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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
Pretty swanky conceptual designs for the new rec center:
Toggle Commented Apr 14, 2015 on Our changing landscape at The Burlingame Voice
Speaking of new rec/community center, here's the latest project schedule: As I've stated before, let's hope it's ultimately funded equitably, not just on the backs of newer property owners via general obligation bonds!
Toggle Commented Mar 1, 2015 on Our changing landscape at The Burlingame Voice
Here's the latest (and I presume, now final) entry in the case docket, per the link above: "Counsel having so stipulated, the appeal is dismissed, with each party to bear its own costs on appeal. The remittitur is to issue forthwith."
Toggle Commented Jan 27, 2015 on Wrapping Up Hoover School at The Burlingame Voice
Looks like a settlement has been reached, or is afoot, if I interpret the subsequent docket entries since my previous post:
Toggle Commented Jan 19, 2015 on Wrapping Up Hoover School at The Burlingame Voice
Not sure what the current status of the lawsuit is, specifically with regard to the District's appeal. My understanding is the District had until Jan 6 (for which they were eariler granted a deadline extension) to file their opening brief, but I have yet to see indication of anything filed. Their appellate case can be tracked here:
Toggle Commented Jan 11, 2015 on Wrapping Up Hoover School at The Burlingame Voice
Joe - The letter was authored by your's truly. And here's the Post's series, currently available on their homepage:
FYI, the following letter to the editor was published in today's Palo Alto Daily Post: -------------- Dear Editor: Thank you for your series on Peninsula cities’ pension debts. I can’t speak for the other cities in your analysis, but in the case of Burlingame, where I reside, I believe the $45 million unfunded liability you highlight understates its total pension debt. This is because, in 2006, Burlingame issued $32.9 million of pension obligation bonds to pre-pay its unfunded liability at the time. Essentially, this transformed a “soft” actuarial liability into a “hard” debt liability, the total interest cost for which will be $19.7 million per the bond prospectus. Burlingame will be paying principal and interest on this debt through 2036. Furthermore, it is worth noting that, unlike most municipal bonds, which are tax-exempt, pension obligation bonds are taxable. This means the issuer has to pay a higher interest rate to compensate investors. Burlingame is paying in excess of 5% interest on its bonds. Finally, Burlingame’s bonds, which did not require voter approval, are constraining the city’s future borrowing capacity. Indeed, per the fiscal year 2014-2015 budget, they are itemized as the general fund’s largest debt service obligation, with principal and interest payments totaling $3.5 million for the fiscal year. Unfortunately, this is crowding out borrowing capacity for unfunded infrastructure projects, such as a potential new community center. As a result, the city may have no other option but to ask voters to approve new taxes for these projects, which may not have been the case if its pension debt condition were different.