May 25 2020

Budget Advisory & Financial Planning Committee Meeting

Wednesday, May 27, 2020       3:00 p.m.

Consideration of 2020 – 2021 Piedmont Budget

Via Teleconference

Zoom link:

COVID 19 ADVISORY NOTICE Consistent with Executive Orders No. N-25-20 and No. N-29-20 from the Executive Department of the State of California and the Alameda County Health Official’s May 18, 2020 Shelter in Place Order, the Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee meeting will not be physically open to the public and committee members will be teleconferencing into the meeting via ZOOM Teleconference. To maximize public safety while still maintaining transparency and public access, members of the public can participate in the meeting in several ways:

Computer or smartphone: Click 

 Telephone: Dial (669) 900-9128 and enter webinar/meeting number 883-2653-4001

Members of the public may comment on agenda items. See details on agenda linked below:

2020-05-27 Budget Advisory & Financial Planning Committee

May 23 2020

Go to Zoom to view Piedmont policy makers being selected by the City Council at the Special Council Meeting on Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at 6:00 p.m.

Candidates for the following  appointments will be interviewed:

Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee, CIP Review Committee, Civil Service Commission, Park Commission,  Planning Commission, Public Safety Committee, Recreation Commission, Mosquito Abatement Representative, Parking Hearing Officer. 

COVID -19 policies have opened an opportunity for Piedmonters to see and hear first hand how and who is selected to serve on Piedmont appointed bodies from the Planning Commission to the Recreation Commission and so forth. 

It has been the long held practice by Piedmont officials not to publish applicants’ names or announce appointee’s names until the individuals have been notified by the City Clerk of their appointment.  However, if you watch the interview process on Zoom you will know the names of applicants and appointees, pending Council selection.

Although not a secret process, candidates have generally been asked to leave the Council meeting as other competing candidates are interviewed. Staff members and the public could always be present during the interviews.  Staff members often play a role in who is selected by offering information on the candidates.  All candidates are required to be interviewed by the City Council to qualify for appointment.

Volunteers interested in being appointed now or in the future will find the process informative as questions are posed and answers given.


There is no staff report to support the Agenda of the Special Council Meeting on Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at 6:00 p.m.   The public can view and make comments. For details on participation or viewing, click below:

5/26/20 council-special-agenda.pdf5-26 (Special)

May 14 2020

Special Council Meeting to discuss Piedmont’s finances: taxes, fees, revenues, fund balances, and future expenditures.

Saturday, May 16, 2020, 9 a.m.

Pleas for greater access to budget meetings have been assisted by COVID-19 rules.  The City instructs:

Members of the public can participate in the meeting in several ways:
Computer or smartphone: Click on 
Telephone:Dial (669)900-9128 and enter webinar/meeting number 87949769104

Citizens may download the Zoom application to a computer or smartphone and become familiar with how to utilize this tool before the meeting.

For decades, the Piedmont City Council has met away from cameras to discuss how Piedmont’s money will be managed.  Interested residents have gone to a conference room in the Police Department to hear from Piedmont’s department heads on proposed expenditures. Because of the COVID-19 crisis, the Council will have a virtual meeting presenting an opportunity for anyone to learn first hand from home or office how Piedmont’s money is planned to be disbursed.   Capital projects, fees, and taxes are also going to be considered. 

During the budget session, each department head presents the reasons they are requesting funding.  The Council and participants can ask questions during the process.

See the agenda linked below to learn how to participate during the Special Saturday, May 16 Meeting.  

City Council Agenda 2020-05-16 (Special)


1. Overview of the Proposed FY 2020-2021 Budget by the City Administrator

2. Review of Departmental Budgets for FY 2020-2021

a. Administration and KCOM

b. Public Works c. Planning & Building

d. Recreation

e. Police

f. Fire

g. Non-Departmental and Other Funds Budgets

Below are the proposed budget documents to be considered by the City Council for the fiscal year which runs from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021.

For questions on contents of the budget, please contact Finance Director Michael Szczech via email at or by phone at (510) 420-3045.

