Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Tuesday, June 03, 2008

 MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL

June 3, 2008

Council Chambers

1175 E. Main Street

 

 

CALL TO ORDER

Mayor Morrison called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.

 

ROLL CALL

Councilor Hardesty, Navickas, Hartzell, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present.

 

MAYOR’S ANNOUNCEMENT OF BOARD AND COMMISSION VACANCIES

Mayor announced vacancies and noted that if anyone was interested in volunteering for any Commissions they should contact the City Recorder’s Office.

 

SHOULD THE COUNCIL APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THESE MEETINGS?

The minutes of the Study Session of May 19, 2008, Executive Session of May 19, 2008 and the Regular Council of May 20, 2008 was approved as amended.  The regular meeting minutes of May 20, 2008 were corrected on page 5 to reflect correct discussion by Councilor Navickas under discussion on continued original motion.  Sentence should state the following “prioritizing public good over private interests.”

 

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS

Mayor’s Proclamation of June 14, 2008 as Flag Day in the City of Ashland was read aloud.


 

Mayor introduced those students that would be representing our City as ambassadors for our Sister City of Guanajuato.

 

CONSENT AGENDA

1.   Does the Council accept the Minutes of Boards, Commissions, and Committees?

      04/09 and 04/10/08 Citizens’ Budget Committee

      04/17/08 Citizens’ Budget Committee

      04/21/08 Citizens’ Budget Committee

2.      Does the Council wish to approve a Liquor License Application from Peter Alzado dba Oregon Stage Works at 191 A Street?

3.   Will the Council approve the Agreement for Services between the City of Ashland and the Rogue Valley Transportation District?

 

Councilor Hartzell requested that Consent item #3 be pulled for discussion.

 

Councilor Chapman/Hartzell m/s to approve Consent Agenda items #1 and #2. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

 

Councilor Hartzell noted that next Monday night there would be a transit report by consultant HDR and wanted to know if there was anything in the report that would have an affect in the coming years or implications on what the agreement the council was being asked to approve.

 

Management Analyst Ann Seltzer clarified that the options that the consultants are developing for Monday are long-term transit options and it is unlikely any could be implemented within this next year.  The agreement the council is being asked to approve is just for this upcoming year.

 

Councilor Hartzell/Silbiger m/s to approve Consent Agenda item #3. DISCUSSION: Staff clarified that the consultants are still working on the options and that if they are ready prior to the Monday meeting they will be posted on the city website sooner. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

 

PUBLIC HEARINGS

1.   Adoption of FY2009 Budget and conduct First Reading of an Ordinance titled, “An Ordinance Levying taxes for the period of July 1, 2008 to and including June 30, 2009, such taxes in the sum of $8,616,000 upon all the real and personal property subject to assessment and levy within the corporate limits of the City of Ashland, Jackson County, Oregon” and move to Second Reading on June 17, 2008?

 

Public Hearing open: 7:15 p.m.

No speakers came forward.

Public Hearing closed: 7:16 p.m.

 

2.   Does Council wish to increase the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) from 7% to 9%?  Does the Council wish to pass first reading of the attached ordinance?

 

Public Hearing open: 7:17 p.m.

 

Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg presented the staff report and explained that this follows the direction from council at their April 15, 2008 meeting.  Using this information staff is recommending that the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) be raised to 9%.  Staff provided a table with information that came out of  the April 15 meeting which indicated different types of allocation based on existing 7%, staff proposal of 9% and council direction of 9%.  This table broke down information between non-tourism and tourism.  He noted that during the Economic and Cultural grant development process, applicants showed a little over $40,000 as tourism related expenses and the total request for Economic and Cultural grants was $320,000 of which $40,000 was a portion of this.  Approximately $125,410 was awarded which reduced the amount going to tourism, which was $8,719.

 

Staff included a draft Resolution which would make this increase effective October 1, 2008 and give the lodging industry time to adjust to the proposed increase.  Tax revenues would begin to be received for those that report on a monthly basis in Novbember 2008 and those that report on a quarterly basis in January 2009.

