MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
December 19, 2000, 7:00 p.m.
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Mayor Shaw called the meeting to order in the Council Chambers at 7:00 p.m.
Councilors Laws, Reid, Hauck, Hanson, Wheeldon and Fine were present.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of December 5, 2000, were approved with amendment to page 5, last sentence should read "Staff was directed to bring back amendment to the demolition ordinance,..."
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
1. Mayor read the Proclamation of Christmas Tree Recycle Day.
2. Mayor presented a plaque acknowledging Steven Hauck's dedication to the City of Ashland through his service as a councilor for the Ashland City Council from 1993 to 2000.
3. Mayor presented a plaque acknowledging Carole Wheeldon's dedication to the City of Ashland through her service as a councilor for the Ashland City Council from 1995 to 2000.
4. Councilor Hauck presented plaque to Mayor Cathy Shaw for her service from 1989 to 2000 as the Mayor of Ashland.
1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.
2. Acceptance of Annual Audit for 1999-2000.
Councilors Wheeldon/Fine m/s to approve consent agenda. Voice vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
PUBLIC HEARINGS (None)
Shae Blood/695 Oak Street/She is a student of Ashland Middle School, and was accepted as the ambassador for the People to People Program, which will travel to Europe this summer. Mayor Shaw read the letter she received from Blood, adding that she encouraged the student to approach the council. Blood requested a donation from the council on behalf of the city, which would assist her in the tuition requirement.
Laws suggested that the council make individual, personal donations rather than requesting money directly from the City. The other councilors agreed to donate privately. Fine agreed that the cause was worthwhile, but added that it is inappropriate for the Mayor to send individuals to the council for disbursement of City funds.
1. Ashland Library Expansion Project Update.
Administrative Services Director Dick Wanderschied reviewed the library expansion update. At the last meeting, a presentation was made from SERA Architects. The project was approximately $571,000 over bid. The architects reviewed the budget, and lowered the projection by $585,715. The specific changes were presented at the Study Session held earlier in the day. Wanderschied reviewed the options: 1) continuation with the current plan and 2) revision of the project to reflect the new changes and rebidding. He explained the advantages and disadvantages to the options.
Advantages - Option One: Allows for an immediate signing of the contract with a faster completion of the project. The current budget allows for completion with the modifications. No additional design or bidding costs. To continue on this path, the project would need to move quickly, as the bid has a 45-day deadline. The contract would need to be signed by December 24, 2000.
Disadvantages - Option One: Requires a decision with a very short time line, unless the bidder allows an extension of the deadline. Staff would be relied on to make the final decisions about contract details. May not result in the absolute lowest cost for the project.
Advantages - Option Two: Allows for competitive bidding on the entire project instead of working with only the lower bidder. Allows for an overall lower cost if the new bids are lower. Construction begins later in the year, which may be better in respect to the weather.
Disadvantages - Option Two: Project completion is delayed. Very low probability for more than two bidders on the project. The current low bidder may not rebid. Possible added costs for design and bidding. Risk of new bids with a higher low bid than the current bid. Delaying any project usually results in higher costs due to increases in cost of materials. A later construction date may coincide with the tourist season, subjecting the library to an additional winter without approval.
Project Manager and Director of Resources Peter Minger and Project Architect Joe Pinzone of SERA Architect presented themselves to the council. Minger explained that 2G Construction is not under contract for this project, which means they are not legally bound to the bid prices. SERA representatives have met with 2G in order to develop a relationship. This understanding between the working parties reduces additional costs during the project. Minger stated it is unknown how many bidders may bid should the project come up again for bid. As the project has already been bid once, subsequent bids should be very competitive. In addition, bidders are now aware of the exact amount for the project and will keep within these guidelines. There are no guarantees that rebidding the project will provide a lower bid. The result may end up with another renegotiation and lost time. Pinzone confirmed that SERA has worked in a different capacity with 2G, noting that all bidders were pre-qualified. Minger noted that expenses related to construction is often less during the winter months because there are fewer jobs available than during the summer months.
Mary Clark/288 Wimer/Requested that the library project is not delayed, noting the amount of time already spent.
