Outstanding Youth Volunteer Award Nominations

The Oakley Youth Advisory Council  is accepting nominations for the 2016 Outstanding Youth Volunteer Award, to honor the outstanding youth volunteers who make a positive impact in Oakley.

Who Can Receive an Award?

  • Middle or high school students who live in the City of Oakley and volunteer in Oakley and the surrounding east county communities.
  • Nominees must provide outstanding volunteer service to their neighborhoods, communities, schools, and/or agencies, without being paid for it.
  • Current OYAC members may not receive awards.

What is “Outstanding Volunteer Service”?

  • Outstanding means that the service is meaningful to the nominee and significant to the recipient.
  • The nominee may have done volunteer work despite challenging personal circumstances, or may have done work that was really helpful, or was unique.

How Do I Nominate Someone?

  • Fill out the attached form. It can be emailed to, or sent to 3231 Main Street, Oakley, Ca 94561, by Wednesday April 19th at 5pm. The form is available on line by clicking here.
  • Anyone unrelated to the nominee, except a current OYAC member, can submit a nomination.

Selection Process & Awards Info

  • All nominees receive a letter of recognition informing them of their nomination.
  • Up to three outstanding youth volunteers will be selected by OYAC members to receive an award based on their personal commitment and their positive impact on the community.
  • Award winners will also receive a prize valued at $100.

Nomination Deadline: Wednesday, April 19th at 5pm
Submit nominations to:
OYAC Attn: Lindsey Bruno
3231 Main Street
Oakley CA 94561

Oakley City Council Has Not voted to support a Reallocation of Property Taxes

Contrary to an inaccurate press release from the East County Voters group (ECV) and a misleading headline by the East Bay Times, the Oakley City Council has yet to take a position on a reallocation of property tax to help fund the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD).

The City recognizes its role in staying engaged in conversations and evaluating proposals that could help improve the financial struggles of the ECCFPD; however, a property tax reallocation could have significant impacts on other public entities, especially to the local schools.  For example, a reallocation proposal made by the ECV group would take over $5,000,000 from the local schools each year.  The City Council would not vote on such a drastic measure without further conversations with the school districts and an open and fair discussion with the community about the impact of such a reallocation. Other public entities receiving property tax would have to also be involved.

Mayor Sue Higgins explains, “The City of Oakley is committed to being actively involved in discussions which explore improved funding and services for ECCFPD, however we have a responsibility to be prudent in our evaluation of all proposals. While we discussed the idea of reallocation, no action was taken. It is very hard to weigh such essential services like education provided by schools, to police services provided by cities, to fire services provided by the fire district against one another.”

At the work session held by the Oakley City Council on February 28th, the City Council agreed to send a letter to our state legislators, as a follow up to a letter sent late last year by ECCFPD, asking for the Legislature to consider proposals to assist ECCFPD.  Assembly Member Jim Frazier has submitted a bill request that will be later defined. The City Council also asked City staff to extend an invitation to the Assembly Member and/or his staff to make a presentation to the Council, when the bill is ready for formal submission.

The City Council did not vote to support a property tax reallocation.

Oakley’s Got Talent

The Oakley Youth Advisory Council is hosting the 1st Oakley’s Got Talent competition on Saturday, May 20th during the annual “Relay for Life” fundraiser.  The event is held at in the football stadium at Freedom High School, 1050 Neroly Road.

Do you sing, play an instrument or have a special hidden talent?  Individuals and groups are welcome!  Applicants will be required to audition on March 8th at 5pm at City Hall, 3231 Main Street.  Performance application forms are available by clicking here.

For more information, call (925) 625-7042.

Hometown Holiday Decorating Contest- Winner Announced

The winner of the 2016 Hometown Holiday Decorating Contest is 1876 Concannon Drive! Be sure to check out all of the entries with your family, they are sure to put you in the holiday spirit!

