Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Tuesday, February 01, 2011

 

 

MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING

ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL

February 1, 2011

Council Chambers

1175 E. Main Street

 

CALL TO ORDER

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

 

ROLL CALL

Councilor Voisin, Morris, Lemhouse, Slattery, Silbiger, and Chapman were present.

 

MAYOR’S ANNOUNCEMENTS

Mayor Stromberg announced the annual process for various positions on the City’s Commissions and Committees was open. 

 

The following changes were made to the agenda with Council consent:

·         ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS: agenda items #1 and #2 were switched with the Business Licenses Ordinance first and the TOT Ordinance second.

·         Will the council approve a Resolution authorizing signatures for Banking Services on behalf of the City of Ashland? was added to the CONSENT AGENDA as item #5.

 

SHOULD THE COUNCIL APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THESE MEETINGS?

The minutes of the Regular Meeting of January 18, 2011 and Executive Session of January 24, 2011 were approved as presented.

 

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS

1.   Presentation regarding Library Services

Ashland Librarian Amy Blossom presented the report on library services that included the history of funding and a summary on the tax levy elections of 2007 and 2008.  She listed the services the extra tax provided and shared library statistics. 

 

She went on to explain the library offers download service for e-Books and audio books and remarked how e-Books were rising in popularity.  Additionally Jackson County was confident they could continue to assist funding the Library at the current level. 

 

CONSENT AGENDA

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

2.   Does Council have any questions about the quarterly financial report as presented?

3.   Will Council approve a contract with JBR Environmental Consultants, Inc. to conduct soil and groundwater monitoring on City owned property at 1097 ‘B’ Street?

4.   Will Council approve a $36,719.88 (25.7 percent increase) amendment to the existing contract with Visar Construction Co., Inc. for construction of the Liberty Street improvement project?

5.   Will the council approve a Resolution authorizing signatures for Banking Services on behalf of the City of Ashland?

 

City Administrator Martha Bennett requested Consent Agenda item #4 be pulled for clarification.

Councilor Voisin/Silbiger m/s to approve Consent Agenda items #1- 3 and #5. Voice Vote: all AYES.  Motion passed.

 

Engineering Services Manager Jim Olson described the problems and struggles associated with the LID that caused the project to go $37,042.06 or 25.9% over budget and resulted in a revised amendment to the contract with Visar Construction Co. Inc. for the Liberty Street Improvement Project.  The increase put the contract in the mid range of original bids for the project.

 

Councilor Lemhouse/Chapman m/s to approve Consent Agenda item #4. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

 

PUBLIC HEARINGS (None)

 

PUBLIC FORUM

Morning Star aka Karin Dayspring/162 Alida Street #A/Shared that she spends time with the homeless and “home free.”  She found them extremely intelligent, articulate and for the most part, good company.  She described the circumstances that made her and her husband homeless and the extreme difficulties attributed to being mentally ill and living on the streets.   She felt blessed to meet Frederic Berger LCSW, a Clinical Social Worker from Talent that assisted in getting her and her husband off the streets and explained the steps they took to transition into affording a place on their own.  She was mystified why the police interrupted homeless people while they slept and sometimes issued citations.  She encouraged people to contact Mr. Berger for assistance if needed. 

Kirk/Explained he had witnessed the police make a pregnant sleeping teenager who was homeless move during severe temperatures. The town was no longer free for the investment of labor but pay-to-stay.  He did not want the City to provide a facility or charge money to another person for his existence and to understand he would make his own way.  He asked everyone to share the earth, love, and forgive each other.  He stated food, shelter, clothing, and companionship were the four physical necessities of life and cannot be denied.

Michael/Main Street/Discussed the previous nights Study Session on Homelessness regarding the ad-hoc committee.  It will be composed of 9-15 members and suggested that homeless people represent themselves on the committee.  An immediate solution was giving people a place to sleep.  None of the other services provided to the homeless was of any value if they did not have a place to sleep.  With unemployment rate at 12% in Oregon, the homeless had the least foothold to get a job out of any of the demographic units.  He stressed the need to have homeless people on the ad-hoc committee.