 

Katy Bazylewilz/344 Idaho/Board President for Ashland Chamber of Commerce shared their appreciation of the City’s support and appreciation on the increase, if the TOT increase is approved.  She noted the good job of collaboration that has happened between all the entities involved and the opportunity to promote our community.

 

Sandra Slattery/110 E Main Street/Exectutive Director of Ashland Chamber of Commerce noted how important it is for the City to reinvest in the promotion of tourism and economic development through the Chamber.  She noted how the Chamber offers all the tools needed to make the community successful and the importance of collaboration amongst all the entities in order to deal with the all the unforseen changes in the future.  She noted how the competition for tourism is fierce and that it is important during these economic challenging times for the Vistor and Convention Bureau (VCB) to receive additional dollars to garner more exposure, build more events and remain competitve in the market place.  She also noted the importance of building more events in the off season and create more reasons for people to visit our community.  The support by the City through tourism dollars helps to support independent businesses and the Chamber supports the City’s proposal to grant monies to the VCB.

 

Graham Lewis/152 N Pioneer/Encouraged the council to allocate the majority of the 7% required for tourism to the VCB.  He stated that this is the body of the Chamber that provides tourism in our community and it not only pays for advertising but offers the opportunity for articles in travel magazines, newspapers and other publications.

 

Dale Verger/36 S 2nd Street/Owners of Monet restaurant who noted their recognition on the potential that Ashland has to offer.  She noted her membership with the VCB and that she is currently the Board President of this organization.  She stated that as a buisiness owner they rely on the VCB to bring tourism to our community through their advertising.  Urged the council to approve the TOT increase and to dedicate a good portion of this to the VCB.

 

Mallory Pierce/885 Tyler Crrek Rd/Directorof Marketing and Communication for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF).  Stated their support to increase 2% which would keep the City on par with Medford and Jacksonville and would generate important revenue for promoting Ashland tourism throughout the entire year.  OSF supports the original staff recommendation at the April 15, 2008 meeting.  In keeping with the spirit of the state statute requiring 70% of any increase in the TOT to be spent on tourism the original staff recommendation allowing $300,000 of the estimated available funds to the Ashland VCB and the remaining balance to a combination of economic development, real property and improvements and Ashland Chamber of Commerce seems to be the wisest promotion of these monies.  She stated that the goal of the VCB is to promote all of Ashland and should be recognized as a leader statewide in tourism promotion.

 

Denise Daehler/96 N Main Street #201/Noted that she has been a business owner in Ashland for about two years.   Noted their appreciation of the community and hopes to continue to prosper in this community.  Stated their support for the proposed increase in the TOT and that it be directed toward the VCB in order to continue the collaborative effort for increase in tourism.

 

Deanne Anderson/618 Fair Oaks Court/Noted that she is a business owner and voiced her support of the increase in TOT and that it go towards VCB and Ashland Chamber of Commerce.  She noted the difficulty for businesses due to seasonal tourism and that it is important to try and bring in tourism during winter months.  She stated that these monies will help to promote adjuncts to OSF and noted that they have 20 people who work for them and that this will help to continue with employment for these individuals.  She shared information about a new Ashland Wellness Tour.

 

Ginny Aver/1500 E Main Street/Interim Executive Director of Science Works.  She noted her involvment with VCB and her support that as much monies be directed to the VCB as possible.  She voiced her appreciation of the grant monies that have been awarded to Science Works and shared how these monies had been used.

 

Garrett Furnichi/172 4th Street/Voiced his support for the advertising dollars because he felt it would come directly back to their business.  Commented on the economic crisis at this point and feels that this increase will help.

 

Michelle Glass/212 E Main Street/Food & Beverage Director for the Ashland Springs Hotel.  She shared experience in the food and beverage industry and understands the difficulty with running a successful and profitable food and beverage business in Ashland.  She stated that the holel has 50 employees and noted the difficulty when these individuals have to be laid off during the off season.  She believes that revenue opportunities are available in the winter seasons and that increased advertising during this time would affect the liviability of Ashland for its workers and the revenues that the businesses and the City enjoys.

