City of Piedmont

COUNCIL AGENDA REPORT

 

DATE: April 4, 2005

FROM: Ann Swift, City Clerk

SUBJECT: Wildwood/Crocker Avenues Undergrounding Assessment District

 

RECOMMENDATION

Adopt Attachment A, a resolution Preliminarily Approving the Amended Engineer's

Report, Setting Date, Time and Place of Public Hearing of Protest for the

Wildwood/Crocker Avenues Undergrounding Assessment District.

 

BACKGROUND:

Beginning in June of 1999 when council first considered this matter, you have taken several steps to support the formation of an underground utility district on Wildwood Avenue.

1. September 3, 2002 - Council accepts petitions and a boundary map to establish the district and approves an agreement with I.L. Schwartz Associates, Inc. as Engineer of Work.

2. May 5, 2003 - Council approved a revised boundary map for this district in order to include several additional parcels on Crocker Avenue.

3. May 19, 2003 - Council approved the concept for a reimbursement agreement

4. June 2, 2003 - Council approved the Method of Assessment Spread and authorized mailing of ballots.

5. August 18, 2003 - Ballots are opened and district approved

6. October 14, 2004 - Bids opened for project

7. December 6, 2004 - Bids rejected by council because they are higher than engineers estimate and staff ordered to re-bid project

8. January 25, 2005 - Second bids opened for project

 

Despite the city's effort to revise the bid documents to encourage more favorable numbers,

second bids for this project were equally high. Actual bids exceeded estimate by approximately $80,000 while P.G. & E. increased their costs by over $100,000. Final computations by the Engineer of Work show that the difference between the original assessments approved by the council in June 2003 and the amount which is actually needed to fund the project is $192,000.

If the district is to proceed, the homeowners will need to approve increased assessments to cover this $192,000 shortfall. Council will need to approve a resolution preliminarily approving an amended engineer's report and setting date, time and place for public hearing of protests (attached as Exhibit A). The revised assessment amounts for each property are contained in the Amended Engineer's Report (attached as Exhibit B). These materials have been reviewed and approved for your consideration by bond counsel Sam Sperry.

Mailing of Hearing Notices and Ballots

On April 8, the city intends to mail out the Hearing Notices and Ballots to individual homeowners in the district (Attachments C). The ballots must be returned prior to your meeting on May 23, 2005.

On May 23, the ballots will be opened during the public meeting and it will be determined if there is a "majority protest" to stop the formation of the district. The vote count is based on a weighted formula that relates to the benefit that each property owner will be receiving, and therefore, this will not be a "one-man, one-vote" process. In addition, the ballots will not be opened until after a Public Hearing takes place, so that you will not know what the vote is until after you have heard from all of the property owners and others who may wish to speak on the matter. Usually the city council will simply recess while the ballots are being counted, and then reconvened when the count has been completed to proceed further.

Council has the sole discretion regarding what level of support is needed to proceed. In the past, council has expressed a desire to see at least 70% support.

Approval of Construction Contracts

If there is no majority protest and council passes a resolution overruling protests at its meeting of May 23, the way will be clear for construction to begin. Staff has received written confirmation from bidders for both the joint trench and individual service connections that they will extend their bids until June 25, 2005, to meet the city's required timeline. Approval of construction contracts is tentatively scheduled for the council meeting of June 20, 2005.

Also at the June 20 meeting, written contracts with both SBC and P.G. & E. for their portion of the construction should be approved. These contracts will be based on figures already received from the utilities. Finally, before final approval on June 20, written confirmation from Comcast regarding their contribution to the district should be on file.

EXHIBIT A

RESOLUTION NO. _____-05

RESOLUTION PRELIMINARILY APPROVING AMENDED ENGINEER'S REPORT,

SETTING DATE FOR PUBLIC HEARING OF PROTESTS

CITY OF PIEDMONT
WILDWOOD/CROCKER AVENUES UNDERGROUNDING ASSESSMENT DISTRICT

WHEREAS, since the date of this City Council's prior action on August 18, 2003, to approve an engineer's report (the "Original Engineer's Report") for the proposed Wildwood/Crocker Avenues Undergrounding Assessment District, City of Piedmont, County of Alameda, State of California (the "Proposed Assessment District"), the City has solicited and on January 25, 2005, received sealed bids for the work and improvements comprising the project of the Proposed Assessment District (the "Project"), and the lowest and best bid received was for an amount which exceeded the estimate of such amount as set forth in the Original Engineer's Report; and

WHEREAS, in order to go forward with the Project, the amount of the individual assessments levied by this City Council on August 18, 2003, needs to be increased to reflect the lowest and best bid received, and any such proposed action to increase the amount of the individual assessments requires this City Council to conduct a public hearing and an assessment ballot procedure in connection therewith; and

WHEREAS, ILS Associates, Inc., as Engineer of Work for the Proposed Assessment District and the Project, has prepared and filed with the City Clerk an amended engineer's report (the "Amended Report"), to reflect the increases on estimated costs and expenses and the corresponding increases in the respective individual assessments; and

WHEREAS, in accordance with the provisions of Section 10350 and following of the Streets and Highways Code, this City Council wishes to preliminarily approve the Amended Report for purposes of conducting the required public hearing and assessment ballot procedures;

NOW, THEREFORE, THE CITY COUNCIL HEREBY FINDS, DETERMINES AND RESOLVES as follows:

1. This City Council preliminarily approves the Amended Report without modification, for the purpose of conducting public hearing and assessment ballot procedures as provided in the Act, Article XIIID, and Section 53753 of the California Government Code. Said Amended Report shall stand as the report for the purpose of all subsequent proceedings under the Act and Section 53753, except that it may be confirmed, modified, or corrected as provided in the Act.

