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Council Takes Steps To Streamline Solar
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Residents in the city will have an easier process installing home solar energy systems after a move by the Oakdale City Council at Monday night’s meeting on Oct. 19.

After a river access presentation by the River Access Working Group and public comments about veteran issues and homeless nuisance problems, the council heard the new ordinance agenda item to streamline the permitting process for small solar projects.

Public Services Director Thom Clark said the move comes after action by the state legislature mandated that cities and counties streamline the permitting process for solar energy installation projects.

“We’re just trying to make it easier for people to get solar,” Clark said, adding that the permitting procedure would “turn over” in just one day.

Currently, the City of Oakdale does not have any provisions in its municipal code regarding solar permitting, according to Clark, and the city is required to institute an ordinance that conforms to the guidelines and satisfies the state mandate.

With the simpler process in place, the city plans to post to its website the documents residents will use to apply for a solar permit and the established fees.

The council also renewed the police department’s agreement with the City of Riverbank to continue providing animal control services.

Under the agreement, the contract would be two years long and the department’s animal services unit would continue to provide animal control services for 32 hours a week in Riverbank for a fee of $158,047.

The city also awarded a contract for the Sierra Sidewalk Infill Project to R&R Pacific Construction of Esparto (Yolo County) in the amount of $52,222. The money will be funded from the city’s gas tax budget.

According to Clark, the improvements will provide new pedestrian facilities, ADA connectivity and storm improvements where there have been drainage issues from South Sierra Avenue to the South Sierra Railroad property.

During discussion, Councilman Rich Murdoch expressed concern that the R&R Pacific bid was significantly lower than other local companies and asked what the city knew about the company.

Clark stated that the company was licensed and this was the first contact he knew of with the firm.

City Attorney Tom Hallinan added that if the company is licensed and met the bid requirements, even with local company preferences in place during the bid, the city had to accept their bid as valid and accurate