If you wish to write to the Council regarding the budget, please send an email to the City Council at or send a letter via U.S. Mail to Piedmont City Council, c/o City Clerk’s Office, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, 94611.

City Council Agenda 2020-05-16 (Special)

Apr 22 2020

Dear Editor,

What can be learned from the coronavirus pandemic? 

  • Preparing for epidemics before they happen saves lives.
  • Responding to epidemics at the first signs of outbreak saves lives and reduces damage.
  • Denying there is a problem enables the catastrophe to accelerate.
  • Delaying response causes preventable deaths and costs uncountable fortune.

The cost of early preparation, prevention and response is substantial.

The cost of early preparation, prevention and response is very low, compared to the cost of doing nothing. 

Can we apply these lessons to the global climate crisis?
We are suffering early signs: hurricanes are more powerful and damaging; droughts are more severe and flammable.  Some people, regrettably in political leadership, deny there’s a problem.  Delaying response enables the crisis to accelerate; climate change feeds itself and may soon become unstoppable.  The cost of changing from our oil-based energy economy is large, but the cost of not changing will become catastrophic. 

With commerce largely shut down by coronavirus, and the price of oil sinking into negative numbers, we now have a special, one-time-only opportunity to switch to non-polluting, renewable energy sources to avert the climate change catastrophe. 

Bruce Joffe

Apr 18 2020

Does COVID-19 change Piedmont’s priorities for spending?

Are Piedmonters interested in taxing themselves further for additional city expenditures?

Year after year, Piedmont taxpayers have generously approved bond measures for school facilities and parcel taxes for school and city operations.  Currently, there are no voter approved city bonds.

The Piedmont City Council’s long list of capital projects for new expenditures without sufficient funding include extensive new and revised recreation facilities, the municipal pool, playgrounds, etc.  Also on the list are improvements to City Hall, Police Department, Fire Department and other municipal facilities.  Not on the list for improvements are streets, sidewalks and undergrounding of utility wires.

Streets and Sidewalks:

During COVID-19 restrictions, many Piedmonters are walking or running on Piedmont’s streets and sidewalks to get exercise and recreate One cannot help but notice the many cracked, lifted, eroded, and dangerous sidewalks in the city.  Many streets have faulty pavement and have not been repaved in decades. Curbs and gutters on numerous streets have lacked care, thus leaving pools of water and uneven surfaces.

Most funding for Piedmont sidewalks and street resurfacing comes from outside sources.

The City of Piedmont is charged with and oversees the maintenance of the city’s streets and sidewalks.  The city owns Piedmont’s beautiful street trees and is responsible for damage caused by these trees to sidewalks and gutters. Property owners are not allowed to trim or remove street trees.  Changes by residents to sidewalks and gutters require city permits.

Street Infrastructure Maintenance & Replacement

“The City’s FY 2019-20 budget for street infrastructure maintenance and replacement is $1.4 million. Funding sources include Measure B, Measure BB, Measure F, and the Gas Tax, which also now includes funds from SB-1 that was recently approved by the state legislature. The majority of available funding is dedicated to street resurfacing and sidewalk repair work, with the balance dedicated to important sub-categories such as the implementation of projects prioritized by the approved Pedestrian & Bicycle Master Plan, and those related to the Complete Streets program.” Piedmont 2019-20 Budget

Undergrounding of Utility Wires:

Most areas in Piedmont do not utility wires placed underground, yet undergrounding of utilities has been deemed an important mechanism for providing safety during fires and earthquakes.  Undergrounding is also considered a highly desired aesthetic improvement to Piedmont.  No money is set aside in the Piedmont budget for undergrounding projects.

Consultant for City Selected Projects

Currently, the Council is looking toward a city bond measure to finance either partially or totally their long list of selected improvements or changes to city facilities including the Municipal Pool, Playfields, city facilities – police, fire departments, etc.  Streets, sidewalks and underground utilities are not on the city list.

An expenditure of $50,000 to hire a consultant related to the Planning Process for Possible City Facility Renovation Projects will be undertaken at the April 20, 2020, City Council meeting.  Public outreach would be part of the process.