Aaron Fletcher/Thought the homeless sleeping issue was an opportunity that could be solved by the Council at a cost or at the citizen level free.  A citizen-based solution would help create safe, strong community.  Having one location for sleeping was segregation and not healthy for homeless people that wanted to come together with community.  Multiple locations would represent integration into the community and could easily be managed using permission forms.  The forms would give permission for an individual to camp at specific dates and times verified and signed off by the Police Department.  This was an immediate solution at no cost.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

1.   Does Council have questions regarding the current status of the Lithia Springs Property lease extension including the environmental assessment review by DEQ and the continued implementation of the best management practices by the Ashland Gun Club?

Public Works Director Mike Faught introduced Maintenance Safety Supervisor Mike Morrison and Engineering Services Manager Jim Olson.  Mr. Faught noted at the council meeting of November 2, 2010 it was noted that the Gun Club had installed a new gate, put up additional fencing around historical structures, and were working with a local lead recovery expert.  In addition, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) completed their report and generally agreed with the Findings of the Ecological Risk Assessment conducted by Brown and Caldwell.  DEQ recommended further lead studies on the property that included soil and water sampling.   Another suggestion was a systematic approach to sampling the shot fall zone of the shotgun range and adjacent properties.  This would entail two or three sample locations on the creek and included collections during large rain events.  The last suggestion was best management practices and hiring a professional Range Designer.  The next steps for staff were hiring an environmental consultant to move forward with the recommendations by DEQ and start discussing the lease that expires May 30, 2011. 

 

Mr. Olson explained the cost to the City regarding the studies was $64,000 for the Brown and Caldwell report, $1,200 on the DEQ review with the potential to go as high as $5,000.  Staff was anticipating the additional consultant contract would be less than $30,000 and did not know how much a professional Range Designer cost.  DEQ recommended the City and the Gun Club jointly fund the studies and the Range Designer.     

 

Mayor Stromberg shared information he received that the gate at the Gun Club had been left open for long periods, activities were not monitored, and protection for the historical structures was lacking.  Mr. Morrison clarified there were operational issues with the gate that the Gun Club eventually replaced.  There was further concern the Gun Club had not acted within the current lease agreement and notified the City once they had resolved the issues with the gate instead of prior.  

 

Edward Kerwin/955 Dead Indian Memorial Road/Lived close to the Gun Club and thought the DEQ report was helpful regarding lead contamination.  The City should take a scientific approach analyzing the Gun Club.  He noted Ashland was a forward-looking town trying to have environmentally sustainable practices and questioned how a gun club filling the soils with lead and creating noise pollution fit in with Ashland in 2011.  He believed the Gun Club benefited 200-400 residents of Southern Oregon and noted that if the same land was a park it could benefit thousands of residents and visitors. He asked Council to consider carefully the risks of renewing the lease.

 

John Ward/1525 Baldy Creek Road/Stated he was a rancher for 42 years and noted his extensive involvement with the watershed and site studies.  He thought the Brown & Caldwell study fell short, provided examples why and noted areas not sampled that were likely to contain levels of lead.  Council should consider that a two-year study proposed by the Gun Club for a 30-year lease might be skewed and the City may want to adjust that during the March meeting.

 

Cathy DeForest/1067 Immigrant Creek Road/Commented citizens had talked about this issue for six years and hoped that Council received previous reports submitted during that time.  In 2008, she and others formed the Group for Environmental Concerns and Fiscal Responsibility.  She shared concern the Gun Club had left the gate open for extensive periods for almost five weeks.  Her main concern was a 30-year lease was too long and should be extended in two year increments with Council requesting due diligence.  She referenced a petition sent to the National Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding a nationwide ban of lead because of its harmful effects on wildlife and migratory birds.  At the very least, lead should be banned from the Gun Club.  She encouraged Council to shorten the lease extension and add a requirement of ongoing reports from the Gun Club.

