As the city recovers its financial health, it will begin moving forward with some major street, water, and sewer projects, some of which had been neglected to save costs during a more stringent time.
At the Monday, Oct. 17 Oakdale City Council Meeting, Interim Public Services Director Jeff Gravel presented a five-year plan of projects to be part of the city’s Master Plan.
Gravel, who described the plan as a “living document” that would be evolving with time, said the projects needed to accommodate new growth pursuant to Oakdale’s General Plan, as well as major maintenance or capital replacement projects were major parts of the Capital Improvement Program. The program uses the priorities in the Master Plan, coupled with estimates of available funding to set forth a clear plan for improvements to infrastructure over the next five years.
Airport and parks projects were also part of the plan.
During the presentation, Gravel said funding sources for the projects came from grants, various tax revenue, user fees, and developer fees.
“Capital improvement planning is extremely important so that we can coordinate street projects with sewer and water replacement projects, etcetera,” Gravel said. “The worst thing we can do with taxpayer’s money is to pave a street, for example, then have to deconstruct it to replace a water line in following years.”
During the presentation, City Engineer Tony Marshall said the projects included replacing an aging infrastructure as well as new projects associated with planned growth.
“In general, developers are responsible for growth (costs) and rate payers for the maintenance of the facilities,” Marshall said.
Marshall added that some projects may need to be built before being able to collect the fees from developers, however it just amounts to transferring funds from one account where money was available, possibly from rate payers, to the needed account which would eventually receive funds.
Part of the planned improvements calls for a 16-inch, high-pressure waterline to run from Willowwood Avenue to Maag Avenue, running along either F or H Street.
Gravel said due to older construction, some buildings along the line, which currently at parts is only 2-inch or 4-inch pipe, have no backflow devices as now standard for current buildings. Any increase in pressure, without the modifications, would result in the aging pipes bursting.
The replacement project would take six to nine months and would be completed three blocks at a time.
Oakdale City Manager Bryan Whitemyer followed with a budget presentation showing the city in good financial health, crediting Measure Y, the half-cent sales tax assessment, for the boost.
“Without Measure Y, we would have been in a negative cash flow situation,” Whitemyer said. “I can only imagine how it would have been without it (Measure Y). It would have been devastating.”
Whitemyer said the 2015-2016 Fiscal Year ended with the balance of the General Fund growing by $700,765. The positive increase enabled the General Fund to reach the council’s goal of 40 percent in reserves.
Over $2.18 million was taken in from the Measure Y increase. Ninety percent of those funds went directly to police and fire budgets.