Jun 21 2021

– Need for more action, Climate Action Committee, net zero carbon Pool  –

City Council: The report on the 2019 Green House Gas (GHG) Inventory is alarming for two reasons. First there has been virtually no change in city’s GHG emissions from 2018 to 2019 which indicates the city is not making progress towards the reduction targets. Second, the inventory indicates the transition to renewable energy provided by EBCE will not provide sufficient GHG reduction for the city to meet those targets.

The report shows the only way for Piedmont to achieve the 2030 and 2050 targets is through reduction (and possibly elimination) of the use of natural gas and the transition to electric vehicles.

The report may lead some to suggest there has been progress in that the GHG contributions of the residential sector have been reduced as a percentage of Piedmont’s total GHG emissions (figure 2 from the GHG report). That change is based solely on the assumption that all electricity currently provided to Piedmont from EBCE is renewable.

The reductions assigned to in the residential and municipal facility sectors in the 2019 GHG report have yet to be achieved although it may be appropriate to account for them at this time. Doing so now means that the City will achieve no further GHG reductions through ECBE’s greening of the grid and will need to find reductions in other ways.

This is evident in Figure 17 (from Attachment A) – electricity emissions are now essentially zero while natural gas emissions have gone unchanged for 3 years now. EBCE renewable energy has produced a reduction of only 2000 MT.

There is much greater reduction to be achieved through natural gas. This “reduction” in the residential sector may also lead some to think we need to focus instead on transportation. While transportation is important, market forces are driving the adoption of EV’s and in fact the city can do very little to affect this change. Instead, the City needs to focus on reducing the community sector GHG emissions through more REACH Codes, incentives and bans on use of natural gas in new construction and residential additions. On this last point, the City is in an excellent position to lead by example for the community.

Adoption of EV’s in the municipal fleet would be a visible statement by the city on its commitment to reducing GHG. But a city action of even greater relevance would be the building of a net zero carbon pool. The current pool is the largest municipal user of natural gas in the city and the conceptual design for the new pool will at least double that usage.

During the upcoming public engagement on the pool design, the city should advocate for a ZNC pool and provide designs and cost estimates of a ZNC pool during the public process. It is a stated goal of CAP 2.0 for the City to have net zero carbon operations by 2050.

Finally, staff suggests Council consider the establishment of Climate Action Committee to provide technical advice to the City on implementing the CAP and to serve as a liaison to the community. Virtually every other Bay area municipality has done this. Given that the city’s GHG reduction has stalled, innovative ideas will need to be vetted and Piedmont as a wealth of energy expertise that can assist staff. And as we saw with the REACH codes, the community wants these new proposals from staff presented at public hearings and a Climate Action Committee would provide that venue. Give direction to staff to report back to Council with concepts for such a committee in the near term.

 

Garrett Keating, Former Piedmont Council Member

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
May 24 2021

Zoom meeting details 2021-05-25 Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee Agenda

  1. Election of a Chairperson
  2.  Fiscal Year 2020-21 Financial Update
  3.  Review Proposed Fiscal Year 2021-22 Budget and Consideration of FY 2021-2022 Budget Report
  4.  Review Long Range Financial Plan

Distributed presentation >2021-05-25 Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Presentation

 

Apr 21 2021

Get Involved in the Community Pool Complex Planning!

The deadline to be a member of the Pool Advisory Committee is May 5th at 5 pm. 

The City Council will hold a special evening meeting on Monday, May 10th  to interview applicants. Go to the links below for detailed information.

2021-04-20 Pool Advisory Committee Recruitment

Notice of Appointive Vacancies 2021 – Pool Advisory Committee

Commission Application 2021 – Pool Advisory Committee

For questions, contact the City Clerk at 510/420-3040.

Apr 12 2021

 A Look at the California Electrical Grid Evolution  –

I got interested in studying the California electric grid as the result of the passage of Measure UU. The amount of energy consumed by an aquatic facility is significant:  in 2019 the existing pools used 25,396 therms of gas and 110 MWh of electricity a year, equivalent to 854 MWh (1MWh = 1,000 kwh). The new Piedmont aquatic facility is planned to have three times the surface and therefore could need as much as three times more energy in a steady state.

Clearly the new facility ought to minimize greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions.  Given the expected lifetime of the future facility, it makes sense to look forward and consider its GHG footprint in the long term in the context of the evolution of the grid, the City Climate Action Plan and the State 2050 decarbonisation goals.

