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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.
Thanks Cathy - I'm curious how much bonding capacity the city has without going to voters with a new tax (particularly one that would penalize newer property owners!). My understanding from the most latest comprehensive annual financial report is that the 2006 pension bonds took up a lot of debt capacity on the city's balance sheet (it was the largest debt item per the following):
Looks like we're moving forward with issuing bonds for capital projects. Here's a staff report re: the contract for a new bond advisor from this past week's Council meeting:
I would imagine there's a decent chance Burlingame may be following in San Carlos' footsteps in the near future, in terms of a bond/tax measure on next November's ballot (at the risk of beating a dead horse, newer property owners better watch their backs if it turns out to be a general obligation bond/assessed value tax!). Not sure when this inventory wish list which appears on Burlingame's website was last updated, but here are the priority projects and associated price tags: And here's today's SM Daily Journal article about San Carlos:
FYI, the following excerpt is from the General Update provided in conjunction with the latest bond oversight committee meeting on September 4: "A halt to the legal action may be pending however, because the Petitioners and the District have agreed to enter non-binding mediation in order to try and settle the legal issues" Also noting the District recently redesigned their website. You now have to do a bit of digging to find the bond oversight committee reports. On the home page, go to the "District" tab, and then "Business Services"; you'll then see a link to "Measure D and Measure A Bond Oversight Committee" on the right side of the page (which is still ultimately a link to a page on Dreiling Terrones Architecture's URL). Finally, only a General Update report for the September 4th meeting is available. I was informed by the District that updated Expenditure reports associated with that meeting have been deferred for approval, for some reason, until the next bond oversight committee meeting on November 6th.
Toggle Commented Sep 24, 2014 on Hoover School Update at The Burlingame Voice
I should have mentioned the link above is a staff report being presented at this coming Monday's City Council meeting.
Toggle Commented Sep 12, 2014 on College Bond Measure H at The Burlingame Voice
Speaking of bonds, here's what may be coming down the pike in Burlingame. There will be public opposition to any general obligation bonds/assessed value taxes (which unfairly penalize newer property owners):
Toggle Commented Sep 12, 2014 on College Bond Measure H at The Burlingame Voice
The results of the recent community survey/input on unfunded infrastructure needs are now available. Below is a link to the corresponding staff report that will be discussed at this coming Monday's City Council meeting. Results appear starting on page 3. Per the report's summary, "The Downtown Parking Garage received the most number of “Very Critical” votes, followed by the Bayview Park. Both projects were far ahead of the next two on the list, the Burlingame Community Center and the continuation of the Downtown Streetscape to neighboring streets."
Toggle Commented Aug 14, 2014 on Rec Center Upgrade at The Burlingame Voice
As a quick follow up, I should have referred to lease-leaseback in the BESD's case as a "delivery method", not a "financing method" (since BESD already has the cash from bond financing). Here's the presentation that was given to the BESD -- You'll see lease leaseback is an used as exception for an otherwise public bidding process for contractors:
Due to the Hoover lawsuit and construction halt, looks like BESD is now seeking to exit the lease-leaseback financing arrangement referenced above (hopefully this doesn't result in further complications). Here's another subsequent press article on some of the issues surrounding lease-leasebacks for school financing; interesting to note the former attorney who represented BESD/Hoover lawsuit is quoted in the article: Here's an excerpt from the most recent BESD trustees meeting agenda: Staff is seeking approval form the Board of Termination for Convenience of the lease-leaseback construction agreement with Alten Construction for the Hoover Elementary School project. The Termination for Convenience would make allowance for Alten to finish the remediation work on the Project as allowed by the Court, but importantly it would eliminate the District’s continued exposure to possible claims from Alten and Alten’s subcontractors for damages for delay or standby arising out of the uncertainty of the duration of the suspension of the Project. Staff is seeking approval of the terms of the Settlement Agreement and, asking the Board for authorization for the Superintendent or their designee to continue negotiations with Alten. The final terms of the Settlement Agreement would be brought to the Board at its next Board meeting for ratification if complete.
Ooops - here's the second link I meant to paste:
The saga continues - here's the headline from today's San Mateo Daily Journal: Also, here's the link where you can monitor this case in the appellate court (case #: A142405); interesting to note it appears the school district has hired a new legal firm.