City Council (View All)
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
March 1, 2011
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.
Councilor Voisin, Morris, Lemhouse, Slattery, Silbiger, and Chapman were present.
Mayor Stromberg announced the annual process for various positions on the City’s Commissions and Committees was open. The deadline for submitting applications is March 18, 2011.
SHOULD THE COUNCIL APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THESE MEETINGS?
The minutes of the Study Session of February 14, 2011, Executive Session of February 15, 2011 and Regular Meeting of February 15, 2011 were approved as presented.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
The Mayor's Proclamation of International Women’s Day was read aloud.
1. Does Council wish to approve the minutes of the Boards, Commissions, and Committees?
3. Does Council have any questions regarding the Ashland Fire and Rescue Annual Report?
4. Does Council wish to confirm the Mayor’s appointment of Margaret Garrington to the Public Arts Commission with a term to expire April 30, 2012?
5. Will Council direct staff to submit a grant application to fund the preparation of an area plan for the North Normal Avenue Neighborhood?
Councilor Chapman requested that Consent Agenda item #5 be pulled for discussion.
Councilor Slattery/Morris m/s to approve Consent Agenda items #1 through #4. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Councilor Chapman thought the North Normal Neighborhood Plan would interfere with outstanding projects in the Planning Department and would not support the project. Community Development Director Bill Molnar explained the plan density for the area in total was roughly six units per acre, below the threshold identified in Regional Problem Solving (RPS). There was no local street system laid out for it and a comprehensive planning project would allow the City to look at the entire 90 acres. The grant would establish a pre-plan so when annexations occurred innovative ways to minimize impacts on natural resources through density transfer would be in place. Planning discussions with property owners would address connectivity challenges. Mayor Stromberg added Jackson County could break the property into low-density parcels that would remove the City’s ability to use it under the buildable lands inventory for compact development.
Councilor Chapman/Silbiger m/s to not apply for the grant. DISCUSSION: Councilor Silbiger thought the grant would take time away from projects that have been waiting for years. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Chapman and Silbiger, YES; Councilor Voisin, Lemhouse, Slattery and Morris, NO. Motion denied 2-4.
Councilor Voisin/Slattery m/s to approve Consent agenda item #5. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Lemhouse, Slattery and Morris, YES; Councilor Chapman and Silbiger, NO. Motion passed 4-2.
1. Should Council approve First Reading of an ordinance amending the Ashland Land Use Ordinance Chapter 18.62 (Physical and Environmental Constraints), an ordinance amending the Ashland Municipal Code Chapter 15.10 (Flood Damage Prevention Regulations), and revisions to the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps and move both ordinances on to second reading?
Senior Planner Brandon Goldman provided a presentation on the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate map Modernization Project Components that included:
· New FEMA Flood Hazard Mapping
· The Flood Insurance Study and revised FEMA Special flood Hazard Maps (FIRMS) are effective May 3, 2011
· FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map changes - FEMA’s Map Service Center: www.msc.fema.gov
FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map Modernization Project
· Modifies 100 year and 500 year flood zones
· Study of Flood zones completed
· Delineates inundation areas
· Pre-existing letters of Map Amendments (LOMAs) to be revalidated: FEMA agrees to make flood insurance available within a community. The community agrees to adopt the Flood Insurance Study, Flood Insurance Rate Maps, and floodplain management ordinance and enforce the regulations in that ordinance
· Ashland is a participating jurisdiction in the National Flood Insurance Program and Community Rating System
Local Ordinance Amendments
· Land Use Code – Physical and Environmental Constraints (18.62)
· Building Code - Flood Damage Prevention Regulation (15.10)
· Property owners are strongly advised to consult their Insurance Agent immediately to evaluate their changing flood insurance needs
· Purchase flood insurance BEFORE the map revisions go into effect May 3, 2011
· Maintain continuous coverage
Upcoming Insurance Fair
· Regionally Coordinated Training for local Insurance Agents March 21st
· Public Insurance Fair tentatively scheduled for March 29th
· Detail will be available at: femaupdates
· Amy Gunter, Assistant Planner 541-552-2044, email@example.com
· Christine Shirley, NFIP Coordinator, Dept. of Land Conservation & Development, 503-373-0050 x250, FAX 503-375-5581, Christine.firstname.lastname@example.org
· Flood policy coverage and rates: 1-800-427-4661
· FEMA Map Assistance Center: 1-877-FEMA MAP (1-877-336-2627)
Staff summarized the key issues were changes to flood map lines that would go into effect May 3, 2011. Property owners needed to check with their insurance to determine how it will affect their property. They could also use a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) to have their property delineated as outside the flood plain and there were mitigation steps if they were in the flood plain. Council needed to pass the ordinances in order to remain a participating community with 15% premium reductions and enable people to get national flood insurance or federal funding for repairs within the flood plain in the event of a flood. Additionally, the City needed to adopt the Flood Insurance Study and FIRM maps in total.
