Jul 30 2016

Agenda for Monday,  August 1, 7:30 p.m.  Council meeting includes the following: (Click on each underlined item below to read the staff report.)

08/01/16 – Approval of a Revised Resolution Dedicating Sewer Revenue for Repayment of State Loans for Sewer Rehabilitation

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.”

08/01/16 – Approval of a Renewed Facility Use Agreement with the Piedmont Swim Team until August 14, 2018

08/01/16 – Approval of the Reclassification of the Support Services Commander and Human Resources Administrator Positions as Recommended by the Civil Service Commission at its Meeting of July 22, 2016 as well as Approval of Updated Employment Resolutions Reflecting Changes Made to the Classifications

08/01/16 – Approval of the Second Amendment to the Employment Agreement between the City of Piedmont and Paul Benoit

Base Salary: The annual salary for the position of City Administrator shall be Two Hundred Twelve Thousand One Hundred and Eighty Dollars ($212,180.00) effective July 1, 2016. The City Administrator shall be paid at the same intervals and in the same manner as regular City employees. The City shall not at any time during the term of this Agreement reduce the base salary, compensation or other financial benefits of the City Administrator, unless as part of a general City management salary reduction, and then in no greater percentage than the average reduction of all City department heads.

08/01/16 – Approval of the Purchase of a New Vehicle for the Fire Chief

08/01/16 – Approval of a Renewed Agreement to Provide Animal Control Services to the City of Emeryville in the Amount of $93,421 Per Year

08/01/16 – Appoint Councilmember Levine as Liaison to the Planning Commission

08/01/16 – Consideration of the Installation of All Way Stop Signs at Various Intersections to Increase Traffic and Pedestrian Safety (con’t from 07/18/16)

08/01/16 – Consideration of Authorization to Issue an RFP for IT Support Services

08/01/16 – 2nd Reading of Ord. 723 N.S. Approving the First Amendment to the Lease Agreement with Piedmont Center for the Arts at 801 Magnolia Avenue

The meeting will be broadcast live. If you have questions about this material, call the City Clerk’s office at (510) 420-3040.

Read the full August 1 Council > agenda.

Jun 18 2016

On Monday, June 20 starting at 7:30 p.m. in City Hall, the City Council will adopt the FY16-17 Budget, levy the FY 16-17 Municipal Services Tax and Sewer Tax,  approve “other Funds Budget” and fees, make year end appropriations, carryforwards, and reclassifications, approve Project Sport closure of southbound Grand Ave on August 13 and other agenda items.

June 20, 2016, Council meeting agenda items can be viewed by clicking on the individual items below:

06/20/16 – Approval of a Renewed Agreement with Alameda County Regarding Collection of Taxes 

06/20/16 – Approval of a Street Use Request from Project Sport, LLC Regarding Use of Grand Avenue on August 13, 2016 to Conduct a Portion of “The Town’s Half Marathon” 

06/20/16 – Consideration of FY 15-16 Year-End Appropriations, Carryforwards, and Reclassificiations

06/20/16 – Consideration of a Resolution Implementing Employee Payment of an Additional Portion of the PERS Employer Paid Member Contribution for Miscellaneous Employees as Previously Agreed to by the City Council and Employee Groups

06/20/16 – PUBLIC HEARING Regarding the Proposed Budget for FY 16-17 and the Levy of the Municipal Services Tax and the Municipal Sewer Tax and Consideration of the Following:

a. By Resolution, Adopt the FY 16-17 Operating Budget

b. By Resolution, Adopt the FY 16-17 Other Funds Budget

c. By Resolution, Approve the FY 16-17 Schedule of Fees and Charges

d. By Resolution, Confirm the City’s Annual Appropriation (Gann) Limit 

06/20/16 – Consideration of a Resolution Levying the FY 16-17 Municipal Services Tax 

06/20/16 – Consideration of a Resolution Levying the FY 16-17 Municipal Sewer Tax 

The meeting will be broadcast live on Channel 27 and from the City website under online videos.

Read the entire agenda > here.

To send an email to the City Council click below:

jtulloch@ci.piedmont.ca.us

Jun 4 2016

Beginning at 7:30 p.m. the City Council will take up its regular agenda in the Council Chambers.  Agenda items include: (Click on items to read the reports.)