 

Jac Nickels/821 Beach Street/Noted that he has lived in Ashland since 1973 and voiced appreciation for the increase in budget for tourism and the work by the Ashland Chamber of Commerce on increasing tourism in the community.  He also noted that he is the chairman for Economic Stability for the Ashalnd Chamber of Commerce.  He stated that due to the economic times that it is important to bring new businesses into town.  He believes that there will be a decline in tourism and urged the council to increase the budget for the Chamber to continue its efforts for economic development.

 

Tom Olbrich/356 Alta Street/Noted that he has been a resident in this community for 28 years and is the Executive Director of the Ashland Film Festival and has served as a volunteer VCB.  He spoke in favor of increasing the TOT to 9% and felt that this increase would be good for the community.  If the proposed increase is approved, the Economic & Cultural Development subcommittee would see a substantial increase in funding and the Film Festival is greatful for the grants that have been awarded to them.  He voiced his understanding on the difficulty that this committee struggles with every year when awarding these grants.  He noted the lack of funding for the VCB is dramatic and the proposed increase is based on what other communities have done.  He stated that the annual Film Festival would not exist without the grant monies from the City and is aware of how a strong, vibrant, VCB would be an asset to the Ashland Film Festival and other non profit organizations.  He voiced his support on the increase of the TOT to the VCB and for the Economic & Cultural subcommittee grantees.

 

Pam Hammond/632 Walnut/Noted that she is the Vice President of the Ashland Chamber of Commerce and co-owner of Paddington Station.  If council approves the TOT they should consider the VCB and noted the challenges during the current economic times in regards to costs.  She noted their support of VCB who has the ability to promote and develop events outside our region with proper funding.

 

Josh Hammock/1239 Old Willow Lane/Noted that he runs the Stratford Inn and voiced his concern with the timing of the proposed increase of TOT.  Commented on how the increase of 2% to the TOT would affect those customers that have already made reservations to come to their business.  He explained how budgets are shrinking and he is uneasy with the  July 1, 2008 date and would prefer the October 1, 2008 start date in order to prepare.  He voiced his support of increasing the amount given to the VCB who he believes knows better on how to manage the money.

 

Chuck Young/1313 Clay Street/Noted that he is co-owner of a Bed & Breakfast (B&B) and is the designated spokeman for B&B organization.  He voiced his caution about the current economy and how money is going to be spent based on past history.  He stated that there is a general comfort level with the proposed increase and their confidence level with the VCB as they are in the best position to spend this money wisely.  He challenges that the state mandates 70% go to tourism and that 30% can be spent at will.  He would like that over time to get more of the 70% of the proposed 2% increase geared toward tourism in order to be more competitve with other cities in the state.

 

Don Anway/212 E Main Street/General Manager of Ashland Springs Hotel.  He understands how the VCB should run and asked that the council look at the percentages that the staff has presented.  He noted his concern that Medford has over $400,000 for a promotion budget as compared to Ashland which has only $208,000.  He stated that the proposed 3.9% increase for the VCB is not that much money and is concerned with where the allocations are.  He felt that the council should think about the small tourism grants and that the VCB can work with small grantees and draw people to come and visit Ashland and promote their events.  He felt that it was more important that the VCB receive more of an increase  and explained how the market in the valley is changing by large corporations coming into Medford and the size of their budgets as compared to Ashland’s.  He noted the importance of getting involved in the Portland market and that $225,000 is not adequate for the VCB to promote and compete.

 

Katherine Flanagan/110 E Main Street/President of the Visitor Convention Bureau and Marketing Director for the Ashland Chamber of Commerce.  She explained how the VCB is well positioned to the lead the way for tourism promotion in Ashland.  She noted the various representatives and members of the VCB and how they depend on the VCB for promotion efforts.  She also noted the existing successful events and those in the future.  She read quotes from a letter of support from Carolyn Hill who is the CEO of Southern Oregon Visitors Association (SOVA).  The quotes shared how a healthy Visitor and Convention Bureau can give Ashland a competitive advantage and position as an important tourist destination.  Increased funding in the VCB will allow them to participate in meaningful and regional marketing programs and allow them to play a role in Travel Oregon and other programs.  She noted the partnership between VCB and SOVA.

