May 15 2018

What Should Be Done?

Pickleball? In My Neighborhood?

Residential neighborhoods are always looking for improvements to where they live through parks. Most residents find joy in seeing young children playing in the parks, or old friends coming together for a game of tennis. The residents near Linda Beach Park seem to want a noiseless neighborhood, despite the fact that they live just off a busy avenue.

On Monday, May 7th, I attended a City Council meeting to look over a 35% completed conceptual plan for the new Linda Beach Park remodel. This plan started in October and since then, the Groundworks team of Berkeley, led by architect and landscaper Will Smith, has met with the community multiple times to gather insight from the residents near Linda Beach Park about what they would like to see added or remodeled. The meeting last Monday was the second in a series of five meetings to perfect the plan.

Residents of Piedmont, specifically those who live near the park, all watched while the Groundworks team shared their plan and then one by one, shared their own ideas in front of the Council. I had to watch from the completely full overflow room because so many residents were interested in this new plan.

One topic that was widely discussed was the new pickleball courts the City was planning to implement in place of the tennis courts. Jim Landes, the head coach for the varsity tennis teams and a tennis coach for younger kids through his clinics, expressed his concerns for getting rid of the tennis courts at Linda Beach Park.

As a tennis player on the team, I spoke out with my support for keeping the courts at Linda as I have some memories of when I was younger playing on those courts and how the extra space to play is useful to all ages of players.

Some other residents spoke of their concern against the pickleball courts for the noise. One man brought in a stereo and presented his points over the sound of a pickleball game, which all could agree made it extremely difficult to hear him. There were few residents in support of the pickleball courts, but the ones who were there were extremely passionate about their sport. I believe the pickleball courts at the Middle School are more than adequate and with fewer residents surrounding the Middle School making them the optimal place for pickleball.

One of the other major topics was the tot lot. The current tot lot is a fun area with lots of structures for toddlers to play and be safe while their parents watch. In the new plan, the tot lot would be moved behind the field so parents could watch their toddlers while their other children play a sports game, however the new tot lot would be half the size of the previous one.

One concerned resident was Piedmont High senior, Samantha Fanger. Fanger has a younger brother who is a huge fan of the tot lot and her concerns, along with other residents, was that so many kids in the one area would be detrimental to the children because of the tiny space and the popularity of the tot lot.

I believe that the new location of the tot lot is an improvement, but the size needs to be close or equal to the current one to accommodate everyone.

The last major topic was the skateboard park that was to be placed right next to the Oakland Avenue Bridge that goes over Linda Avenue. One resident stated, “I would not have moved to this area if I had known a skatepark and pickleball courts would be right next to my house.” Others were concerned for safety of the skateboarders near the tot lot as there is no curb or anything stopping a stray skateboard in the plan.

I believe that there is no other place in Piedmont for this skateboard park given that the one at Coaches Field has limited hours and limited access. Also, given the fact that the skatepark will be right next to a bridge, I would hope that there could be something implemented to absorb the sound. Most of the government officials did not speak in support of or against any idea but instead, thanked everyone for voicing their concerns and for coming to the meeting.

After the meeting, I interviewed Barbara Love, an avid tennis player, pickleball player, and a past resident of the Linda Avenue neighborhood. She was at the meeting to support the new plans for Linda Beach Park and to encourage the two tennis court plan and to oppose the one tennis court plan. She was surprised so many people were against the pickleball courts and had learned more details about the plan that she was previously known of  before. She was shocked by how many people were there in opposition to the plan. Her next step would be to spread the word around to the community to support the plan and put the plan further into action.

I would like to acknowledge the City Council’s efforts in beautifying Piedmont and continuing to do what is best for the citizens. I feel optimistic that the Linda Beach Park will benefit all and will be an excellent feature of Piedmont.

by Kate Gustke, Piedmont High School Senior

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Have you ever tried to use the bathroom at Linda Beach Field? Have you seen the rundown, empty space next to the Oakland Avenue Bridge?

These are two of the issues concerning the Linda Beach Park area that are  being addressed by a new master plan for renovation of the city property.

The Linda Beach Park changes are an important part of the plan, yet would negatively impact some nearby residents. The Piedmont City Council meeting on May 7, 2018 addressed the Linda Beach Field Master Plan content completed so far.

The Piedmont City Council serves the City of Piedmont  by reviewing the city’s department budgets, deciding how to spend the City’s budgets and overseeing City projects.  The Council meets on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of each month.

The Master Plan is being created by an architectural design team, and is in early stages of development. For this process to move forward, an audit team must make sure that Piedmont is financially able to complete the renovation.

As the City Council meeting began, a member of the outside audit team gave a presentation about the City audit. She reported that the audit went smoothly, and Piedmont is in good shape, however there are insufficient funds currently available for the Linda Beach Field project.

A member of the architectural design team came to the podium to give a presentation on the Master Plan. He led off by saying that the plan is only a 35% conceptual design. Many adjustments are expect to be made to the plan. So far, the field will be left as it is, the tot lot will be moved to the current location of the bathrooms, the tennis courts will be given more space within the fences, and bathrooms will be put on both ends of the Park. Pickleball is a growing sport in the community of Piedmont, so they planned to create eight pickleball courts within the tennis courts. There is also a plan to build a skatepark at the base of the Oakland Avenue Bridge.

The major issues with the plan are the pickleball courts and the skatepark.

While I stated in the meeting that a skatepark would be a cool addition since I enjoy skateboarding, I learned that not everyone would believe that the skatepark would be an improvement for Piedmont.

Many residents complained that these two facilities, pickleball and skateboard,  will create constant noise. The Linda Beach area is at the bottom of a valley with a concrete bridge that amplifies sound. More than three residents came up to the podium to talk about how much these new facilities will pollute their homes with the awful sound of pickleballs being struck and skateboards constantly rolling around. Multiple residents said that they would not have purchased their property had they known that these two changes were planned to be installed.

I believe that installing pickleball courts would cause a constant piercing noise that would echo through the valley and disrupt the lives of all of the neighbors. Installing the courts would be in blatant disregard of the neighbors that live nearby.

I interviewed Dave Johnson, who is a resident that had recently purchased a home on the hill above Linda Beach Field. He had been hearing about the possibility of a renovation project and attended the meeting to learn more about the problems that could be created, and speak about them. He says that he does not know a next step for addressing his issue other than attending the next City Council meeting on the issue and speaking his mind.

This City Council meeting was very informative on the Master Plan for the Linda Beach Field renovation, and gave the people of Piedmont a great opportunity to speak their minds about what could be built in the Beach Field area. The plan holds many improvements for the area, but there are many residents that could have problems with the noise created. I look forward to what is coming in the future for the Beach Field renovation project.

by Grant Keating, Piedmont High School Senior

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Remodelling Linda Beach Park: The Battle Against Noise

On May 7, 2018, the Piedmont City Council met, like they always do on the first and third Mondays of the month, to discuss the early iteration of the plans for the makeover of Linda Beach Park. At the meeting the current plans were shown and critiqued by the Council members, but the most important part of the meeting was the feedback given by Piedmont citizens attending the meeting. It became clear that there is a large divide on how the citizens of Piedmont would like the construction process to go; it is an issue that the City Council will have to take into deep consideration as the process goes forward.

The presentation of the potential plans began with a short recap of Piedmont’s past two audits, which were completed and presented by Auditor Erica Pastor. To summarize Erica’s work, over the past two years Piedmont’s financial record has been relatively clean and in her words: “There were no material weaknesses, no deficiencies, and no major downfalls, meaning that there are no financial worries as the city enters this process.”

Following Erica, the entire 35 percent plan for the Linda Beach Park was presented. The developers wanted to emphasize from the beginning that there would be no additions onto the Linda Beach school buildings, schoolmates, or Linda Beach Field itself, but rather the areas surrounding them. This means they desire to change the tennis court, the tot lot, bathroom, and possibly even add a skating area on the south side of the lot next to the bridge on Oakland Avenue.

The developers then presented their seven areas of focus, or as they called them “guidelines,” for the Park. They told the Council that they want to focus on: park identity, circulation and access, green space, stormwater management, a multi-purpose space, event space, and public art. The intended purpose of these items is to provide a public use, and for the parts of the list which are already incorporated on the lot, like green and event space, they want to expand on those capabilities and maximize the uses of the lot. To accomplish the goals, there will be major changes done to the North and South ends of the lot, while the middle of the Park will remain nearly unchanged since most of the space is taken up by the turf field.

For the North side, there is a large public following of Pickleball, so there will be Pickleball lines added to the Tennis courts, as well as a whole new multi-purpose space and a small plaza filled with public art. As for the South side, the plan is to add a skateboard area and new bleachers facing the turf field allowing parents to comfortably watch their kids play.

There are currently also plans to add new tot lots on both sides of the Park as well as new bathrooms on both sides, so parents don’t have to cross the entire lot and take their kids with them if they need to use the restroom. Following this presentation, citizens of Piedmont were invited to give their input.

Before the meeting began, I interviewed a man named Daniel who was attending the meeting to voice his concerns about the project. Daniel told me that he was worried about the amount of noise that he would be hearing throughout the construction process, as well as after the construction. He was upset with the ideas of adding Pickleball courts and a skateboard area, stating that the noise would be too overwhelming for the area’s residents, as they already deal with the noise of tennis, baseball, and the dog park.

Daniel also disliked the idea of having to suffer through another period of construction since the area had just endured the construction of the townhouses on Linda Avenue. He told me until he gets the peace and quiet he desires, he will continue to attend City Council meetings and relentlessly fight for his side.

Daniel’s thoughts on the matter reflected the ideas of every other resident around Linda Beach Park, as citizen after citizen came to the podium complaining about the constant noise.

However, there were a few avid Pickleball players who were in great support of the addition of the Pickleball courts. These players stated that the public’s desire to play this game that is quickly gaining popularity outweighs the burden of some noise, and they added that the amount of noise being told by the residents was over exaggerated.

During this public section, the Council members showed no preference to either side of the issue, but in the future they will likely be on the side of the Pickleball players, as they have a larger number of supporters.

I believe that it is in the city’s best interest to move ahead with this construction. However, I do understand that the amount of construction and noise is far too high being familiar with residents of the area.  They have spoken about the noise waking them up early and keeping them awake late, and it makes them want to pull out their hair. But, after seeing the final product of the Hampton Field remodel, I would have to side with the Pickleballers, and say that a renovation of the Park would be a great thing for the City of Piedmont, and the City Council should move forward with this plan.

by Ryan Addiego, Piedmont High School Senior

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Potential Linda Beach Project Draws Big Crowd to Piedmont City Council Meeting

The Linda Beach Playfield is a hot topic these days around Piedmont, California.  Its future is currently being decided, and many Piedmont citizens voiced their opinion on the topic on May 7th at the City Council meeting.  The Piedmont City Council meets every first and third Monday of each month. It provides citizens with an update on what the City of Piedmont is currently dealing with, as well as an opportunity for citizens to express their own personal opinions, issues, or advice to the City Council members.

 I attended the May 7th City Council meeting, and before the Linda Beach Playfield was discussed, there was a presentation made about the June 30, 2017 audit that a company had performed on Piedmont.  According to the report, the City had great financing, and quickly after the presentation, the audit report was voted on and accepted by the City Council.

The Council then moved on to the topic of plans for the Linda Beach Playfield.  It was announced that an architecture firm had produced a 35% plan for the changes that would be made to the field. The firm emphasized that they were very early in the process of making changes to the field, and that nothing would be voted on that night.

A representative of the architecture firm gave a presentation that displayed the plan. The main changes proposed were to move and reduce the size of the tot lot, increase the size of the tennis court area and add pickleball courts, build a skatepark near the Oakland Avenue Bridge, and build an additional play area where the tot lot used to be.

The City Council members asked clarifying questions, and participated in the discussion with the citizens, but did not give an obvious opinion for or against the plan.  However, the citizens expressed strong opinions both for and against the proposed changes. Those who supported the new plane argued that the addition of the sport of pickleball would benefit the community by providing another healthy outdoor activity that people of all ages can enjoy.  One citizen brought up a recent pickleball clinic, in which more than eighty Piedmont residents of all ages showed up. He argued that this demonstrated a large amount of interest in the sport of pickleball.

What seemed to be the biggest argument against the plan was the increase in noise that would be created with the addition of pickleball and a skatepark.  One citizen used a speaker to play the sound of a pickleball game, in order to demonstrate how disruptive and intrusive it would be. Another citizen who recently purchased a home near the park, explained that he would not have bought that house had he known about the proposed plans.  Many of the people who were concerned about the noise strongly suggested that the city perform a sound study on the potential effects of the plan.

Before the meeting began, I spoke with Richard Benton, who lives very near the park.  We discussed the proposed plan, and while he was not completely opposed to making changes to the park, he felt like the current plan had many flaws.  He expressed concern about the noise, traffic, and the reduced size of the tot lot. “I have a deck right near the tennis courts, and pickleball would just be too noisy,” Benton said.  At the time, Benton’s plan of action consisted solely of expressing his disapproval of the plan at the meeting.

    While I understand both arguments, I personally believe that the City should listen to the concerns of the homeowners who live near the park.  Living in an area that is noisy is very unpleasant, and could drive away current and future homeowners and devalue the property surrounding the park.  I am in favor of improving the park, but not at the expense of the surrounding families.

by Ben Fujita, Piedmont High School Senior 

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors.
May 15 2018

On May 2, 2018 in the Piedmont City Council Chambers, the Park Commission met to discuss current and future issues with our public parks and properties. As the crowd slowly filed in, the Commission Chair announced that the meeting had officially started and the small crowd in attendance went silent.