06/06/16 – Receipt of a Report on the Timeline for the November 8, 2016 Regular Municipal Election

06/06/16 – Receipt of a Report on the 2016 Annual Adjustment to Trash, Greenwaste and Recycling Service Rates 

06/06/16 – PUBLIC HEARING Regarding the Proposed Budget and Fee Proposals for FY 16-17 and the Levy of the Municipal Services Tax and Sewer Tax

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

b. Report on the FY 16-17 Budget Proposal 

06/06/16 – Consideration of Direction to Staff Regarding the Inclusion of Projects Recommended by the CIP Review Committee in the FY 16-17 Budget Proposal

The public may comment on any agenda item during the meeting or on a non-agenda item during the Public Forum. You may choose to write comments to the Piedmont City Council, c/o City Clerk, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611 or send an email to: >  jtulloch@ci.piedmont.ca.us. All comments submitted will become part of the public record and may be posted to the City’s website.

The meeting, open to the public, will be broadcast live, and recorded.  Go to Cable Channel 27 and the City website under videos to view the meeting. 

Read the full agenda here.

May 26 2016

Councilmember Bob McBain and Vice Mayor Jeff Wieler in last week’s Piedmonter severely criticized former Councilmember Garrett Keating and Piedmont resident Rick Schiller’s opposition and analysis of the June 7 City parcel tax, Measure F, for concluding that a 30% parcel tax increase (never mentioned in the ballot summary or “impartial” City Attorney analysis) is unnecessary.   Just as Schiller had warned in 20­12 that the proposed $11 million Measure A Sewer Tax was unnecessary, he has once more informed voters of Measure F failings. 

Who should we believe?

The 2011 Municipal Tax Review Committee including the  Bob McBain­ and Ryan Gilbert, Sewer Sub­committee, recommended a $11 million Sewer Tax increase, but Gilbert withdrew his support when public documents disclosed no factual or legal justification for the tax.   However, McBain and Wieler remained fervent Sewer Tax supporters.

McBain signed the Sewer Tax ballot arguments and Wieler vigorously continued support for the Sewer Tax, however informed Piedmont voters soundly defeated the new Sewer Tax.

Wieler then predicted disaster, writing in The Piedmont Post, page 21, February 29, 2012: “Unfortunately, without the additional revenue that Measure A [Sewer Tax] would have provided, it is impossible to imagine how the remaining unimproved 40% of Piedmont’s sewer system can be rehabilitated in the next 10 years.”

McBain’s and Wieler’s predictions predictably crashed.     Schiller had been right.

On Oct. 6, 2014, the Piedmont City Council, with Councilmember McBain and Vice Mayor Wieler voting yes, loaned $800,000 from other City funds to the Sewer Fund to complete the sewer rehab. The failed Measure A Sewer Tax was needed only in McBain’s and Wieler’s thoughts.

While promoting a stunning 30% parcel tax increase in Measure F, the team of Wieler and McBain should provide a credible explanation for their past performance before denigrating Keating and Schiller.

Thomas D. Clark, Piedmont Resident

Editors’ Note:  Opinions expressed are those of the author.  PCA does not support or oppose ballot measures and accepts opinions both pro and con.

Feb 23 2016

I estimate that taxpayer expenditures total $1,806,845   (taxpayer cost estimate updated on Feb. 26, 2016 to $1,640,000 -see comment below) directly related to the Piedmont Hills Undergrounding District (“PHUD”). This is public money for private benefit as Appeal Courts have found in other cases. As litigation is concluded, it seems appropriate to close the undergrounding debacle with transparency and not bury it in bedrock. I base my total on the following direct expenses and credits:

  •  Nov. 16, 2009, taxpayer cost to repair Crest Road: $275,000
  • Dec. 12, 2009, Council gives $1,004,832
  • Feb. 6, 2010, Council gives $1,127,013
  • Litigation expense up to Sept. 30, 2012 is $118,739
  • I estimate additional litigation cost at $298,260 to Feb. 2016.

I put a letter in to City Council asking for the total litigation cost with no response. I speculate the $417,000 Harris settlement covers litigation cost. Credits include $917,000 litigation settlements and PHUD offered to contribute $100,000.