 

Public Hearing closed: 8:15 p.m.

 

Mayor Morrison asked for the council to share their positions on the proposed increase.  Councilor Hardesty supported the 2% increase and understands the value of giving VCB more money.  She felt that the $225,000 is appropriate and that consideration on giving more next year could happen.  She also noted how small grants have been helpful and are important in the Economic & Cultural area and in tourism area.

 

Councilor Navickas voiced his support of the 2% increase and is an opportunity to invest in Economic & Cultural development.  He supports the council’s direction in distribution and noted how small grantees have developed over the years.  He felt that small grass root efforts are important and how other organizations have helped stimulate our economy.

 

Councilor Chapman voiced his support of the increase only if it could be more specific on how the money is spent.  He voiced his concern with the distribution.  He noted the budget of $400,000 on Visioning and wouldl not support the increase until the distribution is better worked out.

 

Councilor Jackson voiced her support of the 2% increase and is happy to start with councils adopted distribution.  She suggested that the Chamber continue to reach out to small grantees for a partnership with tourism dollars. She felt that the definition of what is a small grant should be worked out.

 

Councilor Silbiger voiced his hestitancy about raising the TOT but noted the support from businesses and a lack of oppositon.  He agreed that the allocation is not specific enough and is not comfortable with proposals in terms of being specific.  He does believe that the VCB does a good job and has witnessed how the small grantees have benefited and grown.  If the council would go in this current direction he would suggest allowing the Chamber of Commerce to particpate in grant funding for specific events.  He stated that there is a lot of cross pollination between small grantees that is not just tourism or cultural, but both.  He feels that it is the 30% driving the 70% and that it is the council’s goal to increase Economic Development.  He voiced his support of focusing on specifics and the economic portion of this.

 

Councilor Hartzell stated her initial hesitancy on the percentage increase but became more comfortable once she became more aware of numbers from around the area.  She understands the logic in using the current economic development engine to figure out what comes next and to add to it.  She believes that this change came about, in order for us as a community to do this, not as a City and this is the challenge.  Until there is a  Economic Development planning there is an “unkown” and is important to start.  She does believe that there are specifics and that the plan is only for a couple of years and that the outcome will point to projects where there is community agreement on.  She hoped that the Housing Trust Fund would have been included due to its tie to economic development and urged the council to include this for discussion purposes by including as many streams as possible.

 

 

Council consensus was in supporting the 2% TOT increase and the concerns regarding specific distribution was noted.

 

City Administrator Martha Bennett clarified that staff would come back to the next council meeting with a Resolution to allocate the funds and if this includes an October 1, 2008 start date another Resolution would be done to pro-rate this amount for the year.  In addition, if the council includes “qualified city projects” then staff will come back to council on recommendations.  She voiced her continued concern with the ability to allocate $109,000 and understands that staff will need to return to council in order to get some of their questions answered.  She stated that staff will work with the Apriil 15 council motion unless directed otherwise.

 

Councilor Hartzell suggested creating a separate category for medium sized groups on consideration of awarding grants in the future.

 

Mayor also voiced his concern with $109,000 and understands the need to meet the economic reality of current conditions. He understands that there is support for using this money for existing efforts and the VCB due to the competitive environment.  He does believe that there needs to be an Economic Study where it is based on diversification and understanding our community better.

 

Ms. Bennett clarified that the council needs to decide on the increase, which the proposed ordinance would do  and then staff would bring back a Resolution for discussion on distribution.

