The Oakley Chamber of Commerce hosted its first Breakfast With the Mayor this morning at Les Schwab Tire Center which offered an informal discussion with Mayor Kevin Romick on many city issues that affect local businesses.
With coffee and donuts in hand at 7:00 am, discussions occurred on the Highway 4 relinquishment, the fate of the Redevelopment Agencies, Fire Parcel Tax, the Power Plant and additional outreach opportunities for the Chamber.
There were concerns from business owners on what the effect will be when the ground breaking occurs on Main Street and what it will due to trucks that travel towards downtown as this will effect businesses who rely on the deliveries. Although there was no answer, it is something Mayor Romick will bring to the council to get a discussion started.
The discussion moved onto Redevelopment Agencies and how the City has to sell off its assets per the state law and the State Supreme Court decision—essentially, the Mayor explained how this will be an auction of assets the city began collecting that they now have to dump to dispose of the liability for the state.
One option the Mayor provided was that the City, depending on how low bids were for the property, could use general funds to purchase the properties to regain control. With that said, the Mayor could not commit to doing this on the prime real estate locations.
According to Romick, the development of downtown across from City Hall will continue because they are already in contract with Carpaccio’s and La Costa along with the Plaza, however, the buildings behind them that are stuck in 1950 look and feel will remain the same because of the Redevelopment Agencies going away.
Technically, an investor can now come in (one the transition is complete) and purchase the building and do what they want with it and remain 50-years behind in terms of look and feel. Romick admitted that there still are lots of questions that remain to be answered.
Romick informed the group that an oversight committee is being formed where he as Mayor gets to appoint 1-person from Oakley and as Fire Board President, gets to appoint a second person. A total of seven people will serve on the committee which includes the Board of Supervisors representative, a former Redevelopment Agencies staff person, Special Districts representative, and the Superintendent of Schools gets to pick a representative.
This oversight committee needs to be developed by March and begin immediately coming up with a plan and implementation.
It was asked what happens in the meantime to the vacant properties.
Romick responded that the City could lease them out, but it would be a month-to-month deal because they may have a new land lord at any time. The city is handicapped with little maneuver room and essentially cannot lease the buildings. This is a problem that will occur all throughout California.
Other topics included:
- Power Plant: the Mayor informed the Chamber that it’s still in litigation, but they hope to have it up and running by 2016. When that happens, the City will receive $3 million per year that will go into the general fund.
- $197 Fire Parcel Tax: This was discussed briefly as the Mayor says he is not allowed to advocate for people to vote yes, but rather, can only educate at this point in time. He informed the group of the upcoming outreach events. The $3 million deficit was discussed and how the District will soon be operating without a reserve.
- Community Center: This suggestion of a Community Center downtown was asked about. The debate transpired revolving around the Centro Mart which would soon be vacant and that would be an ideal location. The old fire station was also a suggestion along with the YMCA property. It appears the Chamber would like it downtown. The Chamber informed the Mayor that it is looking for places where it could fundraise within Oakley.
- Outreach Opportunities: it was discussed with the Mayor how the Chamber and its businesses could get the message out more about not only the Chamber, but city information so that more participation could occur. With information being shared, it would provide more opportunities for others to be involved if they simply know about city issues or functions.
The next Breakfast with the Mayor event will be held at 7:00 am on March 5 at the UPS Store at 2063 Main Street, Oakley.
For more information, you may visit the Oakley Chamber of Commerce Website.
This is actually a good idea and I like the informal setting as its a bonus. Since it is informal, it allows for open discussions to occur while information about the City is being shared by both businesses and the City. It allows those who cannot attend City Council Meetings an opportunity to get the “cliff notes version” of what is transpiring in the city.
Although the attendance was low (less than 10), the idea is solid and do hope more people take the opportunity to attend in the future to learn not only more about the City, but also the Chamber. In that same breath, without a real draw or reason to attend, attendance will remain stagnate.
Had Les Schwab raffled off 4-new tires to this kick off event with proper advertising, I bet 100+ people would have showed up. It would have been a victory for all as Les Schwab would have brought in potential customers, the City gets its information out, and the Chamber exposes itself to many people who might be potential members or volunteers.