3. This City Council hereby sets 7:00 o'clock P.M. or as soon thereafter as the matter may be heard, on May 23, 2005, in the Council Chambers at 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, California, as the time and place for a public hearing with respect to the proposed changes in the estimated costs and expenses of the Project, the corresponding proposed increased individual assessments, and related matters as set forth in said report, and any interested person may appear and object to said changes.

4. The City Clerk is hereby directed to cause a notice of said public hearing to be given by mailing notices thereof, together with assessment ballots, in the time, form and manner provided by Section 53753, and upon the completion of the mailing of said notices and assessment ballots, the City Clerk is hereby directed to file with the Council a certificate setting forth the time and manner of the compliance with the requirements of law for mailing said notices and assessment ballots.

5. The City Clerk, at (510) 420-3041, is hereby designated to answer inquiries regarding the public hearing and assessment ballot proceedings.

* * *

 

 

EXHIBIT C

City of Piedmont

Wildwood/Crocker Avenues Undergrounding Assessment District

Notice of Public Hearing and Ballot Procedure

Pursuant to the provisions of the Municipal Improvement Act of 1913 (Sections 10000 and following, California Streets and Highways Code; hereafter referred to as the "1913 Act") and California Government Code Section 53753, the City of Piedmont (the
"City") hereby gives notice as follows:

    1. On May 23, 2005, at 7:00 p.m. (or as soon thereafter as circumstances permit) in the City Council Chambers at 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, California, the City Council will hold the public hearing respecting the proposed Wildwood/Crocker Avenues Undergrounding Assessment District (the "Assessment District").
    2. The public improvements and incidental costs and expenses of the project design and implementation, legal proceedings, and bond financing which are the subject of the proposed Assessment District, together with a detailed statement of the method of determining the proposed allocation of costs and expenses among the benefited parcels in proportion to the special benefit, are described in detail in the Amended Engineer's Report, dated March 25, 2005 (the "Amended Report") for the proposed Assessment District. The complete text of the Amended Report is now on file and available for examination by any interested person at the Office of the City Clerk, City of Piedmont (the "City Clerk") at 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, California,
    3. The present best estimate of the total assessment to be levied in the entire Assessment District is $896,000, as set forth in Exhibits B and C of the Amended Report. Please see the enclosed Official Property Owner Assessment Ballot for the amount of the assessment proposed for your parcel. The reason that an assessment is proposed for your parcel is that the Engineer's Report recommends and the City Council has determined, preliminarily, that such property is specially benefited by the proposed public improvements. The basis upon which the amount of the proposed assessments was calculated is set forth in Exhibit D of the Engineer's Report (entitled "Method of Assessment"), and a copy of said Exhibit D is attached to this notice.
    4. The City Council intends, pursuant to subparagraph (f) of Section 10204 of the 1913 Act, to authorize an annual assessment upon each of the parcels in the proposed Assessment District having an unpaid assessment balance to pay costs incurred by the City and not otherwise reimbursed to the City which result from the annual administration and collection of assessment installments or from the administration or registration of the improvement bonds and the various related funds and accounts, in an amount per year not to exceed one and one-half of one percent (1.5%) of the original principal amount of the assessment levied on such parcel. This annual assessment shall be in addition to any fee charged pursuant to Sections 8682 and 8682.1 of the Streets and Highways Code.
    5. Assuming the City Council levies assessments as intended, property owners will be provided an opportunity to pay all or any part of such assessments in cash, without interest, prior to the issuance of bonds. Following the termination of the cash payment period, the City Council intends to provide for issuance of the improvement bonds in the amount of the unpaid assessments. The period of repayment for the bonds will establish the duration of annual installments on account of unpaid assessments. The duration of annual installments is expected to be 25 years, and in any event will not exceed 25 years.
    6. For further particulars, you may refer to the Amended Report, which is on file with the City Clerk. Inquiries about the assessment proceedings will be answered by Ann Swift, City Clerk, City of Piedmont, at (510) 420-3041.
    7. Pursuant to Section 53753 of the California Government Code, the following procedure will be followed by the City Council to determine whether a "majority protest" exists at the close of the public hearing of protests. An "Official Property Owner Assessment Ballot" (the "Assessment Ballot") has been enclosed with this notice.

