Oakdale City Council recovered from city holiday shut-downs with a heavier than usual agenda on Jan. 17. The meeting was held on a Tuesday, rather than the regular Monday, because of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. It was their second meeting of the month, but the previous meeting had just one agenda item.
“It really is a matter of staff having time to prepare reports, among other things,” said Nancy Lilly, Oakdale City Clerk of the light session followed by a heavy one.
Council members did not discuss a lease agreement with AT&T as previously anticipated because of the expected length of the meeting. The meeting lasted over four-and-a-half hours, and council chambers did not clear out until midnight.
The first item on the Oakdale City Council agenda was the appointment of a new interim police chief. Current Chief Marty West is set to retire on March 2 and Lt. Lester Jenkins was named interim police chief. Jenkins has been working in law enforcement since 1990 and is currently West’s second in command.
“I think he will do an outstanding job,” West said.
Also in police business, the Oakdale Police Department re-hired Bill Carter and held a public swearing-in ceremony. Carter was let go by the department 18 months ago due to budget cuts. He took his oath again and his young daughter pinned on his badge.
“I’d like to thank the citizens who supported Measure O, I think that had something to do with me coming back,” Carter said.
Council took agenda items out of order to accommodate the crowd and out of town guests that attended the meeting for a few specific items. The mayor can, with council’s consent, hear agenda items in any order. Mayor Pat Paul chose to hear discussion on the Oakdale Tourism and Business Improvement District earlier in the meeting than scheduled by the agenda. After a 45-minute discussion, council asked the BID Advisory Board to submit an official letter showing support for the board and announced the council would not take action on the issue for one month.
Oakdale City Council did make a decision regarding the successor of the soon-to-be defunct redevelopment agency. Council, on the advice of staff, chose to become the successor agency to the RDA. Council will be responsible for enforcing payment of the RDA’s debt and ensuring that the RDA is dismantled as smoothly as possible. The council also has an interest in continuing RDA projects that already have funds committed, including the Stearns Road infrastructure and other East F Street Specific Plan upgrades.
“We will be able to control our own destiny this way,” Paul said.
Over 400 redevelopment agencies are left looking for a successor agency after a California Supreme Court decision abolished the use of RDAs state-wide. Other cities, including neighboring Riverbank, have chosen not to serve as their own successor agency.
The peer review of the wastewater treatment plant upgrades was also presented to council at the Jan. 17 meeting. Several specific recommendations were made, but overall the review found that the upgrades were in line with current standards. Brian Schoener from Provost and Pritchard, the peer review company hired for the project, gave an overview of the review findings.
“Based on our review this was a successful project,” Schoener said.