Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Minutes
Wednesday, October 06, 1999

MINUTES FOR THE STUDY SESSION MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
October 6, 1999
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street

CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Shaw called the meeting to order at 12:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.

IN ATTENDANCE
Councilors Laws, Reid, Hauck, and Hanson were present. Staff present: City Administrator Freeman, Assistant City Administrator Greg Scoles, Public Works Director Paula Brown, Water Department Superintendent Mike Morrison, Community Development Director John McLaughlin, Pieter Smeenk, and John Peterson.

PRESENTATION OF INFORMATION ON THE PROPOSED JURISDICTIONAL EXCHANGE WITH ODOT ALONG HIGHWAY 99
Public Works Director Paula Brown introduced Monty Grove and Delby Tims, from Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), as well as Pieter Smeenk from the City's Engineering Department, John Peterson from the Street Department, and Water Department Superintendent Mike Morrison. Brown explained that today's discussion is to make clear the intent of a jurisdictional exchange as well as to make council aware of concerns that have been identified by the staff. Stated that after staff and ODOT have had the opportunity to speak, the item could be brought back to council for a decision. Noted that the focus has been Siskiyou Boulevard between 4m Street and Walker Avenue, as this is the part in the modernization portion of the State Transportation Improvement Plan (STIP).

Emphasized that this has been under consideration for at least 12 years, but that this section of Siskiyou is now in the STIP for construction to occur in 2002. Explained that as part of the 1999 Highway Plan, the city would need to take jurisdiction over the modernized portion of the road. Pointed out that this would allow the city to maintain this section to city standards, rather than relying on state standards, and that this would allow shrinking the median strip and adding bike lanes without ODOT approval. The catch is whether the city can afford this responsibility.

Brown discussed the range of possible costs based on what might be done, and noted that in the exchange, ODOT would provide twenty years worth of maintenance funding. Noted that the amount of maintenance funds is still under discussion, but is currently suggested at $431,000.

Brown suggested that the questions to ask are: 1) Do we want control? and 2) How would we maintain this section differently? Explained that the council needs to decide if it is worth some financial risk to take jurisdiction of this section Siskiyou Boulevard to make it a city street.

Brown clarified for Reid that the funds determined by ODOT for twenty years of maintenance may be a different amount than the city would determine for that maintenance, as ODOT uses a specific formula based on the facilities present.

Brown noted that the present condition of the Boulevard is "below fair," but that with the modernization project it would be brought up to new condition. Emphasized that the value of this modernization is substantial, but that the maintenance funds would be based on "fair or better" condition when the road would actually be like new.

Reid questioned modernizing this section when the city wants to redesign this section with bike lanes. Asked for an explanation of the difference between modernization and what the city has in mind.

Brown stated that if Ashland accepts a jurisdictional exchange, the finished project would be up to the city within the constraints of the $1,785,000 budget that ODOT has set forth. Brown reiterated that the Siskiyou redesign would look like whatever the council wanted it to, and after $1.8 million was spent the city would have a new facility in any design or configuration chosen.

Clarified for Reid that there would be some substructure work necessary because of the saturated decomposed granite base and the need for storm drain facilities at Mountain Avenue, and that this substructure work would need to be done by city crews at city expense. Brown confirmed that some of these funds were already budgeted, but that some coordination would need to occur.

Brown clarified for council that if the city chooses not to accept the transfer of ownership, then ODOT will complete only a preservation overlay project estimated at $632,000 and keep the street section in "fair" condition.

Brown explained that after twenty years, there would be the need to program the maintenance costs into the budget, and suggested that the biggest question in her mind has to do with the drainage and subsurface concerns. Noted that a conservative estimate of city work might be 1/3 of a complete dig-out down to a couple of feet, which may mean some cost for the city. Brown noted that Grove could answer the question of ODOT would provide additional funds for this work, but also stated that there might be a possibility of putting this issue on a ballot with RVACT to cover additional costs.

Brown noted that maintenance costs have been looked at.

Monty Grove explained that the $1.78 million amount was put forth as it was the only money available. Stated that ODOT is interested in coming up with a fair amount of what the costs would be, but that they do not want to be involved in covering contingency costs.

Grove clarified that there would be a different cost involved if street is upgraded because it would cost considerably more to maintain the street in its present state than if it were upgraded before the exchange.

Brown clarified for Reid that the costs associated with stop signs, signal replacements, repair etc. have been included in the cost of the project. Brown also noted that the city can contract out for signal maintenance as desired through the county or the state.