This meeting covered topics in the parks and recreation sector of the government. The main purpose of this meetings was to inform the Commission and public of problems in their parks, take public input, hold discussion, and make recommendations to the City Council and hopefully solve problems. This meeting  happens once a month.

Topics that arise in these meeting are citizen complaints, new park ideas, solutions, and information on the prior month from the Public Works Supervisor, Dave Frankel.  Mr. Frankel talked about what his team has accomplished and provided details on their current projects.

The Commission started the meeting discussing a problem that has occurred on Pala Avenue of residents illegally pruning the trees outside their house. A  couple of residents and their gardeners were caught illegally pruning trees.  They were fined, but they did not accept the fine without a fight. Pruning a tree can kill the tree if not done correctly and can also kill the vibe of the block as the tree is not nearly as beautiful.

Apparently the residents complained that the trees were growing too high and  obstructed their view which they felt could decrease their property value. So the commissioners discussed the possibility of planting new trees on Pala Avenue that would not obstruct the residents view. Dave Frankel suggested  purple plume trees should be planted, because they do not grow above a certain height and would stay out of the way of residents views. All of the commissioners agreed to look into the possibility of new plantings on Pala Avenue in order to satisfy the residents. No one from the crowd spoke for or against this topic.

The other main topic discussed was the trash in Piedmont Park that is left by high school students. This topic was brought up by Lena Flescher, a student speaker, and the topic ended up being one of the main points of the meeting. She told the commissioners that punishment must be enforced in order for students to finally pick up the trash. Nancy Kent, lead staff to the commission, agreed with Lena.  Ms. Kent spoke about this issue as she has already been involved with teachers to try and fix the trash problem. Kent also encouraged the students in attendance to contact her with ideas on ways students can become more involved in the process.

In speaking to Mr. Frankel, I learned he was there because he is required to do a report at the end of each meeting on how his sector of the government is doing and to discuss any problems that he may encounter. They may also call on him in the middle of a meeting to give his professional opinion on something such as which tree would work best in a location. Mr. Frankel did not have any crazy reaction to the meeting as he has sat through many of them and knows exactly what to expect. As for addressing his concerns, Mr. Frankel said he and his crew are going into the park the next day to remove all of the trash.

 by Carson Gerhardy, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author. 

May 13 2018

Piedmont Recreation Commission meeting Wednesday, May 16, 2018, 7:30 p.m., Piedmont City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue. 

The meeting will be broadcast live on Channel 27 and on the City website under videos for the Recreation Commission. Members of the public can attend and participate in the meeting. 

Agenda includes:

  1. Update on Proposed Schoolmates Staffing Model for 2018-19
  2. Update on Linda Beach Master Plan
  3. Consideration of the Re-Establishment of a Subcommittee on Tennis Court Use, Including Pickleball
  4. Consideration of the Establishment of a Subcommittee on Serving the Needs of the Piedmont Skateboarding Community
  5. Update on Capital Improvement Projects Review Committee (CIP)

READ the full agenda and prior meeting minutes > May Recreation Commission Meeting Packet

May 12 2018

Students Observe Piedmont’s Active Park Commission 

Did you know that it is against code to prune a street tree, and you can be subject to a fine for doing so? Or that our Liquidambars are being slowly replaced by Purple-Leaf Plums, or that one hard working team of individuals is single-handedly saving the paws, ears, and noses of Piedmont dogs? These are things I learned during the May 2 Piedmont Park Commission meeting in the Piedmont City Council Chambers.

While Piedmont residents see the benefits of their work every day, few know of the Piedmont Park Commission, which meets once a month to discuss the flora we place near our streets and in our parks, as well as renovations to Piedmont parks.

    This month, the Piedmont Park Commission met to discuss the replanting of trees in our parks and on our streets, Arbor Day, the Linda Beach Master Plan, and the installation of a new bench. The meeting started with a discussion of the replacement of Liquidambars with Purple-Leaf Plums, and the potential problems that the Liquidambar root systems could cause during removal. The commissioners wanted consistency, and wanted to ensure that the plum was the designated tree for replacement. A commissioner pointed out that using plums would restrict the view of residents less, and a discussion about whether residents and gardeners can prune city-owned trees ensued (They cannot, and can be subject to a fine should they be caught pruning).

    The commissioners then acknowledged the Piedmont Garden Club’s donation to insert strip lighting into a public building. The commissioners commented on its expert illumination of the deck and its both contemporary and traditional aura.

    Moving on from this, the commissioners discussed a new meeting about renovations to the Linda Beach Park. They wish to hold that meeting in the Beach Auditorium, and wanted it to reach specifically the neighborhood near the park as they would be the most affected by the changes. PHS student Lena Fleischer spoke out about this issue, saying that the installation of a new skate park and other attractions would not have too much of an effect on the residents’ quality of life, as they are used to noise from Beach Elementary. The commissioners wanted to encourage walking rather than driving to the park and discussed how an added parking lot would affect these numbers.

    PHS students Katherine Irving and Isa West spoke about the planting of non-native species in Piedmont parks, emphasizing the need for more local plants. PHS student Natasha Yskamp-Long spoke about littering in Piedmont Park, and a discussion ensued about how to best keep students from littering.

     Public Works Supervisor Dave Frankel then gave his monthly maintenance report, in which he discussed the ongoing battle against weeds. In particular, he pointed out that since his team does not use herbicides, they must do all the weeding by hand. I discussed this point with him later, and found that his team is responsible for removing as many foxtails as they can from the dog parks, which reduces the risk of dogs getting infections from embedded foxtails in their paws, ears, and even noses.

     A family I know recently had a dog die from a foxtail, which reached the dog’s brain, so I know firsthand how dangerous these plants can be, and am infinitely grateful for the hard work Frankel and his team put into hand-weeding the parks.

    Frankel then went into further detail about the planting of plums and the replacement of American Elms with London Planes. He then discussed the 5 phases of the removal of American Elms, and that they now have only 4 elms left to remove and replace with London Planes. The Commission then ended with announcements concerning the date of the next Linda Beach plan meeting.

    I interviewed Supervisor of Public Works Dave Frankel. Frankel was not here to speak out on a specific issue.  As supervisor, his job is to give a monthly brief of his team’s work at every Park Commission. This month he brought up the issues of hand-weeding, and how it is taking them a lot more work and time than it would with the use of chemicals. Frankel will be back next month to give another briefing, and will presumably be back for every other Park Commission as well, to inform them of the latest on the removal of trees, replanting of new ones, and destruction of weeds. Frankel thinks the meeting went well.

by Katherine Irving, Piedmont High School Senior

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 Illegal Tampering with Trees Causes Concern

On Wednesday May 2, the Piedmont Park Commission held their monthly meeting in the Piedmont City Council Chambers. The meetings are held to discuss and receive updates on parks, plants and other environmental aspects within Piedmont.

The meeting started off with a report of three damaged trees at 426 Pala Avenue by Nancy Kent, Parks and Projects Manager. It was noted that the trees were decaying and  concern for branch failure with their poor structures. Jim Horner, member of the commission, recommended observing the trees across the street, which are liquidambar styraciflua and are located just underneath the street’s power lines. Horner also recommended removing those three trees now and place them elsewhere. He finished by saying that the planting should be protected when they are being removed.

The first speaker on this issue was Dave Frankel, the Public Works Supervisor, who said that the trees on Pala Avenue were left as they were found and that there was evidence of illegal pruning and topping by previous residents. The neighborhood block contains a large number of liquidambar styraciflua trees, all planted in tight spacing, which has caused decay and water sprout branch tear outs. Frankel recommended that all of the liquidambar trees be replaced with fruitless plum trees because they won’t impact the views from homes like the liquidambar trees do.

The next topic was the acknowledgement of the installation of new LED lighting around the Tea House. In 2016, the Piedmont Garden Club made a generous donation to the city to upgrade the lighting around the Tea House. Unfortunately, when the mature oak tree near the house died and was removed, the small downlights that hung from the tree’s branches were lost. This made the area feel quite dark and lifeless but the recently installed new lighting was made possible thanks to the collaboration with Thomas Skadski of Lumen Works, in which they designed LED lighting that could be mounted underneath the benches to provide a warm glow to help revitalize the edges of the Tea House decks. Finding the right contractor for this was difficult until the staff began working with Schulkamp Electric to install the Community Hall pole lights, where they then discovered Lumen Works.

The last and final topic of the meeting had to do with an update on the Linda Beach Playfield Master Plan. The city had held a neighborhood meeting on April 25 to hear from residents about their opinion of the Linda Beach Tot Lot Master Planning project. The attendance was an impressive 50 residents plus and the preferred 35% master plan, site analysis and existing condition plans were posted around the auditorium for review. The audience was encouraged to voice their concerns and other comments to become a factor in the summary of public opinion, which was presented to the City Council on May 7.

When the meeting concluded, I spoke with Dave Frankel. He is the Park Supervisor and he gives a monthly maintenance report to the Piedmont Park Commission. He wants to inform the Park Commission of the activities of public works staff during the prior month.  He has recently learned of different American Elm trees that he may need remove and to start planting new street trees. He has much respect for the volunteers who are on the Piedmont Park Commission and the amount of time they put in because they aren’t getting paid for doing what they do.  They are taking time out of their lives to help make Piedmont a better place. Frankel will continue doing his job including reporting monthly to the commission as well as now taking into account the concerns that were addressed by students at this meeting.

by Dylan Bradsby, Piedmont High School Senior

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From Trees to Rebellious Pruners, and Everything in Between 

    Upon stepping into a Piedmont Park Commission meeting, it becomes quite evident that this is unlike other government meetings. The sound of impassioned debaters and fiery homeowners all pushing for their beliefs is replaced by the quiet discussion of which trees to plant in the coming year, and updates on the work of Piedmont’s maintenance crew. This government body, which meets once a month in the City Council Chambers, comes together to discuss the parks and plants throughout Piedmont, and any changes or improvements to be made to them.

This particular meeting, on May 2nd 2018, lasted an hour, from 5:30 to 6:30 and had a total of zero disagreements among its participants. The meeting commenced with a discussion about the replacement of dying trees throughout Piedmont, but particularly on Pala Avenue. All of the government officials agreed that an effort needs to be made to ensure the consistency of street trees throughout the neighborhood, so Purple Leaf Plum trees were designated the new street tree for Piedmont. It was decided that these trees would also eventually replace many Liquidambar trees that would soon begin to obstruct views, and will also face issues as they are growing underneath power lines. The Plum Tree were chosen due to their ability to be easily planted amidst Piedmont’s hilly topography, and their low height, which ensures that they do not obstruct any views.

A brief statement was then made about the success of Piedmont’s Arbor Day this year, as well as the success of the LED lights that were donated by the Piedmont Garden Club for the Tea House Bench, which are now installed.

A quick mention was made surrounding the illegal pruning of street trees by residents.  To the surprise of all attending, it was discovered that those caught performing this daring act could be fined, and have been.

Commission Chair Betsy Goodman brought up the hot topic in the meeting -the Linda Beach Park. A meeting was recently held at Egbert W. Beach Elementary School in order to hear the opinions of residents regarding this park renovation. Staff Liaison and Manager of Parks and Projects, Nancy Kent, expressed her enthusiasm regarding the meeting, stating that it was very helpful. Most of the complaints made were surrounding issues with parking, the importance of the tot lot to the neighborhood residents, and issues with the amount of noise a park will attract from people playing sports, skating, and the like.

Piedmont High School Senior and Beach neighborhood resident Lena Fleischer addressed this issue, stating she believed a park would be great for a lot of the local families and children to have a place to play. In addition, she claimed that there was already so much noise coming from Beach Elementary School that a park could hardly turn this neighborhood from a quiet one to a noisy one, when it is already quite noisy.

Next, the issue of trash in Piedmont Park was addressed by Piedmont High School Senior Natasha Yskamp Long. As a frequent user of the park, she has begun to notice high amounts of trash littering it, and even “mountains of hundreds of plastic water bottles.” She credits this increased volume in trash to the lack of follow through regarding the Piedmont Administration’s threat to ban off-campus lunch or get the police involved in the issue.

Student Lena Fleischer then returned to the podium and pitched the idea of hanging up painted signs throughout Piedmont Park to remind students not to litter. Nancy Kent in particular appeared very excited by this idea, and plans were made to discuss it further.

As a Piedmont High student and a member of Piedmont Environmental Club, Natasha’s method, in my opinion, would prove far more effective in eliminating littering in Piedmont Park. I have a more cynical view of the intentions of many of my classmates, and think that handing out detentions to future perpetrators would be much more impactful on the students than signs would be.

Throughout my high school career, I have been a member of two environmental groups, both of which received the fewest number of visitors of any club on club day and have an average turn out of three people during weekly meetings. Although there are many members of the Piedmont High community that care about the environment, the majority do not consider it a high priority, and handing out punishments, such as detention, could have a direct impact on them personally and would show a lot better results.

The last topic brought up at the meeting was that of maintenance. The Piedmont Supervisor for Public Works Dave Frankel updated the room on the extensive and time consuming hand weeding projects that would soon begin in an attempt to avoid using pesticides. In addition, the crew has begun mulching and will soon start planting more London Plane Trees through Piedmont. The staff will begin performing Spring Pathway maintenance and have already fixed a sidewalk and removed a liquidambar tree from Magnolia Avenue.