 

Council requested information on the grants the Gun Club apply for and expressed concern that a national registry formerly used for target practice and now protected was in the middle of a gun club.  Additionally requested was the City expense for the Gun Club over the past 10-25 years and links to prior documents relating to the Gun Club.  Also requested was information on birds consuming lead shot creating a potential pathway and an environmental hazard.  

 

2.   Does the Council approve the Resolution Calling for a Special Election for May 17, 2011?  Does the Council have any changes to the Proposed Ballot Measure for Fire Station No. 2?

Management Analyst Ann Seltzer provided background on the request for a Ballot Measure for Fire Station No. 2.  Based on current tax proceeds, every penny levied generated approximately $19,300 and staff calculated that this would cost 12.5 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value and the average property owner would pay approximately $28.36 per year.  The cost of the special election for May 17, 2011 would be around $11,000.  

 

Ms. Seltzer described the differences between the 2006 fire station, which the voters rejected and the station proposed for the May 2011 election.  The new station was 10,000 square feet, 4,000 square feet less than the 2006 structure.  The building orientation for the new Fire Station faces Sherwood Street instead of the prior proposed building orientation, which faced Ashland Street.  The new station is also $2.4million less than the one rejected in 2006. 

 

City Recorder Barbara Christensen explained the measure had not been created yet and Council needed to flesh out all the questions the community will have.  The minutes would act as an informational sheet for the measure. 

 

Staff clarified citizens determined the amount they would pay by looking at the assessed value on their November 2011 property tax statement and multiplying it by .124.  Similar instructions were included in the Explanatory Statement.

 

George Kramer/366 North Laurel/Participated on the Public Bond Safety Committee and the Facilities Master Plan Committee and the outcome was a unanimous agreement that Fire Station No. 2 needed replacement.  There was never a good time to go out for a bond but the Committee and the City were able to cut $2.4million from the original proposal and come forward with one that was  reasonable, fit on the site, did not encumber the neighbors and met City needs. He referenced a line in the Explanatory Statement that stated the current structure would not withstand a seismic event and pointed out the need for a safer structure in the event of an earthquake.  The proposal was modest and he hoped Ashland would support the measure.

 

The committee had ended its service and had no plans to actively campaign as a committee.  However, some individuals may purchase a supportive comment in the voters’ pamphlet.

 

Councilor Silbiger/Slattery m/s to approve Resolution #2011-05.  DISCUSSION:  Councilor Silbiger reiterated the need to replace the building, noted it was not a significant historic structure and replacement was a necessity.  Councilor Lemhouse added a core responsibility of government was to ensure public safety of the community and that included safe public facilities.  Funding buildings for public safety and infrastructure was crucial for any vibrant community.  Councilor Slattery commented on how thorough the committee was in making the decision to replace the building and it was deemed necessary.  He thought the choice was either fund the replacement or not have a fire station in that location because the current structure was borderline dangerous at this point.  Roll Call Vote:  Councilor Slattery, Silbiger, Chapman, Voisin, Morris and Lemhouse, YES. Motion passed.

 

Council discussed the Explanatory Statement, noted a concern in the fourth paragraph that stated the current location ensured a five-minute response time to the eastern end of the city.  Council suggested changing the following language in paragraph four: “Eliminating Fire Station No. 2 would increase response times to 9 minutes or greater to some areas of Ashland particularly the Oak Knoll neighborhood,” by replacing “…the Oak Knoll neighborhood” with “…the south area of the town.”

 

Another suggestion was putting the 2006 information in chronological order on the Explanatory Statement and the Notice of Bond Election.

 

Councilor Morris/Lemhouse m/s to approve changes to the Explanatory Statement language.

Roll Call Vote:  Councilor Slattery, Silbiger, Chapman, Voisin, Morris and Lemhouse, YES. Motion passed.

