MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
September 4, 2007
Civic Center Council Chambers
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Morrison called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilors Hartzell, Navickas, Hardesty, Chapman, Jackson and Silbiger were present.
MAYOR’S ANNOUNCEMENT OF BOARD AND COMMISSION VACANCIES
Mayor Morrison announced vacancies on the Citizen’s Budget Committee as well as the Conservation, Housing, Tree,
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The Executive Session minutes of August 21, 2007 and Regular Council minutes of August 21, 2007 were approved as presented.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
Presentation of Award of Excellence for the Certificate of Annual Financial Report (CAFR) was made and accepted by Administrative Services and Finance Director Lee Tuneberg.
1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.
2. Acceptance of Donated Property.
3. Liquor License Application – Brother’s Restaurant.
Councilors Hartzell/Navickas m/s to approve Consent Agenda items #1 and #3. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Councilor Hartzell questioned if wireless access is currently free to users. Mr. Joe Franell explained that users are currently paying for this service.
Councilors Hartzell/Chapman m/s to approve Consent Agenda item #2. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
1. Public Hearing to approve a Quitclaim Deed to Terminate a Portion of a Public Utility Easement at 659 Fordyce Street.
Public Works Director Paula Brown reported that this is a termination of a public utility and that an easement will be acquired in order to move forward with the railroad crossings at
City Engineer Jim Olson noted there are two items that must be completed before a contract can be ordered for the construction of the
Councilor Hardesty noted that prior testimony from the resident suggested the sidewalk would be raised which allowed pedestrians to see into the property. She questioned if this was still going to be the case.
Mr. Olson replied the new portion of the sidewalk will be at the same level as the existing sidewalk and that the property is at a lower elevation. He added the City did offer to build a fence, but this was declined by the resident.
Public Hearing Opened: 7:17 p.m.
Public Hearing Closed: 7:17 p.m.
Councilors Hartzell/Jackson m/s to approve the Quitclaim Deed. Roll Call Vote: Councilors Chapman, Hardesty, Navickas,
2. Public Hearing to Adopt Miscellaneous Fees and Charges where Necessary.
Administrative Services and Finance Director Lee Tuneberg referred to the Council Communication to summarize the list of fees proposed which identified different departments, types of fees proposed, method of calculating the fees and the charges themselves.
Mr. Tuneberg clarified charges in regards to police reports. Ms. Brown clarified charges in regards to street closures and driveway painting. Comment that noted the difference between Ashland Fiber Network (AFN) rates and fees and the possibility of the City becoming an ISP was made.
Public Hearing Opened: 7:33 p.m.
Public Hearing Closed: 7:33 p.m.
Councilors Jackson/Chapman m/s to approve Resolution # 2007-34. Roll Call Vote: Councilors Silbiger,
1. Update on progress of Library Discussion (Please note: any attachments will be available at the meeting)
City Administrator Martha Bennett presented the Council with a list of levy minimums that was submitted to the County concerning the library. In addition, she asked the county to verify cost estimates for additional hours, services and wages for professional staffing.
Ms. Bennett explained that she had inquired about a termination clause that would apply to all 15 branches in the County and that the County had responded negatively to this. She explained that the County is considering a termination clause that may apply just to the City of
Ms. Bennett stated that in order to reach the levy minimum, the City would have to purchase an additional 16 hours of service as well as an additional $25,000 to provide living wages. She provided cost estimates concerning the levy and desired services.
Councilor Hartzell suggested that the council indicate to the voters how much the City is willing to spend, and Councilor Hardesty voiced her concern in regards to monitoring of the contract.
Ms. Bennett explained the City would have an opportunity to meet with LSSI quarterly to provide input concerning the collection and quality of services provided.
Dennis Donahue/48 Gresham Street/Voiced his concern with the proposed levy and the lack of information associated with levy. He stated his opinion that it is incomprehensible the City is still trying to sort this information out when the library ballots are already in the hands of the voters. He noted citizens are being pushed to the limit in regards to taxes. He added failure to explain what these taxes are being used for specifically is embarrassing.
Pam Vavra/457 C Street/Echoed many comments made by Ann Magill. She voiced her support to augment the county library proposal with LSSI through the city levy.
Mat Marr/955 N Mountain Avenue/Chair of the
Mayor Morrison stated he is very proud of the community and its response to the library situation, and he added the City of
Councilor Hardesty stated the Council did not know what the County was going to do when the ballot measure was drafted, and the estimate was based on what the City thought they could do at that time.
Councilor Hartzell voiced her support to reopen the library for 40-hours a week with
Councilor Navickas stated it is important to put forward honest numbers concerning the levy and allow room for long-term solutions. He suggested a 35-cent tax levy, as additional costs may develop throughout the process and that a 21-cent tax levy is not a realistic number.
