Jan 9 2019

The Recreation Commission will hold their public meeting scheduled on

Wednesday, January 16, 2019, 7:30 p.m., City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue,

at which time the Commission will consider two items for recommendations to the City Council.  See the attachments linked below.

Numerous meetings have been held to discuss and consider ways to provide facilities for the ever growing popularity of Pickleball.  The game has been well received by seniors in Piedmont. Long term future plans for Pickleball were mentioned by a recent speaker as a possibility for Dracena Park or Blair Park.

Plans to improve Coaches Field are proposed to make the recreation space more useful.  The proposal includes the installation of night lighting, pedestrian access, and parking.

Within each public notice below are City contact addresses.

Agenda:

–          Recreation Commission to consider Pickleball Trial at Linda Beach and Hampton Tennis Courts –

1-16-19 RC Public Notice Pickelball Trial

–          Recreation Commission to discuss Conceptual Plan for Improvements at Coaches Field

1-16-19 RC Public Notice Coaches Field Improvements

The City will also host a meeting for Coaches Field neighbors on Wednesday, January 23, 2019, 7:00 p.m. in the Police Department Emergency Operations Center to display and explain the proposals.

Jan 9 2019

Jan 9, 2019

In 2012 the current School tax was formulated because of the Boricas v Alameda USD (“AUSD”) Appeal’s Court decision. At that time Piedmont Unified School District (“PUSD”) declared the only possible tax methodology was to tax every parcel at the same rate because Boricas had rendered Piedmont’s previous attempt at a progressive tax by parcel size legally invalid.

PUSD’s hurried decision was not the only option and certainly not the best option as compared to the previous five tier parcel system, the current flat rate tax raised the rate of 75% of those in smaller homes by about $300 while lowering the rate by over $1000 for the largest estates.

I. A progressive tax based on a per square foot (“sf”) of building space has been and is currently used by AUSD. The current AUSD tax Measure B1, passed by 74% in 2016, was challenged by the 2011 Boricas Plaintiffs and in 2018 AUSD prevailed. PUSD cannot in good faith claim per square foot of building tax levy is invalid. < https://tinyurl.com/yb8g4f92 >

A progressive tax is essential for Piedmont’s expensive school support tax. No other School Tax comes close in cost to taxpayers. While Piedmont had previously embraced a partially progressive tax, PUSD now has a progressive tax option that is far more equitable using building square footage.

Commonly accepted is the direct correlation of the quality of Piedmont Schools and ever increasing real estate values in town. Values are also a function of home size: the larger home in a given neighborhood will proportionally increase in value more than a similar smaller home. Ask any Real Estate professional.

Additionally, the larger Piedmont home generally accommodates more children; the large homeowner again economically benefits proportionately more from the school tax than the small or average size homeowner. Incorporating a square foot of building tax will be both more equitable and palatable to a large majority of taxpayers and an easier sell for the Tax Campaign Committee.

The Piedmont tax currently provides about $10,400,000. There are about 10,340,000 square feet of residential buildings so about $1 a foot is needed. The average home size is about 2,430 sf so essentially many homeowners will pay close to the current amount. Median size of 2,710 sf indicates that those with larger homes will proportionately pay their fair share.

II. Piedmont taxpayers voted on a tax that stated every parcel will be taxed but every parcel with a unique Assessor Parcel Number (APN) is not taxed. Examples include several parcels over 20,000 sf that are not taxed yet other large vacant parcels are taxed. An eight sf parcel at the edge of town is taxed yet the adjacent 144 sf parcel is not taxed. The hodge-podge system must end. A tax based on square foot of building and flat rate for vacant parcels, as AUSD uses, will take care of these inequities. A contiguous parcel exemption may be appropriate.

III. From high to low most California school taxes include a senior exemption.
San Marino USD with its $1,215 parcel tax has a senior exemption and West Contra Costa County with its 7.2 cents per sf of building has a senior exemption.
Among California’s top ten school districts Piedmont alone does not include a senior exemption.

According to the US Census about 20% of Piedmonters are over 65 and a straight senior exemption may unfairly tax young families given the very high Piedmont school tax. An income based Senior Exemption is needed; one or two per cent of seniors would qualify.

In 2012 the Board informed the public an income based Senior Exemption is not allowed by State Law yet the income based senior exemption was then and is now commonly used elsewhere. Locally income based senior exemptions are used in Oakland, Berkeley, Orinda and Moraga. State law applies equally to all school districts.

The current SSI based tax exemption is meaningless and an income based senior exemption will include any SSI recipients.