$616,491.50 cost for another private underground district –

Additionally there is $300,000 in City litigation cost plus $316,491.50 settlement cost for $616,491.50 total taxpayer expense for the neighboring Sea View Undergrounding District that fortunately did not go forward. How many millions more would we have spent excavating bedrock next to PHUD had Bert and Deborah Kurtin not brought suit to stop that District?

A Feb. 6, 2010, City Council Resolution states: “WHEREAS, while the City Council requests that any funds expended by the City for completion of the construction project that are not recovered from legal actions against responsible parties be contributed by residents of the District.”

There is no action on or acknowledgement of this resolution.

This June a 30% higher parcel tax will be put before voters.

Rick Schiller, Piedmont Resident

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Nov 22 2015
High School Student Hana Elabed reported on the November 16, 2015 City Council meeting.

    On Monday, November 16th, I treked up to Piedmont City Hall in order to hear the City Council meeting. The Council typically meets on the first and third Monday of each month. The meeting promptly started at 7:30 p.m. and ended at approximately 9 p.m. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss and hear about things that were listed on the agenda. The agenda included the approval of minutes, the acceptance of the Highland Avenue Parkway Drainage Improvement Project, discussion of the Book Drive, discussion of the Toys for Tots drive, consideration of the appointment of James O’Leary as an interim contract Finance Director, and the 3rd quarter crime report.

    Mayor Margaret Fujioka called the meeting to order and directed everyone to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. Mayor Fujioka moved to the consent calendar and Vice Mayor Jeff Wieler said, “I think we need to pull the Highland Avenue reimbursement.”  Mayor Fujioka then entertained a motion to approve the meeting minutes from the last Council meeting and the motion passed unanimously. Next, there was a motion to accept the Highland Avenue Parkway Drainage Improvement Project and Council member Robert McBain moved approval and Council member Teddy G. King seconded the motion. The Council voted unanimously to approve the motion.

    After the Public Forum, the Council went to ceremonial matters. Mayor Fujioka smiled and said, “Tonight, we have two ceremonial matters, both really fun opportunities here in Piedmont.”  Fujioka then introduced two representatives from the organizations that will be receiving donated books. Anne Katz of the East Bay Collective Book Project approached the podium to speak about her organization.  Katz started by saying how pleased the organization is to be working with the City of Piedmont again after getting 900 books last year. She stated, “This year, I expect to quadruple that number at least because we have all three elementary schools who are going to be joining us.” Katz said the organization deals with kids who have never owned a book in their lives and they can’t believe it when you give them a book and they are allowed to keep it. Last year the organization gave away about a quarter of a million books to social service agencies.

Katz then invited Peter Scharass up to the podium to talk about his organization. Scharass states, “Low income kids end up with a big difference between their performance in 12th grade and the performance of higher income kids. There is actually an 80% difference between the two.” He stated his organization is purposeful and evidence based and their goal is to obtain kids books and get their parents to read to them.

President of the Piedmont School Board Andrea Swensen said a few words about her excitement in getting Piedmont involved in the Book Drive for the second year in a row. She held up Cat in the Hat and said, “I brought my favorite book as both a child and a parent.” This year, the places to drop off books are the three elementary schools, City Hall and at a bin at the Turkey Trot, which takes place on Thanksgiving Day.

Mayor Fujioka then talked about her love of the Book Drive and said that you cannot overstate the importance of early childhood reading and getting kids hooked on books. “I want to encourage all of our residents to donate generously.”

I think that this is a wonderful thing to become involved in and I encourage anyone to give whatever they can to these causes. Here in Piedmont, kids are very lucky and privileged and any chance there is to give back, is a something that people should participate in.

    Mayor Margaret Fujioka  then moved to discuss the annual Toys for Tots drive that is sponsored in Piedmont by the Fire Department. Fire Chief Bud McLaren spoke about the drive.  He stated, “This is one of the most exciting times of the year for me, because we are honored to pair up with the United States Marine Corps Reserve and collect toys for underprivileged children in Alameda County that won’t be as blessed as our children are.”