Eric Navickas/711 Faith/Noted that the expensive overhead, purchased for the use of the public in the council chambers, does not work. After presenting a small illustration of the library model, he suggested eliminating some library services, allowing for narrowing of the building in order to preserve the park and trees. Navickas explained that the gingko tree was planted by Bird Winter, a founding citizen, and that Ethel Reid Park was named for a school teacher who donated a large amount of money for the preservation of the library.
Colin Swales/461 Allison/Voiced his concern regarding the expansion of the library. He feels the City has boxed itself into a corner by not allowing experts to participate in the design of the expansion. The project proposed by the City of Ashland is much larger than any other library project proposed under the Jackson County Library Bond. The current design is safe for pedestrians, whereas the new design is not safe for pedestrians. He requested the council to allow more time for discussion and exploration of options.
Treva Tumbleson/655 Leonard/Promotes continued literacy. She feels the public libraries perform a service through the schools by providing literal education. This is a bigger issue than the concerns revolving around removal of trees or parking. She urged the council to move forward on this project.
Charles Ryberg/373 Vista/Reminded the council that the citizens of this community have already committed themselves to the expense related to the expansion of the library. If the council were to delay signing the contract, it could result in additional costs, but this is not guaranteed. He questioned what the council would do with any money that is saved.
Marilyn Briggs/590 Glenview/Voiced her support of SERA Architects, noting that experts were involved from the beginning of the project. She urged the council to sign the contract and move forward.
Minger clarified for the council that the bid amount, the 10% over-budget amount, is locked in at this time. 2G Construction is not locked into the reductions they have brought forward. No prices are locked in until 2G signs a contract.
Councilors Wheeldon/Hauck m/s to direct staff to continue negotiations with 2G Construction for the library contract, and authorizing the City Administrator to sign the contract if: 1) the scope of changes discussed at the study session are incorporated, and 2) the bid comes under budget.
DISCUSSION: Wheeldon feels that the librarian's programs should be respected. She does not feel there is any reason to reduce the project. Prices generally go up as the year goes on. A project manager would help staff, but she does not think the money should come out of the budget. Parking is an issue that must be dealt with regardless of the library construction. She urges everyone to look toward the Transportation Committee's ideas for alleviating parking issues.
Fine thought it was wise to accept the recommendations of the experts and allow staff to proceed as directed by the motion. He added that the project was not clearly explained to voters, but the ballot measure was passed twice anyway. He feels that the project just meets the test of substantial compliance with the intention of the voters. Polls of citizens show that they want a unique, historic, safe building with additional parking built within budget. Citizens are not getting exactly what they asked for, but it would be a greater breach of trust if the council were to refuse to build a building that barely meets the test of substantial compliance with the will of the voters. He stated that he would support the motion with all of this in mind.
Reid felt that the only alternative would be to put the project back to bid. However, she has no reason to believe that the outcome of this process would be any different from the current outcome. For this reason she cannot support placing this out to bid. She supports the motion and hopes the new council and mayor also supports the project.
Hauck stated that movement is already in motion making the intersection at Gresham safer for pedestrians. The fire station project will make crossing the street safer and provide additional parking on the street and at the new station. He feels trust has not been broken with the voters as the council has done the best possible job under the conditions.
Laws noted the three main arguments raised. Ethel Reed, who the park was dedicated for, would support the expansion of the library. Citizen polls regarding the location of the library resulted in a desire to keep the current location. The library is in the best location for access for the greatest number of people. Parking is a problem that needs further exploration. He feels the council can meet the promises to the citizens. He is satisfied that the issues have been dealt with the best way possible.
Hanson noted that he was not initially an advocate of the library expansion, but that the council has an obligation to the voters. From the beginning, the project was brought forward with all information provided.
City Administrator Scoles clarified a statement he made at the study session earlier in the day, that the Planning Commission approved the project, but did not approve an exception to the variation.
Shaw noted how other cities do not have the luxury of parking that we have in our community. She explained that the historic preservation and commitment to the vibrancy of the downtown have been the force behind the expansion of the library.
