Dec 2 2019

Council relents and removes the language change in the  proposed Special Municipal Parcel Tax Ordinance to be voted on at the March 3, 2020, Primary Election.

On December 2, 2019, Piedmont’s contract City Attorney, Michelle Marchetta Kenyon, continued to maintain her opinion that the proposed language change was not substantive.  Her opinion was disagreed with by many in Piedmont.

Vice Mayor Teddy King noted her concern over changing the language if the result was the same, for it added voter confusion. She stated many residents had stated the change from INCLUDING  to MAY INCLUDE was substantive.

Speakers Hedi Gerken, Kathleen Quenneville, and Liane Campodonico agreed with King, that the language should not be changed, while voicing it would be a substantive change allowing services to be dropped by the Council.  The Council had also received opposition to the language change by  emails, letters, and comments.

Council member Betsy Andersen, an attorney, stated she had proposed the change to clarify language, but withdrew her proposal upon believing flexible options would be available, and there would be no guarantee of funding for the named services.  

Questions were raised as to whether or not the 9 listed service items would be funded, if funds were available.  The answer appeared unclear. Some had  assumed that the parcel tax funds were delineated as a funding source for specific services; however, it has been Council practice during their May budget sessions to pool funds rather than specifically assigning the parcel taxes to specific services. During the budget sessions, the Council makes a determination on whether or not the parcel tax needs to be levied to support city services.

Services named in the ordinance are:

  • police and fire protection,
  • street maintenance,
  • building regulations,
  • library services,
  • recreation,
  • parks maintenance,
  • planning and public works
  • and similar services.

The Special Election for the parcel tax will held on March 3, 2020. Mayor Bob McBain and Council member Jennifer Cavenaugh will write the supporting arguments in the “Voter Information Guide.”  

Opposition arguments for the “Voter Information Guide” are due to the City Clerk on December 13, 2019, with rebuttals due on December 20, 2019.  For specific information contact the City Clerk, John Tulloch at 510/420-3040. 

Click > Notice of Election – 2020 Special Municipal – Measure for official ballot language and election protocols.

Dec 2 2019

Dec. 2, 2019

Piedmont City Council
c/o John Tulloch
re: Dec 2 Parcel Tax Agenda Item
Dear Mayor McBain and Council,
         The Parcel Tax is commonly understood and accepted by Piedmont taxpayers to be for essential City services as follows: police, fire, street maintenance, building regulations, library, recreation, parks maintenance, planning, and public works. Your proposed language change allows the parcel tax to be used for any purpose and not limited to the traditional nine essential City services.  I object to this and ask that the original tax language passed by voters in 2016 be continued.
         The reality is that virtually all Piedmont residents will not read the full text of the tax and then compare it to the 75 word ballot question for discrepancies.  Residents mostly rely on the ballot question and Proponent material.  If the Council elects to retain the altered wording that allows the parcel tax to be not limited to essential City Services, the ballot question must clearly state that the parcel tax is no longer limited to essential City services as is commonly understood.
Sincerely,
 Rick Schiller
 Piedmont Resident and Property Owner
Dec 1 2019

“Agenda Insight” to be presented before December 2, 2019 City Council meeting:

Item 3, the first item on tonight’s regular agenda, is the second reading of Ordinance 746 N.S. to renew the Municipal Services special Tax for 4 years effective July 1, 2021, and to place this before voters in a special election on March 3,2020, consolidated with the California Presidential Primary on that date….

Although most aspects of this renewal reflect no change, there is a word change that appears to have an impact. The wording of the present parcel tax says, “If in any fiscal year the City Council shall determine that municipal services INCLUDING but not limited to…” and then it names 9 services which must be included in general fund expenditures, with support from the parcel tax if other city income isn’t sufficient to cover them.

At the first reading of this ordinance, last meeting, that language was changed to, “municipal services which MAY INCLUDE but are not limited to..” and then lists the same 9 services. The staff report calls this a non-substantive change, but many people read it as a very substantive change because it gives Council the flexibility to remove any service from this list. The 9 services are police, fire, street maintenance, building regulations, library, recreation, parks maintenance, planning, and public works.

If the Council wants to put this on the March ballot, they must pass the second reading tonight because they are up against a deadline for submitting the final ballot language to the Registrar of Voters…..

Item 4 is consideration of a resolution approving procedural details for the Special Election of March 3… Of particular interest to voters, this item also sets the 75 word ballot question to read, “Shall Ordinance 746 N.S. which maintains essential police, fire, and paramedic services, prevents the reduction in maintenance of City parks, greenspaces and other public areas, and prevents the loss of recreational and other public services, by renewing the City of Piedmont’s expiring parcel tax for four years… be adopted?”

