The City of Riverbank’s Director of Economic Development and Housing Tim Ogden delivered a presentation to the Oakdale Irrigation District Board of Directors about Riverbank’s and the Redevelopment Agency’s plans to redevelop the Army Ammunition Plant area, a 150 acre site.
Ogden’s presentation showed a map of the area with Claribel, Claus and Terminal serving as the project boundaries and five parcels that are encompassed by the project area but will not be included in the redevelopment because they are Williamson Act properties.
Ogden said that this project is not related to annexation to the Riverbank city limits and that it’s not necessarily a goal of the city to annex. However, OID director Jack Alpers, who represents the Riverbank area stated that he believes that Riverbank will eventually annex that land. If that happens, it will mean a loss of tax revenue to the OID.
Ogden’s report also covered benefits and financing. He said that Riverbank is facing a 23 percent unemployment rate and the project will bring jobs, affordable housing, and other positives to the area. He said that as the taxes are structured, OID will continue to receive what its base taxes are from the area, unless property values decline, plus additional incremental percentages over the next 45 years. He said that OID is projected to have a share of approximately $3.3 million over the next 45 years, at about $75,000 per year. Alpers again noted, that won’t be the case if Riverbank annexes the area. Alpers asked Ogden why Riverbank was taking on the project. Ogden responded that his city can receive significant grant funding that the private sector would not eligible to obtain. Regarding contamination issues, particularly groundwater contamination, Ogden said that the Army is responsible for that cleanup and that a government contractor has been brought in.
Concerns over who will have the burden of relocation for OID facilities to serve OID customers was brought up by director Frank Clark. Director Alpers said he believes OID will be “killed” on the west side of the project. He also complained that Riverbank has “chopped” the OID and that he doesn’t think that Riverbank considers things such as problems with drainage or irrigation. Another concern was that OID sees that there is potential for development without annexation, which could, hypothetically, result in something ridiculous such as a Wal-Mart surrounded by farmland.
Director Steve Webb commented that he’d like to see an ad hoc committee formed to meet with the City of Riverbank to work out potential issues, the other board members agreed.
In other business, the board voted unanimously to accept the 2010 budget with the exception of a line item for community outreach. The board members disagree on the amount that should be set for this item. Board member Al Bairos commented that a couple of years ago, it was $30,000 and now it’s a line item for $250,000. The item was on the agenda this time for $150,000, which other board members felt was too low. The item was sent back to committee for review, to come up with specifics.
In other discussion related to the budget, General Manager Steve Knell reported that the district’s water transfer contracts had expired and was only counting on historical water transfers for the district this year, considering the unknown results of precipitation for the water year. He added that the Stockton East Water District contract for 15,000 acre feet was extended for one year at a significant rate increase, a one-year extension was done for VAMP water for 11,000 acre feet, and 15,000 acre feet will go to environmental water, both at $80 per acre foot.
Knell also talked about the district’s concerns and stake in a Biological Opinion that was federally issued affecting storage in New Melones Dam and how that will negatively affect the Stanislaus River, cold water fisheries, and the district. He said that under this new criteria it will end up leaving Melones completely dry approximately every five years and it is impossible to meet the requirements of the bio opinion. San Luis, Friant, and Melones dams are where federal water is drawn from to meet the flows of the bio opinion. However, Knell said that San Luis is historically dry and doesn’t have the water now, Friant will be unable to provide water because the channel must be prepared to receive the water flow, and that leave Melones on the hook.
In other business, director Al Bairos was selected to serve as board president, director Frank Clark will serve as vice president. Special board committees will consist of the following: Finance – Clark and Bairos, with alternate Webb; Water/Engineering – Webb and Herman Doornenbal with alternate Bairos; Personnel – Alpers and Bairos with alternate Clark; Planning/Public Relations – Clark and Doornenbal with alternate Alpers; Tri-Dam Project/Authority – Webb and Alpers with alternate Clark; Domestic Water – Webb and Clark with alternate Alpers; San Joaquin County Advisory Board Representative – Doornenbal with alternate Alpers; San Joaquin River Commission Representative – Alpers with alternate Clark.
In the General Manager’s report, Knell included a copy of the U.S. Congressional Record where the OID was recognized by our area’s Representative George Radanovich at the 111th Congress regarding the district’s 100-year anniversary.
Also in the report, regarding the South Main Canal and Tunnel projects, Magorian Mine Services is 70 percent complete of their contract work as of Dec. 4.
Regarding the North Side Regulating Reservoir, levee construction has been completed. The reservoir inlet structure, the Cometa control structure, the Rodden highline control structure, and the Burnett control structure are all completed and 95 percent backfilled. Bridges across the Cometa and inlet structures are set and assembled, the concrete lining of the reservoir is complete with backfilling in progress, the Cometa, North Main, and Burnett canals are completed. The Rodden highline will be finished in two weeks, canal lining will start the week of Dec. 14.
Regarding the Cashman Dam rehabilitation project, the completion date has been revised to Jan. 8, 2010.
The next regular meeting of the OID Board of Directors will be at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2010 at the OID boardroom 1205 East F.