Councilor Silbiger noted the importance of the City sticking to the levy they decide upon to maintain voter trust. He stated his preference that the tax levy be less than 25 cents.
Councilor Chapman stated the ballot measure aligns with what the Council is proposing and voiced his support for a levy of 20 cents. He noted the levy situation is somewhat difficult, since there is no finality on the County’s contract.
Councilor Hardesty agreed it is important to negotiate for 40 hours, living wage, outreach programs and city contract monitoring. She stated the voters should be aware that the “opt out” clause, after two years, is important during negotiations. She also voiced her support of a 20-cent tax levy.
Councilors Jackson/Hardesty m/s the City Council will levy 20 cents of the 58 cents if the County does reopen libraries at the proposed service levels and cost. DISCUSSION: Councilor Hartzell suggested raising the levy to 25 cents to provide the Council with some flexibility. Ms. Bennett clarified the City will pay up to 2/3 of operation costs in year one, and she added the City should be concerned about providing enough cushion over year two.
Councilors Hartzell/Silbiger m/s the City will commit to spending up to 25 cents in the 2nd year. DISCUSSION: Councilor
Councilor Navickas voiced his opinion that the budget presented is very “bare bones” and is disappointed in the Council for suggesting such a low rate. He added his concern with the possibility of the Council raising the levy later on.
Councilor Chapman stated the issue is the Council’s agreement to the contract they have given to the voters to pay for a temporary library system.
Councilor Hartzell withdrew her motion to amend the original motion with approval from Councilor Silbiger.
Discussion continued on original motion: Councilor Hardesty voiced her opinion that the withdrawn amendment was reasonable and an increase of 5 cents for contingencies is a good idea. Mayor Morrison stated there is a case to be made for flexibility and voiced his support for a 25-cent tax levy. Councilor Hardesty commented the Council is being fiscally responsible.
Councilors Hardesty/Hartzell m/s to amend the existing motion to allow for a cushion in the second year of up to 25 cents. DISCUSSION: Councilor Navickas requested all motions be withdrawn.
Roll Call Vote: Councilors Hardesty, Silbiger, Hartzell and Navickas, YES. Councilors Jackson and Chapman, NO. Motion passed 4-2.
DISCUSSION on amended motion: Councilor Chapman noted there is a possibility the County could change their proposals. Councilor Silbiger stated it is important the Council present a united front to the public concerning the levy and to be clear in their commitment to carry it out. Mayor Morrison agreed and noted the Council is trying to be as prudent as possible as well as clear in their intent.
Amended motion: The City Council will levy 20 cents of the 58 cents if the County does reopen libraries at the proposed service levels and costs, and allow for a cushion in the second year of up to 25 cents. Roll Call Vote: Councilors
2. Council Discussion of Direction Related to Special Use Permit and Council Resolution 2005-35 (
Councilor Hartzell requested discussion in order to gain a clear understanding from those councilors who approved this motion and what the motivation was behind the motion.
Councilor Chapman explained that when he constructed the motion it had nothing to do with the current lawsuit, his intention was to resolve the City’s issues with the Mt. Ashland Association (MAA).
Councilor Jackson stated she had not seen the proposal beforehand but did support it based on the issues addressed, stemming from the resolution, as well as the comments the City had made on the draft EIS. She noted the City had not addressed the technical issues, as they are independent of the lawsuit against the Forest Service. She stated the issue at hand is establishing a working relationship between
Councilor Silbiger stated he had not seen the motion prior to the meeting and supported it because negotiations had broken down. He added the main issue was if there would be sufficient funds available if
Selene Aitken/446 Helman Street/Commented that until the issues before the circuit court are resolved, the timing is off on the SUP. She suggested waiting until these issues are addressed before moving on any action with the SUP.
Carol Starr/546 North Laurel Street/Questioned why the City would consider giving away the SUP to MAA without first seeing a detailed business plan that demonstrates the financial viability of the project. She stated no bank or private investor would trust a developer who would not provide a business plan for such a large and risky development and questioned why the City of
Marilyn Briggs/590 Glenview Drive/Reminded the Council they are elected and only here for a short period of time. She referenced the City Charter to state the importance of minding the watershed and told the Council it is not theirs to give away. She stated the Council should keep the SUP perpetually.
Ron Roth/6950 Old 99 South Highway/ Provided the Council with a handout on the “Save Mt. Ashland” original campaign. He stated he does not support MAA’s decision to file a lawsuit against the City or their decision to close the mountain on Monday and Tuesday without community input. He noted their responsibility is to operate the mountain, not close it down. He urged the Council to choose a non-action alