First elected in 2004, Mayor Kevin Romick has decided to pull papers for a third term for Oakley City Council. He is so far joined by Doug Hardcastle and Michael Dupray who have also pulled papers in the first 48-hours.
I caught up with the Mayor when he was pulling his papers yesterday. I asked him why he was running for a third term.
“The great recession we are experiencing and the State’s insatiable appetite for other agency’s dollars in their attempt to balance their budget will have a profound effect on the City of Oakley now and for the foreseeable future,” said Romick. “The heydays of the 2000s when local budgets swelled with the revenue from ever increasing property taxes are gone. The ability to use Redevelopment as tool to create local jobs and to rebuild communities has been eliminated. The state has assumed the ultimate authority to borrow and raid from budgets at all levels of government.”
He added, “There will be growing, and shrinking, pains as Oakley and other cities discover what the “new normal” will be. I believe that my experiences as a Planning Commissioner, City Council member and Mayor and the relationships that I have made locally, regionally and statewide will be a benefit for Oakley as we forge a new normal and move forward.”
Some of the work Romick stated he wanted to continue working on Savings Oakley’s vineyard heritage.
According to Romick, there are roughly 500 acres of vineyards in Oakley being sold to multiple vintners that include: such as Cline, Bogel, Bonnie Dunes, Gallo and Rosenblum Cellars. As the city grows we would like to preserve and possible enhance what we have. A substantial amount of the vineyards are classified as ancient vines (80 – 120 years old).
“Last year we moved 7 acres of ancient vines to land owned by the city to preserver them from development. We are currently working Agricultural/Natural Resource Trust to identify and provide additional protection or mitigation. We are working with vineyard owners to establish wine tasting facilities within the City,” explained Romick.
He would also like to continue promoting the Oakley First Program to ensure residents know the value in buying local.
“Buying local keeps money local,” said Romick. “Not only does 1% of the total state sales tax come back to our fair city to be used locally, when you buy locally, but it is the primary source for making our community a great place in which to live providing us with: police services, street and landscaping maintenance, senior services, youth activities, parks, arts and community events and much, much more.”
Romick also stated he wants to attract new businesses to Oakley. He stated he wants to see busy shopping cents which will create a thriving community. Essentially he wanted to focus on economic development where he pointed out six bullet point topics of how to implement.
- Job creation;
- Business retention and expansion;
- Attract and retain leading retailers, specialty stores and expand tax base;
- Creating the infrastructure framework that supports economic development activities;
- Developing and improving areas for tourism
- Redeveloping Downtown.
Doug Hardcastle is owner of Hardcastles RV Center located on Main Street. He currently serves as President of the Ironhouse Sanitary District Board of Directors where his term expires this November.
Michael Dupray is a Radiation Protection Technician at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.