Oct 8 2019

Piedmont voters are called to a special election exclusively for Piedmont Schools on November 5, 2019.  Some confusion has arisen as to the amount of the Measure G and H taxes and the relationship between various current and proposed tax measures.

Measure G, essentially a continuation tax, preempts existing school parcel tax, Measure A, which is scheduled to expire in 2021.  Every property owner in Piedmont will pay a base rate of $2,763 per parcel per year if Measure G is approved. 

Measure H is a new additional school parcel tax increasing the school parcel taxes property owners will pay.  If Measure H, if approved by voters, will require property owners to pay an additional tax of  $0.25 per square foot of habitable space on their parcel.

Example:

$2,763 = Base amount for approval of Measure G.

If Measure G and H are approved, a homeowner with 2,000 square footage of habitable space will pay $2,763 base tax plus 2,000 multiplied by 25 cents  equaling $500 for a total of $3,263, rather than the current yearly base rate of $2,763 per parcel.

   MEASURE G IS ESSENTIALLY A RENEWAL OF THE CURRENT SCHOOL PARCEL TAX 

The Piedmont Board of Education is asking Piedmont voters to support (“Measure G”) on November 5, 2019 the renewal of its existing parcel tax to maintain current programs starting at the $2,763 rate with a potential 2% annual increase. In a separate measure (“Measure H”) voters are asked for an additional amount ($0.25 per square foot of habitable square footage / building improvements – on a parcel.)  

Measure G is a continuation tax without a tax base increase. Measure G, if approved, will have an 8-year “duration” of the tax. The tax can be increased by 2% per year.  Approving Measure G will provide $10.6 million in revenues to the Piedmont Unified School District. 

MEASURE H IS A NEW ADDITIONAL TAX BASED ON THE HABITABLE SQUARE FOOTAGE OF BUILDING IMPROVEMENTS ON A PARCEL.

The second ballot measure (Measure H) is new and an additional tax to be applied to all Piedmont parcels. Measure H would be set at a flat rate of $0.25 per square foot of building improvements, square footage of a home  (Improvements are existing improvements of the habitable square footage space of all buildings and homes on a parcel).  Measure H would  have an 8-year duration. Passage of Measure H would result in an additional $2.6 million to the Piedmont schools. All homeowners and business will pay for this  additional tax if approved.   Homes with more square footage of habitable space will pay more than smaller homes and buildings.

If both G and H Measures pass, rates will vary tremendously per parcel on the additional tax with the largest square footage homeowners paying up to $6,568 per year.

Both Measures G and H would raise $13.3 million.

Registered Piedmont voters have received a Voter Information Guide in the mail that details the election.  The election is a stand alone special election exclusively related to the Piedmont Unified School District.  The current parcel tax does not expire until June 2021.  The two proposals, if approved, will take effect in 2020.

Residents have been canvassed by volunteer supporters to determine individuals voting preferences – yes or no.   Individuals stating they are in support of the ballot measures can expect reminders to vote in the November 5, 2019 Election. Those who have voiced opposition or no preference to the ballot measures should not expect to receive a reminder to vote on the November 5 ballot measures.

 Explanations and the rationale for supporting the school parcel tax proposals can be found in the Voter Information Guide.  No argument was filed against the measures in the Voter Information Guide. 

Voters have been asking:

1.The Voter Information Guide is unclear about whether or not PERMANENT “Vote by Mail” voters need to re-apply for their mail ballot.

Answer:  It is our understanding that those previously receiving their ballot in the mail will continue to receive their ballot without reapplying. If for any reason, a voter does not timely receive their ballot in the mail, the voter can vote in person at their polling location listed on the back of the Voter Information Guide or any polling location.

“Vote by mail allows voters to cast a ballot without going to a polling place. If a registered voter has applied to vote by mail, the Registrar’s office mails a ballot to the registered address of the voter beginning 29 days before an election. The voter votes the ballot and returns it to the election office by mail. The voter can also return it in person to the office or to any polling place on Election Day to be counted. Any voter can apply to vote by mail permanently in every election.”  Alameda County Registrar of Voters

2. Are the school parcel taxes deductible on Federal income taxes?

Answer: Deduction of state and local taxes are each year limited to a maximum deduction of $10,000 per single or married couple on Federal income tax returns. Many Piedmonters will likely not be able to deduct the school parcel tax in additional to their state income taxes.

