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Final Budget, Fire Talks Come Before Council
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Oakdale City Council members approved the final Fiscal Year budget on Monday night, Nov. 5 with a surplus of $206,476, ending on a positive note thanks in no small part to the contributions of Measure Y.

City Manager Bryan Whitemyer reminded the council, “We are in a boom economy and we are tracking as we should.”

However, he added, nothing lasts forever and the key is to prepare for that inevitable moment when the good times are over.

“We are building our rainy day fund,” he explained.

Living within the city’s means was the frequent refrain, which is what the current budget seems to be doing.

Whitemyer’s presentation was short but touched on key points, such as the positive increase in the General Fund has enabled the city to maintain a 40 percent reserve. The main cost increases for 2018-2019 were the result of additional investments into police and fire services (made possible by Measure Y). Those positions being, a third position at Fire Station 28 within fire services at a cost of $285,000 and a second lieutenant at the police department (which includes MOU cost increases and PERS retirement increases) at $546,000.

The city expects to close out the year with a final budget of $4,822,744.

In another actions, the city approved a resolution to direct staff to research whether it’s time to renew a five-year contract with Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District or search for a more fiscally equitable arrangement elsewhere.

Councilmember Rich Murdoch was quick to point out that while they were open to new fire alliances, the city has been very pleased with the level of service provided by the firefighters.

According to Whitemyer, primary concern with the current arrangement with SCFPD, is the city is paying a significant amount in overhead costs when new positions are added. Under this type of arrangement, the city cannot reach its staffing goals for both Station 27 (Willowood) and Station 28 (G Street) with three personnel each day.

Also, the family of Troy Holder, a vocal and influential young proponent of the Oakdale Skate Park, came before the council in the hopes of gaining approval to install a bench in Holder’s memory.

Holder, a young man who helped push the grassroots movement to make the skate park happen, was tragically killed in August 2018.

The bench, paid for by the Holder family, was approved unanimously by the Council and will bear his name as well as the trick he was known for, the “tuck-no-hander.”