Jan 7 2022

Official Notice: 

NOTICE OF INTENTION TO FILL A VACANCY ON THE CITY COUNCIL BY APPOINTMENT

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the City of Piedmont will accept applications from qualified voters for appointment to the City Council to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Councilmember Tim Rood, effective on December 31, 2021. To be eligible to serve on the City Council, a person must meet three requirements.

First, the person must be a qualified voter in the City.

Second, the person must not hold any other office or employment with the City.

Third, the person must not be rendered ineligible due to the term limits provisions of the Charter.

The term of this Council seat is from the date of appointment until the results of the General Municipal Election of November 8, 2022 are certified, which likely will take place at a Council meeting in December, 2022.

Original or electronic applications must be delivered to the City Clerk’s Office by 5:00 p.m. Monday, January 31, 2022. Postmarks will not be accepted.

The City Council will interview candidates separately and each applicant will have the opportunity to present their qualifications and discuss their candidacy with the City Council.

At a special meeting of the City Council on February 7, 2022 in the afternoon/evening, each applicant will be asked to make a brief presentation to the City Council. The applicant may then be asked to respond to questions the City Council may have regarding their presentation or application. Applicants are requested to hold this date available for interview. An appointment will not be made without a Council interview.

The City Council may make an appointment at the special meeting or may direct staff to place the matter on a future agenda for action.

Upon appointment, the successful candidate will be required to complete and file a Form 700 Statement of Economic Interests. For more information on this requirement, please contact the City Clerk.

Applications both written and electronic are available on the City website at https://piedmont.ca.gov and from the City Clerk’s Office.

Application Period: Friday, January 7, 2022 through Monday, January 31, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.

Applications must be returned to: City Clerk’s Office 120 Vista Avenue Piedmont, CA 94611

Application Deadline: Monday, January 31, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.

Interviews: Monday, February 7, 2022

For more information on the application process, please contact City Clerk John O. Tulloch at (510) 420-3041 or jtulloch@piedmont.ca.gov

READ the notice   >Council Vacancy 2022-01-07

John O. Tulloch
Assistant City Administrator / City Clerk
City of Piedmont
120 Vista Avenue
Piedmont, California 94611
Phone: (510) 420-3040
Fax: (510) 653-8272

Jan 4 2022
The City Council will hold a Special Meeting on Thursday, January 6th at 6:00 PM via zoom to discuss the process of filling the vacancy created by Councilmember Tim Rood’s resignation. 

AGENDA >Council-current-agenda 162022

STAFF REPORT > Council Seat Vacated by the Resignation of Councilmember Tim Rood

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Sincerely,
 
John O. Tulloch
Assistant City Administrator / City Clerk
City of Piedmont
120 Vista Avenue
Piedmont, California 94611
Phone: (510) 420-3040
Fax: (510) 653-8272
 
Jan 4 2022

Press Release:

The League of Women Voters of Piedmont, California proudly presents our 2022 Defending Democracy Speaker Series. This virtual speaker series will cover a range of topics related to elections, voters, and the health of our democracy. This series is co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Gunnison Valley, Colorado.

The talks will be held live on Zoom and YouTube and will each include question and answer sessions from the audience. All events begin at 4pm PST and are free and open to the public. Please visit our website (lwvpiedmont.org) to learn more and register for these events.

The series begins on January 11, 2022 with Carol Moon Goldberg, President of LWV of California, who will discuss voting rights.   A member of the League for over 25 years, Carol has served at both the local and state levels. Prior to her role as President, she was Voter Service Director where she oversaw production of LWVC’s standard voter service materials, worked on Voter’s Edge, and coordinated the League’s part in the televised U.S. Senatorial candidate forum. Carol also served as program director for LWVC in the reproductive choices portfolio for three years prior to joining the state board.

Subsequent events include:

– February 10: Rob Richie, President and CEO of Fair Vote, will discuss Rank Choice Voting
– March 1: Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of Berkeley Law, will discuss Election Law and the Supreme Court
– March 30: Dr. Fiona Hill, Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution and Senior  Fellow, Foreign Policy, Center on United States and Europe will give us  an International View of US Election Subversion and the State of our Democracy
Editors Note: The League of Women Voters of Piedmont and the Piedmont Civic Association are separate organizations.
Nov 29 2021

City of Piedmont Press Release:

The City of Piedmont is dedicated to ensuring that our town is anti-racist, inclusive and embracing of the East Bay’s diversity.