The Public Works Department has dealt with a couple of Acacia trees that fell down in Piedmont Park, and have pushed back their paving project due to bad weather.   The staff has started their five phase plan for the removal of almost all of the American Elm Trees in Piedmont due to a disease that has impacted most of the trees. There was talk of past replacement of these trees with purported disease resistant Liberty Elm Trees, but this proved to be ineffective as the Liberty Elm Trees were soon infected as well.

After the meeting, I interviewed the aforementioned Piedmont Public Works Supervisor, Dave Frankel, regarding his attendance at the meeting. He said that he attends the Park Commission meetings because it is his job to inform the Parks Commission of the activities of the Public Works Department for the month. He stated that “my concerns are resident concerns.” While he often informs his crew of issues that he sees that need to be taken care of, most of his work is based off of the needs of Piedmont’s residents. Piedmont, it turns out, is a more eventful place than one would think, with Dave Frankel “fielding about 50 calls a day.”  According to Frankel, a big issue he is currently working on is the level of trash in Piedmont Park. Sadly, his team is there almost everyday picking up the trash that should have been disposed of by the students of Piedmont High School. Hopefully, this problem will soon be dealt with by the school so that our helpful public works crew will not have to spend their valuable time picking up after teenagers.

by Isa West, Piedmont High School Senior

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Park Commission: Complaints about Trees Obstructing Views; the Supervisor of Public Works and Students Discuss Park Litter

Last Wednesday, May 2, 2018 at 5:30 pm, the Piedmont’s Park Commission held its monthly meeting in the City Council Chambers. The meeting discussed many things, from the status of specific trees to the Linda Beach Master Plan.

The meeting began with a discussion of the compromised/dying liquidamber trees on multiple streets in Piedmont. Members of the Commission discussed replacing them with purple leaf plum trees due to their greater ability to latch onto the soil. Parks and Project Manager, Nancy Kent, mentioned that “A lot of tree problems that you deal with are at the sidewalk level.”

Supervisor of Public Works, Dave Frankel, informed the Commission that Piedmont Public Works has completed the majority of their tree removal/replanting for the year and is making very good progress. The Commission also discussed some aspects of the process, wherein Frankel informed them that the Public Works team takes pictures of the trees that are removed so that they can be put back in the exact same way. He also mentioned that some trees planted in the last few years have not taken well to their environment and which species of trees would be better for planting in the future.

Member Nancy Kent chimed in regarding resident complaints about their views being obstructed by tall trees. Frankel stated that replacing liquidamber trees with leaf plum trees would help solve that problem because liquidamber trees grow to be extremely tall, while leaf plum trees do not grow beyond a certain height. Frankel also said that residents have been illegally pruning trees. A commissioner asked him what the protocol was in that situation. Frankel explained that residents have been fined for illegally pruning trees in the past, although it is rare because the only way to catch someone doing it is when a neighbor calls into report it.

Students, Katherine Irving and Isabella West, spoke during public comment on the need for local species of trees to be planted instead of foreign trees. They explained that local trees are better for the ecosystem. I agree that planting local trees is better than planting foreign trees. Local animals such as birds and rabbits will be able to live better in the environment that they are adapted for.

The Commission also discussed the Linda Beach Master Plan. Student, Lena Fleischer, gave her thoughts on the project. She mentioned the idea of having a mural painted by local residents on the bridge facing Beach Park.

The Commission wrapped up the meeting by discussing the issue of trash being left by Piedmont High School students at the park. They brainstormed ways of encouraging students to throw away their garbage. The commission reasoned that there are plenty of trash cans so it is not a problem of accessibility.

In an interview with Frankel following the meeting, he explained that his job is to “inform the Parks Department of the Public Works Department’s work they have done in the prior month.” He stated that “my concerns are resident concerns” and his team receives “about 50 phone calls a day.” Frankel also mentioned that he has taken pictures of the park after lunch and sent them to Piedmont School District Superintendent Randall Booker in order to provide evidence of the trash left behind by Piedmont High School students. Frankel urged students who attended the meeting to voice their concerns to Booker by email or in person.

By Max West, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors. 
May 5 2018

 City Council agenda Monday, May 7, 2018, 7:30 p.m. Piedmont City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont. The meeting is open to the public and will be broadcast on Channel 27 and from the City website under videos. 

Staff reports for the May 7th meeting are below:

05/07/18 – 2nd Reading of Ord. 742 N.S. Amending Chapter 17 – Planning and Land Use of the City Code Regarding Short Term Rentals and Approval of a Resolution Settings Fines and Fees for Short Term Rentals

  1. Both hosted (rooms within a home) and non-hosted (the entire home) short-term rentals are permitted.

  2. In order to operate a short-term rental, a resident must seek and gain City approval for a permit to do so. The resident who has gained a permit from the City to operate a short-term rental is referred to henceforth as a short-term rental permittee.

  • The application is reviewed and acted upon by the Director of Planning or the Director’s designee.
  • The permit is valid for up to one year, until December 31 of the year issued, and may be renewed annually by means of a renewal application.
  1. A short-term rental permit application and renewal applications shall be subject to a fee established by the City Council.
  2. The dwelling unit being used as a short-term rental, whether hosted or non-hosted, must be the primary residence of the permittee.
  3. The short-term rental must be rented for a minimum of two consecutive nights and may not be rented more than 60 days in a calendar year.
  4. A short-term rental permit applicant who is a tenant must gain the consent of the property owner to use the dwelling unit as a short-term rental.
  5. The following dwelling units are prohibited from being used as a short-term rental:
  • Accessory dwelling units, both permitted and unintended; and
  • Multi-family dwelling units (i.e. apartments).
  1. The permittee is required to do the following:
  • Pay an annual business license tax under City Code chapter 10.
  • Maintain general liability insurance in the amount of at least $1,000,000 during the term of the short-term rental permit.
  • Provide his or her contact information to the city, and update any change before renting the property.
  • Provide the dwelling or rooms serving as a short-term rental a smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector, fire extinguisher, and adequate egress.
  • Provide the short-term guest both electronically before the stay and in print during the stay the following information:

o   The short-term rental permittee’s contact information;

o   A diagram of exits, fire extinguisher locations, and fire and police contact numbers;

o   The city’s noise regulations (sections 12.8 – 12.12);

o   The city’s smoking ordinance (chapter 12, article II); and

o   The city’s garbage and recycling guidelines.

  1. Short-term rentals may not be rented for commercial purposes other than for dwelling, sleeping or lodging.
  1. Enforcement includes the ability of the City Council to establish fines by resolution.

05/07/18 – 2nd Reading of Ord. 743 N.S. Making Technical Corrections to Chapter 17 – Planning and Land Use

Parking space size and specifications

Requiring 12 inches between the side of a parking space and the nearest wall or similar obstruction so that drivers and passengers have adequate room to maneuver into and out of a car parked in a garage or carport.

Sign Design Review Permit

Reinstituting a design review permit and design standards specific to signs on private nonresidential properties.

Parking requirements related to Accessory Dwelling Units

Making Piedmont’s Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance consistent with state laws by deleting the prohibition of replacement parking spaces within the 20-foot street yard setback. The City may require replacement parking for the primary dwelling when a garage or carport is demolished for or converted to an Accessory Dwelling Unit.

The scheduling of City Council hearings after a Planning Commission recommendation

Allowing for expeditious processing and thorough preparation in response to appeals, appeals are to be scheduled at least 45 days after the filing of an appeal but all other matters are to be scheduled for the next available regular City Council meeting.

The definition of Floor Area

Clarifying what areas within a building’s envelope are considered floor area and would be subject to the floor area ratio limits so that new additions to buildings do not circumvent the City’s regulatory goals of limiting the bulk of a house in relation to the size of the lot and encouraging development within the existing envelope.

05/07/18 – Receipt of a Report on the Timeline for the November 6, 2018 General Municipal Election

05/07/18 – Approval of a Resolution to be Presented to Volunteers at the Annual Volunteer Reception for 2018    May 15, 2018.

05/07/18 – Receipt of the FY 2016-2017 Audited Financial Statements

05/07/18 – Receipt of a Report on the 35% Conceptual Design for the Linda Beach Master Plan and Possible Direction to Staff

05/07/18 – Update on the Service Options Offered by East Bay Community Energy

05/07/18 – Receipt of the Police Department Quarterly Report for the 1st Quarter of 2018

05/07/18 – Introduction and 1st Reading of Ord. 744 N.S. Amending Chapter 9 (Garbage) of the City Code to Conform to the New Collection Services Agreement

05/07/18 – Consideration of Agreements with Pacific General Engineering in the Amount of $35,660 and Mark W. Shulkamp Electric Company in the Amount of $52,340 for Installation of New Street Lighting on the Oakland Avenue Bridge

05/07/18 – Consideration of the Third Amendment to the Employment Agreement between the City of Piedmont and Paul Benoit 

May 2 2018

City of Piedmont CIP Review Committee 

Crocker Park, St. James Lanterns, Wildwood Intersection Improvement, Linda Beach Park, Lower Grand Triangle, Coaches Field Turf and Lights, and Veterans Hall are on the tour.   Comparisons will be made by the Committee amongst the various proposals.  

TOUR OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Saturday, May 5, 2018 8:30 a.m. City Hall, 120 Vista Ave. Piedmont, CA

A 10 minute Public Forum will precede the meeting tour.  

Regular Agenda

1. Tour of Sites to be Considered by the CIP Review Committee

8:30 – Tour will meet at City Hall, 120 Vista Ave.

8:40 – 8:55  – Crocker Park Path Improvements (Corner of Crocker Ave. & Hampton Rd.)

9:05 – 9:20 – St. James Lanterns (Corner of La Salle Ave. and St. James Dr.)

9:30 – 9:45 – Wildwood, Winsor, Warfield, and Wallace Aves. Intersection Improvements

9:55 -10:20 – Linda Beach Tot Lot and Park Improvements (Linda Beach Playfield)

10:30-10:45 – Lower Grand Landscape Triangle (Corner of Grand Ave. and Lower Grand Ave.)

10:55-11:10 – Coaches Field Turf and Lighting Improvements (898 Red Rock Rd.)

11:20-11:30 – Veterans Hall (401 Highland Ave.)

(Times are approximate. Map and project descriptions will be available at all tour stops.)  

CIP Review Committee Tour Map_5.5.18

2. Working Lunch at Piedmont City Hall will follow the tour. 

> Citizen Proposals 2018 (1)

coachesfieldmasterplan staff report

READ 2018 Proposal spread sheet DRAFT

“Materials related to an item on this agenda submitted to the CIP Review Committee are available for public inspection in the Public Works Department during normal business hours.”

According to Nancy Kent, Parks and Project Manager, there is no staff report summarizing the various proposed projects. Information will be provided during the tour for each site.

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, if you need special assistance to participate in this meeting, please contact the City Clerk at (510) 420-3040. Notification at least two business days preceding the meeting will enable the City to make reasonable arrangements to ensure accessibility to this meeting. [28 CFR 35.102-35.104 ADA Title II]

For additional information, contact Nancy Kent nkent@piedmont.ca.gov – (W) 420-3064

—— Committee Roster ——

Council Liaison: Robert McBain – rmcbain@piedmont.ca.gov – (VM) 420-3048
Staff Liaisons: Chester Nakahara – cnakahara@piedmont.ca.gov – (W) 420-3061 & Nancy Kent – nkent@piedmont.ca.gov – (W) 420-3064

Michael Henn

Susan Herrick

Bobbe Stehr

Jeffrey St. Claire

Piedmont Beautification Foundation Representative – Nancy McHugh

Park Commission Representative – Jim Horner

Recreation Commission Representative – To Be Determined

Apr 27 2018

What Charter revisions might the Council decide should be considered for the November ballot ?

PIEDMONT CITY CHARTER: COMPLEX AND IMPORTANT TO PIEDMONT GOVERNANCE

The Piedmont City Charter, essentially Piedmont’s Constitution, determines Council and School Board terms, qualifications for office, budgets, authority of the Council, selection of City officers, bonding requirements, and more.  The City Charter is a large and comprehensive law governing Piedmont. 

One proposed revision to be considered would reduce Council authority and transform Piedmont’s long held City Administrator form of government into an approximation of a City Manager form of government.

A change for taxpayers could be the elimination of any limit on the excess funds the City holds in its coffers while continuing to gather taxes.

Consideration of City Charter changes appears to limit public discussion and comment at the Monday, April 30, 6:30 p.m. Special Council meeting.  The Agenda item states:

Consideration of Possible Direction to Staff Regarding Amendments to the City Charter – Provide direction to staff on which, if any, of the proposed Charter amendments merit placement on a ballot for consideration by Piedmont voters. 

There will be some opportunity for speakers at the April 30 meeting.  Written comments can also be submitted to the City Council.   The manner in which the City Council plans to deliberate and engage Piedmont citizens in the process for potential changes has not been announced. The Council may plan future study sessions with the public and School Board prior to making a decision on what Charter changes, if any, should be on the November 2018 General Election ballot.

VOTERS MUST APPROVE ANY CHANGES TO THE PIEDMONT CITY CHARTER.

