The City Council on Monday formally authorized borrowing up to $19.5 million, through issuing general obligation bonds, to pay for a new city aquatic center.
Also approved was levying a tax “sufficient to pay such bonds,” though the amount of that tax won’t be known until after the bonds are purchased.
Mike Newman of Hilltop Securities Inc. told the council that the bond interest rate as of Aug. 16, at about 2.4 percent, is lower than the rate in November, when Piedmont voters approved Measure UU to raise money for the Piedmont Community Pool project.
As recommended by city staff and by the city’s Budget Advisory and Financial Planning Committee, the City Council approved a “negotiated sale” of those bonds, which staff says allows the city significant control over timing, sale and distribution of the bonds.
In a companion action Monday night, the council approved issuing requests for proposals for underwriting services and for registrar and paying agent services in connection with getting the bond sale done.
Monday’s votes on these actions were a “first reading;” the votes will become official after a second reading at an upcoming council meeting.
City Administrator Sara Lillevand said launching the bond sale process is the beginning of implementing the voters’ approval of Measure UU.
The City Council in June hired an Irvine-based firm, Griffin Structures, to be the project manager for construction for the Piedmont Community Pool project, which city leaders hope will be completed by mid-2024. In July, the council approved issuing a “request for qualifications / proposals” for professionals to tackle architectural, engineering, planning and design work for the pool project.
The pool project will include both a deep 25-yard “competitive” pool with 10 lap lanes and a shallow recreational pool. The large pool will host competitive swim and water polo meets and practices, as well as lap swim, aquatics camps, clinics and instruction, and recreational swimming and diving.
Plans call for the overall pool project to include a 7,700-square-foot, two-story bathhouse with a reception area, changing/restrooms, concessions and mechanical room on the ground floor, and two multipurpose rooms, office space and an observation deck overlooking the two pools and views of the bay on the second floor.
A Community Pool Advisory Committee was formed in March to provide a community voice into the design and construction of the new pool.
The new pool will replace the existing Piedmont aquatics facility that opened in 1964. The old pool, operated by the City of Piedmont from 2011 until its COVID-19-related closure in March 2020, is literally falling apart, and was leaking an estimated 3,000 gallons of water each day when it was shut down.
In voting for the bond sale-related motions Monday night, Councilmember Betsy Smegal Andersen said she was doing so “with sheer joy and excitement.”
Mayor Teddy Gray King agreed. “I can smell the chlorine now,” she said.
Contact Sam Richards at firstname.lastname@example.org