Agendas and Minutes

Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Monday, October 28, 2002

City of Ashland

City of Ashland

PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION

REGULAR MEETING
MINUTES

October 28, 2002

 

ATTENDANCE

Present: Commissioners Eggers, Jones, Landt, Lewis, MacGraw; Councilor Laws; Director Mickelsen

Absent: None

CALL TO ORDER

Chair Landt called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Regular Meeting September 23, 2002 Commissioner Eggers moved to approve the minutes as written. Commissioner MacGraw seconded.

The vote was: 5 yes 0 no

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

Open Forum - none

ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA - None

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

APPROVAL OF OPEN SPACE SUMMARY

Commissioner Landt described the summary as the Commission's attempt at an "institutional record" of the open space update and noted that the summary itself is to be physically affixed to the Parks, Trails and Open Space Map. He also indicated that the summary incorporated input from Commissioners and had been "worked on" in both in committee and at the September Commission Meeting.

Public Comment - None

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioner Eggers suggested a layout change for the "note" shown under Short Term Properties Component to clarify that the note applies to trails and trail connections. Saying, "my memory needs refreshing," she went on to ask about the Wright's Creek Corridor and "how we decided to put that on the short term plan rather than the long term plan?" Commissioner Landt briefly recapped the reasons for that decision. Commissioner Eggers then suggested reviewing the listed properties and stipulating the intended use of each property on the long-term list.

After some discussion, there was general agreement among the other Commissioners that there was value in leaving the anticipated use of the long-term properties "more open ended."

Commissioner Landt said that he would also like to put a date on the summary.

MOTION Commissioner MacGraw moved to approve the Open Space Summary as presented tonight. Commissioner Eggers seconded.

The vote was: 5 yes - 0 no

APPROVAL OF OPEN SPACE CRITERIA

Director Mickelsen noted that the criteria had been a "useful tool" to help the Commission determine which properties to include on the updated plan.

Public Comment - None

Discussion Among Commissioners

Referencing the difficulty in using the criteria experienced by citizens at an Open Space Community Meeting, Commissioner Jones indicated that she supports the criteria but does not support the 'point value system.'

Commissioner Landt agreed that the criteria were not a useful tool for use by the public in such a setting, but said that as a tool for Commissioners and Staff, "it serves its purpose...it's a helpful tool." He also noted that use of the criteria gives "a paper trail--so anyone can come and look at our decisions and have an idea of how we came to them."

Commissioner Lewis suggested that the value of the criteria's point system is as a tool for discussion. Variations in ratings assigned by individuals, he explained, will prompt questions, discussion and debate that will assist decision-makers in making good decisions. "This tool is to be discussed," he stressed, "not just...grade and then move on."

Commissioner MacGraw said, "I think it basically evens the playing field for Commissions in the future in terms of processing whether a property is worth looking at. I support it in that regard."

Prompted by a question from Commissioner Eggers, Commissioner Landt corrected the last sentence of item 3 under Neighborhood Parks to read "Slope greater than 14% is not suitable for neighborhood parks." Commissioner Eggers also said that she would like to see "H, M, and L" spelled out as "high, medium, and low" and that she preferred to see the word "epilogue" at the end of each sheet changed to the word "note."

Saying "Obviously future Commissions need to have some degree of opportunity to make adjustments," Councilor Laws cautioned "however you adopt this, I would suggest that you make sure that it's in a form that it won't become an official part of anything that's voted on by the people."

MOTION Commissioner Eggers made a motion, clarified by Commissioner Landt with Commissioner Eggers' approval as "I move that we approve the selection criteria for parks, trails and open space as guidelines with the corrections that Commissioner Eggers suggested." Commissioner Lewis seconded.

Discussion of the Motion

Commissioner Jones asked to have the clarified motion reread.

Commissioner MacGraw stated her understanding that "no Commission in the future is tied to using this anyway--all they have to do is vote to negate it" and inquired as to whether her understanding was correct.