 

Councilor Hardesty/Hartzell m/s to increase TOT by 2% increase effective October 1 2008. DISCUSSION: Councilor Navickas complimented the Chamber of Commerce for organizing a unified message and challenged the council to attend the Mid Summer Nights Dream that is going to be held and noted the need for the increase in the TOT that helps support smaller grantees.  Councilor Jackson voiced her support of the current distribution because there has always been more requests for the Economic Grants than can be funded.  She also agrees that being more specific on the amounts between tourism and the Economic grants.  Councilor Silbiger voiced his hesitancy to vote in favor before having the opportunity to discuss qualified city projects and how to handle small tourism grants.  He would prefer to wait for the Resolution and does believe in the need to visit with the Chamber, middle sized groups and work out qualified city projects with a long-term plan.  He stated he would join the council in supporting the proposed increase as long as there is more discussion in the future on the flexibility where tourism dollars are used.  Councilor Hartzell requested that when staff brings back a list of qualified city projects, she would like for staff to talk to Planning Commissioin about the last time the Downtown Plan was discussed and parking signage.

 

Roll Call Vote: Navickas, Silbiger, Hardesty, Hartzell and Jackson, YES; Chapman, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

 

Councilor Jackson/Hartzezll m/s to approve first reading of ordinance and move to second reading. Roll Call Vote: Navickas, Silbiger, Hardesty, Hartzell and Jackson, YES; Chapman, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

 

ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS

1.   Should Council adopt the Fiscal Year 2008-09 Annual Budget and make appropriations as presented?

Lee Tuneberg Administrative Services Director noted the revisions as recommended to council by staff.  He pointed out an increase in the Airport fund of $38,3000; an increase of $36,500 in the Capital Improvement Plan; an increase of $4,400 in the Electric Fund Debt Service for the clean renewable energy bonds (CREB);  and an increase of $33,200 in the Central Service Fund to correct for a reduction in staff taken twice in the prior revisions.  With the results of these changes the total budget amount is $95,206,615 and a proposed property tax rate of $4.0797.  This covers the General Fund and Parks Fund general levy, .13 cents on the Library levy and a certain amount that is in the budget itself on the Debt Service that was approved.  This amounts to a total $4.4179 property tax rate.  He clarified that there are four actions that the council needs to act on which are the following: approve an Ordinance to levy taxes, approve Resolution to qualify for State Subventions, approve Resolution to receive State Revenues, and approve Resoluition adopting annual budget and making appropriations.

 

He explained that due to the action taken on the TOT an adjustment to the appropriation level in the General Fund on monies to be spent per the higher tax rate for Transient Occupancy Tax needs to be done.  He stated that there is funds included for the Visioning or Economic Development program but there has been no change in the grant area.  The worksheets provided for the TOT showed $436,000 more in revenue if the tax is done July 1, 2008 but with the delay start date on the TOT tax to October 1, 2008 there may be an estimate of $250,000 more in tax revenue for the next year.  Because there is $200,000 in the Administration budget for projects he would recommend increasing appropriations in the General Fund by the difference.  Staff clarified that this would be done by Resolution for council approval.

 

Councilor Hartzell voiced her concern with the cuts in the Fire Department budget and  fire inspections that are not going to be done.  Ms. Bennett explained that the Fire Department is spending 98-99% of their budget level and to sustain a $107,000 budget cut they would have to cut the position they spoke of at the Budget meeting, which was the Fire Inspector position.  She explained that staff is looking at the revenue side to see if there could be an increase of fees and charges but the problem is charging for something that may not happen.

 

Ms. Bennett explained that two of the city’s unions had agreed to transition from current health care plan to the preferred provider plan which will save the city a significant amount and would accrue to the departments.

 

Council continued to discuss with staff the cuts associated with different departments and how city services are affected.  Mr. Tuneberg explained that the council has the authority through Oregon Budget Law to either increase any fund by $5,000 or 10%, whichever is the greater.  This would mean increasing appropriation which would then affect the ending fund balance.  Ms. Bennett continued to explain what happens when staff positions become vacant and how departments are hesitant to fill positions that may be cut in the future.  Staff explained to council how funding could be done through a supplemental budget and their desire to find new revenue streams that have not currently been identified.