Due to the COVID 19 Stay at Home order, the April 20 Council meeting will be a virtual meeting, and as such will only be available online.  Piedmonters can participate via the online connections as described on the agenda below:

4202020 council-current-agenda (1)

READ the staff report below to see the select list of projects identified and proposed process.

42020Consideration of Actions Related to the Planning Process for Possible City Facility Renovation Projects

Want to make a comment or suggestion to the City Council prior to the meeting?

Address your comments to the City Council as a whole:


Address your comments to individual councilmembers:

Apr 16 2020

More than 6 foot Social Distance Recommended for Runners

Piedmont walkers of all ages have been scrupulous in observing safe distance behavior.  Unfortunately, many walkers in Piedmont are put at risk by frequently encountering runners not wearing coverings over their noses and mouths.  With older at risk adults seeking exercise by walking in Piedmont, the threat posed by runners is real.

Air moves differently around runners, increasing the space required to maintain a safe social distance.   The New York City Council Health Committee suggested a distance of 12 to 20 feet, according to the April 16 New York Times.

Some Piedmont pedestrians have had joggers run up behind and pass them on sidewalks, within a 6 foot distance.  Although face coverings are inconvenient and may be uncomfortable, the State encourages all citizens to wear them outdoors.

Runners are reminded to cover their noses and mouths and keep their distance to stop the spread of the virus.

As of Friday, April 17, everyone in Sonoma County will be required to wear face coverings when in public.

Apr 11 2020

Temporary Easter Weekend Closures of Parking Areas at Select Regional Parks to Prevent Overcrowding, Maintain Safe Social Distancing

Select Parking Lots and Staging Areas Temporarily Closed.
Trails Remain Open and Accessible on Walk-In, Bike-In Basis.

The following Regional Parks will be affected with temporary parking area closures for this weekend, Saturday, April 11 and Sunday, April 12, 2020:

  1. Black Diamond Mines – All Parking Lots CLOSED
  2. Briones – Alhambra Staging Area & Archery Range CLOSED
  3. Coyote Hills – All Parking Lots CLOSED
  4. Garin – All Parking Lots CLOSED
  5. Kennedy Grove – All Parking Lots CLOSED
  6. Lake Chabot – Main Parking Lot CLOSED
  7. MLK Jr. – Doolittle North & South and Arrowhead Staging Areas CLOSED
  8. Miller Knox – All Parking Lots CLOSED
  9. Mission Peak – Stanford Avenue Staging Area CLOSED (Fenced with no trail access, closed by request of City of Fremont)
  10. Temescal – All Parking Lots CLOSED

Read more here

Why are Piedmont parks closed?

The intent of the Order is to ensure that the maximum number of people stay home to slow the spread of the virus! The Piedmont Police Department has observed numerous and frequent violations of the original shelter in place order where groups of people were congregating in our parks requiring officers to enforce the social distancing provisions of the Order. The City took the step to close all parks in an effort to support the intent of the Order and protect Piedmont residents.

The Police Department views the closure of the parks as essential to the enforcement of the new order. Closing all parks provides clarity for the public and for the police department.

Attempting to close only the dog parks (fully mandated by the updated order) while leaving other parts of parks open would be confusing for the public, result in increased clarification calls to our 911 center, increase police officer staff time in interpreting and explaining boundaries to the public, and will not accomplish the intent of the order, which is to limit areas where people are attracted to congregate.   City of Piedmont FAQs


Apr 11 2020
Oakland Department of Transportation,  April 10, 2020

The Oakland Slow Streets plan is intended to make it safer to walk and bicycle throughout the city, with sufficient space for physical distancing, while reducing the clustering of foot traffic at parks and on outdoor trails, which have experienced extremely high usage since the Shelter-in-Place order began. This will also create wider spaces than our current sidewalks, to assist people in complying with distancing to protect public health while walking.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, Council President Kaplan, Councilmember Dan Kalb and the Oakland Department of Transportation announced today a new effort to make it safer to walk and bicycle in Oakland, by designating 74 miles of neighborhood streets to bikes, pedestrians, wheelchair users, and local vehicles only, across the city starting Saturday, April 11. This program will start with a pilot effort launching Saturday, 4/11/2020 with signage along the following four street segments:

West St: West Grand – 14th Street

Arthur St from Havenscourt Blvd – 78th Ave, connecting to Plymouth St from 78th – 104th Avenue

E 16th St: Foothill Blvd – Fruitvale Ave

42nd St: Adeline – Broadway

View maps and read more here 

Apr 10 2020

AC Transit Bus Rides Are Free!

