More than $75,000 in donations was given out to local interests in actions taken by the Oakdale Irrigation District Board of Directors at the April 17 regular meeting.
The board narrowly approved giving $71,500 to the City of Oakdale in a 3-2 vote to support the city’s Parks and Recreation water safety and public swim programs. Directors Hank Doornenbal and Al Bairos were the dissenting votes.
The approved amount is equal to the amount OID gave to the city last year; however, the donation request from the city this year was for $97,500. Parks and Rec employee Linda Royalty presented the city pool’s budget to the board. She reported that she is the only full time employee, there is one part-time employee and another needs to be hired to help with staffing and other issues to run the water safety program. She also said there are no volunteers.
Director Doornenbal expressed his concern that the city is asking for more money again this year, especially in light of going into labor negotiations with the OID employees union. He addressed the board directly and said that when the OID first gave money to the city he wasn’t serving on the board but OID was in negotiations then also and he heard at that time that ditchtenders were unhappy because they felt OID took money away from them and gave it to the city pool. He added that he would be remiss not to mention it.
Director Bairos said that it didn’t look like a “partnership” between the city and OID anymore, it just looks like OID is funding more and more. He wanted to wait to see what the city was going to contribute to the water safety program before voting on giving money to the city.
Director Jack Alpers commented that OID is not responsible for every deficit in the city.
“I think it’s time for the City of Oakdale to cough up some money,” Alpers said, adding that he does support the swim program.
Director Steve Webb also commented that he felt the city was trying to get OID to pay for an extra staff member instead of just the pool.
“It’s very important to us. How high is it on your priority list?” Director Frank Clark asked Royalty in regards to the city’s plans.
In other business, the OID board voted unanimously to donate $5,000 to the Oakdale Educational Foundation. Prior to the vote, director Alpers made comments to the effect that it was a conflict of interest for director and board president Clark to vote on the matter. Clark also serves on the board of OEF but denied any conflict of interest.
Acting as the treasurer of the OEF, Clark wrote a letter dated April 4, 2012 to OID General Manager Steve Knell requesting a donation to the OEF, noting that OID gave $5,000 last year – of which a copy was included in the OID meeting agenda packet. Clark spoke from the OID board in support of OEF and voted in favor of giving OEF the $5,000 donation.
Also in other business, the board voted to waive the $2,500 minimum annexation fee application deposit for “fringe” parcels until after it has been decided which lands will be annexed under the Trinitas terms by the Oct. 1 deadline.
Also in other business, the board voted unanimously to provide a letter of support and participate in providing information to the Calaveras County Water District. CCWD is looking for a place to “park” its water to ensure it’s put to beneficial use in order to protect water rights and plans to apply for a grant from the Department of Water Resources.
CCWD is doing a study to evaluate if there is mutual benefit to the districts, of which one may be more water availability for OID customers. The Modesto groundwater basin is the spot being eyeballed, which lies beneath much of the OID area.
The next regular meeting of the OID Board of Directors will be at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, May 1 in the OID boardroom, 1205 East F.