Assistant Planner Amy Gunter explained why the City of Central Point and portions of Jackson County appealed the original map information. This was the first time FEMA mapped Central Point and it revealed 3,500 households in floods zones because it is one of the lowest areas in the valley. The removal of Gold Ray Dam affected the other areas in Jackson County. FEMA remedied the appeals and issued letters of final determination for the entire town. Mr. Goldman added the appeal period had passed and the maps were complete by FEMA standards and not subject to change except for the letter of map amendment.
Public Hearing Open: 7:38 p.m.
Zach Brombacher/1370 Tolman Creek Road/Explained Hamilton Creek ran throughout his property and his April 23, 2003 LOMA was not represented on the FEMA maps. He noted other issues with changing the flood plain on his property, conservation easements, and a current issue of the City dumping storm water onto his land.
Public Hearing Closed: 7:41 p.m.
Councilor Voisin/ Silbiger m/s to approve the first reading and amendments to the Chapter 18.62
Physical and Environmental Constraints of the Ashland Land Use Ordinance (ALUO) and schedule second reading for March 15, 2011. DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse felt pressured into making a decision he did not want to make. Councilor Chapman did not understand why Ashland did not appeal. Councilor Morris supported the creeks already mapped but had issues with the unmapped areas and inaccuracies and thought they should be corrected prior to adoption. Councilor Slattery agreed with Councilor Lemhouse that Council was in the position where they had to vote this through for the overall good. Councilor Voisin would support the motion. It was Council’s role to protect the larger portion of the community, FEMA’s information did have inaccuracies, but the disaster would be having a flood where the City could not apply for FEMA funds. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Slattery, Silbiger and Lemhouse, YES; Councilor Morris and Chapman, NO. Motion passed 4-2.
Councilor Voisin/Slattery m/s to approve first reading ordinance amendments to Chapter 15.10 of the Ashland Municipal Code and revisions to the Flood Insurance Study and FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps and schedule second reading for March 15, 2011. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Slattery, Silbiger and Lemhouse, YES; Councilor Morris and Chapman, NO. Motion passed 4-2.
2. Will Council direct Staff to develop a purchase and sale agreement to transfer City property on Chitwood Lane to GroundWorks for the purpose of developing five affordable housing units?
Senior Planner Brandon Goldman explained the Parks and Recreation Department initially purchased the property for a park. The City purchased a third acre for $125,000 for affordable housing using funds from properties sold on Strawberry Lane. In 2008, the City selected Rogue Valley Community Development Corporation (RVCDC) currently known as GroundWorks to build five low-income moderate home ownership units. The preliminary project design and project pro-forma were complete and GroundWorks was ready to submit a formal planning action application and obtain signatures from the City.
Public Hearing Open: 7:54 p.m.
John Wheeler, Executive Director for GroundWorks/RVCDC/Explained GroundWorks was also developing 15 homes in Rice Park that would be complete late summer 2011. They were able to finance development by expanding the Rice Park project to include the five houses at Chitwood. These homes were mutual self-help sweat-equity homes where the future owners work together 32 hours a week until all the homes are finished. The Chitwood homes would sell at $158,000 for a two-bedroom and $163,000 for a three bedroom if the land sold at $75,000. Selling the property for $75,000 enabled GroundWorks to obtain a grant for $15,000 per house that could go towards the acquisition. Currently GroundWorks was working with the City to complete National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to access those funds. GroundWorks will maintain ownership of the land and in mutual self-help would recapture a subsidy if someone sold his or her house. Homeowners can only sell to low-income families.