Roll Call Vote: Laws, Reid, Hauck, Hanson, Wheeldon, and Fine - YES. Motion passed.
2. Request by Oregon Action for Adoption of a Living Wage Ordinance.
Scoles explained that Oregon Action had proposed that the council consider adopting a Living Wage Ordinance, which would establish the minimum rate of pay for employees, some contractors, and certain grant recipients of the City. The policy decision needs to be made by the council. If the council is interested, staff should be directed to draft an ordinance.
Suzi Aufderheide, a representative from the Rogue Valley Living Wage Campaign (RVLWC), presented a tool kit designed to help businesses provide a living wage. The kit was developed by the State of Vermont, the only state with a Living Wage ordinance. RVLWC plans to begin workshops for small business, beginning in Ashland in January, and moving to Medford and on throughout the state.
Rich Rohde/124 High/Explained that the process of working with the City has been positive and has allowed connections proving critical to the program. The Living Wage Fact Sheet gives a summary of the experience of other communities. By last April, forty cities had adopted Living Wage ordinances, and now fifty-three have adopted the ordinance along with one state. This is a good opportunity for the City of Ashland to adopt a similar ordinance.
William Mansfield/Oregon Action/Stated that Oregon Action supports the City's participating in this program and does not believe that the ordinance will impact local businesses. The ordinance is complete, but also open for alterations.
Philip Lang/758 B Street/Spoke in favor of the ordinance. He reviewed the myths related to increased wages, debunking each one by one. Increased wages means increased spending by consumers and it is unconscionable for the City to pay municipal workers less than a living wage.
Lauren Diane Spector/6850 Downing Rd #34 Central Point/Believes in a living wage. As a disabled single woman, she finds it difficult living on social security disability and is forced to work to supplement her income. She does not make enough money to do more than get by, but makes too much money to receive help from social programs. She asked the council to support the new ordinance.
Gerald Cavanaugh/560 Oak Street/Stated that he strongly supported the living wage ordinance and that the living wage is not a substitute for the minimum wage. Private businesses are not held to the ordinance for their workers. Necessary work is done by nonprofit and charitable entities receiving public money. Flexibility is important in the implementation of the ordinance. He noted that in other cities where the ordinance was adopted, worker morale has increased and turnover has decreased. Cavanaugh asked the council to support the ordinance and implement it flexibly.
Councilors Hauck/Fine m/s to approve in principle and direct staff to draft an ordinance, which will be brought back to council for first reading at the first meeting in February.
DISCUSSION: Fine stated that adoption of this ordinance is a symbolic measure and that only one current City employee’s wage may be under the proposed living wage. He asked staff to refine the minimum amount for a contract affected by the ordinance. He understands that in other cities, where the ordinance was adopted, that the policy is self-policing and he does not want to incur expenses by forcing staff to draw up reports. He questioned whether nonprofit organizations will be forced to pay all employees a living wage, or those with jobs funded with City grants. He requested guidance from staff regarding the methodology used in setting the living wage. He brought forth technical questions regarding exemptions for summer employment and how percentages are figured for private businesses contracting with the City.
Hauck agreed with Councilor Fine's questions in regard to policy and explained that this ordinance will affect those who contract with the City.
Scoles explained that the council requested further explanation a few months ago and that is what is being presented. Staff recommendations are to use the proposed ordinance as a model and provide further clarification on the issues raised by Fine. Staff asked for direction on how to proceed.
Mansfield clarified the definition of "employee" under Section 2 (f). He supports staff using the proposed ordinance as a model. He feels concerns brought forward by Fine were addressed previously. Mansfield asked council to show their support to staff by adopting the ordinance as written.
Laws stated that poverty and the excuse to not pay a living wage is inexcusable and that this is an opportunity to make an impact on a local level. Staff should be allowed to review the draft ordinance before the council moves forward. He continues to have concerns regarding service agencies and how this would be handled. A message should be sent to those who may be affected by this ordinance, giving them the opportunity to speak if they choose.
