Letter to the Editor | Pool is vital to community; vote YES on UU

There is no better time to rebuild the Piedmont Pool by passing Measure UU on November 3rd. Our 56-year-old community pool is already closed for health and safety reasons and will soon to be closed permanently due to age-related deterioration, equipment failures, and the loss of 3,000 gallons of water each day. Having a pool for our families and our schools is not a luxury, it is a vital part of our community and an expected city amenity – one that countless children and families and have enjoyed since the early 1960s.

  • Repairing the current pool doesn’t make fiscal sense as it would cost millions and would only buy a few more years of sub-standard usage. That’s not a good return on investment in our city’s infrastructure, nor a long-term solution for this public resource.
  • Measure UU will authorize the City of Piedmont to issue general obligation municipal bonds to pay for the construction of a safe, sustainable, and affordable pool facility to serve Piedmont families, students, and seniors for the next 50 years.  The city could borrow up to $19.5 million, depending on the final design and cost of the pool.
  • The bonds would be issued after the design and costs have been finalized.  The bonds would be repaid over 30 years through property tax assessments and the City would not be pledging any funds for the repayment of these bonds –  not transfer taxes or any other City funds.  The cost of the loan would be spread throughout the entire City and make it the most affordable way to finance the project.  The interest rate on the bonds would be locked in when the bonds are issued, likely within the next year or two. Current interest rates are near historic lows and are projected to remain attractive. 
  • If Measure UU passes, there will be community input and oversight as the conceptual plans are further developed. Those concerned about the project design should continue to be involved.

It’s time to rebuild the Piedmont Pool. Please join me in voting Yes on Measure UU.

3 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor | Pool is vital to community; vote YES on UU

  1. The pool concept on which the bond level was set can be found at

    https://piedmont.ca.gov/UserFiles/Servers/Server_13659739/File/Government/Departments/City%20Clerk/Pool%20Documents/OperationalAquaticsMasterPlan652017.pdf

    That design triples the size of the current pool. A very rudimentary sustainability analysis of that design shows the pool will not meet the Climate Action Plan goal that all new city facilities be zero net energy. A smaller pool might meet this standard but the bond level is scaled for the larger pool so its difficult to see how the pool size can be scaled back.

  2. The design is still a concept and will no doubt be changed in multiple ways once Measure UU passes. People should voice their opinions, so Piedmont gets a sustainable, cost-conscious pool that meets our needs for the next 50+ years

  3. A great deal of information on the pool is available on the city website:
    https://piedmont.ca.gov/community___events/projects/piedmont_community_pool

    As to the costs for repairing the current pool, the most definitive estimate is in the 10/15/18 Condition report:

    Assuming a consistent operational deficit (a conservative assumption), altogether, over the next five years, the City would spend upwards of 1.65 million dollars to maintain status quo. Assuming no catastrophic failure of the pool vessel structures themselves, in ten years the City would spend 4.5 million dollars or more and continue to be faced with a large operational shortfall.

    The sustainability of the proposed pool can best be assessed by the Operational Analysis:
    https://piedmont.ca.gov/UserFiles/Servers/Server_13659739/File/Government/Departments/City%20Clerk/Pool%20Documents/OperationalAquaticsMasterPlan652017.pdf

    The Green Tech section of that presentation provides a very preliminary assessment of the sustainability of the pool, concluding a 3000 sq ft solar array would provide 5% of the needed electricity of the facility and a 600 sq ft solar tube array 55% of the needed pool heating, implying that natural gas would be needed for the other 45%. The current pool represents over half of municipal Green House Gas (GHG) emissions in Piedmont so a tripling of the pool size could easily double city GHG emissions. The city’s Climate Action Plan calls for all new city facilities to be zero net energy (ZNE) so this is the sustainability standard the pool should be designed to achieve. The recent STEAM building across the street will be.

    The conceptual design of the pool does seem to address the needs of the major stakeholders who participated in its design, namely swim teams and lap swimmers. The design seems to accommodate simultaneous team practice and lap swimming with the “stretch” design and bulkhead. But it does so at the expense of a larger pool that is unlikely to achieve the city’s ZNE goal. Regarding future discussions of the projects design, are proponents open to a smaller pool that can achieve that goal?

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