I built a simulation engine for the California grid based on the hourly empirical data available for the year 2019 from the Energy Information Agency (EIA) and the California Public Utility Commission. It simulates the way the energy available from various in-state and out-of-state sources are fed into the grid to meet demand. Increase in wind and solar supply is assumed to be based on scaling existing farms, therefore resulting in a proportional increase in such hourly energy offered to the grid. Demand is scaled based on the projection of the adoption of electric vehicles, the construction of new all-electric homes, and the conversion to electricity of residential, commercial, and industrial natural gas usage. Each sector has its own specific hourly demand distribution.

Wind and solar are energy sources with very large down and up swings.

  • On the down side in 2019 the wind and solar offering fell below 5% of hourly demand 19% of the time. Such intermittent power needs to be backfilled on a real time basis by dispatchable sources to match demand. Dispatchable energies are generated by power units able to vary output to follow demand, such as natural gas, hydroelectric, nuclear and geothermal plants. The utilisation factor of such traditional plants diminishes with intermittent energy use, but the plants cannot be decommissioned because their full power is needed for the several hours a year with high demand and lack of wind and sun.

  • On the up side, wind and solar energy production has to be curtailed whenever its hourly generation exceeds demand (minus a dispatchable energy floor to ensure reliable service). As the proportion of wind and solar power offered to the grid relative to demand increases, the proportion of such refused energy relative to the one offered increases.

The graph below is the result of running scenarios on the simulator corresponding to the projected demand in 2045. Note that the projection does not take into account converting industrial natural gas use (768,188 million cubic feet a year) to electricity, equivalent to 225 TWh a year assuming all industrial usage is for heating (one TWh equals 1,000,000 MWh).

The refused wind and solar energy could be converted to hydrogen through electrolysis rather than curtailed and used either to power hydrogen cars, to generate dispatchable electricity through hydrogen turbines and/or to be mixed with natural gas for distribution through the existing gas network.  See  below: Looking at the various possible evolutions of the mix of energy sources in the grid, I was hoping to calculate the sweet spot on the blue lines in the chart for the ratio of wind and solar power offered relative to demand that would optimize all life cycle costs and service reliability. But I failed because of the large uncertainties on many parameters which would allow me to reach any conclusion that I am biased towards, in particular:

  • Cost of upgrading the natural gas distribution network to handle hydrogen.

  • Life cycle cost of new nuclear and hydrogen dispatchable power plants.

  • Life cycle cost of new solar and wind farms with potentially lower level of utilization than currently accounted for.

  • Life cycle cost of traditional power plants operated at much lower utilisation factor, but still needed to power the grid in the hours with no wind and solar.

  • Energy efficiency in the electricity-hydrogen- electricity life cycle.

  • Life cycle cost of batteries.

Politics will drive where the grid ends up. Currently intermittent energy sources are favored over dispatchable non-fossil power plants as they create jobs all over California rather than in a few places and have a projected low life cycle cost.

With regard to the design of the new aquatic facilities, I would favor a single smaller pool focused on sports rather than recreation because of my belief that frugality is essential to meet the climate challenge. In any case, I know that a competent team focused on sustainability is working on the design of a “green” pool and I am confident that the promises of Measure UU will be achieved to the satisfaction of our community.

Bernard Pech, Piedmont Resident

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Mar 21 2021

Piedmonters will get a rare at home view of the all important Budget Advisory & Financial Planning Committee considerations.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021 3:00 p.m.  by Teleconference and Zoom

Taxes, tax measures, the budget and large expenditures are funneled through the Committee.  Historically minutes and video recording have NOT been made of the Committee’s meetings.  Typically, a report has been drafted by the Chair and reviewed by the Committee after a number of meetings.  

The March 23rd agenda includes the Municipal Pool, PERS pension project costs, and the annual budget actuals.

Stay up to date:

  • Call to Order Public Forum This is an opportunity for members of the audience to speak on an item not on the agenda. The 10 minute period will be divided evenly between those wishing to address the Committee.

