The Stanislaus County Civil Grand Jury 2102-2013 Final Report determined that Oakdale city officials did not misrepresent Measure O, the city’s half-cent sales tax measure that passed with 55 percent of the vote in November 2011.
The report stated the jury received a citizen’s complaint in October 2012 regarding the mayor and unnamed City of Oakdale government employees. The complaint alleged the City of Oakdale “improperly implemented an Oakdale sales tax increase.”
Measure O was proposed to voters as a half-cent sales tax increase to financially maintain the current level of city services. The revenue received from the tax would go to the General Fund for use by the city.
Though some of the revenue from Measure O is channeled to other city services, the majority goes toward public safety.
The investigation, which did not include any interviews, used city records, meeting minutes, and “news articles of a local Oakdale newspaper” to make its determination that, “there is no indication of any misrepresentation and/or misconduct on the part of the city of Oakdale mayor, members of the Oakdale City Council or any employees of the city of Oakdale regarding Measure O.”
“We’re pleased with the Grand Jury’s findings,” said Oakdale City Manager Bryan Whitemyer. “It substantiates what we’ve been doing with Measure O and its implementation.”
Mayor Pat Paul said she was surprised that someone would take the concern to the civil grand jury since the matter could be brought up at a council meeting or with the Measure O Oversight Committee.
“The finding was as it should be,” Paul said. “We’re doing exactly as we promised.”
The investigation was concluded in February 2013, prior to the other challenges by some residents during budget talks that proposed staffing layoffs and public safety cuts also violated the spirit of Measure O.
The city passed a budget at the last June 17 city council meeting where Whitemyer presented a revised proposal that dropped previously proposed firefighter layoffs and maintained police patrol staffing levels.