In the name of keeping the Community Pool project moving forward and ready for further unexpected costs, the Piedmont City Council on Monday voted to take $1 million from the city’s Facilities Capital Fund in order to fortify the pool’s construction and contingency budgets – bringing the total project budget to almost $30 million.
The council’s formal actions Monday night included taking $800,000 from the city’s Facilities Capital Fund and adding it to the approved pool project construction (“hard costs”) contingency budget of $24,291,550, bringing that budget to $25,091,550; and taking another $200,000 from that same fund and adding it to the “soft costs” (project management, architecture and design services, geotechnical services, site survey, environmental services, and other non-physical material expenditures) contingency budget, making for a new contingency budget total of $4,876,000. That makes the new overall project budget $29,967,550.
With its official construction start date of December 2022, the work is now more than 50 percent complete. The expected completion date is October 2024. However, City Administrator Rosanna Bayon Moore told the council unforeseen conditions and situations have been encountered since breaking ground – “impediments to progress,” she called them – including utility delays, buried fuel tanks, and contaminated soil that have forced the need to increase the contingency costs for actual construction and for the various “soft costs.”
Both Bayon Moore and Public Works Director Daniel Gonzales said moving fast on this budget infusion could help avoid costly delays.
“That’s the point of the urgency, to keep things moving,” Gonzales said.
Added Bayon Moore, “We anticipated that these dollars will get this project across the finish line.”
The biggest single source of funding for the pool project has been Measure UU bond funds – $24,418,577, as approved by Piedmont voters in November 2020. The second biggest block of funding has been from the Piedmont Recreational Facilities Organization, at $2.1 million.
Councilman Tom Ramsey received reassurances from Bayon Moore that using city Facilities Capital Fund money on the swimming pool will not mean another city project will lose money. No money in the Facilities Capital Fund, Bayon Moore said, has been designated for any particular project.
This money was not available at the time of 2023-24 budget adoption, and thus was not programmed for specific projects. But in October, at Bayon Moore’s recommendation, the council acted to have $1.5 million in Facilities Capital Fund money available to support the Community Pool project should it be needed in the future. And Monday night, the council decided it was needed.
The city’s staff report on this can be seen at https://tinyurl.com/4vcyjxbt
Five-year agreement for license plate-reading cameras, maintenance
The City Council also voted unanimously to approve a five-year, $677,100 contract with Georgia-based Flock Safety, with whom the city has had a two-year agreement. That agreement is set to expire at the end of December.
Police Chief Jeremy Bowers told the council Monday that the 39 license-plate-reading cameras the city has been leasing from Flock have proven to be an effective technology is detecting vehicles coming into Piedmont that have either been involved in a crime or have been reported stolen.
In November, Bowers said the city’s system of Automatic License Plate Reader cameras had resulted in 23 arrests and recovery of 52 stolen or otherwise wanted vehicles in the first three quarters of 2023; he called the cameras “a very good tool for us.” The new contract calls for Flock to add nine new ALPRs to Piedmont’s system; where they will be placed has not yet been determined, Bowers said.
Vice Mayor Betsy Smegal Andersen noted that the city’s budget falls a bit short when it comes to paying for this contract each of the next four years – anywhere from $25,000 to $34,000 short each year. That money, city Finance Director Michael Szczech said Monday, has to be found somewhere, via new revenue or cuts.
“There is no magic,” Szczech told the council.
Contact Sam Richards at email@example.com
This article was updated on Dec. 19 with additional information about the Facilities Capital Fund and on Dec. 20 to include the current expected completion date of October 2024.