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Fund Transfer Sought

POSTED December 28, 2010 4:09 p.m.

Oakdale city officials are asking the city council to borrow up to $450,000 from the Bridle Ridge South Trail fund to pay for completion of the update for the city’s General Plan.

The plan is severely out of date and in need of state mandated revisions such as a climate action plan, green building standards, and greenhouse emissions analysis, said officials.

The General Plan charts out where the city wants to see itself in a 20-year period. It is a combined planning effort funded by the city and property owners.

“It is a living document and map of what we’ve built and need to build in 20 years,” said Community Development Director Danelle Stylos.

The plan is expected to be updated every five years, yet has never had a revision or update since this one was adopted in 1994.

According to Stylos, the cost for the comprehensive update to be performed by PBS&J Consulting of Sacramento is $780,678 and is now approximately 50 percent complete. The city’s contribution for the general plan process was to be derived from a small fee charged on each building and development permit issued by the city.

At the start of the process Oakdale had approximately half of the funds available for its share. Due to a downturn in the economy and other factors affecting building permits, the city’s contribution has not been keeping up. At the Dec. 20 council meeting, Stylos proposed to the city council to borrow the remaining portion from the Bridle Ridge South Trail fund. The matter is under advisement, though the council took no formal action.

Oakdale currently has close to $1 million in a trust for the development of the Bridle Ridge south trail. The funds were initially deposited by developers for approximately 50 percent of the future trail’s costs.

Stylos anticipates that as the city continues to issue building permits and collect the general plan update fee, the revenue stream for pay back will be sufficient to repay the loan without any loss to the trust. The interest at the city’s investment rates is figured in to the repayment.

Oakdale resident Mike Eggener, who addressed the council about the transfer, questioned why the same formula couldn’t be used to pay for previously cut city services such as street lighting and street sweeping.

“It’s all speculative,” Eggener said later. “If the economy is better and expected to rise like the city manager says, why couldn’t that reasoning be used to pay back for cut services?”

Eggener also questioned how much overtime was used for emergency call outs when sewers backfill due to being clogged with leaves and other debris.

Stylos pointed out the portion where the trail was to be built has not been developed. A major portion of the area in question, Area 5, is in the unincorporated area of the county and the design from the General Plan would have to be in effect before any annexation could begin.

“I anticipate there being more than enough time for repayment,” said Stylos.

Stylos said a consulting firm was used because of its expertise in general plan matters and that the city doesn’t have the staff to sufficiently complete the study. PBS&J Consulting is a comprehensive consulting service used by a number of city governments evaluating infrastructures, environmental protection, sustainability, and growth projects.

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