Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Continued Meeting

Minutes
Wednesday, June 21, 2006

MINUTES FOR THE CONTINUED MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
June 21, 2006 at 12:00 p.m.
Civic Center Council Chambers
1175 E. Main Street

CALL TO ORDER
Council Chair Amarotico called the Continued Meeting to order at 12:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.

Councilors Hartzell, Silbiger and Chapman were present. Mayor Morrison and Councilor Jackson were absent.
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UNFINISHED BUSINESS
1. Re-visit RVTD discussion (David Chapman).
Management Analyst Ann Seltzer explained the Council previously voted to eliminate Route 5 and devote $290,000 to buying down the fare on Route 10. She noted the information contained in the packet materials and stated RVTD could get the fare for Route 10 down to $.75, which is within the City's $290,000 budget (assuming a 10% drop in ridership). The estimated cost for this option is $279,000. Ms. Seltzer stated Council's options are to: 1) retain Route 5 and subsidize fares at 50%, or 2) eliminate Route 5 and buy down the fare on Route 10 to $.75 and $1.50 for Valley Lift. In both options, RVTD would track ridership and bill the City quarterly.

Council commented on the figures provided by RVTD and expressed concern that the numbers did not add up. City Administrator Martha Bennett clarified the Valley Lift service is the expensive part of the subsidy and clarified if they lower the bus fare, the percentage of funds the City must pay for Valley Lift goes way up and puts the City out of budget. She stated if the Council wants to stay within the $290,000 budget, a $.75 fare is the lowest the City can afford.

Ms. Seltzer commented on the transit services in Portland, Oregon and Sandy, Oregon. Ms. Bennett stated the Council could ask RVTD to look into whether they could charge for Valley Lift service if the bus service were free (similar to what is done in Portland), but cannot mandate them to do this.

Council discussed the two options presented by staff. Ms. Seltzer clarified RVTD will not offer Valley Lift service outside the -mile boundary. Suggestion was made to provide the additional funding left over from Option 2 to the Senior Center to assist the citizens RVTD will no longer be serving.

Lisa Byrne/51 Garfield Street/Noted the transportation goals listed in the 2005-2007 Council Goals, the Comprehensive Plan and the Comprehensive Transportation Action Plan. She voiced concern with the diminished service, increased fares and loss of ridership; and shared her situation as a car-free citizen. Ms. Byrne suggested a possible tax on theatre ticket sales as a means to pay for public transportation.

Nick Frost/224 3rd Street/Stated now may be the right time to consider establishing small scale bus service in Ashland. He stated this is what the people want and need and that the City cannot further isolate its elderly citizens. He suggested establishing a Valley Lift type service for seniors, and then evolving it into a small scale bus service for the rest of the City.

Art Bullock/791 Glendower Street/Stated the solution is to stop asking questions, ask for the model, know the assumptions, and determine the tradeoffs. Mr. Bullock suggested subsidizing monthly bus passes and recommended a three-month solution, with minimal change, in order to buy time and determine a better way to address the transit issue.

Mat Marr/31 Union Street/Voiced support for the formation of task forces, one to look at RVTD system-wide and another to identify Ashland's needs. He agreed that smaller vehicles would provide a more effective network within Ashland and suggested a possible withdrawal from the transit district if they are not able to meet Ashland's needs. He stated according to the numbers provided by RVTD, the City could maintain the current free service and Routes 5 and 10 for $134,000 for the next 90 days.

Councilor Hartzell requested staff look at the current contract with RVTD and the contract with the transit district to determine the City's rights if Ashland needs to sever itself from the district.

City Administrator Martha Bennett stated she does not believe the City could have a replacement option developed and through the public involvement process in 90 days.

Edmund Chapman/113 Pine Street/Chairman of the Board for RVTD/Stated he was assured by his staff they have given the City all the information they have asked for, and the City's staff assured them they understood it. He stated the City of Ashland could not easily withdraw from the transit district, however if this problem is not solved the district will disappear. Mr. Chapman suggested a joint session of the City Council and Transportation District to ensure the Council is provided the information they need. He stated they have many models and it should not be difficult to get the answers the Council needs. He added they could hold off on the Route 5 decision a little longer if needed. Mr. Chapman stated he would look into the City of Portland's transit system in regards to their free fare zone and share his findings with the Council.

Council continued their discussion of the two options presented by staff. Ms. Bennett commented if Route 5 is eliminated, they might not be able to bring it back at a later date. Comment was made that the Council needs more information before altering from their original decision.

Council requested Staff: 1) ask RVTD to obtain a legal analysis as to whether they could charge a fare for Valley Lift service if the City subsidizes free fares, 2) ask RVTD to provide the actual operating costs of Routes 5 and 10, irrespective of fare revenue and ridership, 3) ask RVTD whether they would charge the City this flat rate, and 4) determine the guidelines for staying apart of the district as outlined in the contract.

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ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS (Cont.)
1. Reading by title only of, "A Resolution supporting the request for Oregon Department of Transportation's transportation enhancement funds in the amount of $275,000 to be used to construct the Laurel Street sidewalk project."
City Engineer City Olson explained the City is requesting funds for constructing sidewalks on Laurel Street from Hersey Street to Randy Street. The City has used these funds in the past and are currently using them to build the North Ashland Bike Path. One of the requirements is to have a Resolution of the Council in support, and once the grant is offered there will be a subsequent resolution accepting the funds. Mr. Olson clarified the City would have an 11% match of funds, which is $34,000.

Art Bullock/791 Glendower Street/Stated he attempted to get information on this project and has been stopped. Mr. Bullock stated the scope and the crosswalk status has not been provided and asked this information be made available to him.

Mr. Olson stated this would return to Council before construction begins, and at this point there is only a vague project outline. He added the information they have is available to the public.

Councilor Silbiger/Hartzell m/s to approve Resolution #2006-14. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hartzell, Amarotico, Silbiger and Chapman, YES. Motion passed.

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NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Procedures on selection of Council Position #1.
City Recorder Barbara Christensen explained that in the past, Council has determined the questions they wished to ask prior to beginning the interviews. Council requested 30 minutes prior to the interviews to discuss the interview questions and voting procedure.
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2. DEQ Presentation on Revised PM Standards.
Rescheduled to a future council meeting.
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ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS - (Cont.)
1. Reading by title only of, "A Resolution amending the pay schedule for management and cofidential employees for fiscal year 2006-2007"
Rescheduled to a future council meeting.
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2. Reading by title only of, "A Resolution of the City of Ashland clarifying certain conditions of employment for management and confidential employees and making such conditions consistent with the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act by repealing Resolution No. 97-18"
Rescheduled to a future council meeting.
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ADJOURNMENT
Meeting adjourned at 1:14 p.m.

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
Alex Amarotico, Council Chair


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