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Agendas and Minutes

Citizens' Budget Committee (View All)

Budget Committee Meeting

Thursday, May 05, 2005




Budget Committee Meeting

Draft Minutes

May 5, 2005, 7:00p.m.

Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street





Chairman Jim Moore called the Ashland Budget Committee meeting to order at 7:01 p.m. on May 5, 2005 in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street Ashland, Oregon.




Mayor Morrison was present. Councilor Hartzell, Jackson, and Silbiger were present. Councilor Amarotico and Hardesty were absent.  Budget Committee members Bond, Levine, Mackris, Olsen, Thompson, and Williams were present. 



                                    LEE TUNEBERG, FINANCE DIRECTOR

                                    KEITH WOODLEY, FIRE CHIEF

                                    MARGUERITTE HICKMAN, FIRE PROTECTION OFFICER

                                    GREG CASE, EMS DIVISION CHIEF




                                    CINDY HANKS, PROJECT COORDINATOR

                                    BRYN MORRISON, ADMINISTRATIVE SECRETARY




Approval of minutes from previous Budget Committee meetings dated:


2/10/05 Budget Committee Meeting

3/9/05 Social Service Grant Meeting

3/10/05 Social Service Grant Meeting

3/30/05 Economic and Cultural Grant Meeting

3/31/05 Economic and Cultural Grant Meeting


James Bond, Budget Committee member/Marty Levine, Budget Committee member m/s to approve minutes as presented. All Ayes.






Lee Tuneberg, Finance Director spoke to the memo presented on total budget comparison clarification.  See attached. He stated that there is no policy on the Parks budget adjusting as the Cityís does. He added that there were some replacement pages also for the committee to insert into the proposed budget and the budget is available on the website. One of the sections to replace is the capital improvements section and the other is a few pages in the parks budget.  The YAL was overstated and money was moved into materials and services, 3% change. This amount was approved by the parks commission.


POLICE                                             page 3-43 to 3-50


Mike Bianca, Police Chief, Rich Walsh, Deputy Chief and Linda Hoggatt, Administrative Services Manager, presented the budget. Mr. Bianca spoke to the items that they asked for at beginning of the process and explained how they were asked to scale down.  He added that no new positions were requested. He explained the changes in the last few years. Dispatch going to Medford has saved some money; they have added temp positions, personnel costs have increased, and have operated at times with many unfilled positions. He added that the actual figures are somewhat less than what they asked for because of unfilled positions and that is not good for service levels.


He spoke to the value of the police department. They will not compromise on ethics, the law, and the respect of citizens. He identified the priorities of the community: traffic, street scene and various people that hang out in Ashland. Councilor Kate Jackson asked to clarify why the contractual services costs have increased. Mr. Bianca responded that the increase is related to the communication system and would be $40,000 this fiscal year. Ms. Jackson asked if they expect contractual services and miscellaneous charges and fees to stabilize. Mr. Walsh explained that it is based on percentages of police and fire cases compared to Medford and they cannot predict.


Mr. Bianca pointed to the department summary and explained the change in divisions. Mr. Levine asked where the youth diversion officer was.  Mr. Bianca responded that it has been renamed community outreach officer and is the same person with a little different job description. Lynn Thompson, Budget Committee member asked if Jan Jansen would not be at the high school.  Mr. Bianca explained that their hope is to spend more time there. Ms. Thompson stated that she is concerned about drug abuse in Ashland and that it seems that we spend little money on supporting programs on abuse.  Mr. Bianca responded that they invest a significant amount on enforcement. Mr. Levine asked if more money was spent in this area if less would be needed in enforcement.  Mr. Bianca responded that it is shocking the elements of crime that happen in Ashland and it is a good investment in the long run.


Dave Williams, Budget Committee member asked about the consolidation of dispatch and what the goal was. Mr. Walsh explained that it would have taken more man power to run it here than we had and would have been a significant cost. Ray Olsen, Budget Committee member asked if they had statistics on response and if could be put in the budget document. Mr. Bianca responded that some are in the memo that was distributed and they are available.


Councilor Cate Hartzell asked what the cost of state accreditation and benefit was. Mr. Bianca responded $2,000, 1/3 of FTE staff time and the benefits are that they have modified policies and provide a foundation for the City and officers. Mr. Walsh added that it helps with policies being implemented and they are constantly looked at and revised.


Ms. Hartzell asked about the SRO program and cost and the grant that would possibly support. Mr. Bianca responded that they cost is $79,000 plus salary and benefits, $4,500 in support of officer, training, equipment, and material costs. He also added that the school has not participated in the last few years, but will this next fiscal year. Ms. Hartzell asked how much time was spent by the officer at the schools. Mr. Walsh explained that they are in the schools all week, part time at the high school and part at middle school. He added that the school feels the program is very valuable to students. Ms. Hartzell questioned that it is more like a security guard and if the schools are the most dangerous places in town. Mr. Walsh added that they are looking at having them teach a class. Ms. Hartzell suggested that they could provide service to other events and asked how they will evaluate the position over time, would like performance measures and costs benefits. Mr. Levine stated that he would like to hear from the school why they think the program is important. Mr. Olsen added that they should determine the benefit to the City and the advantage of being a police officer rather than and non city officer.