Regular Agenda

  • 1. Update on FY 20-21 General Fund Revenue and Expenditures: Projected Actual vs Budget

  • 2. Presentation of Ten Year Projections of CalPERS Pension Costs

  • 3. Update on Piedmont Community Pool Project and Bond Oversight Committee

Read Agenda and Participation >2021-03-23 Budget Advisory & Financial Planning Committee

 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 smart phone: Click https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89251231925  Telephone: Dial (669) 900-9128 and enter webinar/meeting number 892-5123-1925 To participate in the meeting by providing public comment, members of the public may use the ZOOM platform to make live, verbal public comments. To speak to the Committee click the “Raise Your Hand” button when the item on which you would like to comment is called. If you are connected to the meeting by phone, please dial *9. When it is your turn to speak, the City Clerk will call your name and unmute your line, at which point you will have three minutes to address the Committee. After the allotted time, you will then be re-muted.

Instructions of how to “Raise Your Hand” is available at https://support.zoom.us/hc/enus/articles/205566129%0D-Raise-Hand-In-Webinar

Mar 14 2021

$19.5 Million Bond Measure for building new community pools using an Advisory Committee to be considered on March 15, at the Piedmont City Council meeting.  Agenda HERE.

 SECTION 1. The Community Pool Advisory Committee is hereby established as a temporary advisory committee of the City of Piedmont.

SECTION 2. The efforts of the Community Pool Advisory Committee will be to offer advice throughout the design process and to serve as a conduit for the community’s voice in the design refinement and construction of the Piedmont Community Pool, specifically by:

1) Assisting the project team to ensure the project meets community expectations.

2) Communicating project progress to the community.

3) Making recommendations to staff and the Council on how to balance any conflicting priorities against budget resources and community expectations.

SECTION 3. The Community Pool Advisory Committee shall consist of five or seven residents at large, including one current or former member of the Recreation Commission.

SECTION 4. The City Council shall appoint one member to serve as Committee Chair.

SECTION 5. The Community Pool Advisory Committee shall meet on a quarterly basis or as needed.

SECTION 6. The term of the Community Pool Advisory Committee shall extend from the date of establishment to completion of construction of the Community Pool project.

SECTION 7. The Community Pool Advisory Committee shall comply with the Ralph M. Brown Act (Government Code §54950 et seq.) including, but not limited to notice, agenda posting, and public participation requirements.

SECTION 8. The Community Pool Advisory Committee is an advisory body to the City Council and is not an independent decision-making body. All of its recommendations are subject to approval of the City Council.

“Should the Council choose to establish the committee, the recruitment process will be similar to the one used for the City’s standing commissions and committees. First, staff announces the recruitment period via the web site and social media channels as well as via press release. After receiving applications, the Council would then conduct interviews of the candidates, and after deliberations, appoint the Chair of the committee and its members. Also, consistent with other commissions and committees, Council would appoint a liaison and alternate to the PAC. Recruitment for this committee will take place separately from the ongoing annual recruitment for commissions & committees. This would allow the PAC to begin its work shortly after the engagement of the project manager/owners representative and before selection of the design team.”

Read the full staff report below:

Consideration of the Establishment of the Community Pool Advisory Committee

Mar 9 2021

The question of reopening the Piedmont Municipal Pool was brought up under Announcements by Councilmember Betsy Andersen at the March 1, 2021 Council meeting.  Andersen requested a report from the staff regarding the possible reopening of the closed pool.  No discussion was held on the matter. 

Jan 16 2021

The Piedmont City Council will be asked to approve $106,000 to hire Paul Benoit, former Piedmont City Administrator, to Serve as Special Assistant to current City Administrator Sara Lillevand on Pools Construction.

Measure UU was the first successful capital bond measure in the City’s history. The $19.5 million bond was approved by 68.5% of Piedmont voters on November 3, 2020.  Measure UU bond funds will be used to Pay Benoit the $106,000 maximum annual cost of the proposed employment agreement.

Benoit  served as Piedmont’s City Administrator from 2014-2019 leading the process to develop the Aquatics Master Plan Conceptual Design, which was accepted by the City Council in 2016.  As a California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) beneficiary retiree, he will be subject to certain restrictions in order to avoid putting his retirement pension in jeopardy.  The City must enroll and report the hours worked to CalPERS through the system currently used to report payroll.  His initial tasks will include leading the efforts to hire project management services as well as the architectural design team.

Staff report:  Consideration of the Appointment of Paul Benoit as a Retired Annuitant to Provide Special Assistance to the City Administrator with Measure UU Projects and Approval an Employment Agreement

READ THE AGENDA HERE.