Participating homes include:

193 Lavender Way

302 East Home Street

733 Solitude Drive

1821 Gateway Drive

2330 Windsor Lane

2442 Talaria Drive

3801 Longhorn Lane

4706 La Vista Drive

4870 Dawson Drive

2030 Rubens Way #101

3900 Brown Road



Friends of Oakley Christmas Basket Program Registration

Thursday, November 3rd from 4 to 7pm at 1250 O’Hara Avenue

Saturday, November 5th from 9am to Noon* at 1250 O’Hara Avenue

*Space is limited, when they reach the maximum # of families they will close registration.

Oakley families in need of assistance with a holiday meal and toy, can register to receive fresh non0perishable food, and a wrapped toy for each child through age 17 in the family.

Families must bring either a water or power bill with the family name as proof of Oakley residence to register as well as a name and address matching State of California driver’s license or identification card. Friends of Oakley will consider special circumstances. One family meal will be provided per residence. If your registration is determined to be a duplicate with us or another service provider or invalid for any reason your registration will be voided. The Oakley Christmas Basket distribution will take place on the afternoon of Sunday, December 11th at O’Hara Park School. Questions call 925-625-7945





City of Oakley Hosts Military Hero Essay Contest

We all know men and women who have served in the military. They are people we admire, look up to and respect for the sacrifices they have made and for the courage they demonstrate on and off the battle field. The City of Oakley invites you to tell us about your military hero.


The essay contest is open to all K-12 students that reside in Oakley. There will be one winner in each of the corresponding categories K-5th grade, 6th-8th grade, and 9th-12th grade. K-5th grade students are invited to submit a drawing with a caption, while 6th-12th grades are to submit 300-500 typewritten words. To qualify please submit a completed essay and entry form to by 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 3, 2015. Entry forms can also be accessed by clicking here.


Winners will be given the opportunity to read their essay on Veterans Day during the City of Oakley Observance Ceremony to take place on Friday, November 11, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. at the Civic Center Plaza located at 3231 Main Street, Oakley. Additionally, first prize winners will receive a certificate of recognition and a $50 cash prize.


For more information and to access the application click here.

City Provides Additional Information About Measures E & G

You are likely aware East Contra Costa Fire Protection District is responsible for providing fire suppression, fire protection, fire prevention, emergency response, and emergency services among other services related to the protection of life and property. The district covers 249 square miles, including the cities of Brentwood and Oakley, and the unincorporated areas of far East County.

The District’s ability to fulfill its mission is challenged due to insufficient funding. While the financial troubles are not new, they’ve continued to grow worse. In 2010, the district had to close five fire stations. Presently there are only three stations, with nine firefighters at a time to serve the entire service area. A recent master plan study indicated a minimum of nine stations are needed just for a basic level of service.

ECCFPD’s funding challenges don’t stem from mismanagement.  There’s nothing to cut. There are only three fire stations for 249 square miles and a population of over 113,000 residents. The administrative overhead is at a minimum consisting of the Fire Chief and one administrative assistant. The District’s firefighters’ pay is the lowest in the area and pensions for the new staff are capped by State law. The firefighters are stretched beyond any reasonable limit, yet continue to serve diligently and with great distinction.

Looking back, we can paint the story of the District’s financial woes. Almost all (97%) revenues for the district’s operations come from property taxes. Forty plus years ago, when agencies determined the share each would receive of the 1% residents pay in property taxes, there wasn’t as a great a need for fire services in East County. Then, the community was mostly undeveloped. On average, the East Contra Costa Fire District only receives about 8 % of the 1% — in some areas of the District, it is 4%. By some comparison, ConFire receives 14%, San Ramon Valley Fire 15%, and Orinda-Moraga Fire 21%.

In 1978 voters rolled back property taxes with Proposition 13 and put the 1% cap in place. This kept taxes in check for property owners, but also significantly cut revenues of governmental agencies. The set allocation of the 1% also created a “zero-sum” game, in that if one agency is to receive more, then it has to come from other agencies.  Further, the schools’ portion of the 1% is nearly 70% of the total and the State does not allow the schools to give up any of its portion. The zero-sum game and the schools receiving almost all of the 1% makes any reallocation extremely difficult and highly unlikely.  (It is also important to note that Prop. 13 and other subsequent laws prohibit local agencies from raising taxes without a vote of the people. In other words, the City Council has not and cannot raise your taxes. It can only place a measure on the ballot for your consideration – which it has done with Measures E & G).