Regina Ayars/199 Hillcrest/Spoke as a citizen not as Housing Commissioner and noted the Chitwood project would offer five families the opportunity to build and own their homes. The Request for Qualifications (RFQ) stated the City might entertain reductions in sale price as a necessary subsidy to facilitate the properties development. GroundWorks indicated they would ask for a reduction in the price at that time. The $50,000 difference would offset the energy efficiency and earth advantage designation. Proceeds from the sale of the property were originally designated for the Housing Trust Fund. She strongly encouraged Council to sell the parcel to GroundWorks for $75,000 and move proceeds from the sale to the Housing Trust Fund.
Mayor Stromberg referred to the letter submitted by the Deerfield Homeowners Association. Mr. Goldman explained staff met with the Homeowners Association along with Parks and Recreation Director Don Robertson and John Wheeler from GroundWorks. They addressed contact information, the master plan the Parks Commission was contracting GroundWorks to conduct that would include onsite detention of storm water, and how the Parks and Recreation Department maintained the grass. Additionally, the presence of GroundWorks developing the property then the subsequent homeowners would help dispel current behavior neighbors were observing.
Public Hearing Closed: 8:07 p.m.
Councilor Slattery/Morris m/s to direct staff to develop a Purchase and Sale Agreement for transfer of the 14,000 property to RVCDC/GroundWorks for $75,000 for the development of five affordable housing units, and authorize GroundWorks to submit a planning action application for the proposed subdivision and development. DISCUSSION: Councilor Slattery thought it was a great project. Councilor Chapman did not think the City should be involved in the development portion of affordable housing and instead have a third party hold the land and let GroundWorks go through the Planning process. City Administrator Martha Bennett explained the City would sell the property to GroundWorks and the motion allowed them to apply to the Planning Department while the purchase and sale agreement was finalized. The City would co-enter the Planning application and GroundWorks could not submit an application to the Planning Department without the landowners’ approval. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Slattery, Lemhouse, Silbiger, Voisin and Morris, YES; Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Councilor Voisin/Slattery m/s to allocate proceeds from the sale of this land to the Ashland Housing Trust Fund. DISCUSSION: Ms. Bennett clarified Council had purposely left this as a separate account in the General Fund until it reached a specific dollar amount to offset the accounting cost of creating a separate fund. Monies were earmarked for affordable housing. Administrative Director Lee Tuneberg added currently in the General Fund there was approximately $23,000 restricted for Housing and $120,000 from the Strawberry Lane sale. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Slattery, Lemhouse, Silbiger, Voisin and Morris, YES; Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Emery Way/724 ½ Siskiyou Boulevard/Southern Oregon University (SOU) Representative/Explained a recent Homelessness Town Hall meeting resulted in a group of students, homeless people, community at large and businesses forming a group interested in finding solutions to the homelessness issue. The group wanted to create a community opinion in response to the ordinances on homelessness coming before Council April 5, 2011. They asked that ordinance language be made public at least one week prior to the meeting, if possible, in order for their opinion to be pertinent. He invited anyone interested to attend their weekly meetings on Thursday in the Stevenson Union at SOU, room 319 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Brian Comnes/444 Park Ridge Place/Recently moved to Ashland because it was considered a progressive, aware, and caring community. He wanted the homeless issue addressed in the same progressive, caring, and aware fashion. He did not find homeless people in Ashland threatening, and noted other cities that had aggressive panhandling issues. He hoped the City would not use exclusionary zones, other cities that had incurred more problems and legal responses and he thought those efforts created a mean-spirited environment. He encouraged the City to explore positive approaches to homeless issues.
1. Will Council adopt a resolution allocating Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenue for tourism and non-tourism purposes for FY2011-2012 and establishing criteria for the grant program?
City Administrator Martha Bennett declared a conflict of interest and recused herself. Councilor Slattery also declared a conflict of interest and asked Council to recuse him from the discussion. He was related to the Executive Director of the Ashland Chamber of Commerce who benefitted from the grants.
Councilor Chapman/Lemhouse m/s to recuse Councilor Slattery. All AYES. Motion passed.
Councilor Slattery and City Administrator Martha Bennett left the meeting at 8:20 p.m.