The Fire Department is going to collect, unwrapped, new toys from November 16th to December 21st. They collect for all age groups from infancy to teenagers, however the chief encourages people to bring in toys for older kids because they haven’t gotten a lot of those in the past. There are three drop off locations for those who want to donate toys: the Fire Department at 120 Vista Avenue, the Shell Station at 21 Wildwood Avenue, and Highland Partners Real Estate office on Highland Avenue.

Chief McLaren stated if anyone is unable to drop their toys off, he would be more than happy to come pick them up from you. Piedmont in the past has given more toys than any other community, and the Marines have even had to get a bigger truck to pick up our toys.

    The next agenda item was consideration of the appointment of James O’Leary as Interim part-time Finance Director and an engagement agreement with Regional Government Services. The previous holder of this job, Erick Cheung, is resigning to take a position involving less commute time and no night meetings. City Administrator Paul Benoit recommended James O’Leary, who has an extensive background in finance as Assistant Finance Director for the City of San Leandro and San Bruno. Benoit pointed out that since O’Leary’s former employers asked for him to come back, that is a good sign. O’Leary stepped up to the podium to express his excitement for starting this new job and the challenges he hopes to overcome. Fujioka asked O’Leary, “Will you be working on another assignment the same time you are working with Piedmont?” to which O’Leary responded, “No, I will only be working with Piedmont.” The motion to hire O’Leary passed unanimously.

 Next was  consideration of actions regarding Phase 5 of the sewer rehabilitation project. Fujioka asked, “Can you clarify if we are reimbursing the state or the City of Piedmont?”  Chester Nakahara, Public Works Director stated, “The loan we are getting is from the California State Water Resources Control Board, so we are repaying the loan to the state.”

To date, the City has completed 35% of the design documents for Phase 5 of the sewer project. The project is going to end up replacing about 6 miles of sewer line and the projected cost of that work is about $3.8 million. Mark Obereld was introduced as the head engineer for the project. The City submitted the initial application to the state a few weeks ago and so the process has started. The staff is anticipating that Phase 5 will start in October 2016 and will be complete by October 2017. After Phase 5 is complete, 80% of the City’s total sewer system will be new. The other 20% will be completed in Phase 6 and 7.

Fujioka made a remark about the non-specificity in the title of the loan proposal and City Attorney Michelle Kenyon stated, “The state really frowns on people making edits to this and it is almost impossible for the state to agree to edits.” Jeff Wieler stated, “Wouldn’t it be a waste of time to have the City Attorney pursuing changes for the state bureaucracy? I would be opposed to using resources to try and negotiate with the State of California.” Fujioka stated, “My theory is that it never hurts to ask.”  The motion for the sewer loan was approved  unanimously.

    The last item at the meeting was the third quarter crime report from the Chief of Police, Rikki Goede. The City of Piedmont has seen a 1% decrease in crime since the prior quarter. The Chief encourages people to make sure to lock their cars every night because the car burglaries rate has gone up. Also, do not leave any valuables or anything of substance in the car. The Chief also encourages people to wait by the ATM until their transaction is fully complete because people can steal your code and get money out of your account.

There has been a decrease in speeding because of the new speed limit signs inserted on Oakland and Highland Ave. The Chief also encourages people to make their house look lived when they go out of town. She wants students to know that the police officers are not there to just get them in trouble, but more there for their safety.

“I think that the officers need to make more of an effort to develop relationships with the students because they are in our lives a lot.”

Fujioka stated, “It’s a new day in Piedmont for increasing public safety”.

Close to the end of the meeting Vice Mayor Wieler stated, “I would like to commend the high school students for actually sticking it out through the entire meeting, most of your colleagues don’t do that. I think if you approach the City Clerk, he’ll make a note saying that you should get extra credit.”

 After the meeting, I introduced myself to Councilwoman Teddy G. King who has recently become a part of the Council and I had the opportunity to ask her a couple of questions. When asked why she wanted to join the Council she said, “I have a strong belief in public service and when given the opportunity I ran for public office. I wanted to put more things in place in order to protect the kids better. Honestly, I ran because Councils have historically not had any women with kids in the school system, it tends to be more empty nesters or men.”