….Interestingly enough, this ballot language is almost the same language we voted on in 2016, so all 9 services were not mentioned last time around either. However, in both 2016 and 2020, it is the language of the resolution we are voting on, not the 75-word summary, and the language of the resolution has changed.

Ann Chandler, Piedmont Resident

Nov 29 2019

Proposed Municipal Services Special Parcel Tax has key language changes allowing elimination of services previously funded by the Piedmont parcel tax. Some have called the parcel tax proposal a “blank check.”

The Piedmont City Council in haste is expected at their, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019, 7:30 p.m. meeting  to approve the second and final reading of Ord. 746N.S. which will place a renewal of the Municipal Services Special Parcel Tax, effective July 1, 2021, before the voters at a Special Municipal Election consolidated with the upcoming Presidential Primary Election on March 3, 2020. 

On November 18, 2019, the City Council approved a first reading of Ord. 746N.S.  At that meeting, the Council, according to the staff report, made what is called a “non-substantive” amendment to the language of Section 20B.2.on the first page of the ordinance.  Vice Mayor Teddy King objected to changing the existing language of the parcel tax proposal which states how the funds are to be spent. However, the rest of the Council and the City Attorney indicated the new language is not significantly different.

Apparently, the councilmembers and the City Attorney did not realize the language change no longer stipulates required uses of the parcel tax funds. For, the language changes from “including, but not limited to” to  “which MAY include, but are not limited to” were viewed by councilmembers as “essentially the same.”  

Voter concern has consequently arisen regarding the proposed new parcel tax language pointing to the change as considerable and  substantive in stating: “which may includeing,” rather than the current word “including.”

The newly proposed change to the parcel tax language would no longer require the Council to use the parcel tax money for the longstanding list of services and permits the Council to eliminate parcel tax funding for:

  • police and fire protection,
  • street maintenance,
  • building regulations,
  • library services,
  • recreation,
  • parks maintenance,
  • planning and public works
  • and similar services.

Some have stated the language change gives the Council a “blank check” by allowing the deletion of previously supported parcel tax funding for the named services.

The amended parcel tax language is indicated below in context. Deleted text is in strike through and new text is in italics.

“If in any fiscal year commencing on or after July 1, 2021, the City Council shall determine that municipal services, which may includeing, but are not limited to, police and fire protection, street maintenance, building regulations, library services, recreation, parks maintenance, planning and public works and similar services, are necessary for the public good, welfare and safety, and that the cost of making available such services will exceed the amount of funds generated through other revenue and income of the City for such services, then it may levy a special tax for such fiscal year on each parcel of real property within the City in a manner provided herein.”

READ the agenda HERE.

READ the three staff reports* on the tax proposal below:

https://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=16243381

https://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=16243385

https://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=16243387

*Editors Note: The newly revised  City of Piedmont website has become more difficult for Piedmonters to access information on specific agenda issues. Example, the subjects of the staff report no longer appear in the links. Only a file number is provided.

May 11 2017

The Piedmont City Council continues the practice of working on the City Budget without benefit of recordings or broadcast. The public is welcome to come to the meeting and speak to the various issues related to the budget: capital expenditures, revenues, taxation, employee benefits, new projects, roadways, sidewalks, trees, recreation, public safety, Schoolmates, planning, sewers, or any other issue related to City budgetary matters.  

Special City Council Budget Meeting

Saturday, May 13, 2017

9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

East Wing, 801 Magnolia Avenue (across from Piedmont High School)

Agenda:

1. Overview of the Proposed FY 17-18 Budget by the City Administrator

2. Presentation by the CIP Review Committee of Project Proposals for FY 17-18

3. Review of Departmental Budgets for FY 17-18

a. Police

b. Public Works

c. Recreation

d. Fire

e. Administration

f. Other Funds Budgets

City announcement:

The Piedmont City Council will consider the proposed annual budget for fiscal year 2017-2018 at three separate meetings. A Saturday work session will be held in the East Wing of 801 Magnolia Avenue on May 13, 2017 beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Public hearings regarding the proposed budget and the levy of the Municipal Services Tax and the Sewer Tax will be held during regularly scheduled City Council meetings on June 5 and June 19, 2017.

The public is invited to attend these meetings and speak to the City Council about spending priorities for the city in the coming year.  Click to visit the 2017-2018 Proposed Budget page, where all sections of the budget are available for download.

For questions on contents of the budget, please contact Interim Finance Director Jim O’Leary via email at joleary@ci.piedmont.ca.us or by phone at 420-3045 with any questions.

If you wish to write to the Council regarding the budget, please send an e-mail to the City Council at citycouncil@ci.piedmont.ca.us or send a letter via U.S. Mail to Piedmont City Council, c/o City Clerk’s Office, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, 94611.

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.

