Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Tuesday, May 05, 2015

MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING

ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
May 5, 2015
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, Seffinger, Rosenthal, and Marsh were present. Councilor Lemhouse was absent.
 
MAYOR’S ANNOUNCEMENTS
Mayor Stromberg announced the City completed the annual appointment process for the various Commissions, Committees, and Boards but there were vacancies on the following Commissions: Airport, Forest Lands, Housing & Human Services, Public Arts, Transportation, Tree, and Wildfire Mitigation.
 
The annual appointments on the Consent Agenda would include the reappointment of Tim Bewley and Bruce Moats to the Wildfire Mitigation Commission inadvertently left off the Council Communication.
 
Mayor Stromberg added the approval of appointments to the Ashland Fiber Network Committee to the Consent Agenda. 
 
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Study Session of April 20, 2015, Executive Session of April 20, 2015 and Business Meeting of April 21, 2015 were approved as presented.
 
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
Assistant Planner Amy Gunter and Historic Commission member Keith Swink gave the annual presentation on the Historic Commission.  Commissioner Swink provided the background and duties of the Commission.  Ms. Gunter explained the City secured a Certified Local Government (CLG) grant that would help offset historic preservation costs and enable the Commission to pursue furthering historic preservation education, code amendments, conference attendance, and monthly activities.
 
The Historic Preservation Plan found the lack of review of alterations to structures in the historic districts caused some loss of integrity within these districts.  The CLG grant helped hire a consultant to work with the Historic Commission on a possible tiered effort that could result in code regulations similar to the City of Medford and City of Jacksonville.   
 
The Historic Preservation Awards ceremony would happen Wednesday, May 20, 2015, 1:30 p.m. in the Ashland Community Center.  Commissioner Swink listed the activities planned throughout May to celebrate National Historic Preservation Month, and noted the plan to install markers throughout the historic district.  The Commission expressed appreciation for Ms. Gunter’s assistance and efforts.
 
The Mayor’s proclamations of May 2015, as National Historic Preservation month and May 11-17, 2015, as American Craft Beer week were read aloud.
 
Acting Ashland Police Chief Warren Hensman presented the report on crime in Ashland that included use of force, the Enhanced Law Enforcement Area, and on-going issues with Will Dodge Way.  During 2014, the Ashland Police Department (APD) used force 31 times up slightly from 2013 where there were 28 incidents.  APD had two TASER deployments and of the two only one activation.  Three subjects were pepper sprayed.   Nine incidents required control holds and eight subjected to targeted strikes by officers.  Of those incidences, 29% did not involve more than forcing a subject to the ground or up against an object.  Seventeen injuries were reported during these confrontations, six to police officers, and eleven to suspects with none of the injuries more serious than minor cuts and scrapes.  Drugs and or alcohol were involved in 50% of these incidents.  In 2014, each officer received approximately 22 hours of training on use of force.
 
Crime rates were based on the number of Part One crimes in a jurisdiction and reported annually to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for the Uniform Crime Report.  Part One crimes included Homicide, Rape, Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Burglary, Auto Theft and Larceny.  In 2014, APD took 630 reports on Part One crimes.  This was a 10% decrease from 2013.  Violent crimes consisted of Homicide, Rape, Robbery, and Aggravated Assault.  There were 21 violent crimes reported in Ashland in 2014, and 25 violent crimes reported in 2013 for a 16% decrease.   The Police Department cleared 35% of Part One cases and 90% of violent crime cases.
 
The Enhanced Law Enforcement Area (ELEA) ordinance went into effect 2012.  In 2014, the City issued 15 expulsion orders due to 147 violations or crimes occurring in the downtown corridor.  The Police Department tracked crimes in the downtown area through calls for service regarding disorderly behavior.  In 2014, APD responded to 199 calls for service in the downtown area regarding disorderly behavior.  This was a 25% decrease from 2013 and 35% from 2012.  APD worked with the City Administrator and City Attorney’s office to address particularly negative behavior in the downtown area.  They discussed possibly extending ELEA boundaries to include the Bill Patton Gardens, expanding the list of qualifying violations to include smoking marijuana in public, architectural concerns, and ordinances requiring dogs in the downtown area be vaccinated or licensed.
 
Acting Chief Hensman met with the City Administrator, City Attorney, Planning staff, and two citizens on mitigating the issues with Will Dodge Way as a community and find resolutions to the problems.  Business owners discussed internal structural changes that would draw the crowd to Main Street instead of Will Dodge Way.  He clarified violations generated from the venues on Will Dodge Way consisted of open containers, smoking marijuana in public, some overcrowding, and typical disorderly behavior in the downtown area that involved patrons outside of the clubs. 
 