Councilor Silbiger/Lemhouse m/s to adopt a Resolution using the allocation for option #2.
Councilor Silbiger/Lemhouse m/s to amend the motion, the $150,000 that is listed in the Council Communication as Strategic Planning and listed in the previous Resolution as Economic Development, that $150,000 be reserved for Economic Development Programs to be allocated by resolution of the City Council. DISCUSSION: Councilor Silbiger wanted to reserve the funds for economic development and have Council decide how it was spent. Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg explained the money could go as restricted funds into the Ending Fund Balance of the General Fund for a subsequent budget year or appropriated but not spent under economic development until Council identified the program or expenditure. Councilor Silbiger clarified he wanted it appropriated for the next budget year. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Morris, Chapman, Silbiger and Lemhouse, YES. Motion passed.
DISCUSSION on amended motion: Councilor Silbiger thought the allocations in Option 2 gave a substantial increase to small grants as well filled out the balance for the General Fund and the Chamber of Commerce for the tourism portion of the grant. Councilor Lemhouse still preferred raising the rate for the Visitors Convention Bureau (VCB) and putting the remainder into the General Fund but Option 2 was better than other options. Councilor Voisin reluctantly supported the motion and voiced concern the small grants should receive the full amount indicated in Option #1. The organizations that applied had no other source but these grants where the General Fund and the Chamber of Commerce had many. Councilor Chapman opposed the motion and thought small grants should be allocated under Economic and Cultural Grants and not have to determine what percent they would do in tourism. Roll Call Vote on amended motion: Councilor Voisin, Morris, Silbiger and Lemhouse, YES; Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion passed 4-1.
Councilor Slattery and City Administrator Martha Bennett returned to meeting at 8:37 p.m.
2. Does the City Council wish to affirm, reverse, modify or remand back to the Planning Commission the decision to approve Planning Action #2010-01239 – a Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Map Amendment, Site Review, Tree Removal Permit, and Physical & Environmental Constraints Review Permit to construct a 10,632 square foot building at 85 Winburn Way?
Does the City Council wish to approve the Development Agreement proposed by the applicants, make changes to the Development Agreement prior to approval, or reject the Development Agreement?
Mayor Stromberg noted the Public Hearing on this item was closed and there would be no further public testimony. He went on to read a statement that the applicants might have improperly influenced Community Director Bill Molnar with a previous contact that involved a plane ride on the applicant’s plane six weeks prior to the applicant submitting a pre-application request for the restaurant at 85 Winburn Way on August 17, 2009. When staff was informed by a citizen, Mr. Molnar was removed from working on the 85 Winburn Way application and concurred with that decision. Mr. Molnar had also asked the Oregon State Ethics Commission to determine whether the flight was a gift under state law. Ashland Municipal Code Ethics violations were considered a personnel matter handled by the City Administrator and not a matter for the Council to debate as part of the planning action.
The Interim City Attorney advised the Mayor and Council that because the City Council was the final decision maker, they could correct any bias held by the staff as long as the Council conducted an open hearing and considered the application on its merits. Additionally, the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA) previously found that the bias of a staff person was moot because it was the decision maker’s responsibility to remain free of bias. During the hearing on February 15, 2011, all Councilors formally stated they could be objective regarding the application. The State Ethics Commission will determine whether this event violated state ethics law and the City Administrator will determine if City Ethics Law was violated. Any staff bias that might have occurred will be cured by the Council’s own process of objective decision-making.
ABSTENTIONS, CONFLICTS, EX PARTE CONTACTS
Councilor Slattery disclosed he had stopped several conversations regarding the project and had nothing else to declare. Councilor Morris disclosed he had passed the location several times and many people asked him for a status and he said it was undecided. Councilor Lemhouse frequented the general area, had received numerous emails regarding the project that he did not read. Councilor Voisin declared no conflict of interest or ex parte. Councilor Silbiger avoided the emails regarding the project and had nothing else to disclose. Councilor Chapman declared no ex parte.
Associate Planner Derek Severson clarified information based on the March 15, 2011 testimony. The applicant was not willing to pay in-lieu-of-parking fees to offset the demand on parking. However, they would participate in a downtown local improvement district (LID) regarding parking with other businesses.