3. What happens if the school parcel tax measures are not approved by Piedmont voters?

Answer: To be approved, each ballot measure requires approval by 2/3 rds or 66 2/3rds of the voters voting on the measures.  If voters approve Measure G, but not Measure H at the November 5 Election, the School Board will likely accept that voters did not want additional funding beyond the base amount of Measure G. However, if both measures are rejected by voters, it is assumed that the School Board will return with a different measure to achieve voter support prior to the 2021 expiration of the current school parcel tax, Measure A.

4. Is there an exemption for senior homeowners ?

Answer: No.  The School Board was informed that many other school districts have an exemption or tax reduction for senior homeowner taxpayers; however, in calculating the result of reducing or eliminating the tax for seniors and given the significant number of seniors residing in Piedmont, a determination was made that insufficient funds would be derived from the tax  to produce adequate funds to support School District needs. Additionally, the School Board noted that property values related to excellent schools benefited all Piedmont property owners whether seniors or not.

5. What percentage of the school population does not reside in Piedmont?

Answer: The number varies but all city and school employees are allowed to send their children to the Piedmont schools.  Additionally, the Piedmont Millennium High School has a significant number of students residing outside of Piedmont.  A recent need for more students to maintain the budgeted amount derived from the California state contribution of approximately $8,500 resulted in an invitation to residents’ grandchildren and others from outside of Piedmont to fill specific slots in certain grades.  About 18 additional non-resident students were added to the student population for the 2019-2020 school year.

6.  Does the School District need Measure H to balance their budget?

Answer:  Measure H provides funding beyond the basic budgetary needs of the District. Measure H was proposed as a way to increase funding for school teachers and other purposes identified by the School Board.

7.  Where can I return my “vote by mail” ballot?

Answer: An Alameda County Ballot Box where voters can drop their no postage ballot will be at the corner of Highland and Highland Way, next to the mailboxes, near Wells Fargo Bank in central Piedmont. Voters can also mail their ballot as stated on their envelope.  When mailed, the envelope requires no postal stamps.  Voters can also turn in their ballot to officials at their regular voting location noted on the back of their Voter Information Guide or any polling location.

8. D0 City of Piedmont municipal parcel taxes go to the schools?

Answer:  No.  The School District and the City of Piedmont have separate revenues, separate budgets, and separate governance.  Piedmont property owners pay separately for the schools and the city The funds are not commingled.  Property owners can see the distinct taxation for the schools and the city on their recent Alameda County property tax statement.

Editors Note:  PCA does not support or oppose any ballot measures. 

Updated 10/14/2019

Oct 7 2019

Updated street sweeping schedule –

http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/UserFiles/Servers/Server_13659739/File/Government/Departments/Public%20Works/street_sweeping.pdf

Jun 18 2019

Qualified Single-family Occupants with Certified Physical Limitations Will Not Submit New Supporting Documents Annually

Finding that repeated validation of approved application is costly and time consuming for Piedmont staff, the City has decided to follow other cities lead and go to an honor system after initial approval of backyard refuse service. 

The policy has the following provisions:

1.The applicant must complete and submit an application form.

2.With the initial application, the applicant must submit a doctor’s certification or a current California disability parking placard.

3.As a component of the application, the applicant must verify that there are no able-bodied residents or caretakers in the household that can move the carts to the curb.

4.There is no application fee.

5.The exemption must be renewed annually, and the City will provide an annual reminder of the renewal requirement.

6.City staff provides a list of approved applicants to Republic Services.

Staff has found that the annual renewal requirement is not necessary.

Read the report below for more details.

06/17/19 – Consideration of an Amendment to the Policy Allowing for Residents with Certain Physical Limitations to Receive “On-Premises” (Backyard) Service at Curbside Rates

May 13 2019

Although not listed, as such, on the agenda, the public will have a right to address the Council at their two meetings agendized for interviews and selection of Piedmont’s new City Administrator. The Council will adjourn to Closed Sessions after hearing from any public speakers addressing the appointment.  

Public discussions have not been held at Council meetings regarding the qualifications of a new City Administrator, who will be replacing retiring City Administrator Paul Benoit.  Voters recently approved Piedmont City Charter change  providing the City Administrator with sole authority over retention of Piedmont employees including the Police Chief, Fire Chief, Finance Director, Public Works Director, etc.

Special City Council Meetings

Thursday, May 16, 2019 8:15 a.m. 

Friday, May 17, 2019 11:30 a.m.

City Council Chambers, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA

Agenda:

Call to Order
Adjourn to a Closed Session in the Conference Room

a. Public Employee Appointment – Interview of Applicants (Government Code Sec. 54957) Title: City Administrator

For additional information, contact the Piedmont City Clerk at 420-3040.

