ECA Newsletter 3-26-18
On Sunday, 3-25-18, the Good Lord decided he needed Glen Ghilotti in Heaven. It is hard for us to understand, since it seemed obvious that Glen was doing so much good here amongst us. Some things just are not for us to understand.
Apparently, Glen had hopped into the cab of a brand-new roll off Team Ghilotti truck, and headed off to the deep south to purchase and bring back another addition to his “railroad” project at Glenhill Farm and Garden. On the way back to Petaluma, in Oklahoma, Glen passed away of natural causes Sunday morning.
Our hearts and prayers go out to Genevieve. Also, our condolences to the entire extended family, and the family of workers at Team Ghilotti. Glen’s children are in our hearts as well-Jennifer, Kevin, Jennilee,Tina and Tom
It is rare that one person can leave such a mark on so many. Glen’s life and work can certainly be looked at as an extension of his dad, Babe’s life in many ways. All that Glen did was wrapped up in giving back to his family, employees, and community. To Glen’s brothers and sister, we share your loss and will enjoy our memories of Glen.
There is some solace for those of us that are left in knowing that Glen had unconditional love in his heart for his wife and family, and he left us doing what he loves to do.
I personally go back some 20 years in my relationship with Glen. I never saw a harder worker, or a more caring individual that gave so generously to his community and his industry. Glen loved, cared, gave, shared, and enjoyed all that he had with all of us.
Rest in Peace Glen.
That’s All Folks-
ECA Newsletter 3-5-18
How Will the Fires Impact Our Local Economy?
On Friday, March 2, 2018, I had the pleasure of attending the SSU/North Bay Business Journal’s Economic Conference in Rohnert Park. Amongst other speakers, Sonoma State Economist Robery Eyler discussed the National economic state, the California economic state, and the local economic state. Eyler talked about where we are, where we are trending, and what to watch in the next few months. Overall, Eyler has established a lot of credibility in deciphering “the tea leaves” and the economic data over the years, so I thought you all might appreciate some of the forecasting points he made on Friday. Also-a shout out to Exchange Bank and North Bay Business Journal (article link) for sponsoring and hosting the event on Friday.
Eyler displayed some forecasts on Gross National Product growth for 2018 by Quarter, unemployment figures for the same period and the more telling statistic (at least to me), was the forecast on Payroll dollars in “000’s”
Here is what Eyler and the “professionals say about the economic factors nationally:
Growth Unemployment Payroll $’s
2018:Q1 3.0% 4.0% 183.3
2018:Q2. 2.9% 4.0% 171.3
2018:Q3. 2.8% 3.9% 168.7
2018:Q4 2.5% 3.8% 151.8
I am no economist, but it seems like real payroll dollars are forecast to be decreasing.
But then, Eyler puts up a slide that shows where the jobs in California are trending from 2017-2026
Health and Education————————up 9.0%
Information services————————up 11.4%
Professional Services———————–up 14.3%
Finance and banking————————up 11.1%
Wholesale/Retail—————————- up 3.8%
Transportation and Utilities —————up 5.7%
Construction ———————————–up 9.0%
Farm and agriculture (non-cannabis)—-down 2.6%
Total Wage and Salary Increase Expected From 2017-2026 = up 7.9%
Then Eyler talked about local impacts due to the fire. Amazingly, the fire and rebuilding has a negligible effect on the overall economy of the local 4 Counties affected. Although a very big deal to those that lost their homes and businesses, it seems like overall the fire and the rebuilding just are too small a part of the overall economy locally.
Eyler concluded that no major recession expected until at least the end of 2020 BUT cautioned the impact of Tariffs and Trade Wars could “bigly” effect that forecast.
Overall-Eyler continues to be “bullish” on our local economy and because we are so diverse, we are in good shape.
GOOD NEWS! You all can spend more on sponsoring ECA Events! Woot Woot!
That’s All Folks!
Be on the lookout!
Truck thieves target Petaluma area.
|Rebuilding Comments and Questions and Concerns About How Long It Is Taking to Get Moving on Housing Starts.
There have been numerous articles and statements about building 26,000 or 30,000 houses in Sonoma County. It seems as if some politicians are saying higher numbers than the local building industry can accommodate. What is the real number of houses going to be rebuilt, what is the real “holdup” in moving forward on permitting and housing starts, and what should we know about the process?
