Correction, March 7, 2012: The original article reported erroneously that the vote to approve new AT&T wireless equipment was 4-1, whith Councilmember Margaret Fujioka dissenting. The actual vote was 3-2, with Fujioka and Councilmember Garrett Keating dissenting.
Piedmont will move ahead with two new citizen advisory committees, the Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee and a reconstituted Public Safety Committe, city council members decided Monday evening.
The council also gave approval to:
- The 2012-2013 fee schedule and hours of operation for the Piedmont Community Pool
- Installation of three new AT&T antennae and other equipment on a PG&E tower at 275 Sandringham Rd.
- The lease of office space in the Veterans Memorial Building to the Piedmont Educational Foundation
- An appropriation of $46,154 from the General Fund Reserve to help retire Piedmont’s obligation to the Associated Community Action Program (ACAP) of Alameda County.
Council members gave unanimous approval to the formation of a new committee whose five members will advise the council on municipal budget and long-term financial planning issues. The committee .
Five members will serve three-year terms. Application forms are available at the City of Piedmont website and are due by March 23.
Councilmember Jeff Wieler noted his strong preference for applicants with professional expertise in financial modeling, labor relations and facilities construction. At Councilmember Margaret Fujioka's suggestion, though, the council modified language in the proposal to make a preference for experience in the financial industry "not exclusionary."
Public Safety Committee
The council also unanimously approved formation of a new Public Safety Committee, similar to an earlier committee whose two-year term expired in February. Seven appointed members will serve staggered terms. (The city's police chief and fire chief or their designees are also voting members of the committee.) Application forms are available at the City of Piedmont website and are due by March 23.
The committee will focus mainly on community involvement in crime prevention and earthquake preparedness. It will meet at least quarterly.
Piedmont Police Chief John Hunt III asked the council to make it clear that the committee is not "a citizens' review board" and will not be involved in disciplinary actions involving police officers.
"Citizens don't have the education for the most part to know what officers' [legal and labor contract] rights are," Hunt said.
AT&T Wireless Equipment
After the evening's most lengthy discussion, council members voted 3-2 (with Fujioka and Garrett Keating dissenting) to allow three new antennae and other equipment to be added to AT&T Mobility's current array on a PG&E tower at 275 Sandringham Rd., near Estates Drive.
The Piedmont Planning Commission had recommended approval of the AT&T application.
The new equipment will provide for 4G data downloads, rather than voice communication, and will serve at least 300 households, AT&T representatives said.
Discussion centered on the tower's proximity to Corpus Christi School and on whether AT&T and the city had adequately explored alternative locations, especially a PG&E tower on the Oakland side of Park Boulevard.
Under federal law, individual cities are not permitted to consider potential health effects of cellular equipment when considering applications to install cellular equipment.
Community Pool Fees and Schedule
Council members voted 4-1 to approve new fees and and scheduling for the Piedmont Community Pool, as recommended by the city's Recreation Commission.
Garrett Keating dissented, after asking city staff and fellow council members to consider fee changes. The new fee schedule includes "the highest day rate in the East Bay" and the cost of annual and seasonal passes is below what other nearby cities charge, he said.
City staff said they would like to try out the new fees and schedules for a full operating year before making changes to the proposal. They raised concerns that a lower day use fee would cut into sales of annual passes.
Piedmont Education Foundation Lease
Council members approved 4-0 the second reading of an ordinance covering the lease of office space in the to the Piedmont Educational Foundation (PEF). The lease will go into effect in 30 days. Councilmember Bob McBain, who is on the PEF board of directors, left the council chambers during the discussion and voting on the lease.
City Manager Geoffrey Grote noted that the lease includes provisions for the PEF to use the entire Veterans Memorial Building for two events per year at no additional rent or charge (although the PEF will pay any extra costs, such as janitorial services); for the PEF's agreement that it will not object to noise from other uses (such as Jazzercise classes); and for the city to cover utility costs for the office space.
The PEF will pay an initial rent of $1,288 per month, increasing in steps to $1,450 by 2017.
Bill Drumm, the PEF's secretary and assistant treasurer, said that the foundation is looking forward to its move from the to the Veterans Memorial Building in part because "the sewer overflowed again in the community center."