In light of a recent real estate advertisement that contained implicitly racist language, the City of Piedmont wants to reiterate our shared values in support of equity and justice.

Righting past wrongs includes acknowledging historical racism in Piedmont and continually re-evaluating existing systems and practices. To ensure that Piedmont better reflects this diversity, the city is planning to convene a community dialogue in early 2022. Invitees will include the Piedmont Racial Equity Campaign (PREC), the Piedmont Anti-Racism and Diversity Committee (PADC), local realtors, housing activists, and leaders from diverse groups in Alameda County. Promoting a discussion among these groups is an important step toward building a more welcoming and inclusive city.

“The community needs to come together and talk about housing in Piedmont. For too long, families of color were made to feel unwelcome in town. I want to believe those days are long gone,” said Mayor Teddy King. “One of the best parts of living in the Bay Area is all of the richly diverse communities in our region. Let’s make sure we embrace this diversity — not shut anyone out.”

In August 2020, the Piedmont City Council passed Resolution 60-2020 which states the City’s unequivocal rejection of racism and commits the city to “… review and revise its policies, procedures, ordinances, values, goals, and missions through an anti-racism lens to foster an unbiased and inclusive environment that is free of discrimination, harassment, and negative stereotyping toward any person or group.” Piedmont is putting this resolution into action to make our community a more fair and equitable place to live, learn, recreate and thrive. The proposed dialogue will be a step in that direction.

2021-11-19 Housing and Equity Release

Sep 14 2021

Planning Commission Makes Recommendation to City Council Regarding Use of Measure A-1 Funding –

“(Our community) needs time to understand and explore what this means… Development is more successful with community support behind it.” 

On September 13, 2021, the Planning Commission recommended that the City Council direct staff to continue developing an affordable housing program using Piedmont’s share of Alameda County Measure A-1 funding. The Commission supported the three-step approach for the funds recommended by the Planning Commission’s Ad-Hoc Subcommittee on Measure A-1.

The Commission recommended the City Council explore ways to: 1) Establish a Piedmont Affordable Housing Fund; 2) Launch a low-interest loan program for affordable housing, such as scattered site single-family homes, ADUs and JADUs, conversion of commercial land, small houses, and shared housing; and 3) Preserve $2.2 million in funding in the form of a low-interest loan for the development of an affordable housing development of up to 40 housing units on ½ to 1 acre of land in Piedmont.

The reason behind the Commission’s recommendation of a sequential use of the Measure A-1 funds, first for the low-interest loan program that then transitions for use towards a traditional multifamily development as the loans are repaid, is that the County’s timeline does not allow for the time necessary to successfully identify and analyze a site for a multifamily project and carryout robust community engagement for the General Plan amendments and zoning ordinance revisions that would be necessary to attract a developer.

Planning Commission Chair Rani Batra stated, “(Our community) needs time to understand and explore what this means… Development is more successful with community support behind it.”

Commissioner Tom Ramsey stated, “All of us support a traditional affordable housing development… Where we have discussion is how we get there.”

In making its recommendation, the Planning Commission determined that the development of a multifamily affordable housing project on City-owned land would have a greater chance of attracting a developer and gaining entitlement once the City had completed its update to the Housing Element, the related zoning code revisions and environmental review. That process is not expected to be completed within the constraints of the County’s timeline for receipt of Measure A-1 funds.

The City Council’s receipt of the recommendation for the approach for the use of the funds has not been scheduled but is expected to occur in October or November.

During the meeting, the Planning Commission heard comments from eleven community members. Many urged the Commission to recommend that the City Council approve the 2023- 2031 Housing Element update and associated changes by November 2022 so that the Measure A1 funding could be used towards the development of affordable housing in Piedmont within the faster timeline requirements set forth by Alameda County.