I found it gratifying that King took the initiative to run for City Council for the reasons that she had. King stated that there are many things on her agenda to bring up to the Council, but on the top of her list is “improving recreational opportunities and I am very happy that the City is finally talking about improving Hampton Field again,” King noted, “I think it is going to be difficult for me and my colleagues to find the funding for that and it will take some political heavy lifting”.

Overall, the meeting was a very interesting thing to attend and it was fascinating to be able to meet the mayor and other councilmembers. I look forward to attending more in the future.

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Aug 4 2015

On Thursday, August 6, at 6:30 p.m. in the Police Department Emergency Operations Center, 403 Highland Avenue, the Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee will consider items critical to Piedmont’s financial stability.  The public can attend and participate in the meeting.  There will be no audio or written record kept of meeting discussion or presentations. Additionally, no broadcast via the internet or cable TV will be available.

• Review the financial projections prepared for the City’s Annual Budget and provide comment on whether they provide for the long term sustainable financial future of the City. This review shall take place between the preparation of the budget in April and its approval by the City Council in June of each year.

• Review and provide comment on the Mid-Year Budget Reports.

• Provide a financial review of any new program commitments and funding sources in excess of $250,000 in any fiscal year.

• Periodically review and comment on the sufficiency of funding for long term obligations, including the Sewer Fund, Equipment Replacement Fund, Facilities Maintenance Fund and the City’s pension and retiree healthcare costs and funding.

• Periodically examine the need for the Municipal Services Special Tax (Parcel Tax) and recommend whether this tax should be continued, and if so, at what rate.  This charge shall be accomplished not later than eighteen (18) months prior to the expiration of the tax as set forth in Chapter 20B of the City Code.

Approval of prior meeting minutes are on the agenda:

 

 

May 30 2015

The Piedmont City Council will meet Monday, June 1 beginning  with a Closed Session in the City Hall Conference Room at 7 p.m. for consultation with legal counsel on existing litigation. Any action taken will be reported in the following open meeting, expected to begin at 7:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend the public meeting in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue. The public is invited to express their opinions about the taxes and spending priorities for the City in the coming year as well as other agenda items: Measure BB funding resolution; approve four CIP projects and increase Facilities Maintenance Fund.

The City Budget and the proposed tax levies are two important items on the agenda. The City Administrator recommends a 2.67% increase for both the Measure Y Municipal Services Tax and Municipal Sewer Tax for FY 2015-2016.

Prior to adoption, a subsequent public hearing on the proposed budget and the levy of the Municipal Services Tax and Sewer Tax will be held at the Monday, June 15 City Council meeting.

Staff reports:

Measure BB transportation tax funding resolution

Report by the Budget and Financial Planning Committee

Proposed Budget 2015-16 documents

Proposed increase levy of Measure Y Municipal Services Tax and Municipal Sewer Tax

CIP Projects recommended for approval and Facilities Maintenance Fund increase

May 6 2015

Piedmont’s City Council will hold  an informal discussion with City staff, Saturday, May 16 at  9 a.m. on the City Administrator’s proposed 2015-16 City Budget.  The Budget Session will again be held in the Emergency Operation Center in the Police Department on Highland Avenue. The location provides a “round table” casual atmosphere leading to budget adoption, following two City Council public hearings on June 1 and June 15, 2015.

The Saturday workshop will not be recorded or broadcast for offsite viewing. Those interested in hearing and learning first hand discussions and presentations on where City money might be spent, should attend the meeting.  There will be opportunities for the public to speak and ask questions.  In the past, coffee and donuts have been made available to attendees.

Feb 15 2015

– There will be emergency road work on Moraga Avenue beginning on February 17th and continuing for approximately four weeks. – 

The City of Piedmont will be performing emergency work to replace sanitary sewer pipes on Moraga Avenue between the intersection of Monte Avenue and the eastern City limits. The work is planned to take place on weekdays between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

Due to the logistics of working in a busy street, traffic control measures, including restricting traffic to a single lane, will be necessary. Because of this, there will be traffic delays and disruptions on Moraga Avenue during this work.

Your awareness, cooperation, and patience is appreciated. If you have any questions related to this matter, or would like the City to be aware of any special circumstances, please call Dave Frankel, Maintenance Supervisor at (510) 207- 2114 or the Public Works Department at (510) 420-3050.

Information provided by the Piedmont City Clerk.