Five individuals involved in ELEA expulsion orders were the same from last year.  The City enforces a 90-day expulsion so the clock can restart for repeat offenders repeatedly.  The people not repeating were obeying the rules as opposed to leaving town.
 
Acting Chief Hensman confirmed officers gave more warnings to patrons and bar owners on Will Dodge Way than they did actual violations.  Occasionally APD received a complaint that did not involve laws being broken as well as situations where the individual had left or the noise dissipated.
 
Madeline Hill/950 Golden Aspen Place/Stated the nuisance issues on Will Dodge Way had not improved.  She appreciated the Police Department focusing on the area and that City officials were meeting with the neighbors.  She produced a large notebook that contained specific suggestions neighbors had researched to improve City processes regarding noise, nuisance, and nightclubs.
 
PUBLIC FORUM
Huelz Gutcheon/2253 Hwy 99/Announced an ongoing class titled “Solving Climate Change with Simple Science” at the Ashland Public Library Fridays at 7:00 p.m. The class was open to the public and free.
 
 
CONSENT AGENDA
1.   Approval of minutes from boards, commissions, and committees
2.   Contract for legal services for Douglas M. McGeary
3.   Request to transfer ownership of two police patrol vehicles to the City of Phoenix, Oregon, Police Department after they are taken out of service with the Ashland Police Department
4.   Contract amendment for economic and financial analysis
5.   Contract with Jackson County Sexual Assault Response Team regarding the expenditure of pending grant funds in the amount of $69,097.60 to fund the You Have Options Program
6.   Approval of contract for GIS software maintenance
7.   2015 annual appointments to boards, commissions, and committees
8.   Amendment to the Intergovernmental Agreement with Jackson County to lease the Ashland Library to the Jackson County Library District
9.   Approval of appointments to the Ashland Fiber Network Committee
 
Mayor Stromberg submitted a document into the record regarding the Ashland Fiber Network Committee and explained the members included Pam Marsh, Rich Rosenthal, Dennis Slattery, Vicki Griesinger, Jim Teese, Bryan Almquist, Susan Alderson, and Matthew Beers.
 
City Administrator Dave Kanner requested to withdraw Consent Agenda item #8 from the agenda due to an error in the agreement.  Councilor Marsh requested the agreement specify that Jackson County lease to the Library District for no more than $1.00 a year.
 
Councilor Voisin pulled Consent Agenda items #2, 4, and 6 for discussion.  City Attorney Dave Lohman confirmed the contract for legal services for Douglas McGeary would not exceed $120,000 a year and was the same as the last four years.  Funds for Mr. McGeary’s salary came out of the Legal Department budget in lieu of funding a full time assistant attorney. 
 
Public Works Director Mike Faught addressed Consent Agenda item #4 and clarified the City hired Economic and Financial Analysis (EFA) to assist in updating the System Development Charges (SDC) for all of the utilities.  The System Development Charge Committee ended up meeting nine times instead of three that resulted in the consultant having to change the proposal several times.  This amendment would cover the consultant completing the final report and attending two Council meetings.  Of the $8,000 requested, $3,000 went to travel.
 
Mr. Faught clarified funds for Consent Agenda item #6 regarding the intergovernmental agreement for GIS software maintenance would come from the Engineering Services division under Public Works through utility rates.
 
Councilor Rosenthal/Marsh m/s to approve Consent Agenda items. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
 
PUBLIC HEARINGS
 1.  Public Hearing and approval of resolutions titled: 1) “A resolution adopting transportation utility fee schedule pursuant to Ashland Municipal Code Section 4.26 and repealing Resolution 2014-04”; 2) “A resolution adopting a storm drain utility fee schedule pursuant to Ashland Municipal Code Section 4.27.050 and repealing Resolution 2014-05”’ 3) “A resolution revising rates for water service pursuant to Ashland Municipal Code Section 14.04.030 and repealing Resolution 2014-02”; 4) “A resolution revising rates for wastewater (sewer) service pursuant to Ashland Municipal Code Section 14.08.035 and repealing Resolution 2014-03” and 5) “A resolution revising rates for electric service pursuant to Ashland Municipal Code Section 14.16.030 and repealing Resolution 2014-06.”
Administrative Services and Finance Director Lee Tuneberg explained the City reviewed utility fees annually and recommend changes to Council.  Staff based rate increases on operational and capital improvement needs in the Street, Sewer, and the Electric Funds.  The fees would cause a 7% increase in the average monthly cost to a single-family dwelling user, with 1,000 kilowatts of power, and 1,000 cubic feet of water.
 
