Members of the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce became involved in the upcoming local election and voted to endorse and support Measure Y – the local sales tax imitative that will continue the half-cent sales tax.
Chamber of Commerce Board President Ed Viohl announced the endorsement after a meeting of the chamber’s board of directors on Tuesday, Aug. 9.
“The endorsement of the chamber of commerce is significant,” said Yes on Measure Y Committee Chairman Frank Clark. “The recognition by the business community of the importance of passing measure Y is welcomed.”
Chamber of Commerce CEO Mary Guardiola said the vote by the board of directors was unanimous with a board member abstaining due to possible conflicts of interest as a city employee.
“The board feels it is needed,” said Guardiola. “They don’t look at it as a long-term tax, just a five-year tax.”
Guardiola said a lot of support for the endorsement came from the fact that the city’s specific plan showed how the city was to move forward with the revenue.
“There was enough in play to show that it wouldn’t be needed after five years,” Guardiola said.
In November 2011, Oakdale voters approved Measure O, which increased local sales tax a half-percent for three years in the city. The revenue from the initiative brings in $1.5 million to the city’s General Fund. Over 78 percent of that money is applied to public safety programs.
Earlier this year, Oakdale City Manager Bryan Whitemyer presented a budget with dire consequences without the $1.5 million from the Measure O revenue which would lead to the possibility of cutting both the fire department and police department two positions each. With the continued money, Whitemyer showed the likelihood of increasing staffing in those departments.
Voters will cast ballots in the local election on Nov. 4, 2014 to ascertain if the tax is to be continued another five years.