CITY  ADMINISTRATOR FORM OF GOVERNMENT: In largely changing Piedmont’s long held City Administrator form of government to be similar to a City Manager form of government forfeits the Council’s right to select and terminate executive level officers: the Police Chief, Fire Chief, City Engineer, Finance Director, Recreation Director, Public Works Director,  City Clerk, etc. 

The Council’s selection and termination authority would be limited the City Administrator and City Attorney. Other cities, might have a “strong” directly elected mayor, as in Oakland, who has broad authority to select the Police Chief, Fire Chief, City Manager, etc. The Piedmont City Council has always chosen and appointed Piedmont’s Police Chief, Fire Chief and other City other officers as prescribed in the City Charter. 

Some have suggested relinquishing key hiring decisions solely to one person, the City Administrator, removes too much authority from the Council and could present new issues.

In recent years, City observers have noticed an erosion of Council control, participation, and authority.  Examples include: no Councilmembers on interview committees for their appointments, expenditures of funds unauthorized by the Council, endorsement letters produced without Council action, support or co-sponsoring of events without Council action, leasing of public property without due diligence and information provided to the Council, and selection of meetings to be broadcast to the public.

At the April 30th special meeting, the Council will review the possible amendments listed in the February 5, 2018 staff report  available on the city’s website.  The staff report is linked below. 

http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/html/govern/staffreports/2018-02-05/charteramendment.pdf)

The Council at the April 30 meeting will discuss whether any Charter changes should move forward and determine the process for further consideration.

Pursuant to section 9.07 of the Charter, any proposed amendments must be presented to the qualified voters of the City for approval.

Citizens are invited to attend this meeting and express their opinions. The meeting will be televised live on KCOM-TV, Channel 27, the City’s government TV station and will be available through streaming video on the City’s web site www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/.

Public comment is invited and encouraged at this meeting. Written comments may be submitted to the City Clerk’s Office at cityclerk@piedmont.ca.gov or by US Mail to City Clerk, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA  94611. All comments submitted will become part of the public record.

For further information, contact City Clerk John O. Tulloch via email at jtulloch@piedmont.ca.gov or via phone at (510) 420-3040.

City produced BACKGROUND statement below;

At its meeting of June 19, 2017 the Council discussed the City Charter provision limiting the General Fund Reserve to no more than 25% of the budget and directed staff to return to Council with a report reviewing the rationale and possible options for amending the Charter to modify the 25% limit. As part of that discussion, the Council agreed that each individual member would examine all Charter provisions for clarity and relevance and that each would submit any suggestions for Charter amendments to the City Administrator.

In addition to review by Councilmembers, the City Clerk, City Attorney and City Administrator also conducted their own independent review. All of the suggestions were compiled and used to create the attached “Track Changes” document for consideration by the City Council.

Note that per section 9.07 of the Charter, all proposed amendments must be presented to the qualified voters of the City at a general or special election. State law (Elections Code § 1415) further clarifies that if the proposed changes to a Charter “alter any procedural or substantive protection, right, benefit or employment status of any local government employee,” then the amendment must be presented at a statewide general election. This means that the amendments proposed to Article III would require consideration at a statewide general election. The following is a briefing of the suggested Charter revisions, grouped by article and section. Section numbers listed are as they currently exist in the Charter.

Some of the Charter sections proposed for consideration have yet to be fully described or are in a format not easily displayed for readers.

Staff information:

Article II – City Council
SECTION 2.03 TERM OF OFFICE

A question was raised as to whether Piedmont should amend the existing term limits provided for in the Charter. Currently, the Charter limits Councilmembers (and by extension Board of Education Members) to serving two consecutive terms. The current provision, however, does not prohibit a Councilmember who has served two consecutive terms from running again after a full term (four years) has elapsed. The question for Council consideration is whether you want to impose stricter term limits than currently exist.

An option for Council consideration would be to limit Councilmembers to serving two full terms in office. Should Council wish to consider this option, Section 2.03 would need to be revised as follows:

No person who has served two (2) full consecutive terms as a Councilmember shall thereafter be eligible to hold such office again. until one full intervening term of four (4) years has elapsed. For the purposes hereof, any person who serves as a Councilmember for more than eighteen (18) months of an unexpired term shall be considered to have served a full term.

Should the Council wish to pursue this option, it is recommended that a revision to the term limits of the Board of Education be changed as well, for reasons expressed in the discussion of proposed revisions to Article VII, below.

  •  SECTION 2.05 (C) FILIING OF VACANCIES
    This subsection dictates how vacancies on the City Council are to be filled. Currently, this subsection provides that the Council shall fill a vacancy by appointment within thirty days of a vacancy occurring. If the Council doesn’t act within those thirty days the vacancy shall be filled by the Mayor. As the Council has experienced in each of the previous two years, the thirty day window is very tight and the possibility of a Mayor being forced to make a unilateral appointment without Council input is a strong possibility. In addition, as currently written, this subsection precludes the possibility of a special election to fill an empty Council seat which may be a possibility that the Council does not want to preclude.To address the above noted issues, it has been suggested that the timeframe for Council appointment be extended to sixty days and, should the Council not fill a vacancy within the allotted period, the vacancy shall be filled by special election. This would more closely mirror existing State law Election Code regulations
  •  SECTION 2.07(A) – MEETINGS
    This subsection requires that the Council meet twice in every month. The suggested revision would delete the requirement that two meetings per month occur, while retaining a requirement that it meet regularly. As currently provided in this subsection, it would be the Council’s prerogative to set its regular meeting schedule by resolution or ordinance.
  •  SECTION 2.07(C) – VOTING
    A provision of this subsection as written allows fewer than a quorum of Councilmembers to “compel the attendance of absent members in the manner prescribed by the rules of the Council”. This portion of the subsection is viewed as archaic, unnecessary, and difficult to implement. Accordingly, it is proposed to be deleted.
  • SECTION 2.08 MAYOR
    This section currently does several things, including requiring that a Mayor and Vice- Mayor be elected by the Council after each general municipal election as well as noting that the Mayor and Vice-Mayor serve at the pleasure of the Council.Questions were raised as to whether it would be beneficial to clarify the process. The provision, as currently worded, provides significant flexibility to the Council. The City Attorney pointed out that this section does not prohibit the Council from electing officers annually or, for that matter, removing officers at will. The requirement that the Council appoint members following each general municipal election simply requires that election of officers happen at a minimum after each general election. This would not preclude the Council from electing officers annually but if Council would like to impose this requirement, this provision should be clarified. The Council should give direction to staff as to whether it feels that amendments to this section are warranted.
  •  SECTION 2.12 – ORDINANCES IN GENERAL
    A technical revision is proposed to subsection A to conform the enacting clause of ordinances to modern practice.

    A revision is proposed to subsection (D) to change the location of posting of ordinances from the official city bulletin board to the City’s web site. This proposed revision reflects modern practice and would provide for broader and more convenient access to the public.

  •  SECTION 2.15(A) AUTHENTICATION AND RECORDING; CODIFICATION; PRINTING
  •  This subsection requires that all ordinances and resolutions be recorded in an indexed book kept for this purpose. Modern technology has removed the need for this archaic requirement, as all ordinances and resolutions are indexed in the City’s records management system.
  • Article III – Administration Many comments and question were raised regarding various provisions and inconsistencies inherent in Article III. The general nature of most comments focused on the responsibility for appointment of “Officers (Department Heads, City Attorney and City Administrator) and Employees” of the City, and on responsibilities for directing their day-to-day activities. It should be noted that as these proposed revisions would impact employment status of several employees, these Charter amendments would need to be approved at a statewide general election. (Elections Code Section 1415.) These proposed revisions as well as the others listed below are consistent with current best practices in government and with the Council-Administrator form of government followed by the City of Piedmont.
  • SECTION 3.01 OFFICERS OF THE CITY
    Currently, this section provides that officers of the City shall be appointed and directed by the Council. This is inconsistent with both practice and other provisions of Article III.The proposed amendments to this section provide that the City Council appoint the City Administrator and the City Attorney, and that all other officers of the City be appointed and directed by the City Administrator. An additional edit is made to this section to revise the title of Director of Parks and Recreation to Director of Recreation.
  •  SECTION 3.02 OFFICIAL BONDS
    This section was identified as archaic and is proposed for deletion in its entirety. The removal of this section requires the renumbering of each subsequent section in this article.
  •  SECTION 3.03 CITY ADMINISTRATOR
    Item 1 on the list of the City Administrator’s powers and duties is revised to clarify that the City Administrator has responsibility to appoint, discipline, suspend or remove “officers appointed by the City Administrator” as well as employees….”.
  •  SECTION 3.05 CITY CLERK
    This section is revised to make the City Administrator responsible for appointment of the City Clerk as well as to indicate that the City Clerk can be assigned other duties, by state law and the City Administrator.
  • SECTION 3.06 CITY ATTORNEY
    There is one non-substantive, editorial revision proposed to this section.  NOT DEFINED
  •  SECTION 3.07 DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE
    This section is revised to reflect actual practice and the reporting structure clarified in Section 3.01. In keeping with the Council-Administrator form of government, should Council wish to assign other duties to the Finance Director or other department heads, work assignments are made to and through the City Administrator.
  •  SECTION 3.08 POLICE DEPARTMENT
    This section is revised to reflect the reporting structure clarified in Section 3.01, as more fully explained in the under Section 3.07.
  •  SECTION 3.09 FIRE DEPARTMENT
    This section is revised to reflect the reporting structure clarified in Section 3.01, as more fully explained under Section 3.07.

In addition, language is added to expressly indicate that the Fire Department is responsible for the provision of emergency medical services.

  •  SECTION 3.10 DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
    This section is revised to reflect the reporting structure clarified in Section 3.01, as more fully explained in the under Section 3.07.In addition, language is added to give the department responsibility for maintenance of parks and public facilities, which conforms the Charter to long standing practice.
  •  SECTION 3.11 CITY ENGINEER
    This section is revised to reflect the reporting structure clarified in Section 3.01, as more fully explained in the under Section 3.07.
  •  SECTION 3.12 PLANNING DIRECTOR
    This section is revised to reflect the reporting structure clarified in Section 3.01, as more fully explained in the under Section 3.07.
  •  SECTION 3.13 DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND RECREATION
    This section is revised to reflect the reporting structure clarified in Section 3.01, as more fully explained in the under Section 3.07.This section is also revised to remove the reference to Park in the Department name as well as to remove the responsibility for maintenance of the City’s park lands and recreation facilities from the list of responsibilities. These were added to the Public Works Department section above. Note that the responsibility for carrying out Council policies related to the use of park lands and recreation facilities remains with the Recreation Department, as is long standing practice.Article IV – Fiscal Matters

SECTION 4.03 THE BUDGET
Currently, the last two paragraphs of this section require that the City maintain a reserve of no more than 25% of the budget for the purpose of maintaining municipal services during periods of reduced revenues as well as meeting unforeseen contingencies and emergencies.

As detailed in a June 19, 2017 Council Agenda Report, the City Charter, from its original adoption in 1923 through 1980, placed no requirement for, or limit on, reserves of the General Fund. In 1980, the Charter was amended to require that a reserve be established for the purpose of meeting unforeseen contingencies and emergencies and specified that the reserve not exceed 10%. In a 1999, the Municipal Tax Review Committee, stated that “….caps on the General Fund Reserve were originally designed to prevent a spendthrift Council from taxing residents for the sake of piling up unnecessary reserves. We believe that history – and quadrennial parcel tax votes – show this fear to be unfounded”. Based on the Committee’s report, the Council proposed and the voters approved an amendment in 2000 that increased the maximum General Fund reserve to 25% and expanded the purpose to include “maintenance of municipal services during periods of reduced revenues to the City.

The provision for placing a percentage limitation on the size of the General Fund reserve seems to have been born out of a concern that the City would tax its residents beyond what is needed to support prudent operations and thus accumulate unnecessary reserves. In practice, this has never happened. Additionally, the City has no authority to impose taxes on residents. In the case of the parcel tax, continuation of the tax, and any increase which may be proposed, is subject to a vote of Piedmont residents every four years. This requirement for voter approval, in addition to annual public hearings on the budget, provides valuable opportunities for resident oversight of City budget practices, operations, and performance.

If the Charter were to include any provisions relating to the reserves of the General Fund, best practice and prudence would dictate speaking to the need to build and maintain reserves as opposed to placing artificial limits on the size of the reserve. For these reasons it is proposed that the section be amended to state that the City shall maintain a General Fund Reserve and that the Council shall strive to maintain the reserve in an amount not less than 15% of the General Fund operating budget. Note that the addition of “operating budget”, rather than simply referring to “the budget”, provides needed clarity as to exactly how to apply referenced percentages.

SECTION 4.11 CONTRACT WORK
This section currently requires that the City conform to state law regarding awarding of contracts to the lowest responsible bidder for any contract above the dollar threshold set by state law, currently $5,000. Among other requirements, it also allows the Council to contract for work on the open market, without using the bidding process, if it deems it more economical or beneficial to do so. Other provisions include the requirement that the City establish a competitive bidding system by ordinance.

The proposed revisions to this section eliminate the requirement that the City conform to the state dollar threshold regarding lowest responsible bidder. Removing this requirement maintains the necessity of bidding public projects to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent in a wise manner, however it lets the City set its own rules as to the dollar amount threshold for formal, informal, and open market purchases and projects. In 2017, the Council passed a revision to the City’s purchasing provisions, which set the limit for open market purchases at $5,000, the limit for informal bidding at $75,000, and required formal bidding above that amount.

