CONTINUED MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
CALL TO ORDER
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
February 16, 2000
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street
Mayor Shaw called the meeting to order at 12:35 p.m.
Councilors Laws, Reid, Hauck, Hanson and Fine were present. Councilor Wheeldon was absent.
NEW & MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Council Meeting Look Ahead
City Administrator Mike Freeman clarified for the council that the Jackson County/Ashland Library Lease is scheduled on the Look Ahead. He emphasized that the Intergovernmental Agreement previously adopted will serve in place of the lease if the bond issue passes countywide. He suggested that in any case, a new lease document would need to be considered.
Fine asked that the city have it included in the lease that the city will take over the library service on a limited level in the event that the county should discontinue service here. Fine explained that he did not doubt the county's intentions, but felt that there could be problems with financing at the county level. Shaw suggested wording that would create a trigger point if service drops below a certain level. Fine suggested that there needs to be more than merely a trigger point, as this alone would convey little in the way of a legal right.
2. Renewal of Franchise Agreement with US West.
City Attorney Paul Nolte explained that this is a renewal of an agreement with US West and because it is drafted under the current Telecommunications Ordinance will be different from the previous agreement. Nolte explained statutory limitation on an amount of compensation that the city can receive from US West, and noted that negotiations have been lengthy but that all issues were resolved to his satisfaction. Nolte recommended adoption of the agreement.
Councilors Hauck/Reid m/s to approve renewal of the franchise agreement. Roll Call Vote: Hauck, Fine, Laws, Reid and Hanson, YES. Motion passed.
3. Adoption of Amendment to Community Values Statement.
Councilors Hauck/Laws m/s to approve amendment. Roll Call Vote: Fine, Reid, Laws, Hauck, YES. Hanson, NO. Motion passed 4-1.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
4. Second reading by title only of "An Ordinance Establishing Regulation of Activities within the Bear
Creek Greenway in the City of Ashland."
City Attorney Paul Nolte read the amended sections suggested by Councilor Fine into the record, and explained that the amendment section was intended to keep this ordinance in line with state statutes.
Councilors Hauck/Fine m/s to adopt Ordinance #2854 with the amendments. Roll Call Vote: Laws, Reid, Hauck, Hanson, and Fine, YES. Motion passed.
5. First reading by title only of "An Ordinance Amending Sections of Chapter 6.28 of the Ashland
Municipal Code to Permit Boarding Signs for Special Vehicles, to Clarify Taxicab Standards Relating
to Suspensions and Revocations of Certificates, to remove Vehicle Inspection Requirements, to Clarify
Driver Approval Standards and to Remove Determination of Need for Issuance of Certificates."
City Attorney Paul Nolte explained that the amendments being presented are a quasi-deregulation of taxicab service within the city. He noted that the change prompted by the request was to permit boarding signs for special vehicles as contained in Section 2 of the proposed ordinance. Nolte explained that the changes proposed would make the ordinance more consistent and would remove certain requirements in the taxicab ordinance.
Reid noted a past legal decision that prohibited the city from granting exclusive use in a franchise. Hauck clarified that there are conditions in the ordinance, and that it is not specifically exclusive. Nolte explained that we do not have an exclusive franchise agreement other than for solid waste, and these amendments will make the taxicab ordinance even less exclusive.
Craig Hollingsworth/215 Tolman Creek Rd. #21/Owner and president of Yellow Cab of Southern Oregon/
Gave a brief history of the taxi cab ordinance and explained how the previous ordinance came into being. He explained how taxicabs nearly operate as a public utility while being a private enterprise, and compared the taxi service to bus service from RVTD. Hollingsworth feels that the proposed ordinance would be a detriment to the city by saturating the community with numerous cab companies and causing a deterioration in service levels. Hollingsworth noted several sections of the proposed ordinance that he had concerns with. He questioned why the city is proposing to open up the ordinance when the current ordinance is providing for the needs of the city. Hollingsworth explained to the council that the cab business is not a lucrative one, and suggested that allowing additional franchise agreements would adversely affect taxicab drivers by saturating the marketing and limiting the business to each cab. He does not feel that the city can support any additional cabs beyond what is currently being provided.
Laws noted his memory of the previous franchisee and the inadequate service levels. He stated that the current service was well-received for some time, but voiced his concern with the recent increase of complaints about the current service. Hollingsworth stated that he believed that most complaints were regarding the RVTD Service Program, which is provided by his company. He stated that he was unaware of any complaints about his drivers.
Shaw noted that the actual reason for looking at the ordinance began with quasi-deregulation last year where the limit on the number of vehicles was removed. She explained that these amendments go a step further, by eliminating the requirement for a finding of public convenience and necessity, prior to issuance.
Freeman noted that complaints should be directed through his office, and he would forward them. He stated that he had only heard a couple of minor complaints. Freeman gave a brief history on the review of the cab ordinance, and noted that the amendments were brought forth at the direction of the council to remove regulatory requirements.
Freeman explained that the city is not qualified to inspect vehicles and that there are liability issues. With this in mind, inspections are allowed on a complaint basis. Hauck suggested including a requirement of a third party inspection to be submitted along with the certificate.
Freeman suggested that there was merit in some of the issues raised by Hollingsworth, and that the changes were brought forth at Council's direction.
Reid stated that she felt that there is some merit in knowing that some businesses have financial backing and insurance coverage. The council discussed Public Utility Commission (PUC) requirements, noting that municipal regulation precedes many of these requirements. Reid recognized the importance of taking care of the elderly in our community and ensuring adequate service. The council discussed whether there is a need for restriction to protect the service availability.
Hollingsworth explained that one of the reasons for the city's regulation, is to ensure those cab companies are viable, and protect the service they provide from deteriorating. Nolte explained that the requirement for operation of taxicabs has not changed and there remains a 365-day requirement for operation.
Councilors Fine/Hauck m/s to move the ordinance to second reading, with the understanding that staff will draft an amendment for the second reading incorporating Councilor Hauck's suggestion of a requirement for a third party inspection. Roll Call Vote: Hauck, Hanson, Laws, Fine and Reid, YES. Motion passed.
Meeting was adjourned at 1:20 p.m.
Submitted by Barbara Christensen, City Recorder