Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Minutes
Monday, March 19, 2007

MINUTES FOR THE STUDY SESSION
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
March 19, 2007
Civic Center Council Chambers
1175 E. Main Street

CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Morrison called the Study Session to order at 5:15 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
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ROLL CALL
Councilors Hardesty, Navickas, Jackson, Silbiger, and Chapman were present. Councilor Hartzell arrived at 5:20 p.m.
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1. Discussion of Update on the City's Fleet Program.
Public Works Director Paula Brown introduced Maintenance Safety Supervisor Mike Morrison, Jr.

Mr. Morrison provided a presentation on the City's fleet program, which covered:

Overview of the City's fleet program
Review of current purchasing practices
Pros and cons of alternative technology
Potential use of alternative technologies
Options for future purchasing strategies

Mr. Morrison clarified the biodiesel fuel purchased at the Grange is a blend of 20% biodiesel and 80% conventional diesel. He recommended this fuel be used only for out of warranty vehicles since manufacturers void engine warranties if a higher concentrate than 5% biodiesel and 95% conventional is used.

Comment was made questioning if it is possible for the City to share equipment and vehicles with the Parks and Recreation Department, Ashland schools, or possibly the cities of Talent or Phoenix. Mr. Morrison noted the City does share some equipment with the Parks Department; however their functions are much different than the City's. In regards to sharing vehicles with other cities, Mr. Morrison noted the City's equipment is used frequently and the majority of it is used everyday. Ms. Brown commented that the Parks and Recreation Department is in the process of taking over some of the grounds maintenance functions for the schools.

Suggestion was made for the City to take into consideration where the soy beans used to make biodiesel fuel are grown. Mr. Morrison clarified currently the biodiesel fuel is coming out of the Midwest by train car; however there are plans to build biodiesel plants here in Oregon.

Recommendation was made for the City to reconsider its "American only" policy for vehicle purchases.

Support was voiced for the creation of the Equipment Acquisition Committee as proposed by staff.

Mr. Morrison noted that staff has been testing the 5% biodiesel mix on emergency vehicles. Although the testing to date has been successful, he recommended further testing before biodiesel fuel is placed in all of the City's emergency vehicles.

Suggestion was made for the proposed Committee to look into programs and incentives for City employees and commuters to reduce emissions. Additional suggestion was made for the City to consider bicycles and motorcycles as alternatives to the light vehicles.

Ms. Brown noted that staff would bring forward options for consideration when it is time to purchase new vehicles.

Mr. Morrison noted the City had received a grant to install diesel particulate filters and oxidation catalysts in the City's existing diesel equipment and that this retrofit will take place during the 2008-09 fiscal year.

Ms. Brown stated if the City purchased the two electric vehicles outlined in the budget package, these could be used by City staff for the frequent trips between the North Mountain offices and City Hall/Community Development Building.

Council thanked Mr. Morrison for his presentation and voiced support for developing a policy for the City's fleet.

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2. Look Ahead Review.
City Administrator Martha Bennett noted the Rogue Valley Council of Government presentation scheduled for tomorrow night has been postponed. She stated the next study session scheduled for April 2, 2007 is a discussion on the City's local improvement district policies. And stated the Schofield/Monte Vista LID, a supplemental budget, and a report from the Community Development Director will come before Council at their regular meeting on April 3, 2007. Ms. Bennett added the Right Water, Right Use study session will be held on April 16, 2007, and the condominium conversion ordinance will come before Council on April 17, 2007.

It was clarified the Street and Pole Banner right-of-way discussion is on the Look Ahead due to questions raised by the Kiwanis Club, Gary Smith, representing the A Street merchants, and the Lithia Artisans Guild. Assistant City Attorney Richard Appicello clarified this discussion will address the use of the flag holders and the banner policy.

Ms. Bennett clarified that due to the noticing requirements, April 17, 2007 is the soonest the condominium conversion ordinance can come before Council. She also noted that there are items staff is currently tracking that are not on the Look Ahead, including Council Goals, the Railroad Property, and an update on RVTD.

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3. Discussion of Mayor and Council Proposed Budget.
Management Analysis Ann Seltzer presented the staff report and reviewed the Mayor and Council materials and services budget for FY08. She noted the total amount of funds for travel and training is $14,935 and requested the Council discuss whether the current practice of allocating funds meets their needs.

