Oakdale is a strong community.
That was the gist of the message delivered by Oakdale Mayor Cherilyn Bairos, who offered up her second ever ‘State of the City’ message, in a special program hosted at the Bianchi Community Center on Jan. 25.
With a large crowd turning out, the luncheon gathering included the presentation of the colors by Modesto Fire Department, entertainment by Oakdale High School musicians, a city employee-themed slide show and the keynote speech by Mayor Bairos.
Among the highlights, she noted that serious crimes have continued to trend downward, there have been major projects to improve the city started – and some completed – and the fiscal position of the city remains solid.
“City Hall is living within its financial means,” she said, adding that they are maintaining a 43 percent reserve, which could get the city through five months of no funds coming in. “We cannot afford to loosen the reins of fiscal responsibility.”
Bairos also lauded those longtime businesses, multi-generational family businesses “that have been the backbone of Oakdale” for decades.
Among them, AL Gilbert marking 130 years in business, Burchell Nursery with 80 years and Oakdale Garage at 100 years.
“Our local economy continues to thrive with new businesses opening and existing ones expanding,” the mayor continued. “This not only creates jobs but brings new opportunities to our residents.”
Overall, she said, the community is one that she considers strong, with one high school, one Ford dealership, one Chevy dealership, one hospital – and, to some chuckles from the crowd – one rodeo arena.
“A good community is a cohesive, safe, confident, prosperous and happy place,” Bairos told the crowd. “Oakdale is a better place with each and every one of you in it.”
Looking to the future, Bairos said she sees the completion of some improvement projects that will encourage even more foot traffic downtown and support for merchants as well as expansion of infrastructure to meet the needs of residents.
“Family is the most important force in my life and, being mayor, every Oakdalean is a member of my family,” the mayor told attendees. “Yes, I have enough love in my heart for all of you.”