Article V – Personnel

  •  SECTION 5.01 PERSONNEL CLASSIFICATION
    This section specifies the personnel classification of the elective officers, officers, employees, and volunteers of the City, identifying whether they fall into the unclassified or classified services of the City for the purposes of Civil Service regulations.Subsection (A)(2) is revised to remove listings of specific positions in the unclassified service, rather referring to the “Officers of the City” as defined in Section 3.01 of the Charter. This amendment is largely editorial in nature and is proposed to better correspond to terminology and provisions of other sections of the Charter.
  •  SECTION 5.02 APPOINTMENTS AND PROMOTIONS
    This section currently requires that appointments and promotions be made based upon the selection of the best qualified individual for a job. It also prohibits discrimination against employees based upon sex, race, creed, color, or national or ethnic origin.The proposed amendment to this section modernizes the prohibition against employment discrimination to include all classes protected under U.S. and state law.
  • ARTICLE VII PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Though the Piedmont Unified School District is a separate entity from the City of Piedmont, its creation dates back to the passage of the original Piedmont City Charter in 1923. Since that time, though the PUSD operates separately from the City, provisions regarding the District’s elected governing board have, by necessity of its creation, resided in the City Charter. The provisions of the Charter related to the PUSD solely govern the election, membership requirements, compensation, and organization of the Board of Education. As the City Council and the Board of Education are the only elected bodies in Piedmont, these requirements closely mirror each other, though there are differences reflecting the body of law governing each organization.Should the Council decide to pursue suggested Charter amendments, any proposals relating to PUSD would be discussed with the Board and staff would seek their support prior to advancing revisions to this Article.

  •  SECTION 7.02 MEMBERSHIP, TERM OF OFFICE
    Currently the term limit provisions for the Board of Education match those for the City Council. Should the Council wish to make the term limits for the Council stricter, it should consider doing the same for the Board of Education.
  •  SECTION 7.04 VACANCIES
    Currently, the requirements for filling a vacancy on the Board of Education match those of the City Council in Section 2.05, above. The proposed amendment to this section mirror the changes proposed for the City Council in Section 2.05.
  •  SECTION 7.06 MEETINGS
    Currently, this section contains the same archaic provision regarding compelling attendance at meetings as are contained in Section 2.07(C) for the City Council.

The proposed amendment parallels the proposed amendment to Section 2.07(C) and deletes the provision allowing for a minority of members to compel attendance of absent members.

THE COMPLEXITY OF THE CHARTER REQUIRES COORDINATION FOR EACH SECTIONS TO WORK WITHIN THE WHOLE. 

Following are some of the changes proposed.  Refer to the City staff report for additional details by clicking HERE.

ARTICLE I.

Section 1.01 Section 1.02 Section 1.03 Section 1.04

ARTICLE II.

Section 2.01 Section 2.02 Section 2.03 Section 2.04 Section 2.05 Section 2.06 Section 2.07 Section 2.08 Section 2.09 Section 2.10 Section 2.11 Section 2.12 Section 2.13 Section 2.14 Section 2.15

ARTICLE III.

Section 3.01 Section 3.02 Section 3.03 Section 3.04 Section 3.05 Section 3.06 Section 3.07 Section 3.08 Section 3.09 Section 3.10 Section 3.11 Section 3.12 Section 3.13

Table of Contents
POWERS OF THE CITY Page Name 1 Boundaries 1 Powers of the City 1 Intergovernmental Relations 1

CITY COUNCIL

Composition, Eligibility and Election 1 Compensation 2 Term of Office 2 General Powers and Duties 2 Vacancies Forfeiture of Offices Filling of Vacancies 2 Judge of Qualifications 3 Council Meetings 3 Mayor 4 Investigations 4 Administrative Relations 4 Action Requiring an Ordinance 4 Ordinances in General 5 Emergency Ordinances 6 Codes of Technical Regulations 6 Authentication and Recording Codification Printing 7

ADMINISTRATION

Officers and Employees 7 Official Bonds 8 City Administrator 8 Acting City Administrator 9 City Clerk 9 City Attorney 10 Department of Finance 10 Police Department 11 Fire Department 11 Department of Public Works 11 City Engineer 11 Planning Director 11 Department of Parks and Recreation 12

FISCAL MANAGEMENT Page

Fiscal ear 12 Submission of Budget 12 The Budget 12 Action on Budget 13 Amendments After Adoption 14 Lapse of Appropriations 14 Tax System 14 Tax Rate Limitation 14 Independent Audit 14 Franchises 15 Contract Work 16 Purchasing 16 Temporary Loans 16 Bonded Debt Limit 16

PERSONNEL

Personnel Classification 17 Appointments and Promotions 17 Personnel Rules and Regulations 17 Suspension, Demotion and Dismissal 18 Retirement System 18 Authority to Join Other Systems 18

BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

Creation of Boards and Commissions 19 Membership, Term of Office 19 Compensation 19 Organization 19 Public Record 20

PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Governing Board 20 Membership, Term of Office 20

Compensation Vacancies Organization Meetings

ARTICLE VIII.

Section 8.01 Section 8.02 Section 8.03 Section 8.04

ARTICLE IX.

Section 9.01 Section 9.02 Section 9.03 Section 9.04 Section 9.05 Section 9.06 Section 9.07 Section 9.08

ELECTIONS Page

General Municipal Elections 21 Special Municipal Elections 21 Procedure for Holding Elections 21 Initiative, Referendum, and Recall 22

GENERAL PROVISIONS

General Plan 22 zoning System 22 Conflict of Interest 23 General Laws Applicable 23 Separability 23 Charter Enforcement 23 Charter Amendment 23

SECTION 1.01 NAME

ARTICLE I. Powers of the City

The municipal corporation now existing and known as the City of Piedmont shall remain and continue to be an entity as at present.

SECTION 1.02 BOUNDARIES

The boundaries of the City shall be the same as now established, with power and authority to change the same as provided by law.

SECTION 1.03 POWERS OF THE CITY

The City shall have all powers possible for a city to have under the Constitution and laws of the State of California as fully and completely as though they were specifically enumerated in this Charter.

The powers of the City under this Charter shall be construed liberally in favor of the City, and the specific mention of particular powers in the Charter shall not be construed as limiting in any way the general power stated in this Article.

SECTION 1.04 INTERGOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS

The City may exercise any of its powers or perform any of its functions and may participate in the financing thereof, jointly or in cooperation, by contract or otherwise, with any other public or private agency.

ARTICLE II City Council

SECTION 2.01 COMPOSITION, ELIGIBILITY AND ELECTION

  1. (A)  COMPOSITION. There shall be a City Council of five (5) members elected at large by the qualified voters of the City.
  2. (B)  ELIGIBILITY . Only qualified voters of the City shall be eligible to hold the office of Councilmember.

(C) HOLDING OTHER OFFICES. Except where authorized by law, no Councilmember shall hold any other office or employment with the City.

(D) ELECTION. The regular election of Councilmembers shall be held at the General Municipal Election as provided for in Section 8.01 of this Charter. The terms of elected Councilmembers shall begin upon certification of the election results by the City Council. They shall hold office for four (4) years. Elections shall be alternately for two (2) and three (3) Councilmembers, excluding elections to fill an unexpired term of office. (Charter Amendment 11 4 2014)

SECTION 2.02 COMPENSATION

The members of the City Council shall not receive any compensation for their service to the City. Councilmembers may receive actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties of office as determined by the Council.

SECTION 2.03 TERM OF OFFICE

No person who has served two (2) full consecutive terms as a Councilmember shall thereafter be eligible to hold such office until one full intervening term of four (4) years has elapsed. For the purposes hereof, any person who serves as a Councilmember for more than eighteen (18) months of an unexpired term shall be considered to have served a full term.

SECTION 2.04 GENERAL POWERS AND DUTIES

All powers of the City shall be vested in the City Council as the legislative body, except as otherwise provided by law or this Charter. The Council shall provide for the exercise of these powers and for the performance of all duties and obligations imposed on the City by law.

SECTION 2.05 VACANCIES; FORFEITURE OF OFFICE; FILLING OF VACANCIES

  1. (A)  VACANCIES. The office of a Councilmember shall become vacant upon his her death, resignation, removal from office in any manner authorized by law, or forfeiture of office.
  2. (B)  FORFEITURE OF OFFICE. A Councilmember shall forfeit office if the member:

(1) lacks at any time during the term of office any qualification for the office prescribed by this Charter or by State law(2)  violates any prohibition of this Charter or (3)  is convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude.

(C) FILLING OF VACANCIES. A vacancy on the City Council shall be filled by appointment by the Council, with said appointee to hold office until the next general municipal election, when a successor shall be chosen by the electors for the unexpired term. If the Council does not fill such vacancy within sixty (60) days after the same occurs, then such vacancy shall be filled by special election.

Notwithstanding the requirement of this Charter that a quorum of the Council consists of three members, if at any time the membership of the Council is reduced to two, the remaining members shall appoint one additional member to raise the membership to three (3), and then call a special municipal election to fill all vacancies, including the vacancy to which an appointment has just been made. If at any time there are four (4) or more vacancies, the City Clerk shall call a special election at once to fill the vacancies for the unexpired terms, with said election being conducted in accordance with the rules for a general municipal election.

SECTION 2.06 JUDGE OF QUALIFICATIONS

The City Council shall be the judge of the election and qualifications of its members and of the grounds for forfeiture of office, and for that purpose shall have power to subpoena witnesses, administer oaths and require the production of evidence. A member charged with conduct constituting grounds for forfeiture of office shall be entitled to a public hearing on demand, and notice of such hearing shall be published in one or more newspapers of general circulation in the City at least one week in advance of the hearing. Decisions made by the Council under this section shall be subject to review by the courts.

SECTION 2.07 COUNCIL MEETINGS

  1. (A)  MEETINGS. The City Council shall meet regularly at such times and places as the Council may prescribe by ordinance or resolution. Special meetings may be held on the call of the Mayor or of three (3) or more members and, whenever practicable, upon no less than twenty-four (24) hours notice to each member. All meetings shall be public except as otherwise provided by law.
  2. (B)  RULES AND MINUTES. The Council shall determine its own rules and order of business and shall provide for keeping minutes of its proceedings. These minutes shall be a permanent public record.
  3. (C)  VOTING. Voting, except on procedural motions, shall be by roll call and the ayes and nays shall be recorded in the minutes. Three (3) members of the Council shall constitute a quorum. No action of the Council, except as otherwise provided.

Deletions have been omitted here, as unclear.

 Deleted: but a smaller number may adjourn from time to time and may compel the attendance of absent members in the manner prescribed by the rules of the Council for in this Charter, shall be valid or binding unless adopted by the affirmative vote of three (3) or more members of the Council.

SECTION 2.08 MAYOR

Following each general municipal election, the City Council shall elect from among its member officers of the City who shall have the titles of Mayor and Vice-Mayor, each of whom shall serve at the pleasure of the Council. The Mayor shall preside at meetings of the Council, shall be recognized as head of the City government for all ceremonial purposes and by the Governor for the purposes of military law, but shall have no administrative duties. The Vice-Mayor shall act as mayor during the absence or disability of the Mayor. In case of the temporary absence or disability of both the Mayor and Vice-Mayor, the Council shall select one of its members to serve as Mayor Pro Tempore.

SECTION 2.09 INVESTIGATIONS

The City Council may make investigations into the affairs of the City and the conduct of any City department, office or agency, and for this purpose may subpoena witnesses, administer oaths, take testimony and require the production of evidence.

SECTION 2.10 ADMINISTRATIVE RELATIONS

Except for the purpose of inquiries and investigations, Councilmembers shall deal with the City officers and employees who are subject to the direction and supervision of the City Administrator through the City Administrator.

SECTION 2.11 ACTION REQUIRING AN ORDINANCE

In addition to other acts required by law or by specific provisions of this Charter to be done by ordinance, those acts of the City Council shall be by ordinance which:

  1. (1)  Adopt or amend an administrative code, or combine or abolish any City department, office, record or commission
  2. (2)  Provide for a fine or other penalty, or establish a rule or regulation for violation of which a fine or other penalty is imposed
  3. (3)  Levy taxes, except as otherwise provided in this Charter with respect to the property tax levied by adoption of the budget
  4. (4)  Grant, renew or extend a franchise
  5. (5) Authorize the borrowing of money
  6. (6) Convey or lease or authorize the conveyance or lease of any lands of the City
  7. (7) Adopt, with or without amendment, ordinances proposed under the initiative power and(8) Amend or repeal any ordinance previously adopted, except as otherwise provided in this Charter, with respect to repeal of ordinances reconsidered under the referendum power.

Acts other than those referred to in this section may be done either by ordinance or by resolution of the City Council. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section, if an ordinance authorizes the council to establish rules and regulations on matters set forth in such ordinance, those rules and regulations adopted by resolution shall be valid and shall be subject to fine or penalty if the establishing ordinance so provides.

