Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Minutes
Monday, July 16, 2007

These Minutes are preliminary pending approval by Council
at the August 7, 2007 City Council Meeting.

MINUTES FOR THE STUDY SESSION
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
July 16, 2007
Civic Center Council Chambers
1175 E. Main Street

CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Morrison called the meeting to order at 6:06 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
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ROLL CALL
Councilors Hardesty, Navickas, Hartzell, Chapman, Jackson and Silbiger were present.

Mayor Morrison noted that the Council had just come from a site visit of the Grandview property.

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1. Look Ahead Review.
City Administrator Martha Bennett noted that some of the councilors may be absent from the August 7, 2007 Council Meeting. Councilor Jackson confirmed she would be absent. Councilors Hardesty and Chapman indicated they were not sure at this point.

Ms. Bennett briefly went over the agenda items for upcoming Council Meetings and noted the significant items. In addition, she distributed the results from the Council Goal Setting session. Ms. Bennett clarified various topics and agreed that staff would do their best to provide the plan for the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) to the Council prior to the meeting.

Community Development Director David Stalheim provided an explanation of the timeline for the Riparian Ordinance, which includes a wetlands inventory and a public hearing.

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2. Discussion of Surplus City Property.
Public Works Director Paula Brown presented the staff report on current and potential properties that could be sold as surplus property. She explained that the City owns over 80 properties of which 36 are not designated for parks or parks open space. She stated that the majority of the properties are in use but may be better served differently.

The following four properties were identified as potential sites for discussion and surplus:

Storage Yard on Granite Street
Storage Yard between Glenview and Ashland Loop Road
Portions of the Imperatrice Property
Nevada Street sub-station and storage lot

Ms. Brown clarified the tax lots within the Imperatrice property on all on designated county farm land has water rights for approximately 200 acres and has a natural spring on one of the parcels. She recommended if Council was interested in a park-overlay, that staff be directed to work with the Parks Department and bring this back to Council for their consideration. It was clarified that the land was not purchased with parks dollars, but with dollars from the wastewater fund.

Ms. Brown continued to give background information on the other parcels. She noted if the Nevada Street sub-station property were sold, other storage facilities would need to be found for items that are currently being stored on this property. She stated that there are better options for all these properties rather than their current use as storage lots and suggested other possibilities for storage sites. Ms. Brown noted that staff is asking for direction from the Council on these properties.

Electric Department Director Dick Wanderscheid clarified the use of the Nevada Street sub-station property. He stated the City does not own the sub-station and that it is owned by Pacific Power. Comment was made that the property adjacent to the sub-station may not be desirable for residential use. The Gun Club property was mentioned and Ms. Brown clarified that it would remain in the Facility Master Plan as access to this property is very difficult.

Staff indicated that with Council's direction, they would explore and bring back options for all these properties.

Request was made that when considering the Imperatrice Property, all options be considered for discussion. In addition, request was made for the Nevada Street property to be tested for contamination.

Councilor Chapman noted a previous motion made by Council for staff to develop a master planning session for the Imperatrice Property and suggested they do something similar to the Master Trail Plan or the Parks Master Plan and include a lot of outreach into the community.

Comment was made on the importance of providing affordable housing and how all this should be handled through the Facility Master Planning process. Ms. Bennett reminded Council of the upcoming planning on the Croman property and the possibilities that could be opened up in this process. Councilor Hartzell also noted the potential changes to the ODOT property.

Ms. Brown noted that there is a piece of property near the Wastewater Treatment Plant that needs correction with the County as it currently lists this property as owned by Parks.

Staff was requested to provide potential trade/use scenarios for these properties and as much as a "whole picture" for the Council to consider in regards to these properties. Staff indicated they would bring this back at the time Council considers the ad-hoc committee.

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3. Discussion of Mt. Ashland QA/QC Team and Advisory Group.
Public Works Director Paula Brown noted the pending litigation with Mt. Ashland Association and stated without an understanding of Mt. Ashland's participation, now might not be the best time to discuss how to continue the process with the QA/QC Team and getting the RFP out. Ms. Brown noted that this item could wait until tomorrow's Council Meeting, since the Council is not being asked to make a decision tonight.

Mayor Morrison questioned if the Council wanted to discuss this issue tonight. Councilor Jackson voiced support for discussing this issue tonight. Councilor Hartzell submitted written comments to the Council and stated if they are going to move forward, she would like to go over her recommendations. She also noted her interest in discussing who selects the members of the QA/QC Team and voiced her opposition to Mt. Ashland and City staff performing this task.