Electric and IT Director Mark Holden explained the average cost increase in kilowatt hour for the next rate period was 3.75 cents from Bonneville Power Administration (BPA).  Three capital improvement projects would benefit from the increase.  The SCADA upgrade at the Oak Knoll substation at $7,000, the second phase of the A2000 business feeder upgrade that fed Oregon Shakespeare Festival, City Hall, and the downtown area at $150,000, and the start of the design phase for the distribution rack the City owned inside the substation with PPL was approximately $70,000.
 
BPA used a biennial rate process and the current one for this rate case started December 2014.  BPA provided initial estimates in December then refined them over time until they get to the last projection.  BPA had finished the public comment period and announced what they believed were the final numbers.  They historically operated this way with almost 100% accuracy.  The City used the numbers provided to calculate the proposed rate increase.  Of the 4.5% increase in rates, the fee for BPA was 47% of the rate increase or $1.56.
 
Public Hearing Open: 7:52
 
Barney Spera/260 Skycrest Drive/Explained he was a former City Councilor and Mayor of a similar sized town in California.  He opposed the increase in water rates.  His monthly water bill in 2013 was $750 that he was able to get down to under $400 using a drip watering system.  He described his property, extensive landscape, and trees.  He did not want higher rates to drive him out of Ashland.  He asked Council to reconsider raising water rates annually.
 
Public Hearing Closed: 7:53
 
Mr. Faught explained the rate increase was due to the 10% per year recommended in the Water Master Plan to fund several capital improvement projects within the Water Fund important to the Ashland’s future water supply.  Projects included a new water plant, a new reservoir with treated water for supply and fire safety, and numerous distribution projects for life cycle replacement.  The rate increase was consistent with the recommendations in the Water Master Plan.  The Water Master Plan was located on the City website under Public Works.  This was the last year for 10%, next year the rate increase would drop to 7.9% and eventually to the 3% area.  The best course of action for the City was having the utility pay for itself instead of a separate bond auction.  Mr. Tuneberg added some form of financing would occur in the future.  The Water Master Plan identified a way to curb the cost of financing by raising rates and setting money aside to pay for the debt service. 
 
Mr. Faught addressed upsizing the sewer pipelines for wastewater and explained the project would comply with regulations regarding temperature.  The oxidation ditch would help keep overflow from going into the creek and avoid regulatory issues as well. 
 
Councilor Marsh/Rosenthal m/s to approve Resolution #2015-09 revising rates for Water Service.
DISCUSSION:  Councilor Marsh commented Ashland was accommodating the significant infrastructure and snowpack issues, and making wise decisions regarding water and it required a 10% increase.  Councilor Rosenthal added the rate increase was based on the Water Master Plan.  Not supporting the increase would be harmful for the community and result in even higher costs in the future.
 
Councilor Voisin noted several capital improvements were based on growth and Ashland was not growing.  She wanted the growth-based projects removed from the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) list until there was evidence Ashland was growing at 2% per year.  The whole package created almost a 7% increase at $140 per year.  She also wanted progressive rates instead of rates that did not reward conservation.   Mr. Faught clarified the growth rate in the Master Plan was set at less than 1% per year.  He did not recommend cutting any projects at this point.  The new Water Plant was more about redundancy, getting it out of the canyon it was currently located to minimize the risk of losing the plant due to natural disasters.  Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
 
Councilor Marsh/Rosenthal m/s to approve Resolution #2015-10 revising rates for Wastewater (Sewer) Service.  DISCUSSION:  Councilor Marsh explained the League of Oregon Cities indicated Ashland was mid range for rates with the increase.  The rates were based on the Master Plan and would help avoid issues in the future.  This was the responsible decision.  Councilor Rosenthal added this was year four of the Master Plan and there was no reason to deviate from it.  This was a rational and reasonable approach to the utility.  Mayor Stromberg noted part of the cost for the wastewater treatment plant came from the Food and Beverage Tax and another reason Ashland could keep rates low. 
Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
 
Councilor Marsh/Morris m/s to approve Resolution #2015-11 adopting a Storm Drain Utility Fee.
DISCUSSION:  Councilor Marsh cited the League of Oregon Cities data showed Ashland on the lower range for storm drain utility fees.  Councilor Morris thought the storm drain system was the one utility the City should repair as much as possible.  Much of it was old, undersized and needed updating.
Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
 