A. General Contractor Inability to Price Housing Costs for Property Owners.
One thing to keep in mind as we “wrestle” with the rebuilding questions. In many of the original home construction processes some 20-40 years ago, there were subdivisions being constructed. Whether it was Coffey Park, Mark West Estates, or Fountaingrove, there were developers that built entire areas of houses. That means the developer was in charge of the land, the customer, and in many cases the financing of the original construction of the houses. Now it is different. There are no developers in charge of any of those three issues. So, contractors have to reinvent a business model to deal with the reality of the situation. They are having trouble figuring out all they need to figure out. They are close, but it has taken some time to get the pricing in place. They have had to go to overtaxed architects, then to overworked subs, then to their own processes and design centers to get staffed and running. It is almost there, but it is not quite there.
B. Property Owners Are Undecided:
Because (at least partly) of “A)” above, property owners have not decided If they can afford to rebuild yet. Under insured is a real problem. Many owners are worried they cannot afford to replace what they had, and are trying to decide what kind of “reset” of their lifestyles and type of home they want to consider. They are indecisive. In some cases, they do not like the original plans of their Coffey Park house that was designed in the 1970’s or 80’s and a 2-story house with lots of stairs does not appeal to them now they are in their 50’s and 60’s. In other cases, their insurance coverage is dictating how many square feet they can afford to build and if too small, they are deciding if they want to pocket their insurance dollars and rent until they retire and relocate. Lots of decisions.
C. Cash is King:
Many of the GC’s are trying to make sure they can afford the increased volume they are being asked to build. Payment draws from the banks are one thing, but lines of credit are quite another. GC’s are finding out there is not one bank that is offering them a complete package on all their cash flow needs so there is a delay as GC’s determine their appetite for risk.
D. Labor Both Hammer in Hand and Drafter in Hand Type Labor:
We keep hearing there is not enough labor to go around with all the building that is needed. It is true that we have lost two generations of workers in the home building area since the 1990’s-the first due to a big push to get kids into colleges and the second due to the recession that started laying off workers in the construction area in 2005. How to deal with the labor shortages? Some builders are deciding to contract with huge framing firms that have hundreds of carpenters or more. Others may choose smaller framing companies and make “sweetheart” deals with them. In either case, there is a need for those framers (and all trades are the same, I am just using framers as an example) to fix their quotes to the GC’s for some finite period (say 6 months out) and then the GC can determine their costs to the property owners. The other type of labor that is in short demand is the architects needed to draft, and the structural engineers needed to determine the calcs once the architect is through with the revisions to their plans. Both are in short supply, and both are delaying GC’s from getting going with housing starts.
For these reasons and others, there is still uncertainty in rebuilding. Things are moving, just lots of moving pieces need to be fixed before actual contract signing and housing starts take place.
ECA Newsletter 1-30-18
There is a lot of news that is pertinent to your businesses right now so, for brevity, I will forsake my “editorial” comments to just bring you some of the issues that are in front of us:
SB-1 And the California Budget;
Last week Governor Brown unveiled his 16th, and last, proposed budget for California. Our good friends at ACEC have written a nice summary of what is included because of the historic passage last June of SB-1. Here is the ACEC summary-
Governor Brown has advised major spending on transportation projects with newly available SB 1 funding. The budget proposal includes $2.8 billion spending on “fix-it-first” investments to repair neighborhood roads state highways, and bridges. Additionally, $556 million are allocated for key trade and commute corridors to support economic growth and $200 million to match locally generated funds for high-priority transportation projects. There is also a $721 million investment in passenger rail and public transit modernization and improvement.
These projects are the direct result of last year’s historic transportation plan. ACEC California was a proud supporter of that plan and will continue to defend it from politically-charged repeal attempts. Our State’s transportation networks need maintenance and new capacity, and ACEC California members are ready to get to work!
SB-1 And Requesting Dollars from the California Transportation Commission;
Although most of what the ECA does for advocacy is at the County and City levels, occasionally the State level is appropriate for the ECA to voice our opinion. Now that Brown has proposed SB-1 expenditures, the time is right to request some local funding from the “effective keeper and distributor of those SB-1 funds- “The California Transportation Commission”. If you click on this link, you can read the letter I am sending on behalf of the ECA to request funds from SB-1 for the Marin-Sonoma Narrows Segment C2 HOV Lanes Gap Closure Project. As part of SB-1, there are funds allocated for “Solutions for Congested Corridors Program (SCCP)” that are available to solve regional congestion. Our Marin Narrows is estimated at $121 Million and we have local funds of $37 Million on hand. The ECA, as well as the SCTA and several other organizations, are requesting $85 Million from the SCCP and we are one of five projects that have requested funding from the SCCP. The timing is right, and the ECA is requesting that our Marin Narrows should be the best of the five projects submitted for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is, that our request is the only one for a “closure” project that would close out a much larger and proven record of projects that have widened Highway 101 since 2004’s Measure M Sales Tax was enacted. Wish us luck!
