OAKDALE -- The first concept taught in kindergarten is sharing, and anybody objecting to that can bring it up to the school board and city council when they meet almost simultaneously tonight in council chambers.
Last week, the council decided to continue budget talks until 7 p.m. today, then realized the school board had booked the hall at that time for its meeting.
City Manager Steve Hallam asked the school board if members would be willing to take a brief recess precisely at 7 p.m. It agreed, so the board will start its meeting at 6:30 p.m., and take a break 30 minutes later.
The council then will take over the chairs just long enough to formally open its meeting, entertain public comment on the adoption of the 2009-10 budget and move to continue the hearing until 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Hallam said the mini-meeting should take no longer than 5-10 minutes.
The school board reserves the council chambers for the second and fourth Mondays of each month but rarely has enough official business to warrant the need to call a second meeting.
This time, however, the board decided to continue talks on the approval of its strategic plan for two weeks to allow the state more time to make decisions on the state budget, according to board member Pamela Antinetti.
The delay, she said, allows more time for the board to align the state budget with the overall strategic plan.
The council will use the extra few days to complete what have been difficult negotiations with the Oakdale Police Officers' Association.
After months of bickering over cuts, with much of the early volleying done via e-mails and phone messages, the sides recently have found common ground and reached a constructive level of communication, according to Hallam.
"Negotiations are going well and I'm confident we'll have an agreement with the OPOA by Wednesday night," Hallam said.
An agreement with classified-miscellaneous staffers has yet to be reached, but Hallam said that group's cuts amount to roughly $15,000 of the proposed $9 million spending plan, a figure not large enough to hold up a ratification vote.
"It's a very minor piece of the entire pie," Hallam said. "We're all set for 7 o'clock Wednesday, and it is my intent to have a proposed final budget ready for adoption at that time."
Bee staff writer Brian VanderBeek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2300.