The operation of the City of Oakdale’s public swimming pool has been rescued again this year due to the 4-0 approval of a $72,500 donation from the Oakdale Irrigation District Board of Directors at the March 19 regular meeting. Director Al Bairos was absent.
Oakdale City Manager Bryan Whitemyer gave a presentation to the board, noting the city’s gratitude for OID’s prior financial support to keep the pool open.
“If it were not for this contribution, it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to keep the pool open,” Whitemyer said.
He reported that expenditures for the pool for the year are about $105,000, with the city’s contribution toward that being $32,750. He said that he is doing a complete analysis of the city’s budget and a top priority for him as the new city manager is to make sure the budget is in order. He spoke about the Measure O funds and their importance but noted that they have a sunset.
The cost for swim lessons is $45, the funds collected from that helps offset the city’s costs for the pool. There are also swim lesson scholarships available for those who can’t afford them.
Director Herman Doornenbal spoke about the importance of swim lessons and wanted to make sure that no one was turned away because they couldn’t afford the lessons or there weren’t funds to scholarship them.
“Our biggest concern is kids know how to swim,” he said, adding that OID wants to keep kids out of its ditches and if they happen to get in them, then they can swim out.
Director Jack Alpers said that OID’s concern is safety and wanted people to know that “OID will pick the check up for kids who can’t afford (lessons.)”
Doornenbal said that the problem with people having to apply for the scholarships is doing the paperwork and there was a request to the city representatives for that process to be made easy or streamlined. Directors Steve Webb and Frank Clark also voiced their support of learning to swim and that the lessons are made available to any children who want to take them.
In other business, the board also voted 4-0 to contribute $5,000 to the Oakdale Educational Foundation, which funds grant requests to support Oakdale Joint Unified School District classrooms with various educational materials and equipment.
Also in other business, the board decided to reconvene in closed session to discuss price and terms and authorizing a one-year water transfer (sale) to the Westlands Water District. That district was notified that its allocation for water would be 25 percent of normal, resulting in a 1.5 million acre foot shortfall.
OID General Manager Steve Knell said that OID “turned back” 71,000 acre feet of water last year to the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), which runs New Melones Reservoir. He said that any contract would be variable if there were changes for water needs in OID. He said that by April 15, OID will have a good idea of what water runoff will be in the Stanislaus Basin and if it can afford to transfer any water without harming OID constituents.
Also in other business, the board approved for Knell and OID water council Tim O’Laughlin to travel to Washington D.C. in April or May to press congressional representatives to advocate the adoption of a Plan of Operations for New Melones to BOR’s Washington administrators and its regional area office.
The next regular meeting of the OID Board of Directors will be at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 2 in the OID boardroom, 1205 East F. The next Joint Board meeting for the Tri-Dam Project will be at 9 a.m. on Thursday, March 21. The venue for that meeting has been changed to take place in the OID boardroom.