Regional Measure 3 Going To Voters On June 5;
If you attended the General Membership Meeting in November of 2017, you will recall Jake Mackenzie (Chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission) talking about the likelihood of putting a ballot measure to the voters in June of 2018 that could raise $4.45 Billion for traffic congestion relief in the Bay Area. Here is an update voted on January 24, 2018 by the MTC- On June 5, voters will decide on a $4.45B package of congestion relief projects that in the North Bay would include upgrades to improve Highway 37; complete widening of U.S. 101 to three lanes in each direction through the Narrows; and extend SMART to Windsor and Healdsburg. It would be paid for by a $1 increase in tolls on Bay Area state-owned toll bridges beginning Jan. 1, 2019, with a $1 increase in 2022 and another $1 increase in 2025.
If you would like to read more about this, please click on this link to the MTC-
City of Santa Rosa Active Measure M Projects;
Yesterday, I attended the Sonoma County Transportation Authority Citizens Advisory Committee meeting and was able to hear from the City of Santa Rosa about the status of several projects long discussed. More information can be found by going to the SRCITY.org website and going to the Measure M link.
* Hearn Avenue Interchange Phase 3-this project would add a turn lane Southbound on Highway 101, construct a new bridge over Highway 101 to carry 2 lanes in each direction, and redo the off ramps and approaches to the interchange. The project is estimated to by $23.85 million and the timeline is to be “ready to list” for construction in September of 2019.
* Fulton Road Improvements-this project would go to bid in Phases and the first phase is from Wood Road to Piner Road. No construction estimate is available yet, but the Project is scheduled to be constructed beginning in August of 2020.
That’s All Folks!
Army Corps Of Engineers Crews have finished a milestone-Coffey Creek is completed-click here for the Press Democrat article.
ACOE last week announced there were currently 130 crews working in Napa, Sonoma and Mendo Counties on debris cleanup. The crews were expected to grow to 150 crews as of this week.
ECA Spec Committee-Rebuilding Houses-Coffey Park and other areas will need substantial regrading before contractors can start constructing the houses so needed. Last week at our ECA Specifications Committee meeting, we discussed the details of what is going to be needed to be ready for either a beam and pier construction or a post tensioned slab construction. Because of Code changes, slopes of 5% must be accomplished for pervious (earth) slopes away from the edge of the foundation, and a 2% slope from back to front must collect that runoff from the edge of foundation and carry it out to the front curb. Many of the homesites do not have the needed elevation to accomplish this so fill will have to be brought in. Other complications are the grading needs to cross over property lines or potentially some retaining walls need to be constructed. Also, fencing lines were discussed and there are complications for building fences on property lines that have two different elevations. ECA Spec Committee also discussed preliminary plans being submitted for underground utilities being run under sidewalks and in the streets of Coffey Park in the next year. Needless to say, the debris cleanup is not the end of our ECA Member’s work that needs to be done.
ECA Newsletter 12-28-17
More Updates On Debris Removal
Bits and Pieces:
- Many of you are aware that the ECA, along with several of it’s Members and some residents of Coffey Park, celebrated Christmas a few weeks ago with donations of Christmas trees amongst other things to bring some cheer into the neighborhood. About 80 Christmas trees in all were donated and decorated and we have some responsibility to clean up those trees and recycle them. To that end, I have contacted Dustin Davis who generously agreed to take the trees after January 8 at his site off of Todd Road. Now here is what we need:
- I will contact Ronnie Duvall and ask him if he and his helpers can get the ornaments and lights off of the trees by January 8, 2018.
- I hope someone reading this Newsletter can offer an end dump to haul the trees from Coffey Park to Todd Road. I think we might get all the trees in one load, but it might take two trips.
- I also hope that readers of this newsletter can offer their time to go out and gather all the trees in Coffey Park and get them to the curb and have the end dump travel through the area with some “volunteers” to toss the trees into the truck.
If anyone is interested in helping out, please contact myself or Mary at 707-546-5500. Thank you!