To minimize interaction with bus drivers, AC Transit requires bus riders to use the back door to access the bus. There is no fare collection.

Public transit is a pillar of a fully functional public health care system. It is critical in our fight against COVID-19 and to long-term recovery efforts. We rely on our essential workers to hold up our fragile society and economy, to keep our country well-resourced, connected, and safe, and many of these essential workers are low-income, transit-dependent, and don’t have the luxury of working from home. This also has huge racial equity implications: Asian-American and African-American workers commute by public transit at four times the rate of White workers, while Latino workers rely on public transit at three times the White rate. If public transit fails, we will all fail because vital workers won’t be able to perform their duties.

We applaud public transit agencies that have dutifully kept their buses and trains running to ensure that transit-dependent essential workers can still get to their jobs to keep us all safe and healthy.  Some California transit agencies, such as the Bay Area’s AC Transit and the Valley Transportation Authority, are already offering free fares and requiring back door boarding to protect drivers’ health. Yet, the ability for public transit agencies to sustain this level of service without additional funding looks grim.

With ridership significantly down, this loss of fares is further squeezing the already tight budgets of public transit agencies.        Hana CregerApril 10, 2020Greenlining,org

Read more here

Apr 8 2020

The City has received several questions about the Shelter in Place Order and what it means for residents in Piedmont. Please note that as orders are put in place the answers to these questions may change-check back frequently. Please refer to the Alameda County Shelter in Place FAQ and the Alameda County Extension of the Shelter in Place Order for more information. If you would like to submit a question click here and we will do our best to answer it.

    1. Am I allowed to leave my home while the order in in effect?


    1. Yes, but with strict conditions. The intent of the shelter in place order is to ensure that the maximum number of people shelter in their places of residence to the maximum extent feasible to slow the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate the impact on delivery of critical healthcare services to those in need. You may leave your residence only for Essential Activities, Essential Governmental Functions, Essential Travel, to work for Essential Businesses, or to perform Minimum Basic Operations for non-essential businesses.


    1. Why are Piedmont parks closed?


    1. The intent of the Order is to ensure that the maximum number of people stay home to slow the spread of the virus! The Piedmont Police Department has observed numerous and frequent violations of the original shelter in place order where groups of people were congregating in our parks requiring officers to enforce the social distancing provisions of the Order. The City took the step to close all parks in an effort to support the intent of the Order and protect Piedmont residents.


    1. The Police Department views the closure of the parks as essential to the enforcement of the new order. Closing all parks provides clarity for the public and for the police department.


    1. Attempting to close only the dog parks (fully mandated by the updated order) while leaving other parts of parks open would be confusing for the public, result in increased clarification calls to our 911 center, increase police officer staff time in interpreting and explaining boundaries to the public, and will not accomplish the intent of the order, which is to limit areas where people are attracted to congregate.


      1. What if people enter Piedmont parks? How will the Piedmont Police enforce the order?

    The Police Department has enforced the order to this point by verbal admonishments and warnings, however, citations may be given at the discretion of an officer.


    1. Is this mandatory or just guidance?


    1. Yes, it is mandatory. These orders are issued under the authority of California law. You are required to comply, and it is a crime (a misdemeanor with up to $1,000 in fines or six months imprisonment) not to follow the Orders (although the intent is not for anyone to get into trouble).


