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October 25, 2019


Bruce Dickinson

Bruce Dickinson has been saying this for years, and a $60 million dollar rec center is not going to ameliorate the situation.

Folks, that rec center is $2,300+ and rising per square foot construction costs on land that is already owned and will be erected at the very peak of real estate development and labor costs which is undoubtedly the reason for the giant escalations.

The time to invest in capital infrastructure is during the recession where all those costs will be far less.

A corporate or business mindset would result in big improvements on the timing and allocation of capital!

Now you know why I was paid the big buck$!


Yes; but as much time as our elders and children spend at the old rec center possibly inhaling asbestos is scary. Now let us study relocating City Hall after selling the land to a developer. I would like to see another condo project similar to the one across the street from City Hall. Then we can relocate City Hall somewhere else. You figure it out where.

Andrew Peceimer

When I ran for city council in 2013 I wanted to replace the big spenders Brownrigg and Keighran. My concern was why are we funding projects like the approximate $20 million Burlingame Ave beautification when we should be paying down debt. Brownrigg and Keighran could not wait to spend the street beautification money.

Then last year, with the newer council members including Beach and Coulson they wanted us all to pass measure I, increased sales tax. It was promoted in Big Print as more police and road repairs. In Little Print the sales tax campaign ad also mentioned a new rec center.

Could it have been that the council knew if the voters were told the majority of the new tax was going to be used for a new rec center and not police and road repair the measure would not have passed? Were they misleading us with the campaign advertising?

Lisa Goldman the City Manager recently confirmed there the city has only hired one new police officer. I doubt any improvements have been done to El Camino since it is a highway.

It is my opinion the council members were not forth coming as to what they really wanted to use Measure I money for, which was a new rec center.

Ever since the current city council came into office they have this grand dream of spending our money on new projects instead of paying down large amounts of long term debt.

If I remember correctly the new proposed rec center budget was initially in the 20-25 million dollar range. Does anyone know what it has ballooned to now? I have heard rumors of 60 million.

Ironically, Michael Brownrigg is now running for State Senate. Can anyone explain why we would vote for Brownrigg to be a State Senator?


Andrew, you and I were on the same page regarding Measure I


The latest Rec Center budget was $58.3 million


And Lorne has done an admirable job of tracking the financing costs here


where he notes:

During this Monday’s Council meeting, the Finance Director confirmed the forthcoming bonds have yet to be rated by the credit rating agencies (AAA upgrade was for the city’s outstanding pension obligation bonds, and any general obligation bonds- for which the city has currently has nothing outstanding). The city’s financial advisory firm is assuming a 3.5% interest rate; this seems a tad conservative given AA to AAA 30 year muni bonds are currently yielding closer to 2-2.5%. That said, we won’t know what the actual interest rate will be until the bonds are issued next month. But, assuming a 2-2.5% rate, the total interest on a $40MM bond issue would be about $14 million. So now getting closer to a total project cost of $70 million. Hope the magnitude and scale of this project/spending level will be worth it.

Just for accuracy sake, the Burlingame Ave streetscape was in the $16-7 million dollar range with one-third coming from Ave. property owners, one-third from storm drain funds and one-third from an increase in parking meter rates.

Also, there has been some improvement regarding ECR just in the last month or so!!!!


Account Deleted

Joe- Just to clarify, the current estimated construction cost for the new rec center is $52 million (it was $58 million at one point, but the city council has been trying to value engineer it down- originally to a cap of $50 million, but they recently approved another $2 million of staff recommended add-ons. I mentioned this in a recent comment in the second link you posted above).

With regard to debt financing to help pay for new center, the Council just approved a $40 million bond issue, with a 30 year term (which was previously assumed to be a 20 year term, per an earlier report by the city's financial advisory firm). The advisory firm is estimating a 3.5% interest rate. 3.5% seems kind of high in the context of current yields for 30-year AA-AAA rated municipal bonds. That said, perhaps rates are higher for lease revenue bonds, which are what the city will be issuing.

If the rate turns out to be in the 3.5% range, that translates to a total interest cost of approximately $25 million. So, therefore, the total project cost estimate would be $77 million ($52 million construction cost plus $25 million of debt interest cost).

