Agendas and Minutes

Charter Review Committee (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Thursday, June 16, 2005

Charter Review Committee
June 16, 2005
Regular Meeting
Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street

I. CALL TO ORDER:
Committee Co-Chair Carole Wheeldon called the Ashland Charter Review Committee meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. on June 16, 2005 in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Members Present: Carole Wheeldon, Don Montgomery, Hal Cloer, Kate Culbertson, Pam Marsh, Laurie MacGraw and Michael Riedeman.
Members Absent: John Enders and Keith Massie.
Staff Present: Ann Seltzer, Staff Liaison
Mike Franell, City Attorney
April Lucas, Assistant to City Recorder

Hal Cloer/Laurie MacGraw m/s to approve the minutes of June 9, 2005 as presented. Voice Vote: all AYES. (Carole Wheeldon abstained) Motion passed.

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II. PUBLIC FORUM:
Art Bullock/791 Glendower/Spoke regarding the water protection motion made at the previous meeting. Mr. Bullock stated that the committee had approved a phrase which would authorize the selling of water to businesses and corporations within the City. He stated that their discussion during and prior to the motion clarified that the intent of the committee was to allow water to be sold for the business's internal use, however the language proposed by the City Attorney would allow the business to resell the water. Mr. Bullock requested that the committee clarify the precise wording so that it matches their intent and voiced his concerns in regards to process for this charter amendment.

Pam Vavra/2800 Dead Indian Memorial Rd/Stated that although the committee elected to not recommend IRV to the council, their preliminary review of its potential benefits would be helpful to those who may consider it in the future. Ms. Vavra commented on the voting systems Single Transferable Voting and Serial IRV, and clarified that these rank choice preference voting systems could be applied to multiple seat elections. She voiced her concern regarding the record of the last meeting and requested that the committee include her suggested corrections in their final report to the council. Ms. Vavra recommended that the IRV topic discussion paper be revised for the record, and requested that her white paper be included in their report or that the committee's discussion paper be revised to reflect her input. Ms. Vavra suggested that the committee recommend some type of criteria that would apply for considering suggestions from the public and suggested that the committee explain the criteria they used for determining what should be placed on the ballot by the Council and which items should be handled through the initiative process.

Concern was expressed from one of the committee members that the language of the charter amendment would allow for the city's water to be provided to a water bottling or water distribution company located within the City limits. Mr. Franell stated that this would be a possibility and noted that the committee could insert language which would prohibit the resale of water.

The committee discussed the possibility of amending the language to prohibit the resale of water. Several scenarios were mentioned where a business could be very water intensive (such as a chip micro-processing plant), or businesses that would use substantial water but were not selling it as their primary product (such as a soup or bottled tea company). Concern was expressed that this language might promote growth outside the city limits. Comment was made that these concerns should be elaborated on in the committee's report to the council. Suggestion was made for the City Attorney to draft alternative language prohibiting the resale of water. Comment was made that the committee had already made a decision and it would be most appropriate to pass this issue forward to the council with the cautions that have been raised, but to not adopt new language. Mr. Franell stated that at the last meeting, the committee left it open to consider specific language and stated that he could bring back draft language for the committee to consider. Comment was made that the committee should not just include additional language in the report, but that the language needed to be definitely phrased and voted on again. A committee member commented that their recollection from the last meeting was that the City Attorney was going to bring back draft language for approval by the committee. Comment was made that this was a political decision and the committee should provide their recommendation to the council and allow them to make the definitive decision on the language. Concern was expressed about water being supplied through a city conduit to people outside the city for mass development purposes. Mr. Franell noted that occasionally the city provides water to residents outside the city limits for health purposes, and would not want the language so tight that it would prohibit this. Mr. Franell stated that he could provide three or four alternatives to the committee for them to review and forward to the council with their recommendation.

Michael Riedeman/Kate Culbertson m/s to have the City Attorney bring back several recommendations for language. DISCUSSION: It was clarified that the alternatives should prohibit the water from being the primary product of resale, and should include a clause that would allow the occasional resident outside of the city to be provided with water for health purposes. Concern was expressed that this would not address businesses that would be water intensive. Concerned was voiced by a committee member in regards to the committee making a final decision on such a big issue when they did not prepare a white paper on this issue or receive public input. Comment was made that the committee was not making big decision; they were just keeping the current system in tact and clarifying what they all believed to be case, which is that businesses inside that city should be allowed to use the city's water. Roll Call Vote: Carole Wheeldon, Hal Cloer, Kate Culbertson, Laurie MacGraw, Pam Marsh, Don Montgomery and Michael Riedeman, YES. Motion passed unanimously.

The committee addressed Ms. Vavra's clarification request regarding IRV. Statement was made that the committee was not ready to recommend that the council adopt IRV and put it on the ballot. Additional comment was made that the other changes recommended by the committee had been done because the majority of the body believed that they were something that the council should adopt and put forward, but they were not ready to make such a determination for IRV. The issue regarding the IRV software was noted, as was the cost issue if this provision were adopted.

