The Oakley recreation center construction cost was approximately twenty-seven million dollars, at least as explained to me. Like most other municipalities, Oakley does not have the funds to pay for such construction readily available. The California cities usually fund such a project by asking the public to vote to decide if they support a bond (debt instrument) to build such a structure.

            Not surprisingly, Oakley decided to indebt the City of many years to come without “bothering the people” with a vote. Instead, the City indebted the people by committing future general fund money to construct the building. The taking money from the General Fund that could go to hire police, or pay for increased fire service, or road maintenance to pay down a still existing debt of $13,209,540.00.

            The City issued what is known as Certificates of Participation (COPs). The City goes to a private entity (we don’t know who). The person (organization) agrees to buy twenty-seven million dollars of them. The City then pledges future City tax revenues to pay back the debt. There is not a citizen oversight committee to monitor the debt. Yes, again, the citizens were denied direct access to weigh in on the decision.

            The Oakley City Council has encumbered future City Councils for a $668,569.00a year for a debt payment for years to come. Money future councils could use to enhance recreational services and widen East Cypress Road to provide an adequate evacuation route for residents of Summer Lake but will be forced to pay due to the current council’s poor judgment.

            The only way to stop this type of City Council behavior is to place three new members on the council dais on November 3.

            The Debt Service information can be found on pages 143 and 144 of the City budget, signed off by City Manager Bryan Montgomery, presented to the City Council on June 23, 2020. A link to a copy of those pages is below.

George Fuller, MPA, MA

Click to access COPs-city-budget-pages.pdf

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