Mayor John Morrison asked if the traffic concern is reflected in the budget. Mr. Bianca responded that there are no additional vehicles and 2 people in the department are dedicated to traffic however every uniformed officer is a traffic officer. Ms. Hartzell asked if the budget correctly reflects the needs of the department in handling situations. Mr. Bianca responded that it does, but once in a while no; there are only so many people and so many pieces of equipment.


Mr. Bond sated that the level of vandalism is on the increase and is concerned, and asked what programs are addressing this. Mr. Bianca responded that they are seeing sporadic instances and it is not increasing.


Ms. Hartzell asked about the $10,000 increase in communications on 3-49. Mr. Bianca will look it up and get back to them. Ms. Hartzell asked why there is $6,000 in programs this year but not next.  Ms. Hoggatt responded that it is the citizenís academy that will not be in the budget in 2006.


Levine/Bond m/s approve of budget as presented.  All Ayes.


FIRE AND RESCUE                       page 3-51 to 3-61


Keith Woodley, Fire Chief, Greg Case, EMS Division Chief, Margueritte Hickman, Fire Protection Officer presented the budget. Mr. Woodley corrected page 3-56 and the two goals that will not be funded: development of fire safety inspection program and fire inspection plans review within seven days. He added that the overall budget is $100,000 less than last year. They are proposing a reorganization and spoke to the org chart provided. They have proposed the addition of a third division chief and reduction of the assistant chief which saves $7,000 per year. The intention is to split EMS from Fire.


They would like to see a fire prevention officer added. Mr. Morrison asked for the salary range. Mr. Woodley responded $53,408 to $56,287. Gino Grimaldi, City Administrator added that it is a non management position. Mr. Woodley spoke to options for funding: increase property tax, or full cost recovery for position. Councilor Russ Silbiger asked what the cost would be for fire protection. Mr. Woodley responded double. Ms. Hickman added that they are collected at time of plan review and it is a percentage of the building plan fee. The range is $100-$1,000. Mr. Silbiger asked if they could charge for annual inspections. Ms. Hickman responded that they are not sure that is the best place to charge, there are many options. Mr. Woodley added that they found that it is common for a city our size to have two code enforcement people for fire prevention. Ms. Hartzell asked if they would like 50% recovery of costs and if the proposal is to capture all costs on new construction. Mr. Woodley responded that the bulk would come from new construction. Ms. Thompson would like actual cost of additional fee for prevention officer and how the City will recover the costs. Mr. Grimaldi responded that they will bring that back to the committee.  Ms. Hickman added that it is based on the cost of the project. Ms. Thompson asked if it was appropriate to ask the planning commission to raise the permit fee.  Ms. Hartzell responded the budget committee does not make decisions to raise fees, Council will make that decision.


Ms. Hartzell asked why the budget is $100,000 less than this year.  Mr. Woodley explained that it is due to a reduction in the general fund. Mr. Morrison asked if not having this position would cause a delay in Community Development because of the delay in fire prevention plans. Mr. Grimaldi suggested that question should be addressed in the Community Development presentation.


Mr. Case explained that the City provides ambulance service and bills for service. The revenue stream has remained flat and call volume has increased. Ms. Thompson asked if the City applies to Medicare to get reimbursed and the City subsidizes the rest.  Mr. Case responded that they do and that happens to all ambulance providers. Mr. Olsen asked how other cities and providers of ambulance service are dealing with reimbursement. Mr. Case explained that there is legislation that is trying to support ambulance services and the state will also try to supplement. Mr. Case added that 54% that are transported are Medicare patients, and 35% also have secondary insurance. Ms. Thompson asked if the net numbers are the money that goes into general fund after insurance reimbursements. Mr. Case responded that it does go back to the general fund. Ms. Hartzell asked if they were able to recover more of the costs for ambulance service.  Mr. Woodley explained that they raised the rates in order to help cover the costs.


Ms. Hartzell asked if the budget supports adequate funding for the CERT program and if it allows for a change. Mr. Case responded that it does and it only funds the functional portion of the program. Ms. Hartzell asked if less of the water fund will be used for the water shed. Mr. Woodley responded that they could not take full advantage of all of the grants that are available because they have to show those in totality in the budget and they donít fit under the caps that have been established, so if there is a grant that they could apply for, they would have to show the equal amount available in the fund to reimburse it.  He also added that it is according to Oregon budget law. They have to be authorized to spend it. Ms. Hartzell asked if they cannot raise the authorization level.  Mr. Tuneberg clarified that each grant is different and they would have to look into that. Mr. Woodley added that Staff has to manage grants and they are a tremendous amount of work. He added that the work that they are doing on our own lands will remain the same but the work on private lands will be limited. Mr. Silbiger asked about the caps imposed on the budget to balance.  Mr. Grimaldi clarified that they are not capping the grant amount; the problem is matching the grant. Mr. Woodley added they would have to show enough money in the budget to ear mark for the grant in order to receive it. Mr. Olsen asked if they could spend the money if it did not get put in the budget originally. Mr. Tuneberg responded that if there is a grant that we can obtain 100% funding for, we could ask for a supplemental budget from Council to meet appropriation levels but they must perform within the requirement of the grant in order to be reimbursed.


Bond/Thompson m/s to tentatively approve budget as presented. All Ayes.




The meeting was adjourned at 9:04 p.m.


Respectively Submitted,


Bryn Morrison

Administrative Secretary



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