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November 04, 2018

Comments

hollyroller@gmail.com

Dear Joe/Russ,
How are "Vulgar/Irrelevant Comments" determined?
I love this site and it provides lots of fun, as well as important information.
How is the Editing done?
That's all.

Editor

It's done very well, thank you.

hollyroller@gmail.com

Touché'

Lorne

Just an update: The City Council has been trying to “value engineer” the overall project cost to a max of $50 million. However, during the most recent council discussion on July 1, an additional $2 million of staff-recommended add-ons were approved, bringing the new total estimate to $52 million. Coincidentally, it was announced at the council meeting that a capital campaign committee has been formed to raise $2-$2.5 million in private donations.

Importantly, the above $52 million estimate does not include the interest cost of an eventual $30 million bond issue to partially pay for this project (this is the max capacity the city has to debt finance using $ from the Measure I sales tax and additional contributions from the general fund).

Assuming an average 20 year bond issue (consistent with a previous assumption by the city’s financial advisory firm, PFM) and a 2% interest rate (in-line with current investment grade municipal bond rates), the interest cost could be about $7 million, bringing the total project cost closer to $60 million. Of course, we won’t know what the interest cost will be until bonds are actually issued, as it will depend on the interest rate environment at the time.

Finally, all of the above relates only to the upfront capital cost. I don’t believe I have ever seen estimates of what the ongoing operating costs of the new center will be.

Here’s the most recent project budget that was presented at the July meeting:

https://burlingameca.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=F&ID=7339610&GUID=C47F015E-A733-44D3-A8D3-9538C69AABD0

Lorne

Actually, the assumed interest cost would be closer to $6 million in my example above. My apologies.

Just Visiting

With interest rates still at historical lows, isn't now the time to borrow for capital improvements? Isn't that the financially sound approach? Capital improvements ARE expensive, that's why entities borrow and governments bond for them. There's nothing unique about that. Shouldn't our government use this opportunity to undertake those capital projects?

Or, alternatively, should the City simply abandon capital projects, and allow the rec center, City Hall, etc. to continue their deterioration?

Bruce Dickinson

Ok, time for a Bruce Dickinson teaching moment! Far more than the interest cost of capital improvements, the City should be a lot smarter with respect to three things:

1. Not overpay for "trophy" buildings that are setting records in terms of the dollar per square foot constructed. Something more modest may be in order for something such as a rec center that is more in line with what is there now (it can look nice but doesn't have to be the next Trump Tower).

2. The City should engage in aggressive capital improvement programs during a recession or downturn. When you do it a peak of an economic cycle you will overpay for materials, labor, architect fees, etc. We're building this Rec center at the peak pricing of all these things. And guess what? Interest rates tend to be even lower during a recession!

3. While bonds are being raised for this and other projects, the debt service comes from the City. Guess what the City also has to service? The underfunded pension and healthcare liabilities of current and retired city workers. This is also real debt, and when you have too much debt and you can't service it, then guess what happens? you go bankrupt! So there is a real limit to how much Burlingame can effectively borrow, especially considering the gross receipts of sales taxes, occupancy taxes, and property taxes are highly levered to the tech/bubble economy. Look how much revenues went down in 2000-2001 and 2008-2009. There was a lot of nail-biting at City Hall at that time!

Folks, it doesn't take a Captain of Industry, like yours truly, to come up with this stuff. Even Captain Obvious should be able to get it, but I fear that some of our city leadership may not have full the grasp and experience of smart decision making and figuring out the right timing to make those decisions!

Joe

The Playground/Multi-court line item in the original post is now open per the DJ. I saw the multi-court and it took a bit to figure out. This is why:

And the sports area can accommodate full-court basketball games, three pickleball courts and one court for futsal, which is soccer played on a hard surface. The new picnic area is also open and available for rental, said Glomstad.

https://www.smdailyjournal.com/arts_and_entertainment/renovated-burlingame-park-now-open/article_b90704ea-1e28-11ea-99a1-53251a969814.html#utm_source=smdailyjournal.com&utm_campaign=%2Fnewsletters%2Fheadlines%2F%3F-dc%3D1576335614&utm_medium=email&utm_content=read%20more

hollyroller@gmail.com

This Organization/Disorganization sounds very difficult. Depending on who is playing which game when seems like a recipe for conflict.

-Are Court times going to be assigned by the Rec. Dept?
-Are people from other Cities on the Peninsula allowed to use these courts?
-Where will the Corn Hole League be placed?

