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FYI, the following notice from the Burlingame Elementary School District: ------------ BSD Board Appointment Trustee Greg Land is resigning his position on the Burlingame School Board to join the San Mateo Union High School Board of Trustees. The BSD Board is accepting letters of intent to fill the remaining portion of Trustee Land's term ( 2 years). Letters are due November 30, 2015 and should be received by 4PM and should include candidates experience and reasons for wanting to apply for the appointment on the board. Letters can be dropped off at the District Office, 1825 Trousdale Drive or emailed to Kirsten Diktakis, Executive Assistant to the Superintendent at
I've seen the current election referred to as an "All Mail In Ballot" Election, which implies - whether inadvertently or not - that the only way to cast one's vote is via mail. Actually, the election is officially termed an "All Mailed Ballot" election - meaning the ballots arrive by mail, but voters can still vote the traditional way at specific polling locations should they desire:
FYI, in case anyone missed this into today's SM Daily Journal -- Financial filings update: Burlingame City Council candidates Emily Beach and Donna Colson are neck and neck in the race to raise to be top campaign fundraisers, both having piled up more than $27,000, according to financial disclosure forms. Colson has raised $27,676 in contributions, and has an additional roughly $7,000 in her war chest, $5,000 of which is comprised of a loan to herself. Notable contributors to her campaign include the California Apartment Association, which has donated $1,000, as well as JSR Karp limited practice, $750 from Spieker Companies, $583 from real estate professional William Sexton, $250 from the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association, the San Mateo Building Trades Joint Council, and creative service consultant Russ Cohen as well as $100 from Councilman Ricardo Ortiz, James Cannon, the vice president of the San Mateo County Board of Education and others. Beach has raised $27,829, with no loans. JSR Karp donated $1,000 as well, Mark Intrieri, member of the Burlingame Elementary School District Board of Trustees, and his wife Katie donated $583, along with Planning Commissioner Richard Terrones, Spieker Companies also donated $500, and Cohen matched his $250 donation, and Ortiz donated $100 as well. Candidate Nirmala Bandrapalli has raised $19,691, with a $9,000 loan. Engineer Lakshman Chinnakotla donated $150, insurance agent Roger Heighton contributed $100, along with producer Renuka Pullat and affordable housing advocate Cynthia Cornell gave $50. Financial documents were not available for candidate Eric Storey.
Toggle Commented Oct 23, 2015 on Nov. 3 Council Ballot Order at The Burlingame Voice
Jennifer - It's very straightforward: The principal and interest on G.O. bonds are paid back with taxes based on property owner's assessed value - not current fair market value. If you need more detail than that, I'm happy to chat with you over the phone. Otherwise, you could speak with someone at the San Mateo County Tax Collectors office.
Toggle Commented Oct 16, 2015 on Our changing landscape at The Burlingame Voice
Thank you for your comments, as well, Jennifer. Just to be clear, my main concerns at this point are as follows: 1) Given the wide disparity in the two cost estimates that were cited the Council candidates forum, I wanted to get the facts and set the record straight, for the broader community's (taxpayers') benefit. 2) Regardless of whether the city/Council proceeds with a new building vs. patching/renovating, I'm more concerned about how these improvements would be paid for- and specifically, how the tax burden would be spread throughout the community. I'm happy to pay my fair share, but the burden should be borne equitably, particularly for a community center/asset which offers an equal benefit for all. As I've posted ad nauseam, general obligation bonds would shift the tax burden disproportionately and unfairly on newer property owners. How long someone has owned his/her property in Burlingame is not a determinant of his/her ability to pay his/her fair share for these improvements!
Toggle Commented Oct 15, 2015 on Our changing landscape at The Burlingame Voice
I submitted the following letter which appeared in the Daily Post earlier this week: Dear Editor: A major issue facing Burlingame is how to address approximately $100 million of unfunded infrastructure projects, including a possible new community center. Indeed, the question of how to fund a new community center was posed during a recent City Council candidates forum. However, different cost estimates — $15 million and $40 million — were cited by two council candidates. I subsequently confirmed the estimated cost with Burlingame Parks and Recreation Director Margaret Glomstad. She confirmed $15 million refers to the current estimated cost of the new building, itself. However, the new building cannot be constructed without necessary site work, which includes relocation of the current playground and creating dedicated parking. The current estimated cost of this site work is between $8.9 million to $10.5 million. Additionally, estimated “soft costs” for the project total between $7.7 million to $8.2 million. Thus, the total current estimated cost of the new community center is approximately $32 million to $34 million. However, the parks and recreation director also indicated these estimates do not include the cost of a temporary facility while the new building is being constructed. And should the city need to issue voter-approved bonds to finance the entire project, these estimates do not include bond interest, which a new tax would also need to cover. Assuming an average 20-year bond maturity and 4% interest rate, interest could conceivably add another $15 million to $20 million to the cost. Thus, the total cost could be closer to $50 million.
Toggle Commented Oct 15, 2015 on Our changing landscape at The Burlingame Voice
In case anyone missed this-- "The officers who run the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) are proposing to lower investment targets, a move that could lead to higher contributions for government workers across California.."