- The debris cleanup for Army Corps of Engineers is nearing 35% complete over the four Counties affected by the fires (Mendocino, Lake, Napa, and Sonoma). Sonoma is the biggest cleanup and is the least percentage completed so far. Sonoma is at around 27% cleaned up (by counting properties).
- The Army Corps has asked for “Best and Final” pricing for the new contract to perform the debris cleanup. We are expecting the Contractor, or Contractors, to be announced any day but certainly before January 2, 2018. The ACOE promises a “surge” once the Contract is finalized.
- We need a “surge” as things seemed to have slowed down a bit on the ACOE side of the cleanup operations. I brought to the attention of the ACOE that Local should mean “local workers and contractors from the affected areas” not local meaning if the Contractor is based in California. It seems we have too few of our local crews and trucks working while lots of out of area trucks and contractors are staying busy. All along we, and the property owners, have been promised local hire would be a priority. I am doing all that I can to assure our local elected and the ACOE do not forget those promises. While we can all agree that this is a monumental job that the ACOE has undertaken, and we appreciate their help, we want the opportunity to clean up our family properties, our friend’s properties, and our community first. Let the out of towners do the work that is too much for us, but if we have guys sitting on the sidelines while out of towners are working, THAT AINT RIGHT!
ECA Newsletter 12-22-17
Updates On Debris Removal
For the past several weeks, I have attended weekly meetings with FEMA, Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), CALOSHA, CALOES, and the EPA in order to get apprised of the latest developments and status of debris removal in Sonoma, Napa, Lake, and Mendo Counties.
I would like to share some Facts that have come out-for brevity, I have shortened the explanation provided by FEMA:
Task Orders were issued by USACE based on “pre-disaster Advanced Contracting Initiatives” Current debris removal task orders have financial limits. ECC, which started debris removal first, is approaching the limit of its task order. AshBritt has also received a task order and will continue to conduct debris removal until their task order reaches its financial limit sometime around January 5, 2018. AshBritt will work in all four counties in which USACE manages debris operations.
- Removal of fire-related debris from structures destroyed by fire in Lake, Mendo, Napa, and Sonoma Counties is managed by USACE and EPA under FEMA direction. The work related to removal of fire-related debris is considered “service related work” in accordance with the FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulation)
- Debris removal contracts are only subject to the Davis-Bacon Act where the debris removal is to be followed by the construction of a public building or public work at the same location by a Federal agency or with Federal grant funds subject to the Davis-Bacon Act. The Davis-Bacon Act does not apply to debris cleanup operations.
- Wages are set in accordance with the Service Contract Act-in the short version of this, wages are developed based on available data that demonstrate the prevailing rates in a specific locality.
- Safety-Level C protective attire will be required on each site. Air monitoring is done continuously. A “Site Safety and Health Officer” is on site at all times. Any concerns with safety or environmental health can be addressed by USACE on their Debris Removal Information Line 877-875-7681
To date, 1185 sites have been cleared in Sonoma County and 557 sites have been “returned to the County” by ACOE. 447,005 tons of debris have been removed in Sonoma County. 4540 Right of Entry forms have been filled out in Sonoma County with 4072 of those processed.
No work will be done on Christmas Day or New Years Day.
That’s All Folks!
Licensed Contractors and Subcontractors:
I have participated in a seminar with the FBI, the District Attorney, and the head of the California State License Board amongst others. We have followed up that original meeting with a telephone conference call on Thursday, 12-22-17. Some of the issues discussed:
- Contractors must possess a valid California Contractors License to do debris cleanup
- A license is required, or C-21 or a B license if and only if the same B license contractor is going to build or rebuild on the property being cleared.
- There are many folks out there looking for unlicensed contractors.
- It is likely we will see more agents from California State License Board, Department of Industrial Relations, CalOsha, and the Labor department checking for compliance and following up on leads given to those agencies about possible licensing violators.
- Some “Sweeps” have been done, and some “Stings” are being planned to catch out of state and improperly licensed folks posing as legitimate contractors.
AB 1701 Goes Into Effect 1-1-18 What does it mean? For private works contracts entered on or after January 1, 2018, a “direct contractor” (i.e., prime contractor or contractor who has direct contractual relationship with an owner) must assume and be liable for any debt which its subcontractor or a lower tier subcontractor incurs “for [a] wage claimant’s performance of labor included in the subject of the contract between the direct contractor and the owner.”