Don Montgomery/Kate Culbertson m/s to include Pam Vavra's research as an appendix in the committee's report to the council. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

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III. REVIEW & DISCUSSION OF DRAFT REPORTS TO COUNCIL:
Comment was made that several of the draft reports were received within the last 24 hours, and that this was not enough time to have a substantive review of the reports. Suggestion was made for the committee to discuss Ms. MacGraw's report on Parks and Recreation as it was presented last week.

It was questioned if the committee would need to schedule an additional meeting for June 23rd to finish their review of the draft reports. Comment was made that the committee also needed to review the recommendations from Tom Sponslor and Paul Nolte before they are passed along to the council.

The committee began discussion of the Parks and Recreation Report. Suggestion was made by Mr. Montgomery to include more discussion on the points he had made relative to the argument to bring the Parks Dept. under the city manager. Mr. Montgomery offered to prepare language that would elaborate on this.

The committee discussed the preferred style and format of the final report. Several committee members voiced support for a more narrative form, such as the format found in Mr. Enders report. Suggestion was made for the report to be limited to 10-12 pages, but to include several addendums, including the white papers. Comment was made that the reader should not have to refer to the white papers located in the appendix to understand the report. Support was voiced for a concise summary and statement was made that if the report is too long, the reader might not take the time to read through it in its entirety. Statement was made that the formatting for each topic should be exactly the same and suggestion was made for the compiling of the various topic reports be done by one person to ensure consistent formatting. Comment was made that the report should be able to stand on its one, and the reader should not have to go to other references to understand. Suggestion was made to possibly include an executive summary at the beginning of the report, which would note the recommendations and not include a great deal of rational. Suggestion was made for the report to be formatted into specific paragraphs for each topic, such as: history, research, public input, options, and recommendations. Staff Liaison Ann Seltzer suggested that the committee consider their audience and suggested that they place their recommendation at the top of the page and then have the explanation of how their reached their decision and suggested that they follow the format of the white papers and topic discussion papers. Comment was made agreeing that the recommendation should come first, followed by the committee's deliberations; suggestion was made for everything else to be in a second document.

The committee continued discussion on the best way to present their information to the council, the amount of depth they want to include, and whether this should be attached to the report or in a separate document. Suggestion was made to place the public input in the appendix, with the exception of the input received at the public forum which had approximately 70 attendees.

Ms. Wheeldon summarized that there was consensus for the report to have a narrative form as opposed to an outline, and it was suggested that possibly the history and research could be eliminated and moved to the appendix in order to make the report more concise. Opposition was again voiced to the report being written in a manner that would require the reader to refer to the index in order to obtain a full understanding.

It was suggested for Pam Marsh to compile the individual reports and prepare a draft of the final report. Ms. Marsh agreed and stated that she believes they need to include enough discussion under each topic so that the reader comes away with an understanding. She suggested that they prepare an executive summary with just the recommendations, while the main report would include a paragraph for each of the following: background, discussion, alternatives and recommendations. The committee agreed to have Ms. Marsh work on compiling the final draft in the discussed format.

The committee discussed scheduling an additional meeting next week on June 23rd. It was noted that at least two of the members would not be able to attend this meeting. It was clarified that the meeting on June 30th was to be reserved for approving the final report. One of the committee members questioned why the report had to be finalized by June 30th. Several committee members voiced their support for meeting on the 23rd.

The committee briefly discussed the Public Outreach Draft Report prepared by Ms. Wheeldon. Ms. Wheeldon noted that she would add references to the employee survey and the presentations given by Patti Acklin and Don Laws and questioned if the committee would also like to include the characteristics of government grid in the appendix. Suggestion was made for the report to also mention that there were significant articles regarding the charter review in the Daily Tidings.

The committee began discussion of the paper prepared by Ms. Culbertson which lists the items suggested for removal by Tom Sponslor and Paul Nolte. Ms. Culbertson read through the items and gave a brief explanation of why they had been suggested for removal.

Article 1, Section 3, Boundaries: It was clarified that the sentence "The Recorder shall keep...hours of the Recorder" was covered by State law.

Article 3, Section 3, Salaries: It was clarified that the committee had voted to remove salary language from the charter and for this to be handled by the Citizens' Budget Committee. It was also noted that the committee had recommended that this be established by ordinance.

Comment was made that all of these changes and reasoning for each needed to be included in the committee's report to the council, not just the ones they specifically discussed and voted on. Suggestion was made for this document to be included as an appendix. Statement was made that if this document is included as an appendix, it needs to have more detail than what is currently before the committee.

Mr. Franell noted that the committee had decided to use the model charter as their framework, and stated that the committee should use the model as their base and add to it the agreed upon provisions of the Ashland charter.

Article 3, Section 6, Interest in City Contracts: It was clarified that this item was covered by ORS 244.