Respectfully

Rick Schiller, Piedmont Resident

Att: May 4, 2018 AUSD Press Release

Dec 10 2018

The PUSD design for the high school STEAM and theater buildings incorporate the District’s science, art, computer science, and performing arts  See the schedule and architect’s renderings of the exteriors and interiors of the new buildings here.

Nov 27 2018

School Board Consideration of Safety Measures Wednesday, November 28, 2018, City Hall Council Chambers 7:15 p.m. 

The Alan Harvey will be closed beginning in March of 2019. Closing Alan Harvey Theater during the Spring of 2019, rather than waiting until the end of the school year, will help keep the STEAM project on schedule for completion before the 2020-21 school year. There may be questions about how starting work during the school year may affect students, staff, and campus flow.

While the District plans to demolish the theater over Spring break when there are no students or staff on campus, if the demolition cannot be completed during that week, the District will develop a schedule for the remaining demolition, to minimize the campus impact to the greatest extent possible.

Read agenda by clicking below:

https://agendaonline.net/public/Meeting.aspx?AgencyID=1241&MeetingID=68232&AgencyTypeID=1&IsArchived=False

7:15 PM
VI.A. H1 Update – Safety Measures During Alan Harvey Theater Demolition

Speaker:
Pete Palmer, H1 Construction Manager
Attachments:
Background H1 Update   < Click to read

 

Nov 15 2018

Street paving, tennis courts, budget actions –  

November 19, 2018 – the Piedmont City Council staff reports are linked below.

11/19/18 – Approval of Agreements Related to the Repair of Cavendish Lane. 

“Cavendish Lane is a street which extends west from Park Boulevard and is located immediately south of Trestle Glen Road. It is approximately 1/10th of a mile in length, ending in a cul-de-sac. Cavendish Lane and its right-of-way are located within, owned, and maintained by the City of Oakland. The cul-de-sac is located at the extreme west end of the street and serves four homes located within the city of Piedmont. The only access to these four Piedmont homes is via Cavendish Lane.”

a. Reimbursement and Indemnification Agreement with the City of Oakland

b. Agreement with Coastland Civil Engineers for Project Specific Engineering

11/19/18 – Consideration of the Rejection of All Proposals for the Corporation Yard Solar Photovoltaic System Project 

11/19/18 – Consideration of FY 2017-18 Year-End Appropriations and Carryforwards      Street paving

 11/19/18 – Consideration of FY 2017-18 Year End Fund Transfers 

“In FY 2017-18, conservative budgeting combined with favorable revenue trends resulted in net income of approximately $3.5 million in the General Fund. Specific revenue categories that exceeded budget and accounted for the majority of net revenue include real property transfer tax (+ $1,045 K); secured property tax (+ $484 K); supplemental property tax (+294 K); mutual aid revenue for wildfire assistance (+$480 K); and recreation revenue (+ $232 K).”

11/19/18 – Consideration of the Issuance of Bid Documents for the Recreation Center Tennis Court Resurfacing Project and Direction to Staff Regarding Fundraising 

The November 19, 2018 Agenda can be read HERE.

Nov 13 2018

Call for more community input – 

     Superintendent Randy Booker will present the idea of a School Resource Officer to the School Board at their meeting this Wednesday, November 14, 2018, 7:00 p.m., City Hall.  I would like to hear more community engagement on this topic. I think it would be good to make sure that the members of our community are aware of the various security measures being proposed — including perimeter fencing around the middle school and high school, and new surveillance cameras around town.
    The current focus on security measures is troubling to me, reminding me of a culture of fear that has developed at a national level. I sent this letter to the School Board prior to their last meeting. Please feel free to reprint.
    Thank you,
     Elizabeth Shook
~~~~~~~~~
To Superintendent Randy Booker and the PUSD School Board: 
     My husband and I are strongly against perimeter fencing and a school safety officer at Piedmont Middle School or Piedmont High School.
     With the recent threat incident at PMS, we understand that emotions are running high. However, perimeter fencing and a school safety officer would have made NO DIFFERENCE in this recent threat.
     We agree that the safety of our students is our primary concern. We believe this is a mental health issue, not a criminal issue.
     Adding a school safety officer at either PMS or PHS is a major over-reaction. The presence of police on campus has not been shown to limit or protect from past school shootings. At our secondary schools, we already have the Piedmont police department located within two blocks. Our school is located in a quiet, safe suburban neighborhood. An officer on campus would actually heighten student anxiety and tension.
     If we have the budget, we should spend the funds on additional counseling staff who can work with students with unfortunate family, social, or mental health situations. This will do more to deter future tragedy than a school safety officer.
     We call on the Superintendent and the School Board to let emotions settle, and then survey the community on this issue. Where could the money be better spent? What do the students want? What about teachers?
     We believe that our families need: 1) Clear and transparent communication from the administration about school threats – and school policies. 2) Students and families need to be taught the best response to dangerous scenarios. 3) Zero tolerance for students who make threats or bring weapons to school.
      Here are some articles about School Safety Officers that make good points:
      Putting more cops in schools won’t make schools safer, and it will …
       New York Set to Revise Role of School Safety Agents
      I am also against perimeter fencing. I feel it can actually trap students in a dangerous situation and impede evacuations.  In reality, fencing will not deter actual bad guys.
        PHS Students considered the fencing when it was first proposed in this 2016 editorial:
“Fencing the campus entirely would cost an estimated $300,000 — far more than any college education — even before implementing monitoring systems that could actually keep dangerous individuals off the property.
       “Frankly, a fence alone will not be effective in deterring an active shooter, the fear of which has been a key motivation behind the push for revamping the district’s safety measures. In the wake of tragedies like Sandy Hook, this desire to proactively increase safety is understandable, but the decision to build a fence would be reactive and incomplete. Instead of actually improving our safety, we would be cultivating the mere illusion of security, a incremental measure not worth the significant cost.”
      Thank you for your consideration.
       Regards,
       Elizabeth Shook and Denis Fung, Piedmont Residents and Piedmont School District Parents
Nov 12 2018

Potential agreement between the City Council and the School Board –

An introductory discussion of adding a police resource officer into the Piedmont Unified School District will be considered on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 during the 7:oo p.m. Board of Education meeting held in City Hall.  The meeting will be broadcast live on Cable Channel 27 and via the City website.

To view the report go to item VII and click on the Superintendent’s report > https://agendaonline.net/public/Meeting.aspx?AgencyID=1241&MeetingID=67947&AgencyTypeID=1&IsArchived=False

Nov 12 2018

2017-18 City Revenue exceeded annual budget by $3.5 million.

The Piedmont Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee met on November 7, 2018 to consider Piedmont financial matters and consider recommendations to the City Council.

Handouts were provided to the Committee at their meeting.

The following is an abbreviated Power Point Presentation prepared by the Director of Finance and provided on November 7, 2018, to the Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee.  The presentation is printed below for readers interested in Piedmont’s financial condition in a limited form allowed on the PCA website.  Charts are excluded.  To view the original document inquire with the Piedmont City Clerk at 510/420-3040.

2017-18 Fiscal Year Report Actual vs. Budget

FY 2017-18 Highlights

•Revenue exceeded annual budget by $3.5 million

Major variances include:

• Transfer tax exceeded annual budget by $1.0 million.

  • Home sales up 4% over last year (132 vs 127)
  • Average Sales Price increased 7% to $2.3 million

• Property taxes exceeded annual budget by $0.8 million:

  • Secured property tax +$484 K
  • Supplemental property tax +$294 K

• Mutual Aid \ Strike Team revenue was $0.5 million as we participated in battling seasons severe wildfires.

• Recreation revenue up $0.2 million due to increased contract program offerings