SECTION 2.12 ORDINANCES IN GENERAL

  1. (A)  FORM. Every proposed ordinance shall be introduced in writing, and the subject of the ordinance shall be clearly expressed in its title. The enacting clause shall be, “The City Council of the City of Piedmont hereby ordains…” Any proposed ordinance which repeals or amends an existing ordinance or part of the City Code shall distinctly set out the City Code sections or subsections to be repealed or amended, and those existing provisions shall be posted with said ordinance.
  2. (B)  PROCEDURE. An ordinance may be introduced by any Councilmember at any regular or special meeting of the City Council. Upon the first reading of any ordinance, the City Clerk shall distribute a copy to each Councilmember and to the City Administrator, shall make available a reasonable number of copies in the office of the City Clerk, and shall post the ordinance together with a notice setting out the time and place for a final reading by the Council. The adoption shall follow the first reading by at least five (5) days. A proposed ordinance may be amended or modified between the time of its first reading and the time of its final adoption, providing its general scope and original purpose are retained. As soon as practicable after adoption of any ordinance, the City Clerk shall post the final ordinance before its effective date. All ordinances shall be attested by the City Clerk or his her designee.
  3. (C)  EFFECTIVE DATE. Except as otherwise provided in this Charter or by State law, every adopted ordinance shall become effective at the expiration of thirty (30) days after adoption or at any later date specified therein.
  4. (D)  POSTING DEFINED. As used in this section, the term “posting” means to post the ordinance on the official city web site.5

Deleted: bulletin board

SECTION 2.13 EMERGENCY ORDINANCES

To meet a public emergency affecting life, health, property or the public peace, the City Council may adopt one or more emergency ordinances, but such ordinances may not levy taxes grant, renew or extend a franchise or authorize the borrowing of money in excess of twenty five percent (25%) of the tax receipts from the previous fiscal year. An emergency ordinance shall be introduced in the form and manner prescribed for ordinances generally, except that it shall be plainly designated as an emergency ordinance and shall contain, after the enacting clause, a declaration stating that an emergency exists and describing it in clear and specific terms. An emergency ordinance may be adopted with or without amendment or rejected at the meeting which it is introduced, but the affirmative vote of at least four (4) Councilmembers shall be required for adoption. After its adoption, the ordinance shall be posted as prescribed for other adopted ordinances. It shall become effective upon adoption or at such later time as it may specify. Every emergency ordinance, except an emergency appropriation, shall automatically stand repealed as of the 61st day following the date on which it was adopted, but this shall not prevent re-enactment of the ordinance in the manner specified in this section if the emergency still exists. An emergency ordinance may also be repealed by adoption of a repealing ordinance in the same manner specified in this section for adoption of emergency ordinances.

SECTION 2.14 CODES OF TECHNICAL REGULATIONS

The City Council may adopt any standard code of technical regulations by reference thereto in an adoption ordinance. The procedure and requirements governing such an adopting ordinance shall be as prescribed for ordinances generally, except that:

  1. (1)  One copy of each adopted code of technical regulations as well as of the adopting ordinances shall be authenticated and recorded by the City Clerk pursuant to this Charter.
  2. (2)  Copies of any adopted code of technical regulations shall be made available at the office of the City Clerk for free public reference, and made available for purchase by the public at a reasonable price fixed by the Council.

SECTION 2.15 AUTHENTICATION AND RECORDING; CODIFICATION; PRINTING

  1. (A)  AUTHENTICATION AND RECORDING. The City Clerk shall, when necessary, authenticate by signature all ordinances and resolutions adopted by the City Council.
  2. (B)  CODIFICATION. Within a time to be determined by the Council, a general codification of all City ordinances and resolutions having the force and effect of law shall be prepared and periodically revised. The general codification shall be printed, together with this Charter and any amendments thereto, and such codes or technical regulations and other rules and regulations as the Council may specify. This compilation shall be known and cited officially as the Piedmont City Code. Copies of the code shall be furnished to City officers, placed in the City Clerk’s office for free public reference, and made available for purchase by the public at a reasonable price fixed by the Council.
  3. (C)  PRINTING OF ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS. The Council shall cause each ordinance and resolution having the force and effect of law and each amendment to this Charter to be printed following its adoption, and the printed ordinances, resolutions and charter amendments shall be distributed or sold to the public at reasonable prices to be fixed by the Council. All ordinances, resolutions and charter amendments shall be printed in substantially the same style as the Code currently in effect and shall be suitable in form for integration therein

 

.ARTICLE III. Administration

SECTION 3.01 OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES

The officers of the City of Piedmont shall consist of a City Administrator, a City Clerk, a City Attorney, a Director of Finance, a Chief of Police, a Fire Chief, a Director of Public Works, a City Engineer, a Planning Director, a Director of Recreation and such other subordinate officers, assistants, deputies and employees as the City Council may deem necessary to provide by ordinance or resolution. The City Administrator and City Attorney shall be appointed and directed by the Council, and shall hold office at the pleasure of the Council. All other officers shall be appointed and directed by the City Administrator.

The Council may by resolution reorganize, or by ordinance combine or consolidate or abolish any two or more offices or functions and require the duties of the same to be performed by one officer or department. The Council shall have the right of providing for such officers, departments and their functions in whole or in part through contract agreements.

Some deletions here.

Deleted: and shall record them in full in an indexed book kept for this purpose.

Deleted: administrative Deleted: Parks and Deleted: All officers

The Council may transfer or consolidate functions of the City government to or with appropriate functions of the State or County government, or any other public or private agency, or make use of such functions of said entities. In such case, the provisions of this Charter providing for the function of the City government so transferred or consolidated shall be deemed suspended during the continuance of such transfer or consolidation, to the extent that such suspension is made necessary or convenient and is set forth in the ordinance establishing such transfer or consolidation. Any such transfer or consolidation may be repealed in like manner.

SECTION 3.02 CITY ADMINISTRATOR

The City Council shall appoint a City Administrator for an indefinite term and fix his her compensation. The administrator shall be appointed on the basis of executive and administrative qualifications.

The City Administrator shall be the chief administrative officer of the city and shall be responsible to the City Council for the administration of all City affairs placed in his her charge by or under this charter.

The administrator shall have the following powers and duties:

  1. (1)  Shall appoint, discipline, and, when deemed necessary for the good of the City, suspend or remove City officers appointed by the City Administrator and employees except as otherwise provided by law, this Charter or personnel rules adopted pursuant to this Charter.
  2. (2)  Shall supervise the administration of all departments, offices and agencies of the City, except as otherwise provided by this Charter or by law and except further that the internal administration of each department shall remain with each department head.
  3. (3)  Shall attend Council meetings and shall have the right to take part in discussion, but may not vote.
  4. (4)  Shall see that all laws, provisions of this Charter and acts of the Council, subject to enforcement by him her or by officers subject to his her supervision, are faithfully executed.
  5. (5)  Shall prepare and submit the annual budget to the Council and shall supervise its administration after its adoption.
  6. (6)  Shall submit to the Council and make available to the public a report on the finances of the City each fiscal year.
  7. (7)  Shall make such other reports as the Council may require concerning the operations of City departments, offices and agencies

Deleted:
SECTION 3.02 OFFICIAL BONDS

The City Council shall determine which officers shall give bonds for the faithful performance of their official duties and fix the amount of said bonds. Such officers, before entering upon their official duties, shall execute a bond to the City in the sum legally required, which bond shall include any other offices they hold. The bonds shall be approved by the Council, paid for by the City and filed with the City Clerk except that the bonds of the City Administrator and the City Clerk shall be filed with the City Attorney.

  1. (8)  Shall keep the Council fully advised as to the financial condition and future needs of the City and make recommendations to the Council concerning the affairs of the City.
  2. (9)  Shall administer the personnel system of the City and, in particular, those matters involving the City’s personnel classification system and employee benefit and retirement plans.
  3. (10)  Shall maintain a system of City records.
  4. (11)  Shall perform such other duties as are specified in this charter or may be required by the Council.

SECTION 3.03 ACTING CITY ADMINISTRATOR

By letter filed with the City Clerk, the administrator shall designate a qualified City administrative officer to exercise the powers and perform the duties of administrator during temporary absence or disability. The City Council may by majority vote revoke such designation at any time and appoint another officer of the City to serve until the administrator shall return or the disability shall cease.

SECTION 3.04 CITY CLERK

The City Administrator shall appoint an officer of the City who shall have the title of City Clerk. The City Clerk shall give notice of Council meetings to its members and the public, keep the minutes of its proceedings and perform such other duties as are assigned by this Charter, State Law, the City Council, or the City Administrator.

SECTION 3.05 CITY ATTORNEY

The City Council shall appoint a City Attorney. That person shall be an attorney-at-law licensed as such under the laws of the State of California, and continue to be so licensed during the time of holding office, and shall have been engaged in the practice of law for at least five (5) years prior to appointment. The City Attorney shall, directly or through deputies, have power and be required to:

  1. (1)  Represent and advise the Council and all officers of the City in all matters of law pertaining to their offices
  2. (2)  Represent and appear for the City in any or all actions or proceedings in which the City is concerned or is a party, including the prosecution of violations of this Charter and ordinances enacted by the Council, and represent and appear for any

Deletions here are omitted, as unclear.

City officer or employee, or former City officer or employee, in any or all actions and proceedings in which any such officer or employee is concerned or is a party for any act arising out of his her employment or by reason of official capacity, provided the interest of the City in such action or proceeding is not adversely affected

  1. (3)  Attend all regular meetings of the Council and give advice or opinion in writing whenever requested to do so by the Council, by the City Administrator or by any of the boards or commissions of the City, subject to the approval of the Council or the City Administrator
  2. (4)  Approve the form of all contracts made by and all bonds given to the City, endorsing approval thereon in writing
  3. (5)  Prepare ordinances or resolutions for the City and amendments thereto
  4. (6)  Transfer forthwith to the appointed successor all books, papers, files and documents pertaining to the City, which he she has in their control.

The Council shall have control of all legal business and proceedings and may employ other attorneys to take charge of any litigation or matter or to assist the City Attorney therein.

SECTION 3.06 DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE

There shall be a Department of Finance headed by a Director of Finance who will have charge of the administration of the financial affairs of the City, and may be empowered to act as assessor, tax collector and or treasurer for the City, and perform such other duties as may be assigned.
The department shall be responsible for the collection of all taxes, assessments, license fees and other revenues of the City for whose collection the City is responsible and shall receive all taxes or other money receivable by the City from the County, State or Federal governments or from any office or department of the City.

SECTION 3.07 POLICE DEPARTMENT

There shall be a Police Department headed by a Chief of Police. This department shall have charge of the law enforcement function of the City, and such other public safety activities as may be assigned, with the duty of preserving the public peace and upholding the laws of the City and of the State of California. For the enforcement of said laws, the chief shall have all the powers that are now or may hereafter be conferred upon sheriffs and other peace officers by the laws of the State. Every citizen shall lend aid to the police when requested for the arrest of offenders, the maintenance of public order, or the protection of life and property.

SECTION 3.08 FIRE DEPARTMENT
Many deletions here were unclear.

There shall be a Fire Department headed by a Fire Chief. This department shall have charge of the prevention and extinguishing of fires, the provision of emergency medical services, and such other public safety activities as may be assigned. The chief shall also direct the department in protecting life and property in other natural and or man-made disasters. Every citizen shall lend aid to the fire department when requested for the protection of life and property.

SECTION 3.09 DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS

There shall be a Department of Public Works headed by a Director of Public Works. This department shall have charge of the maintenance and repair of all City streets, sewers and storm sewers, parks, public facilities, and any other related activities as may be assigned.

SECTION 3.10 CITY ENGINEER

There shall be a City Engineer who shall have supervision over all matters of an engineering character as required by State law, or as may be assigned. At the time of appointment, this officer shall have been a practicing civil engineer for a period of at least five (5) years, and licensed in the State of California.

SECTION 3.11 PLANNING DIRECTOR

There shall be a Planning Director who shall be responsible for administering the City’s continuing planning activities as may be assigned, including, but not limited to, maintenance of the general plan, overseeing the zoning system and building regulations and codes.

SECTION 3.12 DEPARTMENT OF RECREATION

There shall be a Department of Recreation headed by a Director of Recreation. This department shall have charge of the organization and administration of the City’s public recreation programs and such other related activities as may be assigned. The director shall administer the operations and programs of the department and shall carry out policies established by the Council for the use of the City’s park lands and recreation facilities.

Many deletions here omitted for lack of clarity.

ARTICLE IV. Fiscal Management

SECTION 4.01 FISCAL YEAR

The fiscal year of the City shall begin on the first day of July and end on the thirtieth day of June of the following year.

SECTION 4.02 SUBMISSION OF BUDGET

On or before the fifteenth day of May of each year, the City Administrator shall submit to the City Council a budget for the ensuing fiscal year.

SECTION 4.03 THE BUDGET

The City Administrator shall submit the budget both in fiscal terms and in terms of the City’s programs. The administrator shall outline the proposed financial policies of the City for the fiscal year describe the important features of the budget indicate any major changes from the current year in financial policies, expenditures and revenues, together with reasons for such changes summarize the City’s debt position and include such other material as the administrator deems desirable or as the City Council designates.

The budget shall provide a complete financial plan of all City funds and activities for the ensuing fiscal year. In organizing the budget, the City Administrator shall utilize the most feasible combination of expenditure classification by fund, organization unit, program, purpose or activity, and object. It shall begin with a clear general summary of its contents shall show in detail all estimated income, indicating the proposed property tax levy, and all proposed expenditures, including debt service, for the fiscal year and shall be so arranged as to show comparative figures for income and expenditures of the current fiscal year and the preceding fiscal year. It shall indicate in separate sections:

  1. (1)  The proposed expenditures for current operations during the ensuing fiscal year, detailed by department in terms of their respective programs, and the method of financing such expenditures and
  2. (2)  The proposed capital expenditures during the ensuing fiscal year, detailed by department, and the proposed method of financing each such capital expenditure.