 

3.   Should Council approve a resolution authorizing a land transfer of a portion of the 380 Clay Street property to the Ashland Parks Department for Parks purposes?

Community Works Director Bill Molnar provided the background on the Clay Street purchase with the Housing Authority of Jackson County (HAJC) that left 3.75 acres available for purchase by the Parks Commission.  The Food and Meals Tax allowed the Parks Commission to buy the land at $360,000 for a total of $1.35million.

 

Councilor Silbiger/Voisin m/s to approve Resolution #2011-06.  DISCUSSION:  Councilor Chapman would not support the resolution to protest the process used. He disagreed with the design and thought the Parks Commission should have been included in the master design.  Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Slattery, Morris, Lemhouse and Silbiger, YES; Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

 

4.   Does Council want to adopt the City Council Goals for 2011?

City Administrator Martha Bennett gave some background history on the 2011 Council Goals and explained how they drove the budget process.  She noted revisions Council made to the Values and the Vision Statement. Based on comments from Council, she recommended further discussion on the goals to convert The Grove to a police department, establish a Homeless ad hoc committee, Homeless short-term and long-term recommendations, the Sustainability Plan and moving to a biennial budget.    

 

Converting the Grove to the Police Station

Councilor Voisin referenced Council Minutes from the June 2, 2009 meeting where Council approved the Facilities Master Plan in full that designated The Grove to relocate the Finance Department.  Now there was discussion of possibly moving the Police Department to The Grove.   Councilor Voisin suggested using the facility as a homeless center for homeless or near homeless people, with specific services for youth, a centralized location for meals, showers, and sanitary facilities along with services for the chronically homeless. 

 

Councilor Chapman explained one of the reasons the Public Safety Committee chose to use The Grove for the Police Department was that it was substantially less expensive then adding the other structure. 

 

Council consensus was not to make any changes to the proposed goal.

 

Homelessness Issues ad-hoc committee, Short-term and Long-term recommendations

Councilor Lemhouse suggested removing the short-term recommendations bullet from the Homelessness Issues goal, have staff create short-term ideas for quicker action and direct the ad-hoc committee to focus on long-term recommendations with an end of year deadline.  

Council in general agreed.  Opposing comments expressed concern that not having the ad-hoc committee work on the short-term recommendations removed needed expertise.  Comments in favor noted the time to select and charge an ad-hoc committee would not allow the committee enough time to make short-term recommendations by May 1, 2011.       

 

Council majority was to remove the first bullet regarding short-term recommendations under the Homelessness Issues Goal.

 

Sustainability Plan

Mayor Stromberg suggested changing the environmental goal to address energy use and climate change.  Another suggestion for the infrastructure would separate the plan into two parts that would develop a City Sustainability Plan and a Community Sustainability Plan. 

 

Council agreed there was a need for further discussion, adopted the goal as originally stated and directed staff to return for further clarification.

 

Move to a Biennial Budget

Councilor Voisin asked for information on State Budget Law impact, how the change would affect the Citizens Budget Committee, and how would mid-course changes happen.

 

Ms. Bennett explained the Citizens Budget Committee would be revised to modify Commission terms. Council would provide a charge for the off year, possibly to address policy issues relating to the budget.  Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg provided clarification on changes to the process, and noted staff workload would differ according to departments. 

 

Supportive comments from Council included savings on annual printing costs, this was an opportunity to address policy issues, enhanced transparency, and would increase efficiency.  Opposing comments expressed concern that it would diminish citizen oversight, could create areas of over spending and information on the negative impact of a biennial budget was an unknown. 

 

Council majority was to leave on as a goal. 

 

Councilor Morris/Chapman m/s to adopt the City Council Goals as revised with one change as well as the Visions and Values statements.  Roll Call Vote: Councilor Chapman, Voisin, Morris, Lemhouse, Slattery, and Silbiger, YES.  Motion passed. ***4/5/2011 Motion to rescind portion of this motion regarding "Homelessness Short-term Recommendations" passed.  See 4/5/2011 Minutes.***

 

NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS

1.      Who will Council designate to attend the stakeholder meetings for the infrastructure financing and urban renewal feasibility study?

