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 From:   Saccio, Joe  Sent:   Mon 04/27/2009 5:42 PM
 To:   Council Agenda Email
 Cc:   
 Subject:   Responses to Councilmembers Agenda Inquiries for April 27, 2009
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The City Manager has asked me to forward these responses to Councilmember Klein’s and Councilmember Kishimoto’s agenda questions.  

 

Joe Saccio

 

 

CM Klein on Item 7:

 

Item 7: Cubberley Community Center Wing “I” Elevator Upgrade

Question:

What was the engineer's estimate for this project?

 

Staff Response: The Engineer's Estimate for the project, which was prepared in August 2008, was $365,984 based upon then prevailing market conditions. As with most projects which have been bid recently this low bid of $244,977 is significantly below the original estimate, which was prepared prior to the recent onset of competitiveness among contractors due to current economic conditions.

 

CM Kishimoto on Items 5 and 13

 

Item 5: street rehab

Question:

Is California Avenue repaving fully funded?

Staff Response:

The Resolution Authorizing the Filing of an Application for ARRA funds applies to San Antonio Avenue and Lytton Avenue only.  The resurfacing project expected to begin this summer will include these streets in addition to resurfacing California Avenue as part of the same contract.

 

Item 13: update on environmental initiatives

a. p. 6: Baylands conservation plan.  Can we make first chapter available on-line or to interested public since it will be a little while until plan is completed?

Staff Response:

Yes, this information can and will be posted on the Baylands web page.  Thank you for the suggestion.

 

b. p. 7: cool commute:  what is the breakdown in commute mode for city employees?

Staff Response:

Our 2009 employee survey just concluded last Friday.  We should have the report from 511.org by the third week of May, which will include an update on employee commute modes. The 2007 employee commute survey provided a breakdown as follows: a) drive alone: 67%; b) transit: 6%; c) vanpool: 1%; d) bicycling: 6%; e) carpooling: 14%; and f) walking: 1%.  Another 6% of employees reported using a compressed work week day off or telecommuting. However, the 318 respondents (out of more than a thousand) were not a random sample of more than 1000 benefits-eligible employees, so the breakdown for the respondents almost certainly underestimated the overall drive alone rate as well as the percentage using vanpools, and the percentage bicycling was definitely an overestimate. 

 

c. How much do we offer in monthly commute incentive (tax credit etc) vs. what is allowable now?  When are we going to update this?

Staff Response:

The City’s employee alternative commute program is available to all benefits-eligible employees who choose an alternative to driving solo to and from work 60% or more of their workdays in a given month.  The following outlines the existing commute incentives for each mode:

 

Transit:   2008 average participants = 32

City’s current monthly commute incentive is $35 - $40 as a tax free Commuter Check.

Federal tax –free maximum was just increased from $130 to $230 (can be combination of monthly incentive from employer and a pre-tax salary reduction by employee).

 

Vanpool:   2008 average participants = 25

City’s current monthly commute incentive is $60 per participant as a tax free Commuter Check for those using a registered vanpool to get to and from work 60% or more of their workdays. 

 Federal tax-free maximum was just increased from $130 to $230 (can be combination of monthly incentive from employer and a pre-tax salary reduction by employee).

 

Bicycling: 2008 average participants = 11

City’s current monthly commute incentive is $20 per month as a taxable addition to salary for qualifying months.

The IRS has just issued guidelines for the new Qualified Bicycle Commuting Reimbursement under section 132(f), which will allow a tax-free reimbursement of $20 per month under specified conditions.  We are in discussions with the commute benefit providers and hope to become one of the first Bay Area employers to offer the new benefit as tax-free vouchers to qualifying employees.

 

Carpool:  2008 average participants =  56

City’s current monthly commute incentive is $30 per month as a taxable addition to salary for qualifying months.  There is no tax-free program for this commute option.

 

Walking: 2008 average participants = 1

City’s current monthly commute incentive is $20 per month as a taxable addition to salary for qualifying months.  There is no tax-free program for this commute option.

 

 When are we going to update this?

Staff Response:  At the direction of the City Manager, staff is developing recommendations for changes to the incentives currently offered. Staff expects to present updated recommendations by the fall of 2009.

 

d. p. 9:  LED lighting.  What happened to the streetscape and lighting project for California Ave -- can I get a quick update?

Staff Response:

Staff has been working with CAADA on the streetscape design and will meet again on May 13 to present the final design package, which includes over 40 new trees, tree grates, replacing existing bike racks with new “U” racks, adding up to an additional 20 new bike racks, replacing existing benches and adding new trashcans that contain a space for recycling.  Staff did extensive research on LED lighting and found limited applications that would work for Cal Avenue, given that the exiting poles spacing is for higher freeway-style lights and few acorn-style LEDs could provide the required illumination at that spacing.  Installing new foundations with closer light spacing was not feasible given that the existing conduit is too old and fragile to be relocated.  Ultimately, the cost for new lights (LED or conventional) was such that the CIP budget could not cover both lights and trees and the CAADA board preferred new trees over new lights.  LED technology and aesthetics/selection will improve greatly in the new few years and a new CIP for LED lights (possibly combined with replacing the existing conduit) could be brought forward in the future.