Again, keep in mind this is just for the upfront capital costs, i.e., it doesn't include the ongoing operating costs of the new rec center.


Thank you as always, Lorne. I stand corrected, but yet I also believe that any major public construction project is most likely to run 10% over. There is good data on that ;-(

So let's just call it $58 mil +$25 mil + operating costs (mostly constant window washing of the "glass box". Just kidding, Council).

Andrew Peceimer

Wouldn't it be great if we had council members who actually cut spending instead of increasing spending?

It is interesting that most all of the council members were born in well to due families and or have a significant other producing income . Maybe if we elected self made type people who came from nothing out tax money would be spent more efficiently.

Andrew Peceimer

Also, did anyone else see into the misleading advertising when Measure I was proposed? Who really believe it was all about roads and police?

How could anyone trust the current city council after this devious boon doogle?

Should we call the new Rec Center the "Wreck Center" thanks to the current city council?

Maybe Brownrigg could add this to his State Senate Campaign qualifications and help further raise taxes on the entire state of California?


I thought there was a committee that assures that the money is distributed in correct or equal percentages to police, pot holes and parks? They were appointed right after the measure passed? Will try and confirm and get back to you. Also, El Camino is maintained by the State,not the City. The City did do some work, but it's the States responsibility to do major repairs.

Andrew Peceimer


I sugest you and anyone else to ask the current council members where and how much the additional money from Measure I has been spent.

My understanding is the 1 additional police employee vis around $200,000 per year.

I don't have the specifics of where the rest of the money has been spent.

This should be a campaign issue but I have seen anyone speaking about it. If anyone gets the information please post.


Since I signed up for the Burlingame PD reports I have been surprised at the amount of crime that happens here every single day. Granted, most COB crimes seem petty. However, if you are a victim of a crime, it is pretty scary.
$200,000.00 for one cop, per year seems reasonable.
On the other hand, Fire Dept. Personnel are incredibly over paid.

9/11 happened a long time ago.

Contact COB HR and ask for the pay/benefit package for one single COB Fireman.(It is all public Information)

I guarantee you will be shocked.

Especially considering a Fireman 2-3 day work schedule per week.
Overtime pay? $700.00-$1100.00 per hour?

Do not take it from me, ask any COB Policeman.
The COB can afford it, so that is Good.
Forget about sending your kids to Stanford, CA.
Send them to Fire Science, Law Enforcement School...
No Student Loans to Pay off Either.


I did ask Andrew and there is a citizen advisory committee that decides where the funds go. So far the City has received about $2million. $250000 (with benefits) went to add a police officer. About $1million went to rec center and the balance went to the sidewalks as the City is now NOT going to charge residents for sidewalk repairs. As more money comes in, more will be done.

It don't come easy

I'll vote for Andrew Peceimer if he runs for office.

andrew peceimer

LAURA thanks for your information post.

IT DON'T COME EASY, Clearly I am a very good politician. I enjoy speaking my honest opinion, don't like misleading people, and wasting taxpayers money.

Account Deleted

Re: the new rec center, the above posts/figures do not include the cost of a temporary facility while the new building is being constructed. Here are some initial, additional costs per the agenda for this coming Monday's Council meeting (this is just for power service; not sure what the other associated costs are/will be):

"Adoption of a Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to Execute an Agreement with S.R. Bray, LLC. DBA Power Plus for the Power Service to the Temporary Recreation Facilities During the Construction of the New Community Center at an Installation Cost of $75,880.20, a Monthly Cost of $405.00, and an Add-alternate Cost of $7,546.96, City Project No. 83240"

Also on the consent agenda is an item related to a change regarding city properties that will be pledged as collateral for the forthcoming approx. $40 million bond issue. Originally, the library and its adjacent parking structure were being pledged, but it was subsequently discovered that they are already pledged against other outstanding debt. So, the city has to substitute them for other city-owned property (which are apparently yet to be identified):

Adoption of a Resolution of the City Council of the City of Burlingame " Authorizing the Substitution of Facilities Subject to the Facility Lease and Sublease Associated With the Lease Revenue Refunding Bonds, Series 2010, and Approving the Taking of All Necessary or Desirable Actions in Connection Therewith"


How is it that the majority of Burlingame people do not care about "anything" that happens regarding MEGA COB Investments?
1. EVERYONE believes they will move elsewhere soon. Very Soon.
2. Nobody cares about "anything" outside of their "Circle of Trust."
3.Everyone within the "Circle" is aware, that when they get Sick, or loose all their money, EVERYONE else in the "Circle" will step over, and away of friends and family.
What is wrong with people?