So, the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District has a very small share of the 1% property tax and the Great Recession devastated those revenues and only made matters worse. The District was forced to close five fire stations.  The financial crisis led the District to try on two occasions to pass property-based tax measures in 2012 and 2015. Both of the measures were not successful. After two unsuccessful attempts, the District and members of the public called on the cities and County to “help.” After months of meetings and research by a Task Force, both the Brentwood and Oakley city councils decided to put measures on the ballot to assist the Fire District that can provide the much-needed and lacking fire protection and medical emergency services.

The City of Oakley also has a very small portion of the 1% property tax and our overall tax revenues are very low. We have had to be very prudent with our spending and we often seek outside grant funds to improve the community.  When you see nice parks and landscaped areas maintained, road improvements, signage, etc., know that these projects come from funds or grants that are legally restricted to be used for those purposes and are usually one-time funds. These funds cannot be used to operate a fire station. Furthermore, much of the City’s budget and existing revenues goes to pay for the Police Department, which is the most essential service provided by cities.

Even though the Fire District is a separate legal entity and the City’s existing resources are limited, the critical need from fire and emergency medical services is a huge priority. The City of Oakley, like Brentwood, is asking residents to consider Measure E that could help support the District. Measure E is a general purpose tax to be collected as a Utility Users Tax of 3.5% on certain utility bill charges (much like a sales tax). This amount would be included in your billings for gas, electricity, cable TV, water, and sewer.  The tax would be collected by utility providers.

For those concerned that the funds would not be used for Fire, please vote accordingly. Measure G asks that if Measure E passes, “Do you want the revenues to be used to restore and enhance fire protection and emergency medical response services in Oakley?” Measure E also establishes a citizen review committee to monitor how funds are spent.  (The City Council didn’t go to all this effort to place these measures on the ballot, if it didn’t intend to allocate the general purpose revenues to the Fire District).

Measure E requires a simple majority to pass and is one the Fire District is not able to propose.

Below are some additional questions and answers, and you may also obtain more information and the initial list of Frequently Asked Questions at: Any further questions can also be sent to

 Q: Are you thinking, “have the developers paid?”

A: Developers are already on the hook to build a new fire station and to provide a new engine. As stated, this additional station is very critical in the provision of fire and emergency medical services to protect our families. The District does not have money to staff this station and Measure E would help provide the necessary funding.

Q: Why not make new homes pay for the staffing costs, or stop building altogether?

A: Legally we can not stop property owners from building. Much of the land in Oakley is already entitled with proper permits and land use designations approved. Furthermore, this doesn’t solve the current problem. The Fire District doesn’t even have the funds to serve the residents of the District that are already here and all residents are at risk. Dribbling in funds from new houses would not have any measurable impact (for example, at that same rate as the Summer Lakes existing fire assessment, another 15,000 or more homes would need to be built to address the funding that the Fire District needs now).

Please note, that those who live in the Summer Lakes subdivision and are already paying a fire tax/assessment, would be reimbursed by the Fire District per the approved Ordinance.

Q: Another question we’ve heard is, “why we don’t bring back a volunteer fire department?”

A: The number of calls per day and the training requirements for firefighters make a volunteer operation no longer possible. A station can get 15-20 calls per day and calling out volunteers away from their jobs, that provide income to their families at the needed frequency, is not practical. Further, safety standards for volunteers are not different than those of professional firefighters, which means volunteering demands a much greater time commitment than ever before and with the same rigorous and frequent training of a professional firefighter. The District uses and welcomes volunteer assistance that can supplement, but this wouldn’t be a realistic staffing solution.

 Q: Some have suggested an effort to readdress how the share of the 1% property received by the various government/school agencies.

A: As stated previously, a reallocation of any significance is HIGHLY unlikely. However, should a reallocation effort be successful in generating revenues to match those that the UUT would provide, the UUT would sunset and the Council would repeal the tax. Keep in mind however, that state law does not allow school districts to give up their share. Even if the remaining agencies forfeited or agreed to give up their shares, this wouldn’t be enough to address the need.