May 2 2014

At the Council’s annual sit-down with City staff, Saturday, May 10,  9 a.m., the Council will review the City Administrator’s proposed 2014-15 Budget.  It has been the practice for the Council to hold the Budget Session in the Emergency Operation Center in the Police Department on Highland Avenue. The location provides a “round table” casual atmosphere leading to budget adoption. Nevertheless, these proceedings 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.

This year some of the items likely to be considered by the Council are:

  • Hampton Field and tennis court reconstruction
  • Roadway pavement, sidewalk and gutter improvements
  • Employee benefits and salaries
  • Staffing levels
  • Piedmont pool maintenance and improvements
  • Pedestrian and Bike Plan implementation
  • Facility repair and maintenance
  • Additional license plate readers
  • Use of sewer fund monies and alternatives
  • Reserve Funds
  • Capital improvements
  • Retirement costs
  • Blair Park regular maintenance and improvements

Prior to adoption of the FY 2014-15 Budget, there will be two City Council public hearings.

 

Dec 29 2013
Oakland’s City Administrator Deanna Santa has appointed Gerry Garzon as the new Director of Oakland Libraries effective December 19. Piedmont has had a long term contract with the City of Oakland to provide library services to Piedmonters.                                                 

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Gerry Garzón as Director of Library Services for the City of Oakland, effective immediately. Mr. Garzón has been serving as the City’s Interim Library Director since December 2012. In his role as Interim Library Director, he worked with Library staff and the City Administration in developing the Library’s FY 2013-15 Budget. During this time, Mr. Garzón distinguished himself as holding a solid policy background with a strong vision for the future of library services for Oakland residents that strengthens valued, relevant services while leveraging technological innovations.

Over the next year, Mr. Garzón will be working with Library staff and the community in looking at new models of service online, and both inside and outside the Library; further integrating into the Library’s services and programs Oakland Reads 2020, an initiative of the Oakland Literacy Coalition; and, working with the Mayor to recruit more young, Oakland students for Library jobs.

Prior to serving as Interim Library Director, Mr. Garzón served as the Associate Director for the Library and has been with Oakland since 2000.  He has worked in libraries in Colorado, California, and has been the administrator of a 16-state government agency working with governors and federal agencies on energy policy issues.

Mr. Garzón holds a Master of Library & Information Science degree from the University of Denver and a Bachelor’s Degree in Hispanic Literature from the University of California Santa Barbara. He is a member of the American and California Library Associations and serves on the Steering Committee of Oakland Reads 2020.  In November, the California Public Library Advocates, a statewide organization, presented him with an award for outstanding service to the Oakland Public Library.

Please join me in congratulating Gerry on his appointment.

Respectfully submitted,

DEANNA J. SANTANA, Oakland City Administrator

Sep 4 2013

– Saturday, September 7 is the final Saturday –

Beginning Saturday, September 14, the Piedmont Avenue Branch Library at 80 Echo Avenue will no longer be open on weekends. Changing from a Tuesday through Saturday schedule to a Monday through Friday schedule will maximize use by the adjacent school. The same schedule change is occurring at three other branch libraries – Brookfield, Eastmont and Golden Gate. Interim Library Director Gerry Garzon promised to assess the public reaction to the new schedule in six to nine months.

Piedmont Avenue Branch Library hours beginning September 14:

Mondays  12:30 pm – 8 pm

Tuesdays through Thursdays  10 am – 5:30 pm

Fridays   noon – 5:30 pm

Closed Saturday and Sunday

Hours Until September 14:

Monday:  Closed
Tuesday:  12:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Wednesday:  10:00 am – 5:30 pm
Thursday:   10:00 am – 5:30 pm
Friday:  12:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Saturday:  10:00 am – 5:30 pm
Sunday:  Closed
Branch Phone (510) 597-5011

On March 2, 2004, 77.2% of Oakland voters voted in favor of Measure Q for the purpose of “maintaining and expanding neighborhood branch library services, days and hours…”  In 2009 branch library services were reduced from six to five days per week.  This month four libraries eliminate weekend access.  Oakland property owners will continue to pay the Measure Q library parcel tax through June 30, 2024.

Jul 21 2013

Tired of paying for E-books?  The Oakland  Public Library offers those with a library card on-line download of books from their E-library.  The library purchases a limited number of the E-books.  A person might have to wait their turn to borrow an ebook and adhere to the seven day time limit on each use. The City of Piedmont annually pays the City of Oakland $350,471, which allows Piedmonters access to all services provided by the Oakland Public Library.  

To find out more about E-books go to……http://www.oaklandlibrary.org/online-resources/e-books-and-downloadable-audiobooks

To learn more about the many other services offered by the Oakland Public Library go to: http://www.oaklandlibrary.org/online-resources/e-books-and-downloadable-audiobooks

Piedmonters can return borrowed books by placing them in the library drop box outside of Wells Fargo Bank next to the mail boxes.