In 2016, Alameda County residents voted to adopt Measure A-1, a $580 million property tax revenue bond for affordable housing. The City of Piedmont is allocated $2.2 million in Measure 2 A-1 funding in the form of a low-interest (3%) loan program administered by the Alameda County Department of Housing and Community Development (County HCD). Piedmont’s Measure A-1 allocation must be used for the development of affordable rental housing or site acquisition.

State requirements have challenged City officials to find sites and policies to promote the construction of 587 new houses and apartments by 2031. Earlier this year the City Council engaged the services of Lisa Wise Consulting to assist the City in preparing a Housing Element update that facilitates the production of this allocation of housing units, and the services of Rincon Consulting to perform the related environmental review required by the California Environmental Quality Act.

At 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 29th, the Piedmont Planning Commission and Housing Advisory Committee will hold a joint study session about the basic requirements for Housing Element updates in California.

Senior City Planner Pierce Macdonald-Powell

For more information and project updates, please visit the City of Piedmont’s web site at http://piedmont.ca.gov

Aug 20 2021

Dear Editor,

It is obvious that the procedure for recalling a Governor is
flawed.  Instead of prescribing that the Lieutenant Governor ascend in the
case that a Governor can no longer serve us; the process for replacement is
a free-for-all.  Republicans have glommed onto this flaw with a
vengeance.   Please urge your state legislators to fix this destructive
feature; it’s a wrench in the gears of good government.

Meanwhile, please make sure to vote NO on the recall.  Don’t let
anti-democracy Republicans win with a minority of votes because the
majority didn’t vote.

Sincerely,
Bruce Joffe, Piedmont Resident

Jul 31 2021

$691,230  plus $252,619 ($943,849) for housing consultants – 

Piedmont city staff recommends that the City Council approve a $252,619 Agreement  for services related to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for the City’s 6th Housing Element Update covering the period 2023 through 2031.  The  Piedmont City Council, unlike numerous similar Bay Area cities, has acceded to the suggested new housing to be built in Piedmont.  City expenditures are being made now in an effort to expedite the construction of 587 new housing units.  Piedmont currently has approximately 4,000 housing units. 

The consultant recommended by staff for approval by the City Council is Rincon Consultants, Inc. (Rincon).  An Optional Task (see Exhibit A in the report) is a Study of Piedmont Sewer Capacity.

Read the report & agreement here.

On May 3, 2021, the City Council approved an earlier consultant agreement addressing the 587 new housing unit allocation in the amount of $691,230 with Lisa Wise Consulting, Inc. (LWC), to provide for professional services to update the Housing Element and prepare for the additional Piedmont housing units

The consultant agreement will be considered by the City Council on Monday, August 2.  Participation and timing details can be found on the City Council Agenda linked here.

Jul 1 2021

Paul Benoit, Piedmont’s prior City Administrator, has partially stepped into the role of Sara Lillevand, Piedmont’s current City Administrator.  Lillevand has taken a leave of absence, utilizing her vacation and other time off to attend to family matters.

Benoit, already under contract with the city to advise on the new Municipal Pool project, was granted by the City Council an increase in his hourly compensation from $111 to $116 per hour with a maximum additional amount of $4,800.   Staff report > https://piedmont.ca.gov/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=17755781

The Council did not give Benoit the full authority and power afforded the City Administrator under the Piedmont City Charter, as he will be assisting Lillevand.

While assisting Lillevand, Benoit will be residing in Piedmont.

Jun 24 2021

Alameda County Grand Jury points to Piedmont as an example –

Piedmont Measure TT was identified by the Grand Jury as problematic.  Piedmont’s City Council, responsible for the ballot question language, proposed an increase to the city’s real estate transfer tax. The measure was rejected by voters by 48% yes to 52% no.

The question placed on the Piedmont ballot read as follows:

Shall the City of Piedmont, to be in alignment with neighboring East Bay  Cities, increase the real estate transfer tax from $13.00 to $17.50 per $1,000  of transfer price, generating $948,462 annually until ended by voters, to provide general tax revenue for city services and to repair and maintain city facilities including police and fire stations, parks, and recreation facilities, and other city infrastructure, be adopted?”