Reid stated that the city needs to consider the maintenance costs associated with streets that we take jurisdiction over in the future. Questioned how we will prepare ourselves, budget-wise, to cover future maintenance costs. Brown explained that maintenance funds received would be placed in the bank, and the facility maintained. The city would then need to look at user fees and transportation fees just as is done in long-range budgeting for any other capital improvement projects

Shaw compared this situation to any street put in by a developer during new construction projects. Emphasized that there have not been discussions to determine where future funding would come from to cover maintenance costs. Suggested that while this exchange is being framed as a great deal for ODOT, it is in her view a great deal for the city as well. The exchange gives the city the opportunity to take over this dangerous section, add traffic calming measures, and end disagreements with ODOT over how the street needs to be designed/maintained.

Brown explained that the focus brought forth to council at this point is just 4th to Walker, as it is a better deal than just getting jurisdiction of the street; it includes a modernization project at $1.8 million, plus a minimum of $430,000 for maintenance. Without the modernization project, ODOT would give the city $1.4 total for maintenance, but this would put the city almost $800,000 behind. Brown suggested that looking at the rest of Siskiyou and Highway 66 should be looked at in a similar fashion, so that the streets can be modernized prior to jurisdictional exchange. Emphasized that this would mean the streets were new and to city standards before the exchange occurred.

Laws suggested that the exchange sounded financially feasible, with the only question being the subsurface concerns. Stated that streets in cities, primarily carrying traffic into and out of the cities, should be the responsibilityof those cities. Emphasized that the city should take this jurisdiction, and begin discussions over taking the jurisdiction for Highway 66 as well.

Reid explained that she feels obligated to look at all aspects of projects where the community is impacted in this way. Stated that she is not necessarily opposed to the exchange, but there needs to be a clear explanation of the impacts on the table before proceeding.

Shaw explained that citizen complaints are generally directed at the city when maintenance or standards of the streets are not kept up, and many do not realize that this is not a city street. Stated that if this is the current view of the public, it should make a big difference in perception if we were to take over jurisdiction.

Brown clarified for Hauck that other possible exchanges discussed would be as is, and do not include modernization projects at this time. Brown stated that, with the exception of Washington Street, if the projects could be arranged to meet modernization needs it would be a good idea to go in that direction. Brown stated that Washington Street is an anomaly as it is owned by the state, and can be discussed as a sidebar issue.

Reid noted the ASHTO Standard, which are used as a base standard. Brown contimed that city work on this section would still be to ASHTO standards, and the section could not be removed from transportation use. Other than that, the city can do as it sees fit with the section once jurisdiction is exchanged.

Brown stated that this project is in the construction budget for 2002 and there is a need to complete some of the detail work. Explained that she will bring it back to council soon for a decision. Brown noted the need to begin considering the make-up for a committee to look at design issues.

Freeman commented on the need to clearly designate the maintenance funds for this project, so there will not be a temptation to use it elsewhere for future councils. Stated that Finance Director Jill Turner is looking at a way to best accomplish this.

STRATEGIC PLANNING PROCESS FISCAL YEAR 2000-2001 Freeman explained the anticipated process for the 2000-2001 Strategic Planning Process. Stated that 13 key elements have been identified; that priorities have been identified within the element areas; that the budget is aligned with the plan; and that a report has been developed for council on implementation.

Freeman identified things that were missed, such as providing time for community input, employee input, full development of the plan and scheduling time to discuss the draft plan.

Stated that there are community meetings and employee meetings planned, along with discussion time for plan ~elements" and a draft plan. Explained that performance measures will be tied to the plan and there will be tighter integration with operations, departmental plans and the budget.

Freeman presented a strategic planning timeline which begins October 4m and continues to the adoption of the plan on January4m, 2000. Explainedthe process that involvesperformancemeasurements, environmentalscans, organizational implementation and comprehensive plan updates. After a plan is adopted, there will be 13 elements identified, and four of these elements will be adopted this year. Explained that it is unrealistic to try to update all elements of the comprehensive plan, but that it would be feasible to take 2-3 elements that have priority, and update those elements. The final step would be the adoption of the plan, which includes the elements.

Freemen explained that there are six main organizational drivers: Financial Plan, Strategic Plan, Organizational Focus Areas, Balanced Scorecard, Performance Measurement and Department Strategic Plans. Stated that these will be part of the budget process.

Council expressed consensus on the proposed process. Reid voiced her need to have "open" time for discussion during the strategic planning process. Freeman provided helpful handouts for council for the scheduled community forums.

ADJOURNMENT
The study session was adjourned at 1:18 p.m.

Submitted by Barbara Christensen City Recorder/Treasurer

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