Suggestion was made for the training budget to be divided up amongst the Council, so that each would have funding to participate in training opportunities that are important to them.

Comment was made recommending that travel to Washington D.C. for lobbying be separately accounted for in the budget.

Several councilors commented on their experiences with the League of Oregon Cities conference and whether they found it beneficial. Ms. Seltzer noted the importance for the council to participate in these conferences and stated it is an important opportunity to connect with other elected officials and obtain governmental training. She suggested staff reduce the assumption of how many councilors participate each year to four or five and allocate the remainder of the funds amongst Council.

City Administrator Martha Bennett agreed that councilors should periodically attend the League of Oregon Cities. She also suggested the following changes to the allocation of the budget funds:

Budget for two Council members to participate in the Washington D.C. lobby trip, with the Council determining each year who will attend.
Set aside $1,000 for each member of the Council to participate in training of their choice.
Budget for most of the Council to attend the League of Oregon Cities.
Budget for one trip for the Mayor to attend the Oregon Mayors Association.

Request was made for staff to provide periodic updates on the Council/Mayor budget. Additional suggestion was made requiring council members to provide a mandatory report upon completion of training sessions.

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4. Review of Regular Meeting Agenda for March 20, 2007.
City Administrator Martha Bennett asked each councilor to identify which agenda items they have questions on, and to list those questions for staff so that they can be prepared to provide answers at tomorrow night's meeting.

Council noted the following agenda items they have questions on:

1) Citizen Advisory Committee Interchange Area Management Plan
2) Transient Occupancy Tax Resolution
3) Open Burning Ordinance
4) Emergency Shelter Policy

Citizen Advisory Committee Interchange Area Management Plan
Councilor Chapman noted the concerns of the Bicycle & Pedestrian Commission and suggested a representative from this Commission be added to the Committee. Councilor Hartzell agreed with this suggestion and questioned if the Mayor had received any applications from a disabled resident who could serve on the committee as well. Councilor Hardesty suggested including a member from the Public Arts Commission. Mayor Morrison noted the number of members could be expanded, but stated a smaller group would be more effective.

Management Analyst Ann Seltzer clarified this is an ODOT committee, and no City staff has been assigned. She noted the purpose of this committee it to look specifically at the interchange (on-ramps and off-ramps). City Administrator Martha Bennett noted there will be a technical advisory committee that staff could participate on, and stated this Citizen Advisory Committee is not the appropriate place for the public art component. Ms. Seltzer agreed and noted the overpass itself will be a separate component.

Recommendation was made for the members of this committee to be given a copy of the City's Transportation Plan. Additional suggestion was made for this committee's meeting schedule, as well as other special group and subcommittee meetings, be posted on the City's website.

Transient Occupancy Tax Resolution
Councilor Chapman suggested they have an informal study session meeting with the Chamber of Commerce to discuss economic development prior to allocating the Chamber TOT funds. He suggested the Council consider only allocating money to the small grants tomorrow night and to hold off on awarding funds to the Chamber of Commerce and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival until the study session has occurred.

Comment was made questioning if the money given to the Chamber of Commerce is considered a contract or a grant and requesting advice from the City's legal counsel on this tomorrow night.

Councilor Navickas voiced his discomfort with discussing items from tomorrow nights meeting agenda.

Staff clarified that the Council could decide to postpone the allocation decision for the Chamber and OSF; however staff needs to know how much to allocate to the small grantees by the beginning of April.

Outdoor Burning Ordinance
Councilor Chapman requested staff bring forward options tomorrow that could be added for issuing permits that will minimize burning in the City.

Emergency Shelter Policy
Comment was made questioning where the 9 p.m. closing regulation came from. Fire Chief Keith Woodley explained the concerns of the shelter monitors was taken into consideration and the doors would be locked at 9 p.m. for security purposes. He clarified this policy was patterned after what the church had been doing.

Mr. Woodley clarified he would check with the National Guard Armories to see if they have an emergency shelter policy in place.

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ADJOURNMENT
Meeting adjourned at 7:55 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
April Lucas, Assistant to City Recorder


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