 

Council discussed at length the budget process and how the Budget Committee had full discussion on their recommendation.  There was concern raised with making changes to ending fund balances and doing something different than what was approved by the Budget Committee even if some councilors did not agree with this decision.  It was pointed out that Oregon Budget Law does allow the council to make changes and that it is not unusual for this to happen.  Continued concern was voiced that buildings were not being inspected and it was not responsible for the city to allow this to happen.

 

Mr. Tuneberg clarified that the city may receive monies from Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) but the amount is uncertain.  Ms. Bennett stated that because positions have not been filled does not mean that service levels are not being met.  Staff agreed to keep the council updated on the current transitions and will bring back alternatives when identified.

 

Council members voiced concern on taking money out of the ending fund balance but also acknowledged the importance of inspecting buildings and the safety issues associated.  It was agreed that looking for other revenue streams is a good idea and that departments should be allowed to manage their budgets when faced with cuts.

 

Councilor Jackson/Silbiger m/s to approve Resolution #2008-15.  Roll Call Vote: Silbiger, Hardesty, Chapman and Jackson, YES; Hartzell and Navickas, NO. Motion passed 4-2.

 

2.   Should Council certify that the City qualifies for State Subventions?

Councilor Jackson/Hardesty m/s to approve Resolution #2008-15.  Roll Call Vote: Silbiger, Chapman, Hartzell, Hardesty, Jackson and Navickas, YES. Motion passed.

 

3.   Should Council declare that the City receive State revenues?

Councilor Silbiger/Hardesty m/s to approve Resolution #2008-14.  Roll Call Vote: Hartzell, Jackson, Chapman, Hardesty, Silbiger and Navickas, YES. Motion passed.

 

Continuation on adoption of FY2009 Budget discussion and First Reading of an Ordinance titled, “An Ordinance Levying taxes for the period of July 1, 2008 to and including June 30, 2009, such taxes in the sum of $8,616,000 upon all the real and personal property subject to assessment and levy within the corporate limits of the City of Ashland, Jackson County, Oregon” and move to Second Reading on June 17, 2008?

 

Councilor Jackson/Silbiger m/s to approve first reading of ordinance and move to second reading. DISCUSSION: Jackson commented that she would not vote against the budget but feels that the approach to providing quality service to the community should be on how to retain these positions not how to avoid using property tax authority and is very disappointed in the Budget Committee this year and hopes to have further community discussion.  Councilor Hardesty felt that the Budget Committee did a good job and that it is difficult to weigh the pros and cons and that keeping taxes modest is a good way to run our city and that there are ways to economize.  Councilor Navickas commented in his disappointment on the decisions made by the Budget Committee, one of which he felt was a policy decision to maintain fund balances.  He voiced his concern with continued cuts to ending fund balances, which has the potential to effect emergency situations.  He does not feel this is a fiscal conservative policy but a fiscal irresponsible policy.

Roll Call Vote: Silbiger, Hartzell, Chapman, Hardesty and Jackson, YES; Navickas, NO.  Motion passed 5-1.

 

PUBLIC FORUM

Art Bullock/Announced that a Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) case, regarding development on Glenn Street that had been filed by himself, Philip Lang and Colin Swales had been won against the City of Ashland. He stated that this was a difficult development and had required five months of council review time.  He stated that LUBA had found that the City had violated its own law and remanded it back to the council.  He voiced his appreciation to those councilors who had voted against this project.  He stated his belief that the council is under heavy pressure from developers and consultants to bend the law in favor of developers and their interests.  He also noted his appreciation to those members on the Planning Commission who voted to support the law in the public’s interest and looks forward to the day when the majority votes in this direction.  He stated that those that had appealed had asked that this be dealt with through alternative dispute resolution which was denied and which then resulted in unnecessary expense to the taxpayers.