    1. What are Essential Activities?
        • Activities to perform tasks important to your health and safety, or to the health and safety of your family or household members (including pets), for example obtaining medical supplies or medication, or visiting a health care professional.
        • Activity to obtain necessary services or supplies for yourself and your family or household members, or to deliver those services or supplies to others, for example, food, pet supply, or products necessary to maintain the habitability, sanitation, and operation of your residence.
        • Outdoor recreational activity, such as walking, hiking, bicycling, and running, in compliance with Social Distancing Requirements and with the following limitations:


        • Outdoor recreation activity must be in conformance with any restrictions on access and use established by the Health Officer, government, or other entity that manages areas to reduce crowding and risk of transmission of COVID-19.


        • Regarding outdoor recreational activity:


          • Use of playgrounds, dog parks, public picnic areas, and similar recreational areas is prohibited.


          • Use of shared public recreational facilities such as golf courses, tennis and basketball courts, pools, and rock walls is prohibited.


            • Sports or activities that require use of shared equipment, like frisbees, basketballs, baseballs, and soccer balls, may only be engaged in by members of the same household.
      1. My Contractor is scheduled to start a remodel next week. Can I go ahead with my project?

    No. You must defer your remodel or renovation project unless it is necessary to restore your home to a safe, sanitary, and habitable space.


      1. I’m in the middle of home renovation project, can work continue?

    No. All construction projects in Piedmont must cease immediately. Under the provisions in the March 31st Order issued by the Alameda County Health Department, no current active building permits in Piedmont meet the requirements to be considered an Essential Activity and therefore all must shut down immediately. There are very few exceptions to this requirement. Please contact the Planning & Building Department at (510) 420-3051 with any questions. The City is working no notify all active building permits that work must cease immediately. See

Building, Construction & Landscape Restrictions

    1. Is my garbage being picked up?


    1. Yes, if it fits in the bin it will be picked up. If it does not fit in the bin, pickup will be deferred until after the emergency declaration has ended. See the temporary changes


    1. .


    1. Do I have to pay my property taxes by April 10?Yes., but if you have experienced hardships caused by the corona virus and the shelter-in-place order in relation to payment of property tax you can apply for a Property Tax Late Payment Waiver, please see the press release from the Alameda County Tax Collector for more information about penalty waivers for eligible taxpayers.


      1. How will I get food and medicine I need if I must “Shelter in Place” in my home?

    The Order specifically allows people to leave their home to buy food, purchase medicine, and purchase other necessary items. It also directs businesses selling those items to remain open, and allows employees of those businesses to keep working and ensure those businesses are operating. Essential businesses that remain open must follow industry-specific guidance issued by the County Health Officer related to COVID-19.


    1. Are Piedmont Play Fields Open?


    1. No. All parks in Piedmont (including Dog Parks) are closed as of April 1. Click here for up to date list of closures.


    1. Can my kids play together in our yard?


    1. Nothing in the order prohibits members of a single household or living unit from engaging in Essential Travel or Essential Activities together.


    1. Are the Piedmont Tennis courts open?


    1. No. All City Facilities are closed until further notice. Click here for up to date list of closures.


    1. Can I visit friends or family members if there is no urgent need?


    1. No. For your safety as well as their safety, we need to help each other fight the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home. Stay connected through phone calls, social media or video conferencing. Try a Zoom Video Happy Hour or dinner party!


    1. Can my kids still have playdates with their friends?


    1. No. For your safety as well as their safety, we need to help each other fight the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home. All public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit are prohibited, except for the limited purposes expressly permitted in the order.


    1. Can I walk my dog? Are Piedmont Dog Parks open?


    1. You can walk your dog on sidewalks and streets as long as you follow Social Distancing guidelines. Piedmont Dog Parks are now closed. Click here for up to date list of closures.


    1. Can I continue to use public transit?


    1. You may use public transit only for purposes of performing Essential Activities or to travel to and from work to operate Essential Businesses, maintain Essential Governmental Functions, or to perform Minimum Basic Operations at non-essential businesses. Transit agencies and people riding on public transit must comply with Social Distancing Requirements, as defined in Section 13.k of the order, to the greatest extent feasible.


