Agendas and Minutes

Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Joint Study Session

Minutes
Thursday, March 16, 2006

 

Ashland City Council, Ashland School Board,

and Ashland Parks Commission

Joint Meeting - Draft Minutes

March 16, 2006, 7:00 pm

Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street

 

 

The meeting was called to order by Mayor John Morrison at 7:03 pm on March 16, 2006 in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street Ashland, Oregon.

 

Attendees:

                        Mayor Morrison, City Councilors A. Amarotico, Hardesty, Hartzell, and Silbiger were present. Councilors Chapman and Jackson were absent.

                        School Board Members Amrhein, Alexander, Marr, Parker, and Patton were present.

                        Parks Commissioners D. Amarotico, Eggers, Gardiner, Lewis, and Rosenthal were present.

 

Staff:                          Lee Tuneberg, Administrative Services Director

                                    Juli DiChiro, Ashland Public Schools Superintendent

                                    Don Robertson, Parks Director

 

INTRODUCTION AND AGENDA REVIEW

Mr. Morrison gave an overview of the purpose for calling the three bodies together. He invited the members of the three groups to introduce themselves.

 

It was confirmed that the last meeting with minutes was in November of 2005. Council member Hartzell requested that the minutes from that meeting be mailed to all for approval at the next meeting.

 

PUBLIC INPUT

Alice Hardesty, 575 Dogwood Way—Read a brief article about the cost of housing affecting the school enrollment. Also made a statement about the need for workforce housing to not only draw young families, but also to aid teachers in living in Ashland. She stated that we do have land surrounding schools, and that there are park lands not being used effectively, which could be used for housing.

 

Melissa Mitchell Hooge, 271 High Street—Representing Save our Schools and Playgrounds, read a statement about the continuing efforts toward a combined maintenance of Briscoe and Lincoln Schools between Parks and the School Board. She requested that, instead of waiting for the outcome of the Youth Activities Levy, we come up with alternatives—the goal being that the playgrounds would remain as park land, and that they would be well cared for. She invited the group to the community cleanup on Saturday, April 1, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m, and she also invited everyone to a forum on workforce housing that SOSP was co-hosting with the Housing Commission on May 4 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Ashland High School library. Finally, she concurred with Alice Hardesty’s earlier statements.

 

IMPLICATIONS AND NEXT STEPS REGARDING EUGUENE ACTIVIITES LEVY TAX COURT RULING

Mike Franell, City Attorney, gave an update on the tax court ruling, and how the decision might affect the Ashland levies. He reported that the tax court ruled as unconstitutional an Oregon statute that tried to define where monies collected for taxes would be allocated in terms of the education levy and the general education levy. He stated that we don’t have to rush to do anything this year, but that we have the time to look at alternatives and to give good education to the voters. The Eugene decision is probably going to be appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court, which will take time. Also, there are differences between the Ashland Levy and the Eugene Levy, and those differences will likely be in our favor. Mr. Franell reminded everyone that there are many options to look at, even with this decision, and that the potential options will require cooperation between all three entities.

 

Members discussed how long it might take for this decision to be appealed and/or ruled upon. They also discussed how the differences in the percent that we use versus Eugene might aid us in not losing more funding. The members thanked Mr. Franell for staying on top of the situation and asked that he continue his efforts and continue to keep all three groups informed.

 

REPORT FROM SUBCOMMITTEE ON PLAYING FIELDS/PLAYGROUND MAINTENANCE

Mr. Robertson gave a report on the last subcommittee meeting on February 22, 2006. Parks provided three options which Robertson briefly outlined for the group.

 

Members discussed the differences between the three options, and whether or not they would be effective or would need to be expanded upon. The group was reminded that the options were really just to be used as a framework for discussions within each of the individual entities.

 

Members discussed how to balance the level of maintenance provided with the benefits to the community, and they also discussed potential maintenance costs. It was decided that this would go back to each group for further discussion. Each group would give directions to the subcommittee who would then meet again for deliberation. The subcommittee would then present their decision for discussion at the next joint meeting.

 

UPCOMING BOND AND OTHER SPECIAL TAX AND FINANCING MECHANISMS

The members discussed that the only bond the City is currently working on is one for a fire station, in the range of $4 to 4.5 million.

 

Group members talked about the upcoming school bond and the three options that were provided. Option one would address essential health and safety issues in the range of $28 to 30 million, equal to the tax rate of the old bond which is expiring at the same time as this one is being offered. Option two would replace one of the older schools, Bellview Elementary, with a new energy-efficient school. It would also replace some of the older parts of the high school as well as core facilities enhancements and health and safety improvements at the other schools. It would be a 10-year bond in the range of $55 million. Option three would replace two complete elementary schools with new energy-efficient schools, and would also replace the high school, with the exception of the theater. It would be a 20-year bond in the range of $90 million. For some of the schools, costs of renovations would be nearly equal to the cost of new construction. All in attendance were invited to a community open house on April 8, which would give people an opportunity to provide feedback on the school’s bonds.

 

Group members discussed ways to make sure that we prioritize funding necessities so that all the groups are not hitting the taxpayers with bonds at the same time. Members expressed that they would like to see the directors of each group converse on this topic so that any potential conflicts could be resolved. Members also stated that they hoped to invite the speaker from the County, who had to cancel at the last meeting, to come and talk at the next joint meeting.

 

WORKFORCE/AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Councilor Hartzell, Housing Commissioner Alice Hardesty, and Mayor Morrison gave a re-cap of the Regional Housing Workshop. The thing that was most commonly discovered at the workshop was that this is not just a local problem. Workforce/affordable housing is becoming a national issue. Additionally, there are many options and strategies that we either haven’t previously been made aware of, or that are relatively new. They recognized the importance of becoming more proactive in working on this issue, stating that we can’t leave it up to the private businesses or financial organizations to solve the problem.

 

The members discussed how the Housing Commission and the City is already proceeding, and how they can bring Parks and the School Board in on their projects. Members also discussed some of the options for funding, local business training, Fannie Mae assistance, etc. The members recognized that these are not issues for which there is a “quick fix,” but that they will take time to accomplish.

 

SET NEXT MEETING

The next meeting was set for Thursday, May 25, 2005.

 

ITEMS FOR THE NEXT AGENDA

·         Finance Issues, with Speaker from the County

·         Maintenance Agreement

·         Presentation of Alternative Transportation Subcommittee

The meeting was adjourned at 9:11 pm.

 

Respectfully submitted, Diana R. Shiplet, Executive Secretary, City of Ashland, Administration Department

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