The City of Oakdale’s manager Bryan Whitemyer requested a check for $99,000 from the Oakdale Irrigation District Board of Directors to keep the Royce Memorial Pool open at the Dec. 3 regular meeting of the board.
The $99,000 request is an increase of $26,500 from last year. Whitemyer’s presentation showed that the total cost of pool, swim lessons, and conservation efforts is $128,000, minus a lowered city contribution of $29,000. Whitemyer said that while the city had requested $72,500 from OID last year, it didn’t cover the true costs of the pool’s upkeep. He said there have been increases in gas, electric, and the cost of chemicals. He added that he believes that what was budgeted and what really happened wasn’t always tracked but now it is.
Whitemyer said that the city is “still in an extremely difficult financial position,” noting layoffs. He also said that the city is “working diligently to get its financial house in order” but it still needs support from OID to keep the pool open.
Director Herman Doornenbal asked why the city’s contribution for the upcoming 2013-2014 fiscal year is less than the 2012-2013 year.
Whitemyer stated that last year the city figured the revenues from the pool would be $32,750 but that it actually generated $29,000. The city’s contribution to the pool is what it receives in revenues collected at the pool, so the $29,000 figure was used as the city’s contribution for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.
Director Al Bairos commented that the city came to OID a few years ago to ask for help in the form of a partnership and now OID is paying over 50 percent of the costs and the requests from the city keep getting higher. He noted that he supports the swim lessons service provided. He asked if there is anywhere the city can shave costs and then asked what if OID didn’t fund the pool.
Whitemyer responded that it would be up to the City Council to decide but that he would recommend the pool to be shut down. He added that it would be hard to justify layoffs and then put money toward the pool.
Director Frank Clark said OID doesn’t want to go on funding the pool forever, adding that OID is funding the entire pool costs with exception of what people pay to use it. He said the city is going to have to step up.
Director Jack Alpers told Whitemyer that this money is coming out of OID reserves and that it’s not a good way to do business.
“You’ve almost become a perennial part of our budget,” Alpers said, adding that he supports the pool’s programs but that the constant support will have to come to an end.
The item was a discussion only at the meeting and the increased request amount will come before the board for a vote when it votes on its overall budget at the Dec. 17 meeting.
In closed session, the board was to discuss a possible water transfer to the City and County of San Francisco. In public comments at the beginning of the meeting in response to the closed session item, citizen Tom Orvis asked the board to consider shutting off the opportunity for sending water out of the basin and keeping the water here for local growers.
The next regular meeting for the OID Board of Directors is at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 17 at the OID boardroom, 1205 East F. The next joint board meeting for the Tri-Dam Project is at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 19, also at the OID boardroom.