Oakdale’s city manager, and chiefs of the rural and city fire departments appeared before the Oakdale Irrigation District Board of Directors at the April 6 regular meeting to ask for funding.
This year, the city and fire departments are asking for a total of more than $146,000. More than $93,000 is for the parks and recreation program as it relates to maintenance of the city pool, and water safety and conservation programs. The city and rural fire departments are requesting $54,000 to go toward technical, water rescue, and hazardous materials trainings. Last year, OID funded more than $156,000 to benefit Oakdale’s parks and recreation program, fire department, and rural fire department.
City Manager Steve Hallam gave a presentation to the board and said that the city would like to continue to partner with OID in these programs. He said that it costs the city $100,000 annually to keep the city pool (plunge) open, $60,000 of the proposal to OID is slated for the plunge.
Director Jack Alpers said that while he supports these programs, he felt there needed to be some cuts made because the city council has to figure out how to solve the city’s money problems, not OID. Further, he said that OID is not as flush as it was last year.
The fire departments’ financial requests would go toward multiple training classes and exercises, as well as equipment replacement that relate to OID interests.
Director Herman Doornenbal said that he doesn’t like the direction OID is taking as a “contribution agency.” He said that he sees district revenues declining, is concerned about OID constituents, and that everyone has to stay in a tight budget and tighten their belts. He also stated his concern about redundancy in the requests.
Director Frank Clark said that the constituents of OID are every single person in the district, not just farmers. He said that it’s not about money, but that it’s about a partnership and making the community safer. He said that OID is a beneficiary and that he sees it as an investment in the safety of OID’s employees and the community.
Director Al Bairos pointed out that the request was a non-budgeted item. He said that the district has concerns about state legislation and power sales. He added that he sees merit in the programs but doesn’t know where the money would come from and that he doesn’t want to make a hasty decision.
Board members disagreed how to handle the request. Alpers offered that the board could fund the request at 80 percent, Bairos said it should go back to the finance committee to figure it out, Clark said that the money was there and that the board had discretion to draw the money from reserve funds and it didn’t need to go to the finance committee.
Bairos and Clark comprise the board’s finance committee.
Doornenbal seconded Bairos’ motion to send it back to the finance committee. The vote passed 3-2, with Alpers and Clark having the dissenting votes. The matter will come before the board again at a future date.
The next regular meeting of the OID Board of Directors will be at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 20 in the OID boardroom, 1205 East F.