The Grand Jury stated:

“Piedmont’s Measure TT recited a list of possible expenditures, including ‘to repair and maintain city facilities including police and fire stations, parks, and recreation facilities, ‘ yet none of these expenditures was required by the  proposed ordinance. That such spending might occur does not make the question an accurate and impartial synopsis of a measure, which may not result in any additional spending on the mentioned repair and  maintenance. Piedmont’s measure also included the statement that a purpose of the measure was ‘to be in alignment with neighboring East Bay Cities.’   The grand jury did not see how this statement related to a description of the measure or to its purpose.”

The Grand Jury Report notes Ballot Questions [Language found on ballots asking for a yes or no vote] often fail the accuracy, transparency and impartiality requirement.

Several key points:

  • Alameda County Grand Jury investigation focused exclusively on the accuracy, transparency and impartiality of ballot questions.
  • Ballot Questions are required by law to be Brief, Accurate and Impartial.
  • Ballot Questions suffer from a “proponent’s bias.”
  • Ballot Questions fall short of what voters have a right to expect in terms of transparency and impartiality, even when satisfying minimum legal standard.
  • The Grand Jury declined to prosecute violators, instead urging governments to improve their behavior within the requirements of the California Elections Code.

Click the link below to READ the full 2020-21 Alameda County Grand Jury report: http://grandjury.acgov.org/reports.page?

Jun 20 2021

“In reviewing the City’s long term projections and considering the current economic situation, the Committee reminds the Council of several things:

• The financial projections seek to maintain, over the long term, an 18% General Fund balance (which, the Committee thinks is prudent). Achieving this target, however, requires that the City eliminate or reduce transfers to the Facilities Maintenance Fund, which addresses ongoing and deferred maintenance of city facilities, and eliminate supplemental funding for street and sidewalk repairs beyond the current budget year. Current projections indicate the Facilities Maintenance Fund will be depleted by FY 27-28. Even without incorporating the yet to be determined costs of major capital projects referenced above, the Facilities Maintenance Fund is inadequately capitalized for the duration of the 10- year projections. This underfunding is not sustainable; it will severely affect repair and replacement expenditures within this decade.

• The Committee supports the conservative approach used to establish the budget for transfer tax revenues given their historic volatility. The Committee also supports the modest increase in projected transfer tax revenue, from the $2.8 million consistently used in the recent past, to $3.2 million annually beginning in FY23. This increased budget amount could still be attained with a recessionary pace of sales and/ or drop in sales prices given substantial gains in Piedmont home values over the past decade. The Committee recommends that to the extent actual transfer tax revenue exceeds the conservative estimate, such funds be used to fund the Facilities Maintenance Fund, consistent with prior years.

• The projected pension expenses have increased based on an updated actuarial study completed earlier this year, which assume CalPERS 2 Piedmont Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee investment returns decline to 6.0% over the next 20 years. However, future pension costs could still rise should CalPERS investment performance be below target due to a sustained downturn in financial markets.

• The prior funding of the Public Agency Retirement Services (PARS) Fund, supplemented by the proposed capital transfer from the current budget surplus, will provide the City much needed flexibility in managing future pension cost increases, as the City’s obligations are expected to increase substantially over the course of this decade. However, this flexibility may be adversely affected by stock market fluctuations to the extent there is significant decline in values during the withdrawal years.

• As in prior years, the projections continue to show that the long term financial health of the City is dependent on property-related taxes, especially the continuation of the Municipal Services Parcel Tax. The projections assume that the MSPT continues with a standard CPI adjustment each year, and the Committee supports this approach.

• The City continues to benefit from a robust economic recovery and rising Bay Area housing prices. Given the uncertainty as to how long such favorable economic conditions will persist, it is important to continue with conservative property tax and transfer tax assumptions.”

READ the entire Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee Report 2021-2022

June 21 – AGENDA DETAILS: SCHEDULE AND PARTICIPATION

Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee members:

Deborah Leland, Chair

Andrew Flynn,

Cathie Geddeis,

Robert McBain,

Paul Raskin,

Frank Ryan

Vanessa Washington