Toggle Commented Oct 14, 2015 on FWB: Calpers' New Approach at The Burlingame Voice
League of Women Voters hosting upcoming candidates forum/debate (I confirmed with the City Clerk it will also be streamed live as well as archived on the city's website via Granicus): Thursday, September 24, 2015 6:30 pm Burlingame Council Chambers 501 Primrose Road Burlingame, CA 94010 Candidate Forum: Burlingame City Council. Sponsored by the Burlingame City Council
FYI, Dan Walters' (Sac Bee) take on this issue - "A big mess 6 decades in making"
Have no idea how this plays out with BESD/Hoover. I did notice that, according to the July 23 board of trustees meeting minutes, BESD ammended and expanded the $ amount of their lease-leaseback agreement with the Hoover contractor. Here's a good article from the SF Chronicle about school lease leasebacks in general, and this legal case, in particular, before the CA Supreme Court chimed in earlier this week:
And just as a quick add on, I don't believe the link to the SM Daily Journal article in Joe's original post above works. Here's the correct link:
Still remain unconvinced as to whether we need a tear-down, as opposed to making improvements to what we already have (analogous to a lot of well-functioning, older homes in Burlingame, to which improvements have been made over time). Either way, my biggest concern with this project is how the tax structure will play out for residents. If this is paid for via general obligation bonds, newer home/property owners will get totally hosed - as they'll end up paying the majority of the cost/tax (due to the assessed value tax structure inherent with general obligation bonds).
Burlingame Elementary School District is among those mentioned towards the end of the article below, which appears in today's SM Daily Journal. Per the string above, BESD used the lease leaseback delivery method as part of the Hoover construction. Not sure what the exposure/financial ramifications may or may not be in light of the CA Supreme Court ruling:
And just a bit more detail about the meeting for what it's worth, as I attended it: In addition to staff and all five Council members, former Mayor/Council member Cathy Baylock and Park and Rec commissioner/City Council candidate Donna Colson participated. Both sit on the Community Center Master Plan Citizens Advisory Council ("CAC") along with Council members Keighran and Ortiz. I'm fairly certain the other three Council candidates were not there (not surprising, given the meeting occurred when many people are on summer vacation); that said, Emily Beach's husband was in attendance taking notes. Here is a list of the current CAC members (I requested this list directly from the Park and Rec department, as I couldn't find it anywhere on the city's website): Ann Keighran, Ariana Ebing, Carolyn Tang, Cathy Baylock, Dawn Merkes, Donna Colson, Erik Winkler, Janet Martin, Jeff Londer, Jennifer Pfaff, Laura Hesselgren, Mary Hunt, Julie Baird, Margaret Glomstad, Karen Hager, Ricardo Ortiz, Vance Stoner and William Loftis.
If I understand correctly, the total estimated cost for this project is closer to $30 million, if not slightly above. The estimate for constructing the proposed building is $15.2 million, and in addition to this, $9 million to $10.5 million is estimated for parking accommodation and relocating the playgrounds, as well as another $7.7 million to $8.2 million for "soft costs."
The following article appeared in today's SM Daily Journal in case anyone missed it:
Toggle Commented Aug 24, 2015 on Our changing landscape at The Burlingame Voice
And, just as a quick follow up to my earlier post above re: SeeClickFix, I'm wondering if the city could harness this low cost platform for additional real-time transparency with regard to our financials (also see string above):
Nice to see the city harnessing this new technology platform:
I wonder if the city is considering this form of taxation for their desired capital/infrastructure spending needs:
Here's a good primer on community facilities districts (Mello Roos)from Orrick law firm. Per pages 15-16, "Even if both methods (general obligation bonds/assessed value taxes vs. Mello Roos/community facilities district) are equally capable of funding the desired project, there are still reasons to consider using Mello-Roos because it can address two areas of concern – district boundaries and tax rate – in ways that can increase the chancesfor a successful election." "A second consideration involves the Proposition 13 effect on property valuations. Californians are familiar with the phenomenon of two houses, essentially equivalent in value, where the ad valorem tax (assessed value tax) burden on the one is a multiple of the ad valorem tax burden on the other because the one was just purchased, and the other was purchased many years earlier for a substantially lower price and as a result, under Proposition 13, it has a substantially lower assessed value. While the public is more or less adjusted to this discrepancy with respect to general taxes, and there is the consciousness that there is not much to be done about it anyway, when a general obligation bond issue is proposed, the difference in assessed values tends to be revisited in a new light. Suddenly, in the context of considering whether to vote to tax himself for the new library, Mr. Smith realizes that if the measure passes, he will be paying twice or three times as much as his neighbor; yet Mr. Smith also realizes that he will receive no more benefit from the library than the neighbor does. This issue does get raised and, irrespective of views on Proposition 13, significant numbers of people consider the result, in this context, unfair – and they can do something about it, by voting “no.” But with Mello-Roos, a flat, per parcel tax can be used, or some other taxing method can be designed that conforms to the community’s sense of fairness for the particular project. This approach has proved successful in a number of instances." Source:
Toggle Commented Jul 9, 2015 on Whither City Hall? at The Burlingame Voice
The Music Never Stops...
Toggle Commented Jun 30, 2015 on Travelling to the Dead at The Burlingame Voice
I was at the Burlingame Elementary School District board meeting last night (during which the Hoover attendance boundaries were approved), and a representative from the Peninsula Health Care District presented about the major development plan currently underway for the property surrounding the hospital on Trousdale/Marco Polo. Here's a link with more info about the project:
Here's a presentation that will be discussed at tomorrow's Burlingame Elementary School District board meeting regarding proposed attendance areas for Hoover:
Toggle Commented Jun 22, 2015 on Wrapping Up Hoover School at The Burlingame Voice
More on pension obligation bonds (which Burlingame issued in the past and has outstanding):
Saw this update posted on the city's website; makes me wonder when the students' parents will be surveyed about HOW the new community center will be PAID For, and specifically, how each parent's tax payment might compare relative to their neighbors/fellow Burlingame community center users... "In another round of community outreach, Group 4 and Recreation Staff went to Burlingame High School & BIS during lunch to gather feedback regarding design values and program options for the new Burlingame Community Center. Over 500 surveys were collected and students were enthusiastic about this exciting project and the potential opportunities for Burlingame teens that the new building could provide."
Toggle Commented May 22, 2015 on Our changing landscape at The Burlingame Voice