I will be voting no to accept the county property on O’Hara Avenue south of Main St on the City Council agenda for this Tuesday. The county is offering the property to the City. In exchange, the City will pay half the cost of demolition of the building currently on the site, a $200,000.00 price tag for the City residents. In addition, my understanding the City will need to provide clean-up for the site, and maintain it, which will be an additional cost to Oakley citizens.

            The Friends of the Oakley Library will have three years to raise funds to build an expanded library at the location. (Please remember Oakley does have a library.) My understanding is the only way to create an expanded library is if the voters approve a tax revenue package for the construction. In the process, Oakley property taxes will continue to climb.

            I oppose any property tax increase, especially for a library, at least during this post-pandemic period. Oakley property taxes are amazingly high. In my opinion, the property taxes paid by property owners in Emerson Ranch, Delaney Park, and Summer Lake are oppressive. We recently increased taxes with the passage of the Measure X sales tax and increased impact fees for fire protection. At this juncture, Oakley needs to say, “no more out of our pockets for increased taxes for any reason.”

            I have yet to hear the need for an expanded library other than, “it would be so nice to have a larger library in Oakley.” The argument is not solid enough to support tax increases, and I have offered the solution of building the library downtown where the parking lot is to be constructed. A structure there would have more viable means of financing than increased taxes, at least in my mind.

            Now would be the time to notify council members of your thoughts concerning the situation.

 George Fuller, MPA, MA
     City Councilmember, City of Oakley

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