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OID Directors Reduce City Pool Donation
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A reduced amount of money to donate to the City of Oakdale for its operation of the Royce Memorial Pool was motioned and approved by the Oakdale Irrigation District Board of Directors at the Dec. 17 regular meeting.

Director Herman Doornenbal motioned for a contribution of $72,500 to the city, with director Al Bairos seconding the motion. The board approved it in a vote of 4-1 with director Frank Clark being the dissenting vote.

Oakdale City Manager Bryan Whitemyer made a presentation at the previous OID board meeting asking for $99,000 from OID in order to operate the city’s “Plunge” for the 2014-2015 year. OID has given checks to the city for the pool’s operation since 2009, which was considered a partnership. In the past few years OID has donated in the neighborhood of the low $70,000s. The total operation of the pool is between $105,000-$128,000. The city’s contribution to operating the pool is what it receives in fees from users, totaling approximately $30,000.

Each of the directors had comments about the service provided to the community through swim lessons and water safety but they noted the increasing amounts being requested by the city, as well as OID tapping into its reserves to cover its expenses. Prior to his motion, Doornenbal stated that he didn’t like to see the requested amount continuing to increase and said that OID recently finished negotiating with its employees and said the employees were fair and took some hits. He added that to approve a greater amount to donate to the city, along with dipping further into reserves, he felt it would be on the backs of the employees. He said that the city can figure out how to make it work with $72,500 because it’s still a good deal as it covers three-quarters of the operating costs.

In other business, the board unanimously approved the 2014 draft budget. OID General Manager Steve Knell noted that the district will be taking $2.4 million out of reserves for 2014. He added that there are currently no firm water transfer deals and they don’t know if the winter will be strong enough in the first place to offer transfers at all.

In other business, the board voted on officers. Director Steve Webb was voted in as board president for the next two years, Doornenbal will be vice president. Knell will be the board secretary and OID Chief Financial Officer Kathy Cook will be the board treasurer. Webb gave Clark a plaque for his service to the board as president.

Also in business, the board voted to cancel the Jan. 7 meeting as there will be no action items.

In reports, Knell said that OID Support Services Manager Gary Jernigan will receive recognition at the upcoming Tri-Dam meeting for his Beardsley contract efforts.

“He did a stellar job, with minimal overruns,” Knell said. “…Very impressed with the final outcome there at Beardsley… It’s one of the premier campgrounds in the Sierras.”

Jernigan also received praise from Webb regarding the campground and boat ramp.

Further, it is expected that a formal announcement of resignation by a top manager at Tri-Dam will be done at that meeting.

In directors’ comments, director Jack Alpers said he was concerned over the legal costs OID has incurred to the tune of $180,000 over a conflict with an improvement district. He said he feels OID should withdraw from being the overseer for improvement districts and said he’d like to see the item on the next OID agenda.

In closed session, the board was to discuss possible water sales with the City and County of San Francisco, and also federal and state contractors.

The next regular joint board meeting of the Tri-Dam Project is at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 19 in the OID boardroom, 1205 East F.

The next regular meeting of the OID Board of Directors will be at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 21, also in the OID boardroom.