Wheeldon encouraged the council to convene a group that could quickly contact those that could be affected. She feels that the council should not go into the budget season without taking all of this into consideration.
Aufderheide clarified that letters were sent to a large portion of those the City contracts with, and they responded without opposition. Laws noted few businesses responded to the letters, which is not a true indication of how the majority felt.
Fine stated that the council has an obligation to carefully consider all aspects of this issue before moving forward.
Hanson noted that in the beginning he was opposed to adopting a living wage ordinance. He now realizes that he did not have a legitimate reason for opposing the ordinance and now adds his support, with a few reservations.
Councilors Fine/Hauck m/s to extend meeting past 10 p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Council Meeting Look Ahead.
Scoles explained that the study session on the Charter Revision Process was brought forward through the strategic planning process from this last year.
McLaughlin responded to the council's question regarding connectivity and explained that the Planning Commission has not made their decision final. He stated that a portion will be coming to the council as an annexation at the next meeting with a request for a recommendation. Council engaged in a general discussion regarding connectivity and policy.
3. Affordable Housing Program.
Senior Planner Bill Molnar explained that council previously directed the Housing Commission to evaluate the possibility of developing a program creating affordable housing options for entry-level emergency service personnel. The Commission surveyed emergency service personnel and examined current wage and residency information.
Larry Medinger explained that the program is larger than simply providing housing for emergency service personnel. The recommendation is for the council to direct the Housing Commission to work with staff in developing participant eligibility criteria, as well as exploring possible funding sources and in-kind services that may be available for land/home acquisition and site development.
Wheeldon encouraged council to allow the Housing Commission to take giant steps, rather than baby steps, in moving forward with this program.
Fine noted, in defense of the commission, that they do not have the staffing needed, such as a housing specialist to staff the committee. He encouraged the council to look into finding a person with the appropriate training.
Medinger noted that many issues are linked to housing, including transportation, parking, and traffic. If employees can afford to live in the area, they would have the opportunity to use alternative modes of transportation in order to reduce these other issues. Affordable housing is an important element for the success of other programs.
Councilors Hauck/Reid m/s to direct the Housing Commission to work with staff in developing participant eligibility criteria, as well as exploring funding sources for this pilot project.
DISCUSSION: Reid voiced her support for the Land Trust program if all individuals, not just emergency personnel, have the opportunity of benefiting from this plan.
Medinger noted the need for making existing homes affordable, as well as a portion of new dwellings. It is not possible to build enough affordable housing while maintaining Ashland's growth boundaries.
Voice vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Second reading by title only of "An Ordinance Repealing the Curfew Ordinance, Ashland Municipal Code Chapter 10.84."
Daniel Golden thanked the council for supporting the Ashland High School ACLU, and taking youth into consideration.
Councilors Wheeldon/Fine m/s to approve Ordinance #2864. Roll Call Vote: Hanson, Reid, Hauck, Wheeldon, Fine and Laws - YES. Motion passed.
2. Reading by title only of "A Resolution Authorizing the Agreement with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) for jurisdictional exchange of Highway 99 (Siskiyou Boulevard) from 4th to Walker Streets in Conjunction with the Approved STIP modernization project."
Public Works Director Paula Brown clarified that the City will be receiving the $1.5 million during construction in 2002. The budget is $1.5 million with a future value, not the present value, and will be paid as construction takes place.
Councilors Wheeldon/Hauck m/s to approve Resolution #2000-33.
DISCUSSION: Reid explained that she plans to vote no, even though she would like to vote yes. She feels this is a Pandora's box, which could put off other projects that should have higher priority. Fine agreed with Reid, and questioned if the project could be put off. Brown explained that the project has already moved forward, based on prior decisions made by council.
Roll Call Vote: Laws, Reid - NO. Hanson, Hauck, Wheeldon, and Fine - YES. Motion passed 4-1.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS
1. Presentation on Sustainable Communities Project.
Carole Wheeldon noted that she would keep the council informed.
Hauck advised the council of his intention of bringing two reports to the council, one regarding campaign finance reform and the other regarding the social service budget and funding possibilities.
Meeting was adjourned at 10:30 p.m.