Dec 15 2020

 City Council Selects Daniel Gonzales as Director of Public Works

Following a rigorous recruitment process, the City Council has selected Daniel Gonzales as Piedmont’s next Director of Public Works. Mr. Gonzales was chosen unanimously by the Council from a field of over thirty candidates. His formal appointment will be considered at the City Council meeting of Monday, December 21, 2020.

This selection follows interviews of highly qualified finalists by a panel of staff and residents and separately by the City Administrator. Following that process, two candidates were then interviewed by the full City Council.

The selection of Mr. Gonzales by the City Council was unanimous and all agreed that he will be a great asset to the community and the Department of Public Works.

Mr. Gonzales holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from San Jose State University. He is a registered Civil Engineer in the State of California. For the past three years, he has served as the Deputy Director of Public Works for the Town of Hillsborough. Prior to this, he worked as a Senior Engineer with CSG Consultants, working with both public and private sector clients. His experience includes project and construction management as well as the preparation of long term plans for capital improvements.

“We are very excited to have Mr. Gonzales join the Piedmont Public Works team,” said Mayor Teddy Gray King. “His great experience and proven track record of leadership will help our Public Works Department continue to provide excellent service to Piedmonters as well as manage our storm and sanitary sewer systems, street, sidewalk, and park maintenance, as well as managing upcoming projects like the construction of the Piedmont Community Pool.”

“Daniel will be a tremendous addition to the City team and will no doubt be a strong leader for the Public Works Department,” said City Administrator Sara Lillevand. “His experience and success in the Town of Hillsborough as well as his work in the private sector will translate well to Piedmont.”

“I am honored and excited to have been selected as Piedmont’s Public Works Director,” Mr. Gonzales said. “I am looking forward to serving the Piedmont community and continuing to provide the high standard of service in the Department, as well as diving in to upcoming projects and planning processes.”

Gonzales will replace Director of Public Works Chester Nakahara who is retiring after 20+ years of working for the City.

Daniel Gonzales

Contact: John O. Tulloch, City Clerk, for additional information at  (510) 420-3040   jtulloch@piedmont.ca.gov
Dec 4 2020

– The Results of the City Election will be Certified by the City Council on Monday, Dec. 7, at 5:00 p.m. –

Elected to the Piedmont City Council:

Jennifer Cavenaugh to begin a second 4 year term.

Conna McCarthy to begin a first 4 year term.

~~~~~

Elected to the Piedmont Unified School District Board of Trustees:

Cory Smegal to begin a second 4 year term..

Veronica Anderson-Thigpen to begin a first 4 year term,

Hilary Cooper to begin a first 4 year term.

~~~~

Measure UU – Pool Bonds were voter approved by 68 %. 

Measure TT – Real Property Transfer Tax was defeated by voters – 52% No to 48% Yes.

Click below for detailed official results and stats –

Certification of Election Results for the General Municipal Election of November 3, 2020_

The Piedmont City Charter states:

“(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)”  Piedmont City Charter

Gratitude for outgoing Mayor Bob McBain will be acknowledged.   McBain has served on the City Council for 8 plus years.

Next Mayor and Vice-Mayor of Piedmont:

“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.”

Council members are listed below in order of seniority on the council and votes garnered in their elections:

Teddy Gray King   –  6 years on the Council – term ends 2022

Tim Rood –  6 years on the Council – term ends 2022

Jennifer Cavenaugh – 4 years on the Council – term ends 2024

Betsy Smegal Andersen – approximately 3 years on the Council – term ends 2022

Conna McCarthy – newly elected to the Council – term ends 2024

Piedmont Mayors and Vice-Mayors are chosen by 3 or more Council members.  The Mayor and Vice-Mayor serve at the pleasure of the City Council.

SCHOOL BOARD 

School Board: The December meeting of the Piedmont Unified School District Board of Education has been changed to Tuesday, December 15th in order to swear-in newly elected school board members in compliance with Assembly Bill (AB) 2449. AB 2449 (2018) changed the seating date for newly elected school district and county board of education members to the second Friday in December following their election.  Regular Open Session will begin at 7:00 PM.

Retiring School Board members Sarah Pearson and Andrea Swenson will have each completed 8 plus years of service on the Board.

To watch and participate in the meeting see instructions at the top of the 12/7/2020 agenda or click on the Zoom link – https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83694657877:

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