Clarification was requested on whether the Council had decided to establish a citizen advisory group and have that group assist with the appointments to the QA/QC Team. Ms. Brown noted that Council went back and forth on this issue several times, and she would need to review the past discussions before she could provide an answer.

Councilor Hartzell voiced opposition to how the RFP is structured and stated she would like a better understanding of what the RFP is asking for before they send it out. She also noted that if the RFP is sent out, they need to be prepared for some hefty price tags. Councilor Silbiger noted the importance of the QA/QC Team element and suggested they figure this out first and not get sidetracked by advisory committees. Councilor Hardesty voiced concern that if the RFP is sent out, people may not want to bid on it due to the uncertainty of the situation, and voiced support for holding off on issuing the RFP. Councilor Navickas voiced support for moving forward with the inexpensive actions and noted his support for forming a citizen advisory committee. Councilor Chapman stated that an advisory group may not be necessary or advisable and stated there are only two things they need to worry about: 1) the membership of the QA/QC Team, and 2) their authority on the job. Councilor Jackson indicated that she could not find anywhere in the record where the Council decided to have the citizen advisory group help form the QA/ QC Team.

Ms. Brown noted that the Forest Service has stated all along that they run the project and it is their total responsibility to manage the project. She added the Forest Service has also indicated their opposition to the QA/QC Advisory Group if it takes away any of their authority.

Mayor Morrison summarized the Council discussion and stated they all seem to not want to rush ahead with the RFP and he noted the need for them to go back and refresh their memories on what they want out of a citizen advisory group and discuss this item further.

Paul Copeland/462 Jennifer Street/Presented the Council with a letter addressed to the City Administrator in regards to the QA/QC Advisory Group. Mr. Copeland noted his interest in this issue and recollects that there were discussions about the QA/QC Advisory Group having some role in reviewing the RFP and possibly reviewing the selection of the team members. He requested the Council make a full disclosure if Mt. Ashland has been involved in the preparation of the RFP and stated the public needs to be made aware if the Council has decided to drop the advisory group.

City Administrator Martha Bennett noted that the Council needs to decide whether to wait, get more information, and then make a decision on when to bring this back; or whether to go ahead and form the citizen advisory group knowing that they can only invite Mt. Ashland Association to participate. She stated the second decision they must make is when to have staff issue the RFP, and noted they could decide to do this now, after the advisory group is formed, or after the litigation with Mt. Ashland Association is over. She requested that Council provide an answer to these questions at tomorrow nights meeting.

Councilor Hartzell requested staff provide cost estimates on the RFP. Mayor Morrison voiced his support for moving ahead with the advisory team process, but not with the RFP.

Ms. Brown stated staff would bring back information on the advisory group and the direction Council has given in the past. She noted that staff would need for Council to provide clarification on the role of the advisory group.

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4. Review of Regular Meeting Agenda for July 17, 2007.

Resolution Amending the Pay Schedule for Management and Confidential Employees.
Human Resource Manager Tina Gray clarified how competitive salaries are computed. She commented on the need to keep supervisors and the positions they supervise from compressing together and noted the need to offer incentives for management employees to move into supervisory positions. Ms. Gray stated there are management positions that will become vacant in the next few years and it is not currently worthwhile for individuals to leave their union positions and step into these management positions. She also noted the difficulty staff has faced with recruiting, both internally and outside the City.

Councilor Hardesty questioned if there are other efforts the City can make to avoid compression other than raising supervisor's rates. Ms. Gray clarified that staff would like to conduct a class study for this group of employees and hire a consultant to look at each job description and compare them to other cities.

Ms. Gray clarified the housing market element and noted that many of the positions in this group are emergency responders and the City expects them to live within a certain radius, if not within, the City of Ashland. She also clarified the total cost for a 4% increase for this group is $200,000.

Councilor Chapman left the meeting at 7:44 p.m.

Mr. Gray briefly commented on the remaining bargaining groups. City Administrator Martha Bennett indicated that staff could provide additional information on the compression problem between represented and non-represented positions at tomorrow nights meeting.

Sale of Green Tags - Bonneville Environmental Foundation
Electric Department Director Dick Wanderscheid provided a brief explanation of the program and commented on how the structure is different for governmental agencies. He also commented on Southern Oregon University's decision to purchase enough green tags to offset all the energy use at the university.

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5. Discussion on Council Goal Setting.
It was noted this item would be placed on Council's agenda for tomorrow night.
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ADJOURNMENT
Meeting adjourned at 7:55 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder


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