In reply, Councilor Laws pointed out "it depends on how you word the ballot measure that people may be voting on, assuming that the Council puts it before the people. Because if you worded it as such that you adopted all of these documents as part of the plan that was being voted on, then it would become absolutely binding."

In response to Director Mickelsen's comment that he understood the summary and criteria to be just internal documents for the Commission, Councilor Laws explained that the problem lay in tying the documents all together. Physically affixing the summary to the map makes the summary part of the map, and the summary, in turn, includes reference to the criteria.

Commissioner MacGraw suggested that those difficulties might be avoided by rephrasing a portion of the Summary's final paragraph. Rather than reading "...the same or similar selection criteria shall be applied," the phrase could read "...the same or similar selection criteria may be applied."

The vote was: 4 yes - 1 no (MacGraw)

APPROVAL OF OPEN SPACE LONG TERM PLAN

Director Mickelsen noted that the Long-Term Plan had been presented at the September Commission Meeting and changes suggested at that time had been incorporated into the current draft. Once the Long-Term Plan is approved by the Commission, it will come before the City Council.

Public Comment - None

Discussion Among Commissioners

MOTION Commissioner Lewis moved to approve the long-term properties as stated in the Summary. Commissioner MacGraw seconded.

The vote was: 5 yes - 0 no

APPROVAL OF OPEN SPACE SUMMARY, REVISITED

MOTION Commissioner MacGraw moved to reconsider the initial motion to approve the Summary. Commissioner Landt seconded.

The vote was: 5 yes - 0 no

MOTION Commissioner MacGraw moved to approve the Summary including the two previous changes (layout change for the 'note' and addition of a date) and with changing the word "shall" to "may" in the second-to-last sentence of the Summary. Commissioner Jones seconded.

Discussion of the Motion

Saying "I think we did a lot of work on it; I think they're good criteria," Commissioner Eggers said "I would like to make it a little stronger than "may" and one way to do that might be "we recommend that the same or similar selection criteria be applied." She noted, however, that she wouldn't vote against the motion.

Public Comment - None

The vote was: 5 yes - 0 no

Commissioner Landt thanked fellow Commissioners, Staff, and the public for all of the hard work that had been put into the entire open space update process.

NEW BUSINESS

OPEN SPACE FUNDING COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION - ADDITIONAL FUNDING FOR PARKS, TRAILS AND OPEN SPACE PLAN

Commissioner Landt gave an overview of the Parks, Trails and Open Space Plan from its inception to the present. He explained that the Open Space Funding Committee was composed of two Parks Commissioners, three City Councilors, a Budget Committee member, and two representatives of the business community. The Funding Committee's proposal for funding the Short-Term (10 year) Plan is as follows:

    1. That a ballot measure be presented to the voters to reallocate the percentage of the food and beverage tax as follows; 40% to Parks, Trails and Open Space Plan and 60% to the wastewater treatment facility.
    2. Offset the decrease in monies going to the wastewater treatment facility from the food and beverage tax by increasing sewer rates. The preliminary estimate is that the sewer rates would be increased by approximately 15%.
    3. Increase in SDC fees
    4. Utilize donations, grants, private and public partnerships and other creative funding strategies.

Commissioner Eggers, a member of the funding committee, clarified that if the community votes to reallocate the food and beverage tax money, how to fund the remainder of the wastewater treatment plant upgrades is not the Parks Commission's purview. She explained, however, that "we did feel responsible to make some suggestion" about how to offset the proposed decrease in monies going to the wastewater treatment facility.

Council Laws, also a member of the funding committee, noted that the City Council is not bound to increasing the sewer rates as recommended by the funding committee. "It does mean," he said, "that if this is adopted that more money from the food and beverage tax will go to open space. Less will be available then to meet the necessary repayment of the bonds for the sewage treatment plant, and that money will have to come from somewhere."