NOTE: The enclosed Official Property Owner Assessment Ballot is THE official assessment ballot! It is not a sample ballot. You will not receive any other or additional assessment ballot. In order to make this assessment ballot count in determining whether a "majority protest" exists, you must mark it ["Yes" or "No"], date it, sign it, and submit it to the City Clerk no later than the close of the public hearing. If for any reason an assessment ballot has not been received by the City Clerk prior to the close of the public hearing, it will not be considered.

After the Assessment Ballot has been marked "Yes" or "No", dated and signed, it may be returned to the City Clerk in the enclosed, self-addressed return envelope (you must provide first class postage). This Assessment Ballot may be used by the owner or owners of any parcel to express either support for or opposition to the proposed assessment. Please see the Assessment Ballot for instructions respecting the alternative methods for submitting the Assessment Ballot either by mail or by personal delivery, either prior to or at the time of the public hearing of protests. Assessment Ballots may be submitted, changed or withdrawn by the parcel owner or authorized representative at any time prior to the close of the public hearing. Questions relating to the ballot procedures and the public hearing may be directed to Ann Swift, City Clerk, at (510) 420-3040.

9. In accordance with Section 53753 of the California Government Code, each property owner who submits a ballot is requested to fold the ballot, insert it into an envelope, and seal the envelope so as to conceal the contents of the ballot. In the event that any ballot is submitted without being sealed, the City Clerk will seal it, using the procedure set forth in the foregoing sentence. Once sealed, the ballot is to remain sealed until the public hearing is closed and the ballots are opened to be tallied.

10. Immediately following the close of the public hearing, whether on May 23, 2005, or on such date as the hearing may be continued to, the returned Assessment Ballots will be tabulated, both in support of and in opposition to the assessment, with the ballots being weighted in accordance with the amount of the proposed assessment, and the results will be announced; provided that, in the event the City Clerk requires opportunity to determine whether any Assessment Ballot has been properly signed by an owner or authorized representative of an owner, the City Council reserves entitlement to continue the matter of announcing results to provide the City Clerk with such opportunity.

In the event that Assessment Ballots in opposition exceed those in support, there will be a "majority protest", and the City Council will be precluded under State law from proceeding with the proposed assessment.


DATED: April 8, 2005

ANN SWIFT

City Clerk
City of Piedmont

Attachment: Exhibit D — "Method of Assessment Spread"

Enclosures: Return Envelope (user must provide postage)
Official Property Owner Assessment Ballot

 

 

 

CITY OF PIEDMONT

WILDWOOD/CROCKER AVENUES UNDERGROUNDING ASSESSMENT DISTRICT

IMPORTANT — OFFICIAL PROPERTY OWNER ASSESSMENT BALLOT

This ballot is for the use of the property owner or authorized representative of the property owner of the parcel identified below, which parcel is located within the proposed City of Piedmont Wildwood/Crocker Avenues Undergrounding Assessment District. Please advise Ann Swift, City Clerk, at (510) 420-3040 if the name set forth below is incorrect or if you are no longer the owner or authorized representative of the owner of the parcel.

This ballot may be used to express either support for or opposition to the proposed assessment district. In order to be counted, this ballot must be marked "Yes" or "No," signed below by an owner or, if the owner(s) is/are not an individual or individuals, by an authorized representative of the owner(s). The ballot must then be delivered to the Piedmont City Clerk, either by mail or in person, as follows:

Mail Delivery: If by mail, place in the return envelope provided, provide stamps for first class postage, and place in the mail not later than one calendar week prior to May 23, 2005. Mailing by that date reduces the risk that the ballot may not be received in time to be counted.

Personal Delivery: If in person, to the City Clerk at any time up to Noon on May 23, 2005, at the City Clerk's office at 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont, CA or at the protest hearing itself at 7:00 p.m. on that date at the City Council Chambers at the same address.

However delivered, the ballot must be received by the City Clerk prior to the close of the public hearing (whether on May 23 or a later continuation date) to be counted.

TO CAST THIS BALLOT, MARK EITHER "YES" OR "NO" BELOW, WHERE INDICATED,
FILL IN THE DATE, SIGN YOUR SIGNATURE, AND THEN

PLEASE FOLD THIS PAGE AND INSERT IT IN AN ENVELOPE TO CONCEAL
ITS CONTENTS BEFORE SUBMITTING IT TO THE CITY CLERK

BALLOT

Name of Owner Label

 

 

 

Parcel Identification: See attached Assessment Roll, dated March 18, 2005

Assessment Amount: See attached Assessment Roll, dated March 18, 2005

ASSESSMENT BALLOT MEASURE

Shall the City Council of the City of Piedmont establish the proposed Wildwood/Crocker Avenues Undergrounding Assessment District, levy an assessment not to exceed the amount set forth on the attached Assessment Roll on the parcel owned by the person(s) identified above, issue bonds in the amount of unpaid assessments, and proceed with the proposed public improvement project?

 

Yes _____

 

No _____

 

Signature of Owner or Authorized Representative:

 

________________________________________________ Date ________________________________