The Council shall maintain a General Fund Reserve for the purpose of maintaining municipal services during periods of reduced revenues to the City, as well as meeting unforeseen contingencies and emergencies of the City. The City Council shall strive to maintain the reserve in an amount not less than fifteen (15%) of the General Fund operating budget.

SECTION 4.04 ACTION ON BUDGET

  1. (A)  NOTICE AND HEARING. The City Council shall publish in one or more newspapers of general circulation in the City a notice stating:
    1. (1)  the times and places where copies of the budget are available for inspection by the public and
    2. (2)  the time and place, not less than ten (10) days nor more than thirty (30) days after such publications, for a public hearing on the budget.
  2. (B)  AMENDMENT BEFORE ADOPTION. After the public hearing, the Council may adopt the budget with or without amendment. In amending the budget, it may add or increase programs or amounts and may delete or decrease programs or amounts, except expenditures required by law or for debt service or for estimated cash deficit, provided that no amendment to the budget shall increase the authorized expenditures to an amount greater than the total estimated income.
  3. (C)  ADOPTION. The Council shall adopt the budget on or before the thirtieth day of June of the fiscal year currently ending. If the Council fails to adopt the budget by this date, the amounts appropriated for current operation for the current fiscal year shall be deemed adopted for the ensuing fiscal year on a month-by-month basis, with all items in it prorated accordingly, until such time as the Council adopts a budget for the ensuing fiscal year. Adoption of the budget shall constitute appropriation of the amounts specified therein for expenditure from the funds indicated.
  4. (D)  PUBLIC RECORD. The budget shall be printed and made available for public review.

SECTION 4.05 AMENDMENTS AFTER ADOPTION

The Council may during the course of the fiscal year amend the budget by reducing or increasing appropriations, transferring appropriations, and authorizing supplemental appropriations, and may authorize expenditures from the unappropriated reserve fund for the purpose of meeting unforeseen contingencies and emergencies of the City from funds so approved, transferred, or added thereto by the Council.

SECTION 4.06 LAPSE OF APPROPRIATIONS

Every appropriation, except an appropriation for a capital expenditure, shall lapse at the close of Deleted: in an amount not to exceed twenty-five (25%) of the budget for the purpose of maintaining municipal services during periods of reduced revenues to the City, as well as meeting unforeseen contingencies and emergencies of the City.

For each fiscal year, the proposed General Fund expenditures shall be no greater than the sum of estimated General Fund revenue plus the General Fund Reserve. (Amended 3 7 2000)

Deleted: the fiscal year to the extent that it has not been expended or encumbered. An appropriation for a capital expenditure shall continue in force until the purpose for which it was made has been accomplished or abandoned the purpose of any such appropriation shall be deemed abandoned if three (3) years pass without any disbursement from or encumbrance of the appropriation.

SECTION 4.07 TAX SYSTEM

Unless otherwise provided by ordinance, the City shall use, for the purpose of municipal property taxation, the County system of assessment and tax collection, as such system is now in effect or may hereafter be amended and insofar as such provisions are not in conflict with this Charter.

SECTION 4.08 TAX RATE LIMITATION

The City shall not levy a rate of taxation beyond that sufficient to raise the amounts required for the annual budget and as otherwise provided in this Charter or by State law, less the amounts estimated to be received from fines, licenses and other sources of revenues.

SECTION 4.09 INDEPENDENT AUDIT

The City Council shall provide for an independent annual audit of all City accounts and may provide for such more frequent audits as it deems necessary. Such audits shall be made by a certified public accountant or firm of such accountants with no personal interest, direct or indirect, in the fiscal affairs of the City government or any of its officers. The Council may, without requiring competitive bids, designate such accountant or firm, annually or for a period not exceeding three (3) years. The designation for any particular fiscal year shall be made no later than thirty (30) days after the beginning of the fiscal year.

SECTION 4.10 FRANCHISES

No person or corporation shall exercise any franchise right or privilege in the City except insofar as they may be entitled to do so by direct authority of the State Constitution, unless they shall have obtained grant therefor in accordance with the provisions of this Charter and in accordance with the procedure prescribed by ordinance.

(A) TERMS, CONDITIONS AND PROCEDURES. The City Council shall, by ordinance, prescribe the terms, conditions and procedures under which franchises will be granted, subject to the provisions of this Charter provided, however, that such procedural ordinance or ordinances shall make provisions for the giving of public notice for franchise applications, for protects against the granting of such franchises and for public hearings on such applications.

 

The Council, in granting franchises, shall prescribe the terms and conditions of such franchises in accordance with the applicable provisions of this Charter and any ordinance adopted thereto, and may in such franchise impose such other and additional terms and conditions not in conflict with said Charter or ordinances, whether governmental or contractual in character, as in the judgment of said Council are in the public interest or as the people, by initiative, indicate they desire to have imposed.

  1. (B)  METHOD OR GRANTING FRANCHISE. The Council may grant a franchise without calling for bids or may, in its discretion, advertise for bids for the sale of a franchise upon a basis not in conflict with the provisions of this Charter.
  2. (C)  TERM OF FRANCHISE. Every franchise shall be either a fixed term or for an indeterminate period. If for a fixed term, the franchise shall state the term for which it is granted if indeterminate, it shall set forth the terms and conditions under which it may be terminated.
  3. (D)  EMINENT DOMAIN. No franchise grant shall in any way, or to any extent, impair or affect the right of the City to acquire the property of the grantee thereof either by purchase or through the exercise of the right of eminent domain, and nothing therein contained shall be construed to contract away or to modify or to abridge, either for a term or in perpetuity, the City’s right of eminent domain with respect to any public utility.
  4. (E)  ADEQUATE COMPENSATION. No new franchise or renewal of an existing franchise shall be granted without reserving to the City just and adequate compensation.

SECTION 4.11 CONTRACT WORK

All contracts shall be drawn under the supervision of the City Attorney. All contracts must be in writing and executed in the name of the City by an officer or officers authorized to sign the same.

The City Council shall establish, by ordinance, the rules and regulations for the City’s competitive bidding system. The Council may reject any and all bids, and may call for new bids. The Council, without advertising for bids, may provide for such work to be procured in the open market if it deems it more beneficial or economical to do so.

SECTION 4.12 PURCHASING

A purchasing system shall be established for all City departments and offices. The City Council shall consider and adopt rules and regulations governing the contracting for purchasing, inspection, storing, distribution or disposal of all supplies, materials and equipment require by

 

Deleted: All expenditures for public projects above the limit from time to time set by State law shall be contracted for and let to the lowest responsible bidder after notice.any department or office of the City.

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.

ARTICLE V. Personnel

SECTION 5.01 PERSONNEL CLASSIFICATION

The administrative service of the City shall be divided into unclassified and classified service: (A) The unclassified service shall comprise the following officers and positions:

  1. (1)  All elective officers
  2. (2)  The officers of the City, as defined in this charter
  3. (3)  All members of boards and commissions
  4. (4)  Positions in any class or grade created for a special or temporary purpose for a period of not longer than six months16

Deleted: CityAdministrator,CityAttorney,CityClerk, personnel officer, and the head of each department of the City

  1. (5)  Persons employed to render professional, scientific, technical or expert services of any occasional or exceptional character
  2. (6)  Part-time employees paid on an hourly or per diem basis.

(B) The classified service shall comprise all positions not specifically included by this section in the unclassified service.

SECTION 5.02 APPOINTMENTS AND PROMOTIONS

All appointments to and promotions within the classified service shall be based upon selection of the best qualified individual as determined by means of recognized personnel selection techniques. The City shall not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of sex, race, creed, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, disability, age, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, AIDS HIV status, medical condition, political activities or affiliations, military or veteran status, or status as a victim of domestic violence.

SECTION 5.03 PERSONNEL RULES AND REGULATIONS

The City Council shall implement the personnel system provided by this Charter by adopting rules and regulations governing the administration thereof. Such personnel rules and regulations shall provide, among other things, for:

  1. (1)  The preparation, installation, revision, and maintenance of a position classification plan covering all positions in the classified service, including minimum standards and qualifications for each class and
  2. (2)  The preparation, revision and administration of a plan of compensation directly correlated with the position classification plan, providing a range or maximum rate of pay for each class.

SECTION 5.04 SUSPENSION, DEMOTION AND DISMISSAL

An employee holding a position in the classified service may be suspended without pay, demoted, or removed from a position for malfeasance, misconduct, incompetency, inefficiency or for failure to perform the duties of the position or to observe the established rules and regulations in relation thereto, or to cooperate reasonably with superiors or fellow employees, but subject to the right to a hearing in the manner set forth by the City Council.

Any employee so suspended, demoted, or removed shall be given in writing the reasons for the suspension, demotion, or removal. Said employee shall be allowed a reasonable time for

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Deleted: or

Deleted: orethnicorigin.

Agenda Report Page 30

answering the same and may demand a public hearing upon the charges, with such hearing to be held in accordance with procedures established therefor. Hearings may be conducted informally, and the technical rules of evidence need not apply, but the employee whose suspension, demotion or removal is sought shall be heard in person, if he she requests, be permitted to be represented by counsel and to produce testimony in his her own behalf.

SECTION 5.05 RETIREMENT SYSTEM

The City Council shall have the power to provide for the creation, establishment and maintenance of a retirement or pension plan or plans for any or all officers and employees of the City. The pension system for members of the police and fire departments as set forth in Section 47 of the Charter in effect on January 1, 1979, shall be incorporated in the City Code, and any amendment thereto shall not be effective unless approved by a majority of the voters voting thereon at a general or special election.

SECTION 5.06 AUTHORITY TO JOIN OTHER SYSTEMS

The City of Piedmont, by and through its City Council, is hereby empowered to join in or continue as a contracting agency in any retirement or pension system or systems existing or hereafter created under the laws of the State of California, or the United States of America, to which municipalities and municipal officers and employees are eligible.

ARTICLE VI. Boards and Commissions

SECTION 6.01 CREATION OF BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS

The City Council may create by ordinance such operational, advisory, appellate or rule-making boards and commissions as may be required for the proper operation of any function or department of the City. In doing so, the Council shall prescribe their function, duties, powers, jurisdiction and the number of board and commission members.

SECTION 6.02 MEMBERSHIP, TERM OF OFFICE

Members of boards and commissions shall be appointed by majority vote of the City Council to serve three (3) year terms, and until their respective successors are appointed, with no person serving more than two consecutive terms of office. Members may be removed after a hearing by the affirmative vote of four (4) members of the Council. If a member of a board or commission is absent from three (3) consecutive regular meetings of such board or commission, unless by permission of such body expressed in its official meeting record or by permission of the Council,

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that office shall become vacant and shall be so declared by the Council. Appointments to fill any vacant, unexpired term shall be made by majority vote of the Council in the same manner as regular appointments are made. The Council shall by Council Resolution adopt and maintain in effect written policies and procedures for City Commission appointments. Any person who serves as a member of a board or commission for more than eighteen (18) months of an unexpired term shall be considered to have served a full term of office. (Charter Amendment 1984)

SECTION 6.03 COMPENSATION

The members of boards and commissions shall serve without compensation for their services to the City, but may receive reimbursement for necessary traveling and other expenses incurred on official duty when such expenditures have received authorization by the City Council.

SECTION 6.04 ORGANIZATION

Each year on a date set by their respective rules, each board and commission shall meet to organize by electing one of its members to serve as presiding officer at the pleasure of such body. Each board and commission established by the City Council shall hold meetings at such regular intervals as the proper transaction of business shall require or as established by ordinance. All meetings shall be public except as otherwise provided by law.

SECTION 6.05 PUBLIC RECORD

Minutes for each of such boards and commissions shall be kept as a record of its proceedings and transactions. Each board or commission shall prescribe its own rules and regulations which shall be consistent with this Charter and with City Council ordinances and resolutions, and copies of which shall be kept on file with the City Clerk.

ARTICLE VII. Public Schools

SECTION 7.01 GOVERNING BOARD

The Board of Education shall have control and management of the public schools in the Piedmont Unified School District in accordance with the Constitution and general laws of the State, and is hereby vested with al powers and charged with all the duties provide by this Charter and all the general laws of the State for city boards of education.

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SECTION 7.02 MEMBERSHIP, TERM OF OFFICE

The Board of Education shall consist of five (5) members elected from the City at large for a term of four (4) years. Board members shall be elected at the times and in the same manner provided for members of the City Council and shall be required to meet the same eligibility qualifications. No person who has served two (2) full consecutive terms as a member of the Board of Education shall be eligible to hold office until one (1) full intervening term of four (4) years has elapsed. Any person who serves as a member of the Board for more than eighteen (18) months of an unexpired term shall be considered to have served a full term.

SECTION 7.03 COMPENSATION

The members of the Board of Education shall not receive any compensation for their service to the School District. Board members may receive actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties of office as determined by the Board.

SECTION 7.04 VACANCIES

The same rules governing the creation of vacancies or causing forfeiture of office from the City Council shall also apply to the members of the Board of Education. A vacancy on the Board shall be filled by appointment of a majority vote of said Board, with the appointee holding office for the remainder of the unexpired term or until the next general municipal election. If a vacancy on the Board of Education continues for sixty (60) days, the vacancy shall be filled by special election.