Community Development Director Bill Molnar explained the feasibility study was part of Council Goals and would take 5-6 months.  Staff anticipated 2-3 meetings starting February 14, 2011 with the second in April and the final one in May or June.

 

Councilor Morris volunteered to attend the stakeholder meetings.

 

ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS

1.   Should Council approve First Reading of an ordinance titled, “An Ordinance Relating to Business Licenses?” and move the ordinance on to Second Reading?

Interim City Attorney Megan Thornton provided an overview of the changes made by council that:

 

·         Removed Non-profit from the exemption, required a license, but was exempt from the fee. 

·         Display booth language was amended to add the four day a year requirement so a display booth that operates more than 4 days within the year would require a business license with three possible options:

o   Option 1 required all booths to get a license that operate for at least 4 days or more within a year. 

o   Option 2 would eliminate the 4-day requirement and require all organizers to have a license and a fee based on the number of employees of the organization and number of booths. 

o   Option 3 would exempt booths from licenses as long as the sponsor has a license.

·         Rental exemption was modified to exclude rental units that are part of an individual’s private residence. 

Ms. Thornton recommended including a definition of a rental unit and provided possible language. 

 

·         Section 6.04.120.A.1 was modified to exclude sign code violations. 

·         Section 6.04.120.A.4 was modified to consider convictions only.

 

Travis Christian/3582 Cherry Lane, Medford/Owns the Ashland Artisan Emporium and noted it was not government subsidized, it was a business.  He explained how much it cost to run and the effort put in for operations.  The Artisan Emporium did not compete with the downtown vendors and actually increased business for the area.  He commented on the earlier discussion on virtues, thought business in Ashland should be a virtue, and if it was not, there was a major problem in the city. 

 

Jim Young/1102 Holton Rd, Talent/Explained he had a studio in the Briscoe Art Wing and was a member of Lithia Artisans Market.  Artisans were a diverse lot whose earnings could vary drastically throughout the year.  Artisan markets allow young and inexperienced artisans to market their work at a low rate.  In Portland, if an artisan sells more than $25,000 annually they are charged a business license. Charging the fee will hurt artists and make the Lithia Artisan’s Market the most expense market in the state.  It was not a good thing for the community.  Artisans were important to the community and should not be penalized and charged a fee that does not exist in any other community. 

 

Marcus Scott/1205 Talent Avenue, Talent/Represented the Lithia Artisans Market and explained he also sells at the Farmers Market.  He thought with the struggling economy that small fledgling and established micro businesses in the region should be encouraged.   Imposing another mandatory fee was counterproductive when many artisans were barely making a living.  Public Markets work as entry points for new entrepreneurs because they are relatively inexpensive to start and operate.  He researched what the markets in Eugene and Portland did and found out that Eugene does not charge for business licenses.  A small percentage goes into a Eugene in Common Trust for businesses and markets to use for entertainment and promotion.  The market in Portland does not charge for business licenses until specific caps are reached.

 

Ryan Navickas/2060 Mill Creek Drive, Prospect/Participated in the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market for sixteen years and was also on Growers Market Board.  He referenced information from the US Census Bureau that the poverty level in Oregon had significantly increased from 2007 to 2009.  This affected sales at the Growers and Crafters Market.  Alternatively, there was an increase in the number of small-scale farmers and craft makers turning their hobby into a livelihood as jobs were scarce.  He shared annual salary ranges that depicted poverty, very low income, and low-income levels.  By his estimation, most vendors at the Market fell under the poverty or very-low-income range.  The economic crisis has hit their members hard and the Board had to raise fees to pay for increased advertising.  An additional fee on vendors by the City would make it even more difficult. Asking each vendor to pay was harmful to the smaller and poorest vendors.  He shared the mission of the Rogue Valley Crafters and Growers Market to encourage young farmers and crafters and hoped Council would join that mission in giving smaller vendors a chance in the community.

