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Parks Commission Study Session Minutes

Minutes
Wednesday, March 14, 2007

City of Ashland

PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION

 

STUDY SESSION
MINUTES

 

March 14, 2007

 

ATTENDANCE

Present:  Commissioners Eggers, Gardiner, Lewis, Rosenthal; Director Robertson; City Council Liaison Navickas; Superintendents Gies and Teige

Absent:    Commissioner Noraas

CALL TO ORDER

Eggers called the study session to order at 7:00 p.m. at the Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer Street, and reviewed the agenda. Commissioners agreed to switch the order of the first two topics, placing “Capital Expenditures” before “Recreation and Maintenance Budgets.”

CAPITAL EXPENDITURES

Robertson reviewed funding sources for Parks, reporting that taxes represent the main source followed by fees and charges for services. He reminded the commission of meetings conducted since October 2006 at which fees and charges were reviewed.

Gies distributed Parks Division FY 07-08 budget worksheets and guided the commission through their review. He stated that the division typically spends 90% of allocated funds each fiscal year. Commissioners asked a number of questions about items appearing on the budget sheets and received clarifying answers.

Gies directed commissioners’ attention to the Golf Division budget worksheets, stating that budget projections were held to the same level as the current fiscal year.

ReVIEW RECREATION AND MAINTENANCE BUDGETS

Teige distributed Recreation Division FY 07-08 budget worksheets. She reported that, in 06-07, the division was directed to review Nature Center staffing levels to determine potential gaps. She provided information about the process used in determining needs and indicated that gaps were identified as:

1.       Promotions and Publications Coordinator [new position]

2.       Full-time Receptionist at Nature Center [reclassified position]

3.       Interpretive Coordinator

4.       Volunteer Coordinator [shared position with City of Ashland]

5.       Nature Center Manager

Teige indicated that the two most critical positions, numbers one and two, were proposed for FY 07-08. She reviewed the potential duties of the Promotions and Publications Coordinator position, stating that the position could internally produce the recreation guide ($30,000/year savings); produce in-house brochures for the department; serve as Web master for the department; and handle all internal press-related issues. She spoke of the value of allowing one person to manage all aspects of promotions and publications, indicating that it would help the department develop a standardized look.

Robertson and Gies discussed the Youth Activities Levy (YAL) and Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) budgets. Robertson said that FY 07-08 would conclude the current YAL and he reviewed the adjustments required for its final year, which were initiated by the tax court ruling in Eugene and allowed Ashland to be brought into compliance. In terms of the CIP budget, Gies and Robertson indicated that Parks and City of Ashland CIP funds could be made available for Parks’ projects, since SDCs are housed within the city’s CIP. Robertson reported that SDCs could be used for purchases of property or capital improvements. He talked about specific capital improvement projects—both those unfinished from FY 06-07 and those anticipated for FY 07-08.

PUBLIC INPUT

Sonja Dedrick, 1021 Oak Knoll Drive, speaking as a representative of the Oak Knoll Women’s Golf Association, stated that she has been a member for 27 years. She reported that the group of approximately 50 women, ranging in age from mid-30s to late 80s, plays golf every Tuesday from mid-March through the beginning of November and provides valuable support to various community groups and golf clubs.

Judith Hirsch, 940 B Street, reported that she is a member of the women’s club and believes it to be a great asset to the community. She expressed concern about retaining the current golf operations and providing budgetary support to the course.

Jerry Hauck, 847 Garden Way, stated that he is a member of the men’s golf association and encouraged the commission to follow through on the capital improvement projects slated for the golf course in FY 06-07.

Tom Kennedy, 209 Crowson Road, requested that the $40,000 budgeted for improvements at the course in FY 06-07 be used for those purposes.

Keith Massie, 1615 Peachey Road, reported that his son is a water polo player and requested assistance from the commission for the SOU pool maintenance problems and potential closure. He suggested finding a way to keep the pool open for a few more years, until the new swimming facility opens in Medford.

Jim McGinnis, 629 Altamont Street, talked about his recent training with Al Gore regarding climate change and offered his knowledge to the commission in terms of opening up dialogue about problems that could develop over the next 20 years based on decisions and actions made today. He suggested the development of an educational program in the parks system regarding xeriscape landscaping and other mitigating efforts.

John Maurer, 1085 Elkader Street, stated that he has lived in Ashland since 1975 and believes the golf course to be under-funded. He said that, in order for the course to become a revenue stream and an enhancement for the local tourism industry and the community, improvements are needed. He expressed the opinion that the course is a gem of a property and adds more value to the community than any other recreational facility in town.

Jeff Benson, 1144 Augusta Court, speaking as the President of the Oak Knoll Homeowners Association, stated that the golf course is a tremendous asset to the community and asked the commission to defend the facility. He reported that residents within the Oak Knoll subdivision are not in favor of replacing the course with affordable housing units.

Ron Tracy, 1138 Augusta Court, spoke on behalf of the Oak Knoll Homeowners Association in supporting the golf course.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners thanked the public for their input.

Robertson requested direction from the commission about the Nature Center staffing proposal and the potential allocation of $500,000 toward capital improvement projects. He indicated that it was possible, if the commission felt the need, to increase or decrease the CIP allocation by drawing from other portions of the budget. In terms of Teige’s staffing request, he stated that, if approved, it would need to be presented to the Budget Committee as an “add package,” along with justification for the changes. Commissioners expressed interest in supporting the Nature Center staffing changes, stating that they would provide long-term advantages such as enhanced products and services and a potential cost savings [by bringing the recreation guide in-house]. They agreed to discuss the allocations for capital improvement projects at the March 19 study session.

Eggers requested that the commission begin a process, starting at the March 19 study session, in which commissioners provided feedback at the end of their meetings—both positive and negative—about their impressions of the meetings. She stated that she appreciated feedback in any medium [phone calls, emails, in-person contacts].

ADJOURNMENT – With no further business, Eggers adjourned the meeting at 9:20 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks and Recreation

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