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Jt Council-Parks

Minutes
Monday, March 11, 2013

MINUTES FOR THE JOINT STUDY SESSION
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL – PARKS COMMISSION
Monday, March 11, 2013
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way

  
CALL TO ORDER
Parks Commissioner Chair Seffinger and Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 6:07 p.m. in the Community Development Siskiyou Room.
 
ROLL CALL
Councilor Slattery, Lemhouse, Voisin, and Marsh were present.  Councilor Morris arrived at 6:10 p.m.  Councilor Rosenthal was absent.
 
Commissioner Lewis, Landt, Shaw, Gardiner, and Seffinger were present.
 
INTRODUCTION – MEETING PURPOSE AND PRODUCT
Mayor Stromberg explained this was the first meeting that would occur annually to discuss crossover goals and objectives between the Parks and Recreation Commission and the City.  Mayor Stromberg and Chair Seffinger also had a proposal for an ad hoc committee that would address sustainable funding for the Parks and Recreation Commission that evolved from Councilor Rosenthal’s suggestion.  
 
PRESENTATION OF PARKS GOALS/ OBJECTIVES AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO COUNCIL’S GOALS
Chair Seffinger explained the Parks and Recreation Commission had looked for ways to incorporate Parks and Recreation goals into Council goals. 
 
Parks Director Don Robertson submitted documents into the record showing goals and objectives for the Parks and Recreation Commission and City Council in the primary service areas.  The core goal for Parks and Recreation was to maintain and expand park, recreational, and educational opportunities; provide high quality, efficient and safe services with positive experiences for guests, and other participants while maintaining community participation in the decision-making processes and protecting the environment.  Parks staff devised objectives from the goals that consisted of existing Commission goals, the Comprehensive Plan, and Parks and Recreation benefit statements.  Each objective had tactics associated to meet the objective.  The Parks and Recreation Commission and staff also listed tactics under the Draft City Council Goals for 2013.
 
Chair Seffinger and Mr. Robertson reviewed the objectives and tactics associated with City Goals that were applicable to the Parks and Recreation Commission.  
 
Public Safety Goal – Objectives

 

  • Increase safety and security downtown
  1. Increase funding for Park Patrol
  • Review the Emergency Preparedness Plan to include food security and other shortages of necessities
  1. Participate in all emergency drills
  • Mitigate fire hazards in the urban interface
  1. Continue fuels reduction efforts
  2. Work with AFR to identify trails that could be used as fire breaks

Chair Seffinger explained fuels reduction efforts pertained to treatments for Ordsen Todd, Siskiyou Mountain Park and other park properties that interfaced with City property. 
 
Mr. Robertson added the Parks and Recreation Department had three full time employees spending 80% of their time annually on fuels reduction treatments.   Chair Seffinger further explained the Parks Commission worked as a liaison with the Forestland Commission developing the master plan for the forest and identifying trail breaks.
 

 

  • Reduce risks of fire in the city via weed abatement and firewise landscaping and building practices
  1. Mow non-developed parks twice prior to fire season to ensure safe environment
  2. Provide firewise example for landscaping at parks office and other buildings
  3. Promote firewise landscaping through Activity Guide.

The Parks and Recreation Department worked in conjunction with the Firewise Commission.
 

 

  • Improve public communication and community partnerships re: public safety policies and best practices
  1. Propose expanded funding for park patrol
  2. Publish directors message that features safety issues in parks
  3. Maintain department safety committee and participate in citywide safety committee

 
Municipal Infrastructure Goal - Objectives

 

  • Evaluate all city infrastructure regarding planning, management, and financial resources
  1. Develop spreadsheet schedule for deferred maintenance projects identifying projected years and costs of repairs
  • Implement the conservation plan for water and complete the 10-year plan for electric
  1. Work with water and electric utilities to identify conservation tactics
  • Promote conservation as a long-term strategy to protect the environment and public utility needs
  1. Provide public examples for conservation of water/electric resources using actual Parks and Recreation practices
  2. Continue “green team” meetings evaluating all of our practices to ensure sensible environmental considerations are implemented
  3. Provide “Green Page” in the Activity Guides

Mr. Robertson explained the Parks and Recreation Department participated in the City Conservation Division’s Green Business program.  One of their recommendations was outreach through the Activity Guide so staff added a “green page” to the publication.  Parks and Recreation also developed a green team that worked to reduce waste, recycling, and save energy and water. 
 