Commissioner Jones asked if maintenance and development had been discussed along with acquisition. Commissioner Landt replied that the committee had chosen to focus solely on acquisition at this time. Councilor Laws concurred, noting that the current funding proposal extends only until the meals tax is set to expire in 2010.

Commissioner Eggers, a member of the funding committee, asked to have the members of the funding committee identified and expressed her appreciation for the work of the group and Staff. The funding committee consisted of: Councilor Don Laws, Councilor Chris Hearn, Councilor Cate Hartzell, Budget Committee member Russ Silbiger, Commissioner JoAnne Eggers, Commissioner Rick Landt, and business community representatives Laurie Gibbs and Valri Williams.

Councilor Laws noted that one member of the committee, Cate Hartzell, "did indicate that she was not entirely in favor the committee's recommendation." In response to a question by Commissioner Lewis, Councilor Laws also briefly explained item three, Increase in SDC Fees.

Public Comment

Mike Gardiner (349 Orange Avenue) asked for further clarification on the committee's recommendation to the Commission--specifically, which funding mechanisms were proposed for funding open space and which were proposed for offsetting the decrease in monies for the wastewater treatment facility. Committee members clarified that the reallocation of the meals tax, the increase in SDCs and the 'creative funding strategies' are all proposed as funding for open space. The only proposed funding mechanism for offsetting the decrease in monies for the wastewater treatment facility is an increase in sewer fees.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Noting, "it's not really parks business per se," Commissioner MacGraw expressed her discomfort with the sewer rate increase portion of the recommendation.

Commissioner Lewis thanked the committee for tackling this difficult issue and expressed his full support of the recommendation.

Calling the recommendation "a good initial step," Commissioner Jones echoed Commissioner Lewis' comments and expressed her support for moving forward "to see if the voters really support more open space and trails."

MOTION Commissioner Jones moved that the funding committee's proposal be accepted as stated:

    1. That a ballot measure be presented to the voters to reallocate the percentage of the food and beverage tax as follows; 40% percent to Parks, Trails and Open Space Plan and 60% to the wastewater treatment facility.
    2. Offset the decrease in monies going to the wastewater treatment facility from the food and beverage tax by increasing sewer rates. The preliminary estimate is that the sewer rates would be increased by approximately 15%.
    3. Increase in SDC fees
    4. Utilize donations, grants, private and public partnerships and other creative funding strategies

Commissioner Eggers seconded.

The vote was: 5 yes - 0 no

SUB-COMMITTEE and STAFF REPORTS

DEPARTMENT ACCOUNTING SYSTEM TRANSITION TO CITY FINANCE - information purposes

Director Mickelsen referenced the October 11, 2002 memo on this subject and reported that City and Park Staff are moving forward with transitioning the Department's accounting functions to the City's Finance Department.

GFOA AWARD - information purposes

Director Mickelsen reported that the Department had been awarded the Government Finance Officers Association Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the 14th consecutive year. Director Mickelsen thanked Staff for its excellent work.

Councilor Laws commended the Department on receipt of the award and said that it supported his belief that "the Parks Department has been an extremely responsible body (and) that it has been run well."

2002 LITHIA PARK WALKS - information purposes

Director Mickelsen publicly thanked Tom Foster and all of the Park Walk volunteers for their efforts in providing this valuable and popular service.

ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS - None

UPCOMING MEETING DATE(S) and PROPOSED AGENDA ITEMS

Upcoming Meeting Dates

  • Regular Meeting set for 7:00 p.m., November 25, 2002, Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street
  • Study Session set for 6:30 p.m., November 25, 2002, Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street regarding rates for the Golf Course

Proposed Agenda Items

  • Golf Course Rates
  • Update on Dog Park Improvements
  • Quarterly Department Projects Update

ADJOURNMENT By consensus, with no further business, Chair Landt adjourned the meeting.

Respectfully submitted, Robyn Hafner, Department Secretary, Ashland Parks and Recreation Department

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