 

City Attorney Richard Appicello responded to Mr. Bullock’s explanation of the LUBA decision.  He explained that the reason why this was remanded back to the City was that there was a request for an exception on Street Standards.  The exception to Street Standards was to have a curbside sidewalk in lieu of a parkrow.  LUBA found that the Findings and Conclusions did not find demonstrable difficulty in meeting the requirement to build a parkrow to justify an exception to Street Standards to build a sidewalk.  This is the only issue LUBA found with the appeal and is why it was sent back to the City.  The council will be asked to look at the question of whether the applicant wants to proceed with a curbside sidewalk or a parkrow.  It could be that the city should not have granted the exception to the parkrow and this is the only issue and does not include the set back or design standards.

 

UNFINISHED BUSINESS (None)

 

NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS

1.   Should the Council approve the public safety dispatch contract with the City of Medford as proposed?

Police Chief Terry Holderness presented the staff report where he explained that the City had entered into an agreement with the City of Medford in 2003 to supply dispatch services to the police and fire department.  This contact has expired and the City of Medford has offered a five-year extension of the contract.  The contract does include an approximate 18% increase, which provides for the City of Ashland to be responsible for paying 25% of the total costs for dispatch services.  The City of Medford has never charged the City of Ashland full price and that this is the first full year that Ashland will experience full charges.

 

Chief Holderness assured the council that the service level being provided, which is 24/7 with one dispatcher dedicated to the City of Ashland, is sufficient and meets the needs of the City.

 

He explained that Jackson County is now using grant funding to conduct a study on the feasibility of consolidating all public safety dispatch services in the county, which is the long-term goal.  He felt the five-year contract protects the city and moves in the direction of consolidation.

 

Councilor Chapman/Jackson m/s to approve public safety dispatch contract. Roll Call Vote: Chapman, Hartzell, Jackson, Navickas, Hardesty and Silbiger, YES. Motion passed.

 

2.   Will Council revise City policies and practices to form a Transportation Commission and disband the Traffic Safety Commission and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission?

Interim Public Works Director Jim Olson presented the staff report and stated that the combination of these two Commissions has been a goal for quite a few years.  He explained that both Commissions are different by having different duties and responsibilities, but do overlap in several areas.  He noted that in the past, there had been broad objections to the combining of these two Commissions but more recently it has changed to more broad support. He commented that most of the support comes from recognized transportation issues that are not being addressed in any other Commission or Committee.  Mr. Olson stated that staff has met several times with Commission members to discuss ideas and identify key goals that should be included in the Transportation Commission.  He stated that safety is the number one aspect and is the primary element.

 

Staff is recommending that part of the duties and responsibilities associated with safety be delegated to a sub-committee of the Transportation Commission in order to have a better flow and delegation on issues that have a higher safety interest to the full Commission.  He explained that Planning is another element that this Commission would need to look at and proposed that general recommendations would be made to the City on long-term transportation plans.  He stated that funding would be the ability to prioritize and provide long-term development plan for transportation and transit projects.  Mr. Olson stated that advocacy would be an important role that this Commission would need to assume and noted that parking is another key element that would need to be addressed.  Staff looked at different configurations on the matter of how many voting members should be on this Commission and recommended nine voting members.  It is understood that this is a draft ordinance that is being presented  and that this is only a starting point in order to begin discussion.

 

Matt Warshawsky/821 Indiana/Voiced his support for the Commission but also voiced his concern that this Commission not be used as a method for individuals to impede or affect regular planning issues. He stated that advocacy is an issue of why this has failed previously.  He pointed out that the two big events that are associated with the Bike & Pedestrian Commission, the Bike Swap and Car Free Day are actually run by two volunteers along with the Parks & Recreation Department.  He believes that the Bike & Pedestrian Commission may not have as much advocacy as believed, and that the Transportation Commission should support advocacy but not necessarily be the advocates.

 

Colin Swales/461 Allison/Noted that he is the current chair of Traffic Safety Commission and liaisons with the Bike & Pedestrian Commission.  Mr. Swales stated that his comments are personal and does believe that there is some synergy between the two Commissions.  He believes that since the Planning Commission has decided to take out of their role, the transportation issue, there is a big hole in overall planning.  He voiced his support for the joint Commission and that it is broad enough to attract interest from the members of the community along with the advantage of cost savings associated with city staff time.  He suggested that all the Commissions should have the same term limits in order for equality between Commissions.