Regarding allowed uses within the development agreement (DA), medical uses in C-1-D zone were an outright permitted use. The Planning Commission recommended it change to a conditional use for this project. Staff could add a condition to the DA stating medical offices were a conditional use during the parking LID and upon completion of that LID, be restored to outright permitted.
Systems Development Charges (SDCs) would not include transportation or Parks. The City would not require the applicants to pay SDCs for water, sewer, and storm sewer for the Zamboni structure. The applicant’s testimony stated that amount would be a couple hundred dollars. Based on the SDCs, it would range from $7,000-$10,000.
Additionally testimony from the applicant regarding building valuation indicated the site improvements and the Zamboni and Ice Rink support building totaled approximately $600,000. Commercial valuation is close to $125 per square foot. The Zamboni and Ice Rink support building would be a 600-700 square foot project and significantly lower than the amount suggested by the applicant.
In terms of traffic impact, the Public Works Department determined a Traffic Impact Analysis was not needed. For applicability of a zone change and development agreement to City Properties, the Planning Commission recommended the zone change apply to the Ice Rink lot only and not the other city properties.
For option on the property, staff provided sample language for the DA in case Council wanted “first right of refusal” or “first offer.” Staff also provided language for the Non-Competition Clause and noted that the clause did not extend to the Community Center or Pioneer Hall just the Ice Rink support building. Alternately, the non-competition clause would not apply during the Fourth of July celebration.
To address the perpetual easement to the Ice Rink lot, staff could incorporate language that would allow the applicant use of a portion of the property for security and maintenance.
Mr. Severson clarified in a C-1-D zone there were no site setbacks required. There were minimum sidewalk requirements in street standards but not specifically for site circulation.
Council agreed the area should not be zoned residential but was concerned on the variety of uses a C-1-D zone entailed. Other areas of concern were “spot zoning” three properties when the zone change should apply to the entire block. If the properties were zoned for commercial, it should include a Parks overlay. Originally, the Planning Commission and Planning Department should have initially addressed zoning for the area, and then discussed conditions and trade-offs. Other concerns were the size of the restaurant and its impact on smaller restaurants in the area.
Interim City Attorney Megan Thornton noted for the C-1-D zone change, Council needed to decide what kind of uses they wanted on the property and if anything needed modification. That decision would determine parking impacts. Another decision was whether the waiver of remonstrance was sufficient. Issues with the C-1-D could be incorporated into the DA.
Council discussed Exhibit D. Special Conditions B. Additional conditions Approved by Council and SITP as part of Development Agreement for Winburn Way, (12) Permitted Uses (Revised from AMC 18.32.020).
Staff clarified the approval for a 90-seat restaurant was already in the system as well as the impact on transportation. Staff went on to explain conditional uses would require future ventures to go through the Planning process to get a Conditional Use Permit (CUP). The criteria for conditional use permits was difficult to prove and apply. If Council decided to rule specific uses out entirely, it would require an amendment to the development agreement if an applicant wanted to put one of those uses at that site. This was a site-specific overlay.
Professional, financial, and business and medical offices and personal service establishments such as beauty and barbershops.
Council consensus to keep as strict permitted use with the exception of medical offices.
A. Stores, shops and offices (supplying commodities) or performing services, such as antique shops, artists supply stores, or non-chain department stores.
Council majority excluded stores, shops, and offices supplying commodities and retained the rest as strict permitted use.
Council consensus retained restaurants as strict permitted use.
C. Theaters, but not including a drive-in
Council majority supported theaters as a strict permitted use.
D. Manufacture or assembly of items sold in a permitted use, provided such manufacturing assembly occupies six hundred (600) square feet or less, and is contiguous to the permitted retail outlet.
Council consensus was to move manufacturing as a conditional use.
E. Printing, publishing, lithography, xerography, copy centers
Council consensus was to move all items as conditional uses.
F. Temporary tree-sales, from November 1 to January 1
Council consensus was to move as a conditional use.
G. Public and quasi-public utility and service buildings, public parking lots, but excluding electrical substations
Council consensus was to retain as a strict permitted use.
Council went on to discuss Exhibit D. Special Conditions B. Additional conditions Approved by Council and SITP as part of Development Agreement for Winburn Way, (13) Special Permitted Uses (revised from AMC 18.32.025).