Transfer Tax – Recent History

Property Tax – History / FY 18-19 Budget

Note: In the Ten Year Plan, we use the 10 year average growth rate of 4.4%

FY 2017-18 Highlights

Major variances include (continued):

• The following categories also contributed to the revenue gain:

  • Business Licenses + $138 K
  • Building Permits + $132 K
  • Motor Vehicle License Fee + $129 K
  • Interest
  • Ambulance Fees
  • Utility Users Tax
  • Community and Veterans

Hall Rental + $ 50 K

+ $ 90 K + $ 71 K + $ 61 K

•Overall, expenditures were under budget by ~$16,000

• All operating departments were under budget with the exception of Fire.

The drivers of the overage in fire were:

• Higher overtime costs, offset by lower regular salaries and retirement costs, which resulted in a budget overage of $235 K.

• This overage is more than offset by the $480 K received for our assistance in battling state’s wildfire’s.

• Premiums for workers compensation and liability insurance were $152 higher than budget.

•In summary, General Fund operating net revenue (revenue less expenses) exceeded budget by $3.5 million.

Update on CalPERS Pension

Components of our pension cost

• Our pension costs consist of the following:

• Normal cost = the present value of the future benefits to be received that is “earned” in the current year of service.

• Actuary’s calculate this based on a series of assumptions, including:

• Demographic: Years of service, salary at time of retirement, retirement ag age of death

• Financial: CalPERS portfolio earnings (discount rate)
• Expressed as a % of payroll and paid in monthly installments.

• Unfunded Actuarial Liability (UAL) = Excess of actuarial accrued liability over value of the pension fund assets.

• Caused by lower than expected investment returns, changes in demogra other assumption changes (lowering assumed discount rate).

  • Amortized over 20-30 years.
  • Expressed as a $ amount and paid annually.

Employees eligible for retirement:
Safety Tier 1 – 11 eligible, 2 retiring in 2018-19 Misc Tier 1 – 7 eligible, 2 retiring in 2018-19

Payoff of Unfunded Liability is included in our long range plan.

City of Piedmont Pension Tiers – Statistics

Funded CalPERS

City of Piedmont UAL Layers – Safety Tier

• Purpose of the slide is to show what comprises the UAL (Unfunded Accrued Liability), and what affects each year.

• Note – The payoff of the UAL is included in our long term plan.

What is Happening at CalPERS?

• CalPERS’ Portfolio – Annual Earnings is Forecast for next 20 yrs = of 6.6%

• Anticipating Negative Cash Flow for another 9-10 years (due to increasing number of retiree’s).

• Began cutting discount rate. First year affected is 2018-19.

• Policy regarding Amortization on Unfunded Liability to change in 2021.

CalPERS – Recent Changes Change in discount rate from 7.50%:

Rate • 6/30/16 valuation
• 6/30/17 valuation
• 6/30/18 valuation

Initial Full 7.375% 18/19 7.25% 19/20 22/23 23/24 24/25 7.00% 20/21

Risk Mitigation Strategy
• Move to more conservative investments over time • Lower discount rate in concert
• Likely get to 6.0% over 20+ years per Bartel.

Amortization Changes

• Beginning with UAL layers established on or after June 30, 2019 (which affects payments beginning in FY 2021-22) the following changes will be made:

• Amortization of Investment Gain\Loss and Demographic changes will b shortened from 30 to 20 years.

• Eliminate all “Ramp Up and Ramp Down” except for the ramp up on Investment Gain\Loss. This will reduce the amount of “negative amort which will lower interest paid.

• Good news is total interest paid will decrease, but payments wi————-

How will these changes affect the City ?

• Last year, engaged Bartel and Associates to estimate these future co

• Projections assumed discount rate will decline from 7.375% in 2018-19 to 7. 2020-21 per CalPERS policy. And a further decrease to 6.0% over the next 20

• Will need to refresh Bartel’s assumptions to include recent amortization changes.

• ROI for FY ending 6/30/17 was 11.2 %

• However our Unfunded liability increased slightly due primarily to the chang discount rate.

• FY ending 6/30/18 ROI was 8.4 %

• Both our Normal cost and our UAL payments will increase significant steadily over the next 15 years

Effect on General Fund

• The City began addressing the issue earlier this year:

• In May we opened a Section 115 Irrevocable Trust account with the Public Agency Retirement Services (PARS) with a contribution of $2.0 million.

• Projections indicate total expenditures (which includes planned capital transfer exceed revenues in 2023 through 2030. In these years the City may draw from PARS account to ensure a balanced budget.

• In order to not allow the General Fund reserve to drop below 18% of expenditures will need an additional $0.75 million contribution this year, as noted at our previous meeting.

Review of Proposed 2017-18 Year End General Fund Transfers

Year End General Fund Transfers • Recap of variance to budget (000’s):

Year End General Fund Transfers

• We recommend allocation as follows:

• $2.5 million to the Facilities Maintenance Fund.
• $0.75 million to the Pension Rate stabilization fund (PARS)

Equipment Replacement Fund

• At June 30, 2018, the Equipment Replacement fund balance was —- million.

• Based on a review of estimated equipment needs for the next 1 years, and planned annual transfers into the fund, no additional funding is currently needed.

Status of Trust Funds – OPEB and Legacy Police & Fire Pension Fund

• Police & Fire Fund
• Twelve remaining beneficiaries (5 primary, 7 survivor). • Annual benefit payments currently ~$225,000.
As of 6/30/18, the plan is OVER funded by ~10.5 million

• OPEB Fund

• Currently OPEB is UNDER funded by ~$13.7 million…however,