Q: Perhaps you wonder why doesn’t Oakley break away and form its own fire department.

A. This is not financially feasible. Two stations in Oakley as a separate department would cost $7-8 million per year. The proposed UUT will only generate $2 million. The most cost effective and practical option (due to standards for personnel and engine requirements) is a regional approach.

Today, Oakley has one station with nine firefighters assigned to that station, and only three firefighters on-duty throughout the day to serve over 40,000 residents. The Oakley station alone responds to more than 16 calls a day. The demand of answering to multiple emergencies, the physical distance (249 miles) of the service area, varying complexity of emergencies etc. has resulted in longer response times. The limited staffing alone is a challenge in and of itself. In the instance of a structure fire, it can take up four or more engines to take on the fire. This automatically requires that the District call for aid and wait for its arrival before tackling the fire.

Thus said, the continued strain on fire services and risk to the community is such that the City Council felt obligated to provide the opportunity to allow residents to consider a funding measure. The residents will ultimately get to decide.

Thank you for reading this and thank you to those who took the time to complete the Engage in Oakley survey and offer comments during the Council meetings. While a 9% UUT would be needed in order to fully execute the master plan operating with three stations in Oakley, we recognized that this might be too much for voters to support at this time. Thus the Engage in Oakley poll asked for sentiments at a 4.5% UUT (amount needed to fund the operation of one additional station). The responses were less than enthusiastic, thus the 3.5% number was determined as a prudent and realistic approach to trying to better protect our families, schools, businesses and homes.

Please ensure your vote is informed. For more information visit

Oakley Leadership Academy to Offer a Behind the Scenes Look at City Government

The City of Oakley is inviting residents to participate in the 2016 Leadership Academy. The Academy is a free, interactive civic education program designed to provide those who live and work in Oakley with a breadth of background and knowledge of the intricacies of City operations and processes. The purpose of the Academy is to provide an interesting perspective into the working of Oakley, to develop civic leadership, and to build a stronger community through well-informed and engaged residents.

Participants will meet for seven evening sessions, each two hours in length beginning at 6:30 p.m. and ending at 8:30 p.m. Each session will focus on a specific element of city government through an engaging presentation and discussion facilitated by top City staff. The Academy will meet for the first time on Tuesday, October 4th and thereafter on the first, third and fifth Tuesdays of each month through December 13th 2016.

Class size is limited to the first 25 respondents, on a first-come, first-served basis, but no later than 6:00 p.m. on Monday, September 19th. A registration form may be found on the City’s website (click here) or at City Hall, located at 3231 Main St. Oakley. Registration automatically closes at 25. If you find the class is full, sign up to be on the wait list to be notified should space become available this year. Those on the wait list who do not get to partake this year, will be given advanced notice to register in 2017. For the wait list click here. 

To participate, an applicant must be at least 16 years of age, live or work within the boundaries of the City of Oakley, and commit to attending the entire series.

If you have any questions please contact Nancy Marquez-Suarez at 925-625-7007 or

Academy Flyer

Program Schedule


Letter from the Mayor Regarding Fireworks

As a follow up to our efforts to educate and curtail the use of fireworks in Oakley, shortly after the 4th of July I posted a letter seeking residents’ assistance in identifying those that may be setting off fireworks in their neighborhoods. We received some very positive comments about our efforts and over twenty emails from residents that anonymously provided addresses of potential violators.

As part of our action plan, residents living at these addresses that are suspected of fireworks use will receive a direct contact from the Oakley Police Department. These residents will be reminded that all types of fireworks are illegal in Oakley and that we have identified their address as a location where fireworks may have been set off in the past. The Police Department will emphasize our zero tolerance and that additional enforcement will be conducted during the celebratory holidays – specifically at and near the addresses that have been identified. We are hopeful that this preventative measure will have a positive impact.

We continue to seek your input and any information regarding who might be setting off fireworks in Oakley. This link is to a convenient form you can use to send this information to us. You can remain anonymous . We strongly feel that focusing on prevention will reduce the problem and free up resources for direct and aggressive enforcement for those that continue to violate the law.

Thank you again for your help and cooperation as we work to address this serious problem.

Mayor Kevin Romick