As the City of Oakdale moves forward with developing the Valley View River Access Trail, city officials have retained the services of an outside consultant to complete an assessment needed to move forward.
The city entered into an agreement with longtime consultant Amy Augustine of Augustine Planning Associates of Sonora in order to assist the city with the preparation of an “Expanded Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration” for the Valley View River Access Trail, required by the state grant program.
Augustine has already prepared environmental review and special studies in conjunction with city projects between 2002 and 2006 and was recommended by Lourdes Barragan of Oakdale Community Development Services due to her familiarity of where the city was headed.
Augustine submitted a proposal for the project at a cost of $14,375 and was approved by the city on Monday, April 1.
According to Barragan, the funding necessary to prepare the study for the trail is recovered from the awarded Proposition 84 State grant as an eligible environmental expense. There is no impact to the city’s General Fund.
City leaders, though approving Augustine as a consultant, cautioned against overruns on the contract.
Councilman Farrell Jackson also inquired why no city Request for Proposal was done to get a truer cost of the work needed.
“I know an RFP isn’t required in this case,” said Jackson, “but don’t you think we’d get a true cost by putting it out to bid?”
Barragan assured the city that going with Augustine was the best way to proceed and the likelihood of a cost overrun was minimal.
Augustine’s firm is anticipated to have the study completed by February, 2014. Part of the report included the requirement by the Department of Fish and Game of measuring each protected white mulberry bush in the four acre span.
Augustine and her company presently provide similar services to the counties of San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Tuolumne. The services of her firm include preparation of environmental quality act documents, environmental planning, biological resource, cultural resource, water quality and preliminary site assessment in compliance with state and federal grants.
In November 2012, the California Natural Resources Agency announced that the City of Oakdale would receive an $862,625 grant to convert more than 15 acres into a river parkway including a 750-foot trail allowing public access to the Stanislaus River from Valley View Park.