In an effort to assist the Oakley Seniors in becoming successful with their endeavors for a senior space to assemble, the Oakley City Council agreed to a lease amendment that extends the current three-year lease to 10-years.
By doing so, it allows potential project stakeholders the timeline needed to invest time and money in a senior facility in the former Fire Station on 2nd Street. The seniors will continue to pay $1 rent each month for the next 10-years.
Shirley Darling, representing the Oakley Seniors Group provided the council with the following explanation.
I am asking you for an extension of at least 10 years. We have numerous offers to help but they are reluctant to put in large sums of time and material for a 3-year lease. It has also been assessed to be a six-figure cost to complete this facility. The architects that we have used to complete the preliminary drawings are unable to go further without some remuneration. They have already expended $5k in preliminary drawings and have also offered us an HVAC unit for the building. We would like to ask the city if there is any program in your budget geared t this type of project and also if possible that also the city can do a matching donation program dollar for dollar. We are unable to go further until we get building drawings, buildable drawings. Our local paper the Oakley/Brentwood Press has dubbed this “barn raising” and has promoted it to other groups to help us other. We are unable to accept for membership the seniors who filled out applications for membership until we are able to complete the ADA requirement and the fire codes. We continue to receive applications daily from potential members. We hope the city council and city staff will work with us to make this a wonderful addition to our city. I want to thank you for your consideration.
Oakley Councilwoman Diane Burgis immediately responded she wants to help make it easier on the seniors.
“I just want to get this done,” proclaimed Burgis. “I want to get these folks a place to spend some time and for them to grow. I feel like this is taking a lot of time and I want to get this done. I am up for matching. I can say putting a certain amount of money at a limit at this point if we needed to do that.”
She recognized many in the community who have already stepped up to help and others who will step up when the projects move forward.
Burgis then asked about potential funding and where the money would come from in the form of Grants as the major expenses according to Darling are for kitchen and bathroom repairs to become ADA compliant which is an estimated $150,000.
“The painting has been donated, a lot of people willing to get in there and do the doors, painting, but the bathrooms and kitchen are huge expense,” said Darling.
City Manager Bryan Montgomery explained that their are county and state EDBG Grants available to apply for which begin in December, but are not awarded until June 2014.
Darling also suggested the City Council match funds they are able to raise.
Burgis shot back asking “how much are you asking us to match?”
No clear answer was given, but Ms. Darling explained she was hoping to get a grant to cover the cost where $150k could get everything done.
Vice Mayor Randy Pope stated he wanted to get the seniors involved with city programs.
“I would the city to adopt or to use you as a vendor to provide services to our senior community and would be a paid position in exchange for doing the services which would be an ongoing source of income for the operations of your facility… but I am fully in favor of extending the contract term for 10-years. It’s very gratifying to see all the people step up to help and I will step up in any way the city can so just let us know so I would be more than willing,” said Pope.
Mayor Kevin Romick went back to the funding question in asking where the money would come from.
“As we look at funding at possibly in July or if we are lucky enough to be selected for the dollars. Looking at our budget which is balanced at the moment and hope to keep it balanced in the foreseeable future. Where would the money come from?” asked Romick?
Montgomery explained they have secondary options outside of a grant which include the “power plant money” referring to the $250k set aside for non-profits within the community to apply for. He also suggested the City could use some of their reserve funding to assist the seniors highlighting they are over their 20% minimum reserve as they have more than 30% in the bank.
“I also support extending the lease for 10 years. It makes sense. It makes perfect sense to make them available and easier on them to attract additional funding where they can,” said Romick.
Council voted 4-0 to support the lease extension from 3 to 10 years.