A. Bowling alleys, auditoriums, skating rinks, and miniature golf courses
Council majority removed bowling alleys, and miniature golf courses and retained auditoriums and skating rinks as special permitted uses.
B. Residential uses
1. At least 65% of the total gross floor area of the ground floor, or at least 50% of the total lot area if there are multiple buildings shall be designated for permitted or special permitted uses, excluding residential.
Council consensus removed language: “At least 65% of the total gross floor area of the ground floor” as residential uses and retained the remainder as special permitted uses.
2. Residential densities shall not exceed 30 dwelling units per acre in the C-1 District, and 60 dwelling units per acre in the C-1-D District. For the purpose of density calculations, units of less than 500 square feet of gross habitable floor area shall count as 0.75 of a unit.
Staff clarified the DA limited the building height to 40 feet. Council consensus retained item.
3. Residential uses shall be subject to the same setback, landscaping, and design standards as for permitted uses in the underlying C-1 or C-1-D District.
Council consensus was to retain.
4. Off-street parking shall not be required for residential uses in the C-1-D District.
Decision pending by Council on this item.
5. If the number of residential units exceed 10, then at least 10% of the residential units shall be affordable for moderate-income persons in accord with the standards established by resolution of the Ashland City Council through procedures contained in the resolution. The number of units required to be affordable shall be rounded down to the nearest while unit.
Council discussed Exhibit D. Special Conditions B. Additional conditions Approved by Council and SITP as part of Development Agreement for Winburn Way, (13) Conditional Uses (revised from AMC 18.32.030)
Staff explained parking would be considered as conditional use permit when these uses were reviewed.
A. Medical Offices
Council could not agree to retain as conditional use.
B. Temporary uses
Council majority to retain as a conditional use.
C. Outdoor storage of commodities associated with a permitted, special permitted or conditional use.
Council majority to remove this item from conditional uses.
D. Churches or similar religious institutions
Council decision to be determined.
E. Hotels and motels
Council consensus to remove this item as a conditional use.
Councilor Voisin/Slattery m/s to continue the 85 Winburn Way discussion until April 5, 2011. Voice Vote: Councilor Voisin, Silbiger, Slattery and Morris, YES; Councilor Chapman and Lemhouse, NO. Motion passed 4-2.
3. Does Council wish to approve an order authorizing a lease of real property to the Ashland Gun Club?
Item delayed due to time constraints.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Should Council approve Second Reading of an ordinance titled, “An Ordinance Relating to Business Licenses?”
Councilor Silbiger/Chapman m/s to postpone consideration of the Business License Ordinance pending a further review of a Study Session by City Council. DISCUSSION: Councilor Silbiger explained the proposed ordinance was not fair and used some of the exemptions as examples. This was the opposite direction Council had intended and after several discussions, did not appear fixable. Councilor Lemhouse agreed and added the intention was to make it better for the community and the proposed ordinance did not. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Slattery, Morris, Lemhouse, Voisin, Silbiger and Chapman, YES. Motion passed.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Will Council schedule a public hearing for March 15, 2011 to consider an increase in Water rates and Wastewater rates?
Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg explained the previous year’s increase in both funds helped stabilize the Wastewater Fund but the Water Fund was spending down its operational reserves and would deplete those reserves unless action was taken. The Water Fund had significant debt service that paid for improvements over the past 20 years. Debt service would decrease over the next ten years but there was still a significant debt load. Cooler summer temperatures during the past two years also contributed in not meeting water sales and cash generation. In addition to rate increases, staff would also request an inter-fund loan as a temporary fix. Rate increases for both funds were recommended because each had aging infrastructures and unfunded projects that needed attention soon.
City Administrator Martha Bennett confirmed the base rate did not cover operational costs, but having a base rate would affect low-income rates. Council was trying to achieve multiple policy objectives through a desired base rate with a consumption rate structure. A rate restructure was forthcoming through the master plans and the Ashland Water Advisory Ad-Hoc Committee (AWAC).
Councilor Silbiger/Slattery m/s to accept staff’s proposal to set a Public Hearing to discuss rates. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS
Meeting was adjourned at 10:27 p.m.
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John Stromberg, Mayor