• Retiree benefits has been reduced to the PEMCHA minimum for all hirees May 1, 2018.

• Will realize a significant cash savings when these employees retire. Cur the average annual cost for a retiree is ~$10,000 compared to ~$1,600 the PEMCHA minimum.

Status of Trust Funds – OPEB and Legacy Police & Fire Pension Fund

• Due to the small number of retiree’s remaining in the Police and fund, coupled with the changes made to the OPEB fund:

• We are projecting the overage in the Police & Fire fund will grow and o the under funded OPEB trust in approximately 12 years. Around 2030.

Increased funding of OPEB is not recommended at this time. Employee contribute an estimated $100,000 to the fund through payroll deduction FY 2018-19.

Facilities Maintenance Fund

• The maintenance and improvement of city facilities has necessarily been a high priority for the City Council

• Staff completed a review of all City facilities in March of this year report detailed the following through FY 2021-22:

• Annual Operations: Annual recurring expenses required to maintain City facilities, including regular such as janitorial, alarm, pest control, heating systems, fire safety, and annual inspections.

• Annual Maintenance & Repairs: Cost of maintaining, repairing, or replacing various miscellaneous it of the City’s facilities that are malfunctioning, broken, or otherwise have reached their serviceable life.

• Consultant Services: Professional consulting services involving investigation, analysis, and recommendation which form the basis of the project’s next steps. Also included in this category are expenses related t project management services on an as-needed basis since the breath of the projects exceeds Staff capabilities.

• Deferred Maintenance Projects: Planned and prioritized major construction projects of a specific na undertaken to replace, achieve compliance, and/or modernize existing facilities that have been prev deferred.

(a) Assumes the $800,000 bequest from the estate of Anne Kroeger received in FY 2015-16 will be used for Recreation Center upgrades.

Assume 3% annual growth after FY 22-23

Cash Flow Forecast and Investment Results

Cash Flow Forecast

• Prepared a four year cash flow forecast to determine if we invest idle cash.

• Cash flow is very choppy.

• Heavily dependent on property tax receipts

• Flow will allow us to invest approximately $6 – $7 million longer term (up to three years) fixed income securities

Multi-Bank Securities

•Opened account with Multi-Bank Securities •Specializes in fixed income securities •Dedicated account representative
•Easy to use investment platform

• Platform has the ability to assure CD’s purchased do not exceed the maximum insurable by the FDIC ($250,000 pe institution)

Investment Strategy

• In the past, the City invested all Idle cash in LAIF (Local Agency Investment Fund).

• Began investing idle cash with MBS Securities in April.

• In process of building three year CD ladder

• CD’s are currently the best yielding fixed income security allowable under our investment policy, and its fully insured.

Investment Strategy
• Portfolio @ 10/31/18 (000’s):

• Current LAIF Yield is 2.16%. • Was 1.35% back in January

• CD ladder will increase interest earned (as compared to LAIF) in FY 2018-19 by approximately $35,000

Transfer Tax Update Year to Date – October 31

Transfer Tax Update

YTD receipts fairly consistent with past 4 years

  • Average seasonality indicates annual transfer tax to be in the $3.0 – $3.2 million range

Transfer Tax Update

• Receipt pattern tends to be choppy the first six months, but fairly consistent the remainder of the year

• Average seasonality indicates annual transfer tax to be in the $3.0 – $3.2 million range

Questions ? Contact City Clerk at 510/420-3040. 

Handout_GF_Pension_LTP

 

Nov 5 2018

Budget Advisory & Financial Planning Committee Wednesday, November 7, 2018

6:00 p.m.

Emergency Operations Center, 403 Highland Avenue Piedmont, CA

This meeting will not be broadcast or recorded. The public is welcome to attend this public meeting.

There will be 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.

  1. Review of FY 2017-18 General Fund Revenue and Expenditures: Actual vs Budget
  2. Update on CalPERS Pension Liability
  3. Review of Long Term Pension and General Fund Projections
  4. Review of Proposed FY 2017-18 Year End General Fund Transfers and Consideration of a Recommendation to the City Council
  5. Review of Cash Flow Forecast and Investment Results (Non-Trust Funds)

Announcements, old business and consideration of future agenda items

Adjourn –

“The materials for the meeting will be provided to the members of the committee and the public at the meeting.” City of Piedmont

NOTICE: Materials used for the meeting: Actual vs. Budget, CalPERS pension liability, Cash Flow, Investments, etc. will not be distributed to the Committee members until they are present at the meeting.  Meeting attendees can receive the information at the meeting. No distribution of agenda materials will be made until the time of the meeting. 

Materials related to an item on this agenda submitted to the Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee are available for public inspection in the Finance Department during normal business hours.

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]

Note: Members of the Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee are not required per City Council policy to file Conflicts of Interests Statements.

Nov 4 2018

Excellent publication by the California Association of School Board Officials (CASBO) about “What Every Board Member and Candidate Should Know” regarding School Finances in California. A must read to really understand school funding!

Randall Booker
Superintendent Piedmont Unified School District