 

Bill Francis/40 Van Ness Avenue/Thought charging business license fees created a barrier for small businesses just starting and explained how.  He noted inequities in hours and days of operation for open-air markets compared to standard businesses.  Another inequity was artists on consignment under galleries did not have to purchase business licenses. 

 

Doug Hormel/858 Neil Creek Rd/Sells plants at the Growers Market and referenced a quote in the newspaper where a Councilor stated every business should pay for a business license.  Not everything was black and white in a vote like this and he encouraged Council to look at whole picture.  He noted the Council Sustainability Goal and that it was important the City encouraged local businesses. 

 

Chris Hardy/774 B Street/Explained he was the Vice President of the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market.  The business license requirement could adversely affect their vendors as well as young farmers and small businesses that the market serves.  He echoed Mr. Hormel’s testimony regarding the Council Sustainability Goal on supporting smaller businesses with the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market and added these products come from within a 50-mile radius of the Rogue Valley.  He noted differences from standard businesses and the challenges vendors often face that at times prevents them from attending the full 8-month window the market operates.  He asked Council to understand the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market was not the same as standard downtown businesses.

 

Monica Rey/12310 Ramsey Rd, Gold Hill-Sams Valley/Currently was the President of the Farmers Market-Growers Market Association and explained the market was a not-for-profit mutual benefit association. Their mission encouraged small, local, cottage industries and agriculture as well as public education on food.  The Market Association provides the venue for growers and crafters and their business license should cover the vendors.  Individual licenses could set a precedent for other cities where a small vendor would have to pay business licenses at several city markets.  That precedent would put a small vendor out of business quickly.  The Association was willing to compromise by raising their rates and asked Council not to further burden individual vendors.

 

Catie Faryl/1640 Ashland Street/Shared her past work experience and her association with the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market.  The business license fee to those least able to afford it could be a serious issue.  These people were paying small amounts in order to make $60-$200 for bills.  There was a better solution than imposing this burden on people who were basically unemployed.  Retail space and retailers were doubling and tripling up to make ends meet.  It was a hard time for retailers and restaurants.

 

Jerry Painter/940 SW 6th Street, Grants Pass/Explained he was one of the vendors at the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market and the oldest food vendor in all of Southern Oregon.  He described his family business, listed the licenses and fees he pays along with daily expenses.  He reiterated the need to encourage small business.  Buy local, made local should be a goal of every citizen.  The proposed fees would hurt all citizens.  The idea of putting money first and people second should stop.  Extra fees would result in every consumer paying higher costs and that would be bad for everyone. 

 

Councilor Slattery/Voisin m/s to accept item #3 on the business license fee that does not tax vendors.  DISCUSSION:  Councilor Lemhouse supported the motion and withdrew a previous suggestion of having a $10,000 cap.  He declared a potential conflict of interest in that his wife is an artisan at the market.  She applied for a business license to avoid any future conflict of interest that Councilor Lemhouse may incur.   Councilor Silbiger disclosed he has a business license but understood there was a class exemption for the purpose of discussion.  Councilor Morris also disclosed he had a business license as well.  Councilor Chapman was in favor of the motion but it was late, and the motion needed further discussion.

 

Councilor Chapman/Silbiger m/s to table this motion until the next meeting.  Voice Vote: Councilor Morris, Lemhouse, Silbiger and Chapman, YES; Councilor Voisin and Slattery, NO.  Motion passed 4-2.

 

2.   Will Council adopt a resolution allocating Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenue for tourism and non-tourism purposes for FY 2011-2012 and establish criteria for the grant program?

Item moved to next meeting due to time constraints.

 

OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS 

 

ADJOURNMENT

Meeting was adjourned at 10:30 p.m.

 

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John Stromberg, Mayor

 

                      

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