Councilor Rosenthal/Marsh m/s to approve Resolution #2015-12 adopting Transportation Utility Fee.  DISCUSSION:  Councilor Rosenthal explained the increase was not adequate for going forward.  He would support it this year but the reality was when the study came forward later in the year it would indicate funding for maintaining and replacing streets woefully inadequate and would most likely have to be adjusted.  There were 742 segments of roads encompassing over 90 miles of streets in Ashland.  The funding provided by this fee would only cover maintenance of twelve segments when the recommendation was maintaining 24 segments annually.  None of the funding in this fee would address streets in critical disrepair.  City Administrator Dave Kanner explained staff planned to pay $250,000 to $500,000 of maintenance from the Street Fund but the cost was offset by the reduced maintenance costs and the reduced cost of water.  Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
 
Councilor Morris/Seffinger m/s to approve Resolution #2015-13 revising rates for Electric Service
DISCUSSION: Councilor Morris explained the electric infrastructure was a challenge especially in the older areas.  Councilor Seffinger supported upgrading the old lines.  Councilor Marsh thought this increase was the hardest for lower income individuals.  She noted subsidies available and last year the average subsidy was significantly below the ceiling.  There was room as rates went up for the subsidy to increase as well.  Mr. Kanner added the fee increase should have been 7.5%.  Because of the warmer winter weather, the electric revenue was below budget and the fund balance fell 27% of what was recommended.  Realistically the City should raise rates to increase the fund balance but a rate increase of that size was not acceptable.  Councilor Voisin wanted to ensure rates were increased to pay bills but have a mechanism that decoupled fixed costs from consumption rates so people were not paying fixed costs through consumption.  The City could pay for the basic operation of the department and not worry whether or not sales revenue was generating enough funds to pay for that purpose.  Another concern for Councilor Voisin was that 35% of the electric was the electric user tax and a 10% franchise fee.  Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
 
 
 
UNFINISHED BUSINESS (None)
 
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1.   Utility billing surcharge for the Ashland Forest Resiliency project
Mayor Stromberg explained the Ashland Forest Resiliency (AFR) project would complete mechanical thinning over the next two to four years.  When that was done, AFR would do periodic controlled burning to keep the fuel levels at a lower and safer level.  This would cost approximately $175,000 per year indefinitely to manage fuels in the forest.  Also under consideration was covering the $30,000 needed to support the Fire Adapted Community annually.  
 
Administrative Services and Finance Director Lee Tuneberg looked into using a utility surcharge to fund AFR maintenance as an alternative to using property taxes. Council could set a dollar amount on everyone who received a bill, have a dollar amount that varied by number or types of services, or a percentage of the total utility bill to calculate the surcharge or establish a dollar amount or percentage similar to the Electric Users Tax. Council would have to determine whether closing or partial month bills were prorated or not, would the City, Parks, university and schools pay the surcharge, or irrigation, garages, accessory units?  Other questions to consider were how to apply the surcharge to master meters, seasonal accounts and whether to include Ashland Fiber Network bills.  Over the past 20 years, the Water Fund paid whatever grants did not cover for AFR and the amounts did not fluctuate.   The surcharge could apply to a charge on water use or a charge on water equivalent meter that established different dollar amounts for ¾” and 2” meters.
 
City Recorder Barbara Christensen left the meeting at 8:30 p.m.
 
The most simple and reasonably fair option was charging based on the size of the water meter.  That information was already on the bills.  Staff could build logic into the system without much if any programming from the software company.  It was easier to manage and explain.  Mr. Tuneberg recommended the surcharge be direct revenue to the General Fund.  Council could determine other things to fund as well.  Currently it was AFR, and the Fire Adapted Community.  If there were additional costs and programs Council wanted to fund, those cost would be identified, agreed upon, and set proportionally.  Staff was examining exemptions as part of the cost of service study.
 
Councilor Marsh/Seffinger m/s to direct staff to bring back to Council a resolution to establish a surcharge on the utility bill to fund the Ashland Forest Resiliency projects via a charge on the water bill associated with meter size.  DISCUSSION:  Councilor Marsh commented setting fees and increasing taxes was not pleasant but it was imperative the City find an ongoing revenue stream for the AFR project.  The utility fee met the criteria for setting a new fee in the community.  It was transparent, with a predictable revenue stream, established a nexus between funding and use, and was a fee assessed to all water users in the community.  The surcharge predicated on water meter size showed inherent progressivity with the funds earmarked and associated with the use.   This would allow the City to assess the fees on the bills, take the money, and earmark it for AFR. 
 