Laura

Actually, not confusing at all. The way they've done it, works and I for one, am looking forward to playing pickle ball. The corn hole, donated by the Burlingame Park and Rec Foundation is located over by the bocce ball courts. If you haven't seen the new playground, check it out. They did an amazing job. So fun to hear the "screams" of joy coming from the children as you walk by.
Unfortunately, construction costs are skyrocketing in the Bay. Contractors I work with that were quoting $250 to $300 a foot are now doubling that. You can't bulldoze warehouse office space, kicking out all the trades, and replacing it with high rise office and expect costs to stay the same.

Barking Dog

If you look at any artificial turf field around, they have multiple color lines on them for the different sports that use. Yes...for me, from a spectator watching a football, soccer or lacrosse game it took some getting used to, BUT, I have never seen a player confuse the lines for their sport.

Knowing Washington Park like the back of my hand, and all of its little nooks and crannies, for me this new play/picnic area and sports court will just take some getting used to after 50 years of just getting some minor facelifts. I think it is great and well put together with the flow of the park. Yes, some of mine and my dog(s) favorite sniffing spots are gone but new ones can always be found.

I just hope that the trend towards artificial turf surfaces for multiple sports doesn't continue west in the park, and the Main field/baseball diamond become a product of this trend. The baseball field is a treasure and a true sanctuary of Burlingame's past and present. That field should be on the Burlingame Historical Site list...
If turf does ever lay upon that field, I hope I am long gone from this world and never have to see it with my own eyes.

Barking Dog

Holly does raise a good point.

If a group of kids is having a pick up basketball/futsol/pickle ball game, will they be asked to leave because the area was rented out to Facebook for a team building pickleball tournament/BBQ?

hollyroller@gmail.com

One of the reasons I LOVE The Burlingame Voice is that the most Inane, and ridiculous "Non Issues."
This Place is FUN!

Laura

Barking dog, it's a first come first one gets the court. But, if someone is playing basketball on half court, the other half could be pickleball. Will be interesting to see if it works. If anyone rents it, Facebook, local non profits, families, then yes, they would get the court and picnic area for the time rented. That's how It worked before and that hasn't changed. It would be cost prohibitive to turf the baseball field and can't see that happening in our lifetime. They've been trying to turf Bayside fields 3 and 4 for more than ten years and the money is just not there.

Barking Dog

Turfing Bayside 1,2, 3 and 4 makes sense to me. Especially 3/4. Funny how cant find money to turf 3/4 but can find 50+mil and rising, for an over ambitious, way to big Rec Center without a pool or Gym. But had no problem lending the BSD money to returf Osberg and Franklin after the school district failed to maintain properly and shortened the lifespan of the original turf.

Lorne

Barking Dog- Don’t forget to include bond interest and temporary facility costs. The current price tag is closer to $81 million as I detailed here: https://www.burlingamevoice.com/2019/10/bgame-fiscal-risk-yellow.html

Barking Dog

Sorry, thx Lorne!

Cathy Baylock

Barking Dog, I have never been a fan of artificial turf and agree that Washington Field is a treasure. It has been the same since the 1920's and is one of the last historic wooden grandstands in the state.

On another note, this old girl plays co-ed softball each week in Sunnyvale at Twin Creeks and artificial turf is rough on the aging body parts. I know that's selfish, but I grateful Reyna and Sauer fields are still real grass!

hollyroller@gmail.com

Elder Baylock,
How about starting a Co-Ed Softball League In Burlingame?

Cathy Baylock

Hi Holy,
I played ladies softball in Burlingame for 16 years, but we simply did not have the critical mass i.e. enough women to field four teams. Our team, Alana's Cafe would love to be on the field again. Do you know 15 women who play softball?! Thanks for thinking of me!

Lorne

FYI, it was subsequently confirmed that the approximate $600,000 I estimated for the temporary rec facility is included in (not in addition to) the base total project (construction & labor) cost of $52 million. This brings the total estimated cost (including bond interest, bond issuance and underwriting fees) to $80.8 million, instead of $81.4 million. Still in the range of $81 million, as indicated above.

MathMan

Can we do a survey and find out how many kids using the park are residents of 94010? Like who is using the park and why and how often as a way to measure our needs. I am sure the Park Mgmt has current stats on park utilization. Why is it 80% plus of park usage is Washington. Can we distribute this overcrowding to other 94010 parks?

Hollyroller@gmail.com

From experience with the financial operations at The City of Burlingame, I know as do others, there is no such thing as presenting to the Public a break down of expenditures that justify the cost of the Recreation Center. The same goes for the removal and replacement of The City of Burlingame Corporation Yard located on Rollins Road.

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