By the way, when is the COB Christmas Tree Lighting?

Jennifer Pfaff

It's on Friday, December 6th, from 5-9pm. I'm not sure when the actual tree lighting is, but think it's usually around 5:30 (?). Stay warm:)!


You should "Circle" around to the Mills mental health clinic.


Oh,I have missed you so much.
In case we do not meet before TG,
Happy Thanksgiving.

Account Deleted

The bond prospectus for the new community center project is now available, so we have more clarity about the bond interest cost: $28.5 million (see page #9: https://emma.msrb.org/ES1330850-ES1038233-ES1441235.pdf).

Along with the current estimated construction cost of $52 million, this brings the total project cost to $80.5 million.

However, the $80.5 million figure does not include $212 thousand in bond issuance costs, plus $91 thousand in bond underwriting fees (page #4 of the prospectus).

Moreover, per this coming Monday’s council meeting, a temporary rec facility (while the new center is being constructed) is estimated to cost $183 thousand for installation, with an additional monthly cost of $15 thousand. The new center is expected to be completed in April 2022, so assuming the monthly payments start in Jan. 2020, the aggregate of the monthly payments is $420 thousand.

Adding everything together brings the grand total for the new center closer to $81.4 million. Let’s hope this level of spending is worth it.

Account Deleted

Per my post above, here’s the link to the community center bond prospectus in case the other one doesn’t work:



While we all ponder the impact of the coronavirus on travel, events and the economy as we are washing our hands for 20 seconds, here is a B'game data point.

The 3Q19 Sales Tax report for the city:

suggests we take in about $580K per quarter from hotels and restaurants. That is not the only downside exposure by a long shot, but it could be quite immediate.

Bruce Dickinson

Joe, it's game over for the hotel industry, which will be hit really hard this year (and potentially next). Virtually every company is prohibiting non-essential travel and many tourists are cancelling vacations. As airport oriented hotels primarily serve business travelers, you will see occupancy cut by 60%-70% especially at first.

Bruce Dickinson has been warning, for many years, for Burlingame not to get complacent with revenue streams and save for rainy days, especially as the city is highly levered to economic cycles (retail), real estate and travel. While nobody predicted the coronavirus, yours truly did predict that some day, the music is gonna stop and Burlingame's economy is gonna be vulnerable, just like it was in 2008 and in 2000. The revenue drop offs during those downturns were quite severe.

$60 million dollar rec centers have to be seriously re-considered, especially as Burlingame continues to have large unfunded pension and healthcare liabilities. You get the wrong timing:, peak of cycle construction costs, high borrowing needs, and a tax revenue fall off right as a recession starts and we have a very different financial picture emerging.

Bruce Dickinson is a big fan of the "fortress balance sheet"...I know because it helped me weather numerous economic cycles the last 50 years, and emerge even stronger after each recession!!!

Prudence and Patience Pays, folks!


There is No way this World Wide event(Corona) could have been predicted.
Nevertheless, the Removal/Replacement of a Recreation Center at 60 Million Plus is wrong.
-The Location
-The Need
-The Cost
-The Banking Industry will be in Flux until the next US Election.(COB losing Money hand over Fist.)
As I recall, more than 50% of Burlingame Voters have no idea how this project started.

This is what happens when people do not vote.

How about the next earthquake.
As per BD-
No Hotel, Airline, Restaurant, Car Rental, tax income at all. In the mean time, City of Burlingame Public Works, Police, Park Dept., Fire Dept., will continue to be funded.

60 Million Dollar Recreation Center.

You have to admit everybody, 60 Million Dollars is a lot to pay for attending a Square Dancing Class, Spanish Class for 3-5 year old's, Yoga, Day Care for the City of San Mateo Children, last but not least, "Cooking with your Crock Pot."
(The Crock Pot Class must be worth $3-5 Million)
Contact you City of Burlingame Elders ASAP.

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