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Feb 02

That's A Wrap! - February 1, 2017

Posted on February 2, 2017 at 10:46 AM by grodericks grodericks

Thats A Wrap Logo

Council Meeting Date: February 1, 2017
Video Link:

The City Council met for the February Study Session (also a Joint Meeting with the Civic Center Advisory Committee) on Wednesday, February 1 beginning at 4 pm.

First up on the Study Session Agenda was Item No. 1 - a Review of the Civic Center Project History. The History Paper was a collaborative effort of staff, Chair Steve Dostart, Vice Chair Rose Hau, Member Clive Merredew, and Council Liaisons Rick DeGolia and Elizabeth Lewis.

IMG_2118.JPGStaff did not go through the document in detail, but rather highlighted the progression of the project from the early Master Plan phase to today. It was noted that as the project moved from the early Master Plan phase consisting of box-shaped buildings with limited to no architectural design elements and limited program knowledge to the more defined program needs and architectural design, size and cost became more defined. Examples include lobby space, Council Chambers, elevator, stairwells, etc. that were not defined in the early design phase and more defined as the project moved forward. Staff noted that the best comparative would be the 2016 Schematic Design where the Town had more programmatic details nailed down to now where we have a better idea of actual building design - contingencies have also been reduced. 

2013 - Preliminary Master Plan Admin/PD/CDD Library
Estimated Construction Cost $35.5m $6.4m
Gross Square Feet 62,795 10,977
2014 - Revised Master Plan  
Estimated Construction Cost $15m $8.1m
Gross Square Feet 24,457 10,977
2015 - Conceptual Design Plan
Estimated Construction Cost $22.5m $10.7m
Gross Square Feet 27,742 10,786
2016 - Schematic Design Plan  
Estimated Construction Cost $25.1m $10.3m
Gross Square Feet 32,753 10,014
2016 - 50% Design Development
Estimated Construction Cost $21.7m $14.9m
Gross Square Feet* 30,266 10,015
2017 - 100% Design Development    
Estimated Construction Cost (TBD - Feb 15)    
Gross Square Feet* 30,923 9,876
* Includes approximately 2,000 sf for secure police parking lot facilities for storage of evidence, property, and motorcycles.

Staff noted that the Library was reduced from 10,014 gross square feet to 9,876; but, now that its design elements and site work have been clearly identified in scope, the construction cost estimate increased from $10.3 million to $14.9 million (at 50% Design Development). Staff noted that there are current and projected funds available in the Library Fund sufficient for the project's estimated cost. 

Civic Center Fair Oaks Facade
The Admin/PD/CDD Building was reduced from 32,753 GSF to 30,923 GSF and the cost estimate decreased from $25.1 million to $21.7 million (at 50% Design Development). Staff does not yet know the cost estimate at 100% Design Development. This will be presented at the February 15 Council Meeting. It is anticipated that the cost will increase, but it is unknown at this time what that increase will be. As with prior estimates, the more detailed the plans are the more accurate the cost estimate. 

The Council reviewed the History Paper and discussed the various elements of the project related to how the project has evolved over time, peer reviews, space needs and program review, evolution of the "town green", quality design, and value engineering opportunities at the next phase. It was noted that it is important to carefully review value engineering decisions to ensure that the core concept of the facility is maintained. 

Item No. 2 was a Review, Discussion, and Feedback Regarding Funding Status and Options for the Civic Center Project - directly related to Measure L. Here, the City Manager presented the staff report walking the Council through the funding status of the project at the 50% Design Development Cost Estimate level - for the Administration, Police Department, and Community Development Building only. The City Manager outlined the various supporting funds available to fund the project if revisions to Measure L were successful.

Civic Center Project Funding Plan  
Project Design Costs $2,590,000 
Project Construction Costs (estimated) $21,847,000
Total Project Cost and Funding Need $24,437,000 
Estimated Funds from Atherton Now (as of Jan 2017) ($7,000,000) 
Remaining Funding Need $17,437,000 
Applicable Building Revenue Funds  ($2,935,000) 
Remaining Funding Need $14,502,000

At this point, the Council determined that to apply any other available funds, Measure L must be revised to allow the expenditure of General Funds toward the project. The Council was clear that the Town's mandatory 35% reserves be maintained. The unallocated funds discussed below DO NOT include expenditure of these reserves nor do they include a new tax or the Parcel Tax. 

Unallocated Surplus Funds  
- Unallocated General Funds ($4,423,138)
- Unallocated Capital Improvement Funds ($4,663,980)
Remaining Funding Need $5,414,882
Unallocated ERAF Funds (FY 2016/17, FY 2017/18, & FY 2018/19) ($3,103,185)
Remaining Funding Need $2,311,697

Staff recommended that the funding plan for the remaining $2.3 million be met through (in order of priority):

1) Increased donations from the private donors
2) Excess General Fund Revenues over Expenditures during the next 3 FYs of the Project
3) Issuance of Certificates of Participation

The Council discussed the funding plan and concurred with the plan and the priority of additional funds to close the funding gap. The Council asked a few questions regarding Certificates of Participation and staff will engage a consultant to attend an upcoming Council meeting to advise the Town on the process for issuance of the financing option. Further, the Council agreed that a key component to the success of the Civic Center Project and the funding plan was that the Town's Parcel Tax continue in its current form to support the continued use of funds for necessary capital projects related to streets and drainage. 

The Council then moved on to a discussion of a possible ballot measure in June to change the funding restrictions under Measure L to allow the Town to use General Funds for its building capital requirements similar to how the Town funds other capital improvements. At this point in the meeting, the City Attorney advised that a recent California Supreme Court decision clarified how advisory ballot measures work under California law. The City Attorney noted that while the Council's intent with Measure L and indeed the City Attorney's analysis at the time was that Measure L would be a binding measure, California law rendered it advisory only.

After brief discussion, the consensus of the Council was that it did not matter whether Measure L was binding or advisory since the Town acted as if it were binding. Staff advised that from the passage of Measure L forward, all expenditures related to the Project have been consistent with the provisions of the Measure. The Council noted its intent to return the question back to the community in June for another advisory vote with respect to the Project moving forward asking the community if the Town should supplement private donations with the use of available surplus General Funds. 

The Council briefly discussed verbiage for the measure and the Mayor assigned an Ad Hoc Subcommittee of Council Member DeGolia and Vice Mayor Wiest to work with staff to return language for consideration and adoption at the February 15 Council Meeting. 

Following a brief conversation about what a campaign might look like moving forward and the timelines for a June election, the Council asked for final public comments and moved toward adjournment. 

After Adjourning the Study Session at 5:25 pm, that, as they say - was a wrap!

The next meeting of the City Council is the Regular Meeting of February 15. The Agenda tentatively includes a Public Hearing on the Drone Ordinance, Mid-Year Budget Report, Calling of the Special Election for June 6, 2017, and the Civic Center 100% Design and Cost Estimate Approval. 

George_2.jpgThanks for reading!

George Rodericks
City Manager
Town of Atherton