 

  • Maintain and improve infrastructure that enhances the economic vitality of the community
  1. Focus on bringing park infrastructure up to acceptable levels

Much of the infrastructure was electrical and irrigation systems, pavement and sidewalk maintenance, managing newer to 100 year old facilities, and maintaining Lithia Park.  Parks and Recreation staff created an ongoing list and intended to develop a plan over the next year that would eventually incorporate infrastructure maintenance for all City parks.
 
Community Quality of Life - Objectives 

 

  • Provide opportunities for the poor to thrive and not just survive in Ashland
  1. Provide free recreational experiences in all parks, include opportunities for fitness, socialization, and education
  2. Partner with food and friends to provide low cost meals at the senior center
  3. Allow for a homeless shelter in Pioneer Hall
  4. Work with RVTD to provide bus passes to low income seniors
  5. Work with Parks Foundation to provide scholarship program

The Parks and Recreation Department also provided in-home assessments for seniors, and helped them connect with legal, tax, and counseling services. 
 

 

  • Support and assist foundational relationships with community partners
  1. Work with Southern Oregon Land Conservancy to preserve open spaces
  2. Seek grants for services provided by Parks and Recreation building on the history of the Taylor foundation and programs that have supported the Nature Center
  3. Work with the Ashland Parks foundation to continue seeking support for programs and facilities
  4. Share facilities with SOU and School District

The Parks and Recreation Department maintained softball fields for Southern Oregon University (SOU) and collaborated with SOU in 2012 when Ashland hosted Cycle Oregon.
 

 

  • Analyze impact of increased preservation of historic buildings in Ashland
  1. Work with the Historic Commission to provide historic resource information within Lithia Park and other park managed properties

 
Organization and Governance – Objectives

 

  • Examine and improve communication tools used to communicate with the public
  1. Expand information provided in the 3 times yearly Activity Guide to provide information to the community

 
The Commission and Council commented on goals that overlapped, core values, and support for the annual meeting.
 
FORMULATION OF JOINT GOALS/OBJECTIVES
Mayor Stromberg and Chair Seffinger explained their proposal to establish an ad hoc committee consisting of three councilors and three commissioners.  City Attorney Dave Lohman was researching potential quorum issues.  The ad hoc committee would use the next year to work on sustainable funding for the Parks and Recreation Commission, receive public input, and develop options for Council and the Commission. 
 
The Mayor also planned a Budget Committee meeting to discuss some of the issues, but wanted the committee to meet with the Parks and Recreation Commission prior to meeting with the Budget Committee.  Mayor Stromberg would work with City Administrator Dave Kanner and present a component to the current budget that would synchronize with the ad hoc committee for Council.
 
Councilor Rosenthal’s proposal related to the current budget and the Mayor Stromberg would address the Councilor’s proposal when they made their presentation to Council.
 
The Parks and Recreation Commission noted concern regarding the loss of the Gentle Person’s Agreement since Measure 50, the $2.09 tax, and whether the Commission would remain an independent body if it lacked a secure funding source.
 
Council spoke in favor of the ad hoc committee, annual meetings with the Parks and Recreation Commission and Council, and possibly using Councilor Rosenthal’s proposal for the interim and the ad hoc committee suggestion for the next budget cycle.  Other concerns involved the Budget Officer’s authority to establish budget policy and Council’s role in that process.
 
The Parks and Recreation Commission and Council went on to discuss the loss of the $2.09 tax for the Parks and Recreation Commission and the end of long range unwritten agreements between the City and Parks.  City Attorney Dave Lohman explained Measure 50 no longer allowed continuing levies that bound future Councils and Commissions to financial agreements. 
 
Mayor Stromberg, Chair Seffinger, and Councilor Marsh would work on the ad hoc committee and interim options and present them to Council at the March 19, 2013 Council meeting.
 
Meeting adjourned at 7:45 p.m.
 
 
Respectfully submitted,                                
Dana Smith
Assistant to the City Recorder

 
 
 

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