May 12 2019

On Saturday, May 18, at 10:00 a.m., the Public Works Department will host a walk on Magnolia Avenue to discuss the 47 liquidambar trees which are slated to be removed as a part of the 2018 Pavement Project.

The walk will begin at 10:00 am at the intersection of Hillside and Magnolia Avenues and will move down the length of the street. Neighbors and interested residents are invited to attend and join in conversation with city staff, the City Engineer, and the independent arborist who evaluated the trees.

When approving the 2018 Pavement Project, the City Council directed staff to, “…work with neighbors on Magnolia Avenue who are impacted by street tree removal to consider whether engineering and/or other accommodations can be made to preserve additional trees on this street.” This walk-through is being conducted to provide neighbors with an opportunity to share their feedback, which will be reviewed by staff and the City Engineer.

Below is a plan that identifies the trees reviewed in the arborist report and the trees proposed to be removed. 


For further information, contact Director of Public Works Chester Nakahara at 420-3061 or via email at cnakahara@piedmont.ca.gov.

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READ the detailed staff and Arborist report on tree removal for Magnolia Avenue by clicking below:

http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/publicworks/docs/2019-05-01-magnolia-tree-report.pdf

Feb 14 2019

Athletics and graduations will be at Witter Field as usual.

On February 13, 2019, the Piedmont Unified School District’s Board of Education announced that renovation of Witter Field, which had been tentatively scheduled for this Spring and Summer, will be deferred for at least one year. The District had plans in place to relocate Spring athletics and graduations in case it decided to proceed with the renovation this year. Because the project will be deferred, athletics and graduations will be at Witter Field as usual.

The District last replaced the synthetic turf and track at Witter Field in 2007 and these materials are now at the end of their useful life. Also, the underground drainage system is deteriorating, and even moderate rain can lead to flooding and temporary field closures. To address these issues, the District developed site surveys and engineering plans, obtained a permit, and solicited bids.

Renovation costs will be covered primarily by State modernization and other funds, and the Board decided to defer the project for at least one year until there is a more clear timeframe for disbursement of these State funds. Until then, the District will increase field maintenance and this may involve more occasional, temporary closures to mitigate and repair flood damage. This work can take several days and up to several weeks.

Questions or comments? Please contact Superintendent Booker at rbooker@piedmont.k12.ca.us or Director of Facilities Pete Palmer at ppalmer@piedmont.k12.ca.us.

PIEDMONT UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT – PRESS RELEASE
February 14, 2019

Jan 31 2019

“The ten robberies which were reported during 2018 were generally street robberies where suspects approached individuals on sidewalks, driveways, or other public areas and took items of value by means of force or fear. One of the robberies was a home invasion robbery where the suspects confronted residents. The suspects in that incident were identified, arrested, and have been charged with numerous felonies. Burglaries, defined generally as the unlawful entry into a dwelling or specified structure with the intent to commit a theft or other felony, decreased from 60 incidents in 2017 to 47 incidents in 2018. Larceny-theft increased from 97 reported offenses in 2017 to 123 reported offenses in 2018. Motor vehicle theft also increased in 2018.”

In 2018, Piedmont police officers made 17 arrests and recovered 29 stolen vehicles with a valuation of $257,800 in events directly related to the Automated License Plate Recognition (ALPR) cameras. By comparison, officers made 28 arrests and recovered 39 stolen vehicles with an approximate valuation of $254,933 in 2017.
Also provided with this report is a printout of the Piedmont Police Department Case Disposition Report. This report shows the number of police reports generated by the Department during the year, as well as the disposition of those cases.

“While the Police Department continuously conducts proactive patrols to mitigate thefts and other crimes, we cannot overemphasize the importance of residents and visitors employing basic crime prevention actions such as not leaving valuables in vehicles.”   Piedmont Police 

School Resource Officer – Police Officer within the High and Middle School

The Superintendent of Piedmont Unified School District and the Police Chief established regular monthly meetings in May of 2018 for information sharing and to identify collaborative opportunities for improvement. The Department and PUSD proposed a School Resource Officer (SRO) position to the Board of Education and City Council.

Public outreach efforts to parents, students, staff and other community stakeholders are currently underway. Comments can be made to the School Board and City Council.

The Board of Education and City Council will ultimately decide whether to implement the recommended SRO program. Should the program be approved for implementation, the first three years of the salary and benefits would be paid for by a State of California, Department of Justice tobacco grant.

The Crime Report will be discussed at the Piedmont Council meeting on Monday, February 4, 2019, in the Council Chambers, City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue starting at 7:30 p.m. The meeting will be broadcast live from the City website under videos and on Cable Channel #27.

