving and no progress is happening.  The City needs to pay their staff and there is no magical money coming from the issue. Therefore, a daily hundred dollar penalty will occur from the twentieth of March for three months. If there is no progress occurring such as repairing the stairs and chimney or having a construction schedule, then the City will take this to court on July first.

It is my opinion that this will bring Piedmont greater safety and a less blighted place, especially on Rose Avenue which has been a hurting street.

For Zone D, it has been a lengthy and complex process for residences, but the City has come forward with dates. The short term rentals are going to be scheduled to come back to the City council in April. The Grand Avenue area needs different approaches.  Work Session meeting to take further public input will be held to solicit concerns and issues.

In the City of Piedmont, we have been lucky to have Public Work’s Dave Frankel here 24/7. He is making sure Piedmont stays safe from falling trees, trash filling up the City, or creek overflows. In the winter months, it is hard to get anyone out to help, but Frankel and his staff have always been on the case. The winter months have therefore not been too devastating.  The streets have been regularly and repeatedly had the street sweeper. There have been 800-900 yards of trash picked up on scheduled street sweeping and 500 yard of unscheduled sweeping. The Council thanked Frankel and  his team for the hard work to keep the City clean.

The City’s pavement is being planned by contract City Engineer, John Wanger, who rates the pavement a 63. Since there is a budget for pavement, work is done on pavements which are badly degrading and preventive maintenance on pavements subject to degrading. Magnolia Avenue is waiting for renovation sewer work and Harvard Drive has been delayed. There is a lot more work needed on the pavements because of an increase of water cracks caused by the wet winter. There has been many improvements to come with better pavements, stop signs, pumps, and cycling lines.

The City of Piedmont may soon be clean and renewable energy per Jonathan Whelan who discussed the solar panel assessment. He discussed the location of the solar installation, the interconnection program, and the financials.

Clean renewable energy is something I personally support a lot and I spoke for solar lamps being put in the parks and other locations so that pedestrians can walk safely from athletic practices and other places.

This meeting went over a great amount of points to make our city better. This is why many of our citizens and organizations come to these meetings to get their voices heard and understand their city better.

Public Works Director Chester Nakahara came and was involved in the meeting. He was at the meeting on a number of issues including the paving program.  He talked about the work done to keep the roads clear and the City safe during the storms.

With all these wonderful people making sure our city is at its best and the citizens involved, we continue achieving goals to have a vibrant city.

by Lea Rygg, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.

____________

On March 20, 2017 City Council had it’s biweekly meeting in Piedmont’s City Hall. The City Council covered issues pertaining to the City of Piedmont like infrastructure, blight, solar panels, and the job of public works. The meeting began with an honoring of the City’s relationship with the American Red Cross, where Piedmont declared March Red Cross Month.

This was followed up by topic #6 on the agenda which was the Compliance Order Issued for 954 Rose Avenue which took up about half of the meeting. The issue with the home on Rose Avenue is that the front of the house has been deemed unsafe and a blight to the community of Piedmont. The three staff participants in the discussion where City Administrator Paul Benoit, City Attorney Chad Herrington, and the Director of Public Works Chester Nakahara.

The City of Piedmont had issued a compliance order on the house after the homeowner requested one but no improvements were made to his home. The City Council debated possible solutions on what could be done about the home.

Something easily noticed among the Council was how well they worked together to find the best possible solution. For example, they stated they could try to get a work warrant to fix the home, but decided that by the time they had gotten the warrant, months would have gone by.

Also, early on in the discussion, the Council had several neighbors speak about the house. Many of the neighbors stated that the house was an accident waiting to happen. One neighbor described a story of how on Halloween kids believed the house was actually a haunted house.

After hearing these messages the City Council took the neighbors’ consideration of immediate action and deliberated on a possible solution. The City Council agreed on a $100 per day fine until the homeowner obtained a permit with a construction schedule on it.

I agree with the City handling of the house on Rose Avenue because the issue has dragged out for so long that now the fines will grab the homeowner’s attention to hopefully take action.

Later, the City applauded the work of Public Works Department after one of the wettest winters in 60 years. The main jobs that the Public Work team focused on was providing sandbags for people as well as checking on Piedmont creeks to make sure they weren’t overflowing, which affects sewer lines. The main point of congratulating the department is that they do not receive a lot of recognition and to remind them to keep up the good work they are doing for the city.

After the meeting I was able to speak with Chester Nakahara, who is the Public Works Director, and oversees five divisions (streets, buildings, sewers, public works, parks.) For the most part, he thought that the meeting went well and the decisions the Council made, specifically for the Rose Avenue house, were steps in the right direction for the Piedmont community.

By Nicholas Pacult, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions are those of the author.
Dec 18 2016

At their December 19, 2016 meeting, the City Council will consider “borrowing of funds from the California State Water Resources Control Board” to pay for sewer improvements. The State has approved the loan request.

The Piedmont City Charter states:

SECTION 4.13 TEMPORARY LOANS  Money may be borrowed in anticipation of the receipts from taxes during any fiscal year, by the issue of notes, certificates of indebtedness or revenue bonds; but the aggregate amount of such loans at any time outstanding shall not exceed twenty-five (25) percent of the receipts from all taxes during the preceding fiscal year; and all such loans shall be paid out of the receipts from taxes for the fiscal year in which they are issued.

SECTION 4.14 BONDED DEBT LIMIT  The City shall not incur an indebtedness evidenced by obligation bonds which shall in the aggregate exceed the sum of twenty (20) percent of total assessed valuation for purposes of City taxation, of all the real and personal property within the City, exclusive of any indebtedness that has been or may hereafter be incurred for the purposes of acquiring, constructing, extending or maintaining municipal utilities, for which purpose a further indebtedness may be incurred by the issuance of bonds, subject only to the provisions of the State Constitution and of this Charter. No bonded indebtedness which shall constitute a general obligation of the City may be created unless authorized by the affirmative votes of a majority of the electors voting on such proposition at any election at which the question is submitted to the electors and unless in full compliance with the provisions of the State Constitution, other State laws and this Charter.

Staff reports:

12/19/16 – Consideration of Actions Related to the Approval of the Sanitary Sewer Phase 5 Rehabilitation Project:

a. Approval of Installment Agreement # D16-01021

b. Authorization for City Administrator to Execute Documents

c. Approval of Construction Documents

Nov 14 2016

 Sweeping is conducted on the day after green waste, recycling, and trash are picked up for your home. See schedule below.

It is a three week cycle alternating between the odd and even numbered sides of the street, followed by a week of no sweeping.

As emphasized by the City Council, one of the key elements of having an effective street sweeping program is for the residents to be aware of the schedule in advance so that they can relocate their cars and/or move the green waste, recycling, and trash cans to create free and clear access up to the curb. Since Piedmont relies on residents to move their vehicles, knowledge of the sweeping dates is essential. To help promote resident cooperation and knowledge, the Council approved linking the street sweeping schedule to the regular green waste, recycling, and trash pickup days. This should be a simple and systematic method to ensure that residents know when to move their vehicles.

Two documents illustrate the street sweeping schedule.

For questions regarding the street sweeping schedule, please contact Director of Public Works Chester Nakahara at (510) 420-3061 or or via email at cnakahara@ci.piedmont.ca.us.