PIEDMONT -- The city continues in negotiations with the Piedmont Recreational Facilities Organization as to what funds it owes the city and what to do about it.

The City Council voted May 7, 2012, to rescind approval of PRFO's project to build a youth sports complex in Blair Park on city-owned land because of mounting costs. PRFO was to pay for the project with private money. It agreed to repay Piedmont for the costs of environmental consultants, the city attorney and outside legal counsel.

City Administrator Geoff Grote said all bills for those services are in and have been paid. PRFO will not reimburse city staff time for the cumbersome project, which entailed dozens of public meetings and generated hundreds of pages of documents.

"Staff time is not being considered and never was intended (to be reimbursed)," Grote said.

Grote estimated that the total for project development expenses, not including litigation, was $326,532.

PRFO made two deposits with the city. The first of $118,000 is spent. Grote said it went to pay four different firms: Coastland Engineers; LSA Associates, which wrote the environmental impact report; the city attorney from Burke, Williams and Sorenson; and Lozano Smith, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) lawyers.

PRFO made another $125,000 deposit. The bill for litigating with Friends of Moraga Canyon over its lawsuit against the city for approving Blair Park was $63,833.

"Discussions with the Friends' attorneys went on for months and months, back and forth," Grote said.

Finally, it was agreed that $15,000 from the $125,000 would go to pay the Friends' attorneys and another $15,000 would go toward vegetation analysis at Blair Park. That leaves $95,000 from PRFO's second deposit.

"One focus is what to do with the remaining $95,000 and what, if any, additional funds should be paid," Grote said.

"A final figure is still being determined with talks between PRFO and the city."

"If we demand more than they are willing to pay, we have two choices -- let it drop or proceed in arbitration that was included in the indemnity and reimbursement agreement (with PRFO)."

"The City Council will make the final determination of the issue. We should have an announcement in the next several weeks," Grote said.

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