Councilor Seffinger thought this was a Council goal, agreed with the transparency and sharing the fee with everyone who used water.  Councilor Rosenthal added it was the right mechanism.  The surcharge was an investment that could provide returns for the community.  The $175,000 the City spent this year returned $3,160,000 in additional funding from federal, public, and private sources.  It was an insurance policy and smart investment.  Councilor Voisin had difficulties with the surcharge.  They just increased utilities fees 7% and an additional fee was unwarranted when there was the option of property taxes at .09 cents per $1,000.  Citizens that owned homes were better equipped to pay the fee and could deduct it from their taxes.  Renters and others could not do that.  Taking it from property tax ensured the value and protected properties.  The cost for a new fire employee should come out of the Fire Department and not out of the surcharge.  Councilor Seffinger thought it was important to recognize erosion caused by forest fires significantly affected water quality and went into the dam.  She was concerned about the increase in the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) and did not want to raise property taxes because of that future issue.  Roll Call Vote: Councilor Morris, Seffinger, Rosenthal, and Marsh, YES; Councilor Voisin, NO.  Motion passed 4-1.
 
Council answered the following questions regarding the surcharge:
  1. Are closing or partial month bills assessed the charge, prorated or not? Inclusion is more simple and less labor intensive. A set fee could require proration for fairness which adds complexity.
Council agreed to impose the surcharge when it was incurred in any portion of the billing cycle.
 
2. Do City and Parks’ utility bills include the charge?
Council majority was in favor of exempting the City and Parks and Recreation from paying the surcharge.  Opposing comment raised transparency concerns.
                                               
3. Do university and/or school bills include the charge?
Council majority agreed the university and school district should pay the surcharge. 
 
4. Are separate bills for irrigation, garages, “second” units, etc., assessed the charge? This is usually a sore point for someone who has an electric account for their garage, an irrigation or separate living quarters account, etc.
Staff would have options regarding irrigation when they brought the resolution to a future Council meeting.
 
5. Do bills for master meters for business complexes, multi-family and/home owner associations receive the charge?
Council supported the surcharge applying to master meters.
 
6. Do seasonal accounts receive the charge?
Staff would research options and bring them to Council when the resolution was ready for approval.
 
Council suggested applying the surcharge to the Welcome Center and Rest Area and residents outside city limits.
 
Mr. Kanner noted there two customers using the largest meter and second largest meter that would incur a large surcharge.  Council could decide not to charge any customer more than a 5-inch meter and spread the rest among the other customer classes so the impact was a couple pennies per month.
 
Council did not support including the Fire Adapted Community in the surcharge. 
 
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1.   First reading by title only of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance amending Chapter 11.28 to authorize City Council to establish presumptive parking violation fines by resolution and to clarify determination of fines for single parking violations and their relationship with other penalties for parking violations”
City Attorney Dave Lohman explained the item was about efficiently allocating the utilization of a limited resource, mainly the parking lot capacity.  Currently the fine was $7.00 with a $4.00 surcharge for overtime parking, 15 minute spots were $11.00 with a $4.00 surcharge.   The Downtown Parking Management and Circulation ad hoc Advisory Committee recommended adjusting the amounts because they thought it was too low and resulted in inequitable allocation of that parking capacity.  Other changes to parking regulations would come before Council in the future.
 
If Council passed any portion of the proposed ordinance, they would determine what the correct fees and fines should be for parking violations.  Other policy considerations included retaining or raising the penalties on multiple violations, and the appeal process.  In 2014 there were approximately 11,500 citations and 419 appealed.  That could increase if Council raised the presumptive fine.  The percentage of fines upheld ranged from 35% in 2009 to 19.1% in 2014. 
 
Municipal Court Judge Pam Turner had asked Mr. Lohman to clarify points made during the last meeting’s discussion.  Of the 104 appealed cases dismissed in 2014, 20 involved handicap stickers not prominently placed.  When a violation fine was reduced to zero it still counted towards multiple violations and required payment of the $25 fine for the third violation.  If the Court dismissed the fine altogether, it did not count towards multiple violations.  The revenues generated by the fines went into the General Fund and not the Court.   
 
