Faced with the possibility of financing a $20,000 special election as well as having to wait until the end of the year, the Oakdale City Council unanimously approved moving forward with the decision to appoint someone to fill Don Petersen’s upcoming vacant seat.
Petersen, who was absent from the Monday, Feb. 2 meeting due to illness, previously announced he would be resigning effective Feb. 28 of this year.
Oakdale City Attorney Tom Hallinan informed the council that by law the city would have to wait 114 days after their decision before any special election could take place, which would make the earliest for a citywide vote to be the November General Election.
“The appointment process could begin immediately,” Hallinan said.
He also pointed out that if they chose an election, the term would be only the remaining year of the term and would cost about $20,000.
In April 2012, Oakdale City Councilman Jason Howard resigned his seat to take a job in Grass Valley. At that time the council could not decide on a replacement and held a special election. In the interim the council had a few split 2-2 votes until former Mayor Farrell Jackson was seated to fill the position.
“My preference is an appointment within 30 days,” said Councilman Tom Dunlop. “We can call for applications, have interviews, and make an appointment.”
Mayor Pat Paul echoed Dunlop’s sentiments, stating that the last election only had three persons for three open seats.
“It would be great to have another savvy business person like Don Petersen who was an asset to this council,” said Paul.
“The law gives us a lot of freedom in how to proceed,” said Hallinan about the appointment process.
Hallinan suggested that if the council opted for the appointment process, he would present options on how to proceed at the next meeting.
The council voted 4-0 to appoint Petersen’s replacement at a time in the future.
In other actions, the council approved to move along with refinancing of bonds that had been presented at a previous meeting. The now locked-in interest rate will save the city even more money than earlier presented.
The council also adopted a new capital facility fee structure for a planned senior assisted living facility.
The plan to refinance was described as a “win-win” resulting in a positive cash flow for the city and tax savings for taxpayers.
The developer of the facility, Patt Corrigan, had challenged the city’s original structure stating it was unfairly assessed as individual living units when it was more like apartments or in-care rooms similar to Oak Valley Care Center.
“I believe we’ve found a fee structure that is agreeable for the city and developer,” said Oakdale City Manager Bryan Whitemyer.