Read the full 2018 Year End Crime Report including the Crime Map by clicking below:

http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/html/govern/staffreports/2019-02-04/yearendcrimereport.pdf

Jan 25 2019

The new theater is expected to open in the Fall of 2021.

January 24, 2019, Press Release:

The Piedmont Unified School District plans to close Alan Harvey Theater (located at 800 Magnolia Avenue) on March 12 in anticipation of building a new high school STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) building on the site. The District will remove theatrical lights and other fixtures for reuse, and then demolish the theater starting April 13, during the schools’ Spring break.

Construction of the STEAM building will begin this summer and the new building is expected to open in the 2020-21 school year. The new building will feature new engineering, biology, chemistry, physics, and computer science labs, as well as math classrooms and studios for 2D and 3D art.

After the STEAM building is completed, the District will demolish Piedmont High School’s “10s” building and build a new theater on that site. The new theater is expected to open in the Fall of 2021.

The STEAM and theater projects are part of the $66 million school facilities bond program, approved by the Piedmont voters in 2016 by 74%.

While the theater is closed from March 2019 through the Fall of 2021, the District will relocate drama classes to Havens’ Ellen Driscoll Theater, Piedmont Middle School’s Multi-Purpose Room, and the City’s Veterans Hall. The District has reserved performance venues in Oakland for other events, including concerts, musicals, and dance shows, and is continuing to look for additional venues. Anyone with suggestions may contact ppalmer@piedmont.k12.ca.us or tculbert@piedmont.k12.ca.us .

In anticipation of closing the theater, the Piedmont Adult School’s administrative office (formerly located in the basement of Alan Harvey Theater) has moved to Piedmont High School’s “20s” building, which is next to Piedmont Park.

Throughout demolition and construction, the building site will be screened off from the rest of the high school campus. Some parking spaces on Magnolia Avenue will be temporarily replaced with safety barriers. The District and City of Piedmont are working together on parking, traffic, and pedestrian safety plans for the construction area, and more information about the plans will be available in early March.

“We’re excited to start construction of these new facilities,” said Superintendent Randall Booker. “We need these modern labs and classrooms to support curriculum and expand learning opportunities for our students. We’re grateful for the Piedmont community’s commitment to public education,” he said.

Questions or comments? Please contact Superintendent Booker at rbooker@piedmont.k12.ca.us or Director of Facilities Pete Palmer at ppalmer@piedmont.k12.ca.us

Jan 25 2019

This award is presented annually to individuals who have volunteered their efforts over a period of time and made a difference because of their involvement and commitment to Piedmont’s youth.

Following are the previous recipients: Hunter McCreary (1998); Ann Chandler (1999); Ruth Cuming (2000); Lisa Lomenzo (2001); jointly by Cathie Geddeis and Marion Souyoultzis (2002); jointly by Fritz and Mary Wooster (2003); Elizabeth (Betsy) Gentry (2004); Cynthia Gorman (2005); Grier Graff (2006); Julia Burke (2007); Maude Pervere (2008); jointly to Anne-Marie Lamarche and Mark Menke (2009); Janiele Maffei Tovani (2010); Andrea Swenson (2011), June Monach (2012), Bill Drum (posthumously) and Mary Ireland (2013), Ray Perman (2014), Jennifer Fox (2015), Katie Korotzer (2016), Hilary Cooper (2017) and Holly Hanke (2018).

Art Hecht was a tireless community volunteer, and was dedicated to students in both Piedmont and Oakland. He served on Piedmont’s Board of Education from 1970 to 1982. Art also was very active with the Piedmont Continuation High School (now called Millennium High School).

In 1998, the Art Hecht Volunteer of the Year Award was established in his memory. Nominations for this award are now being sought and will be kept strictly confidential.

The deadline for nominations is 4:30 p.m. on March 18, 2019.  Call 510/ 594-2614 for details.

A selection committee will vote on the award recipient, who will be recognized at the May 8, 2019 Board of Education meeting, where the honoree’s good works will be acknowledged. They also will receive the gift of a work of student art. The student will receive a monetary award and commendation from the Board.

Nomination Forms are available > HERE , on the PUSD website, and in the District Office or by calling Sylvia Eggert, Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent, at (510) 594-2614.

Jan 20 2019

The Recreation Department is offering an opportunity to engage with neighbors of Coaches Field to discuss proposed changes, including lighting, to the recreation space. The meeting originally scheduled for Wednesday, January 23 has been moved to:

Wednesday, February 13, 7 p.m. in the Piedmont Police Department EOC, 403 Highland Avenue.

This meeting will not be broadcast or recorded.