Council was interested in who the violators were and what determined the Judge’s discretion in the reduction of a fine.  Mr. Lohman confirmed the Judge had the ability to accept a parking situation as unfair.  Administrative Services and Finance Director Lee Tuneberg confirmed the Court could take credit and debit cards and the ability to do so would make it easier for people to pay their tickets.
 
Council suggested a $25.00 penalty for every ticket after the fifth citation. Council also wanted to know if the fees generated from parking tickets covered the contractors and litigation costs or if taxpayers subsidized the program.
 
Mr. Tuneberg explained revenue generated from the Hargadine parking lot paid for the Diamond Parking contract.  Parking tickets generated some money for the downtown study, debt service, and similar things, the rest went into the General Fund.  The City was most likely not charging enough to cover the cost of administering appeals, especially if reduced to zero or waived.  The goal was increase turnover in parking because each parking space in the downtown was $30,000 in commerce in that area. 
 
Mr. Kanner explained the Municipal Court was not there to generate revenue for the City but enforce the adopted ordinances by the City Council.    Policy should not predicate on the personal preferences of any sitting judge.  Council determined policy on what was in the best interest of the city as a whole.  The judge enforced the Council’s adopted policy.  The Downtown Parking Management and Circulation ad hoc Advisory Committee recommended increasing the parking fine to $22.00.  It was not clear in their recommendation if that amount included the $4.00 surcharge or not.  The $11.00 parking fine was not a deterrent to people.  Combining the low parking fine with the ease someone could have getting a parking citation or even a string of citations dismissed, undermined Council policy of generating turnover in parking spaces downtown.
 
Councilor Voisin wanted Judge Turner to attend a Study Session to get her input regarding parking. 
 
Mr. Lohman clarified at some point in the past someone at the City told Diamond Parking not to enforce the $50 penalty on each violation and only apply it when someone received their fifth ticket because of the possibility of difficult financial situations.  Subsequent tickets would incur penalties for multiple violations.
 
Council Rosenthal/Voisin m/s to postpone consideration of the First Reading of an ordinance amending Chapter 11.28 and discuss the issue at a Study Session that would include attendance by the Municipal Judge.  DISCUSSION:  Councilor Voisin had too many questions only Judge Turner could answer.  Councilor Marsh wanted to know how Council responded to a separation of power regarding the issue.  Councilor Rosenthal could not discuss or consider an ordinance requiring reasonable grounds for deviating from the presumptive fine without knowing the background on the most common reason that people asked for deviation and the expert on that topic was the Judge.
 
Councilor Marsh/Morris m/s to suspend Council rules.  Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Councilor Voisin wanted to know how the Court could influence Council and the conflict of interest when Council needed information from the Judge to make a decision.   Councilor Morris noted it went back to Council making the policy and setting the standards and the judge adjudicating them.  He was curious of the questions Councilors were interested in asking and the relevancy.  Mayor Stromberg did not think Judge Turner wanted to influence the Council.  Mr. Lohman added the Judge was sensitive to the issue and understood she could not advocate for a policy position.  She was interested in describing facts, not stating what Council should do with the facts.   The Study Session was a legitimate meeting as long as everyone avoided advocacy on the Judge’s part.  Council Voisin wanted to know who the violators were, if they were employees, and what determined in the Judge’s discretion a reduction in a fine, and if the citations covered the cost of adjudication.  Mr. Lohman explained some of Councilor Voisin’s questions were policy questions that the Judge would find inappropriate for her to answer.
 
Councilor Voisin/Marsh m/s to reinstate Council Rules.  Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
 
Mr. Kanner asked Council’s interest in staff bringing back an ordinance that did nothing but grant the Council authority in setting parking fines. 
 
Voice Vote on main motion:  Councilor Voisin, Rosenthal, and Marsh, YES; Councilor Morris and Seffinger, NO.  Motion passed 3-2.
 
Staff would bring a clean ordinance to the next Council meeting.  Council directed staff to research paying fines with credit and debit cards and cell phones. 
 
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS 
Councilor Seffinger announced that Airport Day was Saturday May 16, 2015 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  The Ashland Creek Park celebration was Wednesday May 20, 2015 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
 
Councilor Voisin noted May was National Historic Preservation Month and announced Tuesday May 12, 2015 there would be free veterinarian services at the United Methodist Church from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.   Services included vaccinations and exams.
 
ADJOURNMENT OF BUSINESS MEETING
Meeting adjourned at 10:10 p.m.
 
 
 
__________________________________                ________________________________
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder                             John Stromberg, Mayor
                       

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