SECTION 7.05 ORGANIZATION

The Board of Education shall annually, pursuant to the requirements of the California Education Code, elect one of its own members to be President of the Board and another to serve as Vice- President. Either of these officers may be removed by the affirmative vote of four (4) members. (Charter Amendment 11 4 2014)

SECTION 7.06 MEETINGS

The Board of Education shall meet at such times and places as may be designated by resolution of said Board. Three (3) members of the Board shall constitute a quorum, except as otherwise provided by law. All meetings of the Board of Education shall be public, except as otherwise provided in the California Government and Education Codes. The Board shall determine the rules of its proceedings.

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Deleted: thirty
Deleted: 3
Deleted: the President of the Board of Education.

Deleted: , but a less number than three (3) at a scheduled meeting may adjourn and compel the attendance of absent members in such manner as the Board may prescribe

ARTICLE VIII. Elections

SECTION 8.01 GENERAL MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS

General Municipal elections for the election of officers and for such other purposes as the City Council may proscribe, shall be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November in even numbered years. (Charter Amendment 11 4 2014)

SECTION 8.02 SPECIAL MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS

All other municipal elections that may be held by authority of this Charter, or of general law, or by ordinance, shall be known as special municipal elections.

SECTION 8.03 PROCEDURE FOR HOLDING ELECTIONS

Unless otherwise provided by ordinances hereafter enacted, all elections shall be held in accordance with the provisions of the Elections Code of the State of California, as the same now exists or may hereafter be amended, for the holding of elections in general law cities so far as the same are not in conflict with the Charter.

SECTION 8.04 INITIATIVE, REFERENDUM, AND RECALL

There are hereby reserved to the electors of the City the powers of the initiative and referendum and recall of municipal elective officers. The provisions of the Elections Code of the State of California, as the same now exists or hereafter may be amended, governing the initiative and referendum and the recall of municipal officers, shall apply to the use thereof in the City so far as such provisions of the Elections Code are not in conflict with the provisions of this Charter.

ARTICLE IX. General Provisions

SECTION 9.01 GENERAL PLAN

The City Council shall adopt, and may from time to time, modify a general plan setting forth policies to govern the development of the City. Such plan may cover the entire City and all of its functions and services or may consist of a combination of plans governing specific functions and services or specific geographic areas which together cover the entire City and all of its functions and services. The plan shall also serve as a guide to Council action concerning such City

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Agenda Report Page 34

planning matters as land use, development regulations and capital improvements.

SECTION 9.02 ZONING SYSTEM

The City of Piedmont is primarily a residential city, and the City Council shall have power to establish a zoning system within the City as may in its judgement be most beneficial. The Council may classify and reclassify the zones established, but no existing zones shall be reduced or enlarged with respect to size or area, and no zones shall be reclassified without submitting the question to a vote at a general or special election. No zone shall be reduced or enlarged and no zones reclassified unless a majority of the voters voting upon the same shall vote in favor thereof provided that any property which is zoned for uses other than or in addition to a single- family dwelling may be voluntarily rezoned by the owners thereof filing a written document executed by all of the owners thereof under penalty of perjury stating that the only use on such property shall be a single-family dwelling, and such rezoning shall not require a vote of the electors as set forth above.

SECTION 9.03 CONFLICT OF INTEREST

Subject to the provisions of State law, the City Council may adopt from time to time such ordinances, resolutions and regulations as the Council shall consider necessary and proper to prevent conflict of interest between the City and its officers, employees or members of boards, commissions or committees.

SECTION 9.04 GENERAL LAWS APPLICABLE

All general laws of the State applicable to municipal corporations, now or hereafter enacted, and which are not in conflict with the provisions of this Charter or with ordinances hereafter enacted, shall be applicable to the City. The City Council may adopt and enforce ordinances which, in relation to municipal affairs, shall control as against the general laws of the State.

SECTION 9.05 SEPARABILITY

If any provision of this Charter is held invalid, the other provisions of the Charter shall not be affected thereby. If the application of the Charter or any of its provisions to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the application of the Charter and its provisions to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.

SECTION 9.06 CHARTER ENFORCEMENT

The provisions of the Charter shall be enforced, with violations punishable in the manner provided by State law and by City ordinance.

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SECTION 9.07 CHARTER AMENDMENT

Amendments to this Charter may be proposed by the City Council or by the initiative process, as prescribed by this Charter and by State law.

All proposed Charter amendments shall be presented to the qualified voters of the City at a general or special election. If a majority of said voters voting upon a proposed amendment vote in favor of it, the amendment shall become effective at the time fixed in the amendment or, if no time is therein fixed, thirty (30) days after its adoption by the voters.

SECTION 9.08 EFFECTIVE DATE

This Charter shall take effect on March 31, 1980, and upon its filing with the California Secretary of State.

Agenda Report Page 35

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RESIDENT

COMMENTS SUBMITTED ON CHARTER CHANGES

Item #7 – Discussion of Possible Amendments to the City Charter Correspondence received before 4:00 p.m. on Monday, February 5th Councilmembers:

Several of the proposed changes to the City Charter seem to be a step back from the volunteer leadership that has served Piedmont well and reduce the ability for residents to observe and participate in their local governance. Other than a logistical need to extend the period to allow for appointments, I don’t see how most of these recommended changes improve our local governance. Specifically:

Section 2:03 Terms of Office: No rationale for this change is provided in the staff report so if the council member of members proposing this could elaborate, it would help Council and community understand why this change is being considered. Term limits offset entrenched politicians and for better or worse do facilitate change. But they dilute experience. These limits are directed at political and entrenched interests, problems we do not face in Piedmont. Our council has always operated as non-partisan governance, based on volunteerism, which allows anyone to participate. The current code acknowledges this with the 2-term limit and enhances that spirit by allowing experienced volunteers to run again. John Chiang, Michael Bruck, June Monarch, Chuck Chakratavula – why would the city prevent these volunteers from serving again if they choose to? There is no need to make this change and doing so sends the wrong message to the community.

Section 2.07 (A) Meetings: from my experience the current schedule is essential to giving direction to and providing oversight of city staff. Workshops could be conducted as regular meetings if the total workload is an issue. And a full August recess would be appropriate. Recent events this past year – the conduct of elected officials and school staff – have demonstrated a real value in holding regularly scheduled meetings – the ability for the public to attend and express opinion on rapid developments. This has been valuable to giving direction to Council and the implementation of swift action.

Section 2.12 – Ordinances in General: this is obviously needed. I would advocate for more explicit notification of code changes that potentially have a material effect on someone’s property. For example, the set-back changes and right-of-way permissions adopted in the recent Chapter 17 revisions. These meetings were noticed however the specific changes to set-back rules were not explicitly presented. City notification should make these kinds of changes more apparent to residents.

Section 4.03 The Budget: Examine the suggestion made in the staff report that the 25% CAP was historically intended to prevent wasteful spending. To the contrary, I’ve always heard it was intended to do just what is does now – be a reserve during downturns in revenue, which did happen in the past in Piedmont. As transfer tax projections show, those downturns are becoming less and less likely and the current reserve level has more than adequately met such events. With the downturn in 2008 the transfer tax was $1.7M and the city hardly skipped a beat. No layoffs, no service reductions and within in 2 years the tax exceeded $3M. Leave the reserve CAP as is and consider instead mechanisms to forgo the municipal services tax in years of high transfer tax receipts – I recall we did this in 2012 when the transfer tax was $3.4M. Consider the results of your recent community polling – 50% of respondents found housing costs to be problematic – should the city be stock-piling tax revenue when half of Piedmont households find housing costs too high?

If you proceed with eliminating the CAP, consider a charter change that would direct excess transfer tax revenue to the school district after a fixed level needed by the city has been achieved. Unlike the city with it large reserves, the school district has little and is facing new mandates to set aside reserves that will drastically impact the service provided by the school district. Ironically it is the influx of new residents coming to Piedmont for the schools that are driving the windfall in municipal tax reserves. Garrett Keating

++++++++++++++++++

Dear Mayor McBain and Council,

Changing the City Charter is a critical issue. In 1976 a Charter Committee of residents was formed, chaired by Steve Eigenberg. That committee worked almost four years before an amended Charter was brought before voters in 1980. Given the breadth of the report before you, I do not believe a burden of this importance and magnitude should be left for you to decipher. You need thoughtful resident input and I suggest a Charter Committee be formed and be comprised of a cross-section of the community.

An Open Government Ordinance is needed; such an ordinance sunshines the Brown Act and extends the minimum three day notice requirement. I think a seven day notice requirement is appropriate though some Cities use eleven days. This allows the community to weigh in on important issues and allow residents who are otherwise occupied, such as Christmas when the Piedmont Post CUP was heard or this item over Super Bowl weekend, to have ample time to comment.

Sincerely, Rick Schiller

Considerations proposed by staff and Council can be read HERE.

PUBLIC NOTICE

CITY COUNCIL TO DISCUSS POSSIBLE AMENDMENTS TO CITY CHARTER

At a special meeting on Monday, April 30th at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, the City Council will discuss which, if any, possible amendments to the City Charter should be moved forward.

On June 17, 2017, the Council agreed that each individual member would examine all Charter provisions for clarity and relevance and that each would submit any suggestions for Charter amendments to the City Administrator. In addition to review by Councilmembers, the City Clerk, City Attorney, and City Administrator also conducted their own independent review. The results of these reviews were presented to the Council at its regular meeting of February 5, 2018.

At its regular meeting of March 5, 2018, the Council decided not to place any amendments before the voters at the June 2018 primary election, and directed that a special meeting be held to examine all of the possible amendments to the Charter and determine which, if any, should be placed before the voters at the City’s General Municipal Election scheduled for November 2018.

At this April 30th special meeting, Council will review the possible amendments listed in the February 5, 2018 staff report (which is available on the city’s web site at http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/html/govern/staffreports/2018-02-05/charteramendment.pdf) and discuss whether any should move forward.

Pursuant to section 9.07 of the Charter, any proposed amendments must be presented to the qualified voters of the City for approval.

You are invited to attend this meeting and express your opinion. The meeting will be televised live on KCOM-TV, Channel 27, the City’s government TV station and will be available through streaming video on the City’s web site www.ci.piedmont.ca.us.

Public comment is invited and encouraged at this meeting. Written comments may be submitted to the City Clerk’s Office at cityclerk@piedmont.ca.gov or by US Mail to City Clerk, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611. All comments submitted will become part of the public record.

For further information, contact City Clerk John O. Tulloch via email at jtulloch@piedmont.ca.gov or via phone at (510) 420-3040.

_________________

Editors Note: The changes to be considered by the Council as potential Charter revisions have been difficult to view in the City staff report. There are places in this article that omit deletions as unclear.  Readers are referred to the staff report for a complete list of deletions.  It is hoped that future staff reports will mark with a strikethrough all deletions and note all additions in a comprehensive form. 

Apr 21 2018

Lighting, Safety Improvements, Beautification …..

The Capital Improvement Project (CIP) Committee will be meeting in the City Hall Conference Room, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont on Tuesday, April 24 at 7:00 p.m.

The CIP Committee makes recommendations to the City Council on expenditures of the capital budget for construction, repair or rehabilitation of city facilities. At its March meeting, the Committee reviewed wish lists and resident proposals.

The meeting will not be broadcast, however interested individuals are welcome to attend the meeting and participate. 

Agenda includes:

1. Review of Preliminary CIP Wish Lists, Resident Proposals, and Criteria for Evaluating Proposed Projects
2. Presentation of Resident Proposals

 READ   Citizen Proposals 2018

READ 2018 Proposal spread sheet DRAFT

Prior potential City projects remain on the consideration list: 

  1.  Aquatic Center
  2.  Coaches Field
  3.  Linda Beach Master Plan 
  4.  Recreation Center and Veterans Building

For additional information contact:

Nancy Kent

      Parks & Project Manager

     (510) 420-3064

> or <NKent@piedmont.ca.gov>

Apr 19 2018

Want to learn a new sport that combines tennis, badminton and table tennis?

Join in at the Park Tennis Courts, adjacent to the Piedmont Community Hall, in Main Park on Highland Avenue, on Saturday, April 21 from 10am – 12noon, for a short demonstration and then a play a game. To sign up please contact the Recreation Dept. at 510-420-3070 or email cwood@piedmont.ca.gov

Everyone is welcome to come and join the fun or learn about this ever growing sport for adults and children.

When

Saturday, April 21, 10 a.m. – noon

Where

Park Tennis Courts 
711 Highland Avenue 
Piedmont, CA 94611

Contact

Cora Wood
5104203070
cwood@piedmont.ca.gov

Apr 19 2018

Join the Unity in Community, a fun and engaging festival focused on building empathy and taking action to support a more inclusive community.

Organized by Piedmont & Millennium High Schools students, with support from PADC (Piedmont Appreciating Diversity Committee), the festival will features youth-led booths and performances, hands-on activities ranging from kid-friendly arts and crafts games to stations dedicated for letter-writing to Congress members.

There will be food trucks, fun and learning for all ages. Show your support for building a more inclusive Piedmont and come join the fun.

When

Sunday, April 22, 1-3 p.m.

Where

Piedmont Community Hall & Park 
711 Highland Ave 
Piedmont, CA 94611

Contact

Jill Lindenbaum 
415/572-3433 
jill.lindenbaum@gmail.com 
www.padc.info