 

Art Bullock/He stated that the Transportation Commission could be successful if the following three issues are resolved: 1) Completion of Transportation Plan, 2) Danger of “Car Focus” which has been the focus by the Traffic Safety Commission and Bike & Pedestrian is more “multi modal” focused which may be an issue if these two Commissions are combined; and 3) Advocacy.  He felt that the Traffic Safety Commission is a reactive Commission as compared to proactive, planning or advocacy areas.  Mr. Bullock stated there needs to be leadership in establishing bus service, bike lanes and making Ashland more walk able.

 

City Attorney explained that the version in the packet provided to the council did not include language associated with term limits as noted by Mr. Swales and that under the Powers and Duties of the sub-committee, staff had taken out the reference to pre-application conferences on planning actions.  Staff changed language to include more long-range planning which would allow comments, suggestions and concerns to the Planning Commission on City of Ashland Transportation Plans and Programs with emphasis on long-range and regional plans.  He also explained that in terms of membership, there are 13 ex officio members and that staff had removed the City Attorney and the Municipal Judge.  The reason for removal of the Judge as a member was that it would place the Judge in a position of recommending legislature where the judge would have to then enforce and would create a conflict.

 

Mr. Appicello explained that he had sent these changes out to the council by email earlier that day.  He clarified that there was no reference to long-term planning in the proposed ordinance language and charged the Traffic Hearing sub-committee to make recommendations to the full Transportation Commission on long-range transportation plans.

 

It was questioned why the sub-committee would be called the Traffic Hearing sub-committee rather than Transportation Planning sub-committee and concern was raised about the Planning aspect.  Mr. Appicello explained that one of the charges of the sub-committee would be to consider recommendations on safety issues. Mr. Olson explained that the goal was to eliminate some of the extra excess hours of time that the Commission spends on minor issues.  Mr. Appicello explained that the full Commission would still have planning duty and responsibility but what was removed was the pre-application process.

 

Council agreed that there was a need for further discussion and staff was directed to schedule a Study Session.

 

ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS (continued)

5.   Should the City Council conduct and approve First Reading of an Ordinance titled, “An Ordinance relating to delegation of duties to the City Administrator for acceptance of interest in real property and the renewal of intergovernmental agreements and amending AMC Chapter 2.28” and move to Second Reading on June 17, 2008?

 

City Attorney Richard Appicello read the title in full.  Interest was noted on having periodic lists provided to the council on what has been approved.  Staff suggested that language be added to include a review every two years.

 

Councilor Jackson/Hartzell m/s to approve first reading of ordinance with amendent to include review every two years and move to second reading of ordinance. DISCUSSION: Councilor Navickas voiced his relunctance to approve and that it was important that the council retain this type of authority of review.

Roll Call Vote: Silbiger, Hartzell, Hardesty, Chapman and Jackson, YES; Navickas, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

 

4.   Should the City Council conduct and approve Second Reading of an Ordinance and approve adoption of the Ordinance titled, “An Ordinance amending the Ashland Municipal Code, Land Use Ordinance concerning special [arterial] setbacks and associated street standards adopted in Ordinance 2836”?

Councilor Hardesty noted the handout she had provided to council and staff and asked that these issues be addressed prior to any further discussion.

 

OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS

Councilor Jackson stated that she would like work to begin on the Transportation Commission.  City Administrator Martha Bennett suggested inviting the Bike & Pedestrian, Traffic Safety and Planning Commission members to the Council Study Session for their input.  Ms. Bennett stated that any input that can be provided to the staff prior to this meeting would be helpful.  Councilor Navickas commented that he was not sure on his support of combining these two Commissions and likes the idea of a Bike & Pedestrian Commission that works specifically on bike and pedestrian issues.

 

ADJOURNMENT

Meeting was adjourned at 10:30 p.m.

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder 
John W. Morrison, Mayor

 

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