    1. Is Mulberrys open and other food retailers?


    1. Yes. Grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and similar food retail establishments are encouraged to remain open to provide food and pet supplies to the public. When visiting these establishments, please help retailers maintain six feet minimum distance between patrons, including by providing ample space while shopping and waiting in line.


    1. Specifically to Mulberry’s, take your coffee to go and do NOT linger and socialize out front. Tables and chairs have been removed for a reason!


      1. Can I travel out of Alameda County?

    The order allows travel into or out of the county only to perform essential activities, operate essential businesses, maintain essential governmental functions, or perform minimum basic operations at non-essential businesses.


    1. Can I dine out?


    1. No. Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food to the public are encouraged to stay open, but only to provide delivery and carryout. Patrons will not be permitted to dine or congregate in restaurants, bars, and similar establishments.


    1. Can I take my kids to Piedmont Parks and use the playgrounds?


    1. No. All Piedmont Parks are closed. Click here for up to date list of closures.


    1. What if my plumbing gets stopped up or there is another problem with necessary equipment at my home?


    1. The order allows service providers like plumbers, electricians, and exterminators and other service providers that are necessary to maintaining the habitability, sanitation, and operation of residences and Essential Businesses, but not for cosmetic or other purposes.


    1. Can my gardener continue to work?


    1. Landscaping/gardening/arborist services may continue only if they are necessary to maintain the habitability, sanitation, operation of a business or residence, or the safety of residents, employees, or the public (such as fire safety or tree trimming to prevent a dangerous condition), and not for cosmetic purposes or general upkeep. If your landscaping needs are necessary to protect safety and sanitation, please distance yourself least six feet from the landscaper. See

Building, Construction & Landscape Restrictions

    1. Am I allowed to go for a walk in a park in Piedmont?


    1. No. All Piedmont Parks are closed. You may take walks or walk your dog around town. Click here for up to date list of closures.


    1. Are non-profit organizations allowed to continue operating?


    1. If they provide essential services as described in the Order, then yes they can and should continue providing those services. This would include non-profit operating food pantries, providing housing for homeless residents, and many other critical services.


    1. Can I still order things online and have them delivered to my house?


    1. Yes. You will still be able to get mail and other deliveries at your home.


    1. Where can Piedmont Residents find services they need?

Stay Home. Save Lives. Check In.

    1. New campaign urging Californians to help combat social isolation and food insecurity among Californians who are over the age of 65—a community that is uniquely vulnerable to COVID-19. The Governor also announced the creation of a statewide hotline 1 (833) 544-2374 in coordination with the non-profit local 2-1-1 systems, so that Californians have a one-stop shop to answer their questions and get assistance during this crisis. This line is staffed by professionals 24/7.

Alameda County Resources 211

    1. Consider dialing 211 for Alameda County Resources. Dialing 211 helps direct callers to services for the elderly, the disabled, those who do not speak English, those with a personal crisis, and those who are new to their communities. If you get a voicemail due to high demand, leave a message and someone will call you back. You can also send a text message with your questions. Send a text to 898211 with your questions and zip code.

Alameda County Public Health Resources for the Community

Oakland At Risk Match

    1. They match you with a low-risk volunteer who lives in your community and wants to help you by getting groceries, picking up prescriptions, and checking in every couple of days. Piedmonters in need can sign-up on their site or call 1 (510) 306-4973.

Crisis Support Services of Alameda County

    1. If you or someone you know is struggling with difficult life circumstances or uncomfortable thoughts and emotions we are here to help. You do not need to be experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings to call. Trained crisis intervention counselors are available to receive crisis calls and give supportive counseling 24 hours a day, every day. Translation is available in more than 140 languages. We also offer teletype (TDD) services for deaf and hearing-impaired individuals. 1 (800) 273-8255


    1. How can I help my fellow Piedmonters in need?


    1. For those who are looking for ways to help in the community, here are organizations you can contact to help those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Oakland At Risk Match

    1. (510) 306-4973

Meals on Wheels

    1. (510) 777-9560

Mercy Brown Bag Program

    1. (510) 534-8540 ext. 369


      1. What if I have questions not answered here?

    The Alameda County Public Health Department has answers to more questions