A report at the March 17 Oakdale City Council meeting by City Manager Bryan Whitemyer regarding the city budget, showed the city with only a $72,000 variance of its final budget proposed from October of last year.
The majority of the funds spent, $56,000, was for fire department overtime from mutual aid requests, mainly from the RIM fire of last summer.
“All of those costs will be reimbursed by the state to offset those costs,” said Whitemyer about Office of Emergency Services compensation.
The other $16,000 is the only real difference according to Whitemyer, but those funds were also covered by slight additional revenues to the city.
“In the end we’re tracking as expected,” said Whitemyer, “Basically it’s all covered.”
Whitemyer explained that the “bad situation” the city found itself in financially hasn’t improved, but revenues were going along as expected. If costs went up in one area, Whitemyer said he was able to make a deduction in another area.
“We’re still tracking over all, but the city is in a good spot,” Whitemyer said.
Mayor Pat Paul asked about the city’s overtime expenditures, especially for public safety of police and fire services.
“Overtime has been kept in check,” Whitemyer said, explaining that with some vacancies and unexpected time off of personnel, it can be difficult to predict. “Understand though, it’s an inherent process with the ebbs and flows and part of costs with having a police and fire department.”
Whitemyer’s report came after a presentation by Oakdale Travel and Visitors Bureau President Keith Boggs advised the council of the OTVB’s new direction to bring tourism and dollars to the city.
Boggs’ short presentation highlighted new personnel on the bureau and the future development of a business plan to involve the community.
Public comment at the meeting brought out two speakers criticizing the city and Councilman Mike Brennan for actions featured in a recent Leader article regarding the Oakdale Airport.
Kathleen Westenberg condemned the council and city for its decision to pursue legal action in an airport matter and questioned the costs associated with the action.
Bill Bradford, a past vocal airport advocate, pointed out the city’s “gross negligence” in managing the airport with undervalued rents and FAA rule violations, calling for the city to generate a separate bank account for all airport costs and revenues.
“To neutralize the collusive nature of the present council and since three-fifths of this council has been in place during most of the mismanagement actions, I am asking for Mr. Brennan’s resignation and favoritism toward Sierra West Airlines,” Bradford said. “At the very least a new airport liaison council member must be appointed.”
In other action, an expected public hearing on the Valley View River Access Trail was pulled at the request of Lourdes Barragan of the community development department since affected area residents had not been noticed in a timely manner. That hearing is now scheduled for the April 7 meeting.