Article 4, Mayor, Section 2: Committee discussed whether they should add the mayoral duties as reflected in Mr. Cloer's memo dated June 15, 2005. Ms. Culbertson noted that the model charter provides for all of the duties of the city manager. It was noted that the only change the committee had approved to the structure of government was the hiring and dismissal power of the city manager, and the committee had not had a discussion of the additional duties and how they would be listed because they had previously said they were adopting the model charter and it was assumed that those were the duties that they were going to accept. It was noted that the committee could still recommend changes to the duties listed in the model. Comment was made that because the committee was recommending the model charter, it would be beneficial to bolster the political leadership of the mayor. It was questioned if the committee should have a more in depth discussion about the manager's duties as outlined in the model charter. Comment was made that these duties are pretty standard. Concern was expressed about the duty of administering the utilities and property and how that would affect the current dynamics. Suggestion was made to recommend the powers of the manager as outlined in the model charter, but recommend to the council that they compare these to what the current city manager is doing and see if there is any potential conflict. Comment was made that the term "administer" means manage and this is a duty that does not include setting policy. Recommendation was made for the committee to wait to formally adopt the powers as outlined in the model until the committee's next meeting, which would give them the opportunity to review the information further.

Article 4, Mayor, Section 3: It was clarified that this section pertained to the voting and needed to be rewritten to reflect the decision made by the committee.

Article 6, Section 2: It was clarified that this is covered by the Ashland Municipal Code and can be removed from the charter.

Article 7, Elections, Sections 2 & 3: It was clarified that this is superseded by ORS 254. Section 5: This provision could be handled by ordinance. Sections 6 & 7: These two sections are superseded by ORS 254 and ORS 254.575. City Attorney Mike Franell clarified the concept of "home rule" for the committee and noted that most of the provisions regarding elections are covered by state statute.

Article 8, Council, Section 2: It was clarified that this should be rewritten to reflect the committee's decision. Sections 5 & 6: Can be removed because they are superseded by ORS 192.

Article 9, Special Powers of the Council: It was clarified that this article can be removed. Mr. Franell clarified that the reason this had been suggested for removal was because a lot of the language is granted powers to the council. He noted that the beginning of the charter grants broad powers to the council and stated that if you start enumerating certain powers, it could imply that you didn't really intend to grant the council broad powers and could end up limiting the powers. He added that all of the special powers of the council are assumed within the grant for broad powers.

Article 11, Public Improvements, Sections 1 & 4: It was clarified that this is superseded by ORS 279. Mr. Franell clarified that condemnation is covered by ORS 223, and the bids are covered under ORS 279. He added that the state's public bid and contracting chapter went into affect for the City of Ashland in March 2005.

Article 12, Taxation: This is superseded by ORS 294 and ORS 310. Comment was made questioning if the authority is not stated in the charter, but is covered by state law, could the courts determine that the authority is not there. Mr. Franell stated that the road taxes used to not be set forth in state statue, but now there is a specific provision in state statues that identifies this. He again stated that it would be better to have the broad powers grant than to enumerate specific authorities.

Article 13, Appointive Officers, Section 4: This provision is covered by ORS 224 and can be removed. Mr. Franell clarified that Section 4 is actually the Conflict of Interest provisions. He stated that Section 1 is the Appointive Officers, and Section 1(a) is the provision for separate police and fire departments. Comment was made clarifying that the committee had previously decided that the council and the mayor should jointly hire and fire the city manager and that this needed to be reflected in Section 1.

Article 14, Chief of Police: It was clarified that this was inherent and did not need to be included in the charter, and that Section 2 could be rewritten as an ordinance.

Article 15, Court, Section 2: The last sentence of this section regarding the judge presenting a monthly report to the council could be removed because it has never happened. Section 3: Could be removed as it is superseded by ORS 138. Section 4: Could also be removed.

It was noted that the committee would continue their review of these provisions at the meeting on June 23, 2005. Suggestion was made for the committee to make a formal motion approving this recommendation when they have completed their review.

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IV. REVIEW TIMELINE:
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V. NEXT STEPS:
The committee members were reminded to bring their copies of the model charter to their next meeting. It was noted that the committee would be meeting on June 23rd to continue their discussion of the draft final report. Request was made for Mr. Cloer to prepare a summary for the City Band. It was confirmed that the committee was recommending adoption of the model charter with several additions.

Staff Liaison Ann Seltzer noted that the Council Chambers were unavailable on June 23rd, but noted that the committee could conduct their meeting in the Lithia Room of the Community Development Building.

Comment was made that one of the next steps for the council would be to launch a voter education campaign and conduct additional research in regards to the City Recorder duties. Statement was made that all of these issues should be studied by the council along with the public to increase awareness before it becomes a ballot measure. Comment was made that stressing the important of dealing with the opposition prior to this charter being placed on the ballot.

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VI. ITEMS FROM COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
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VII. ADJOURNMENT: Meeting adjourned at 9:35 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
April Lucas, Assistant to City Recorder


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