As city residents await word on a sewer and water rate hike, questions are being raised on the City of Oakdale’s use of its sewer sanitation and water enterprise funds to finance non-related areas of the operation of the city government. A review of the 2012-2013 Oakdale city budget raises uncertainties regarding billings being in compliance with Proposition 218.
The recently approved Oakdale city budget shows a plethora of outside positions fully or partially financed through these enterprise funds, particularly the sewer (622) and water (625) accounts.
On July 10, The Leader filed a public information request for a mandated cost of services and cost allocation plan for those accounts. In a response from the city, The Leader learned that the last study was done in 2009 and did not include calculations on time allocations.
Several California grand juries in recent years have addressed city misuse of enterprise funds being diverted for general fund expenses. (Sacramento 2009, Modesto 2010, Sanger 2009, San Diego 2007)
The shrinking general fund already has forced Oakdale to slash services, lay off employees, and possibly seek privatization. If the city cannot use these allocations as intended, the 2012-2013 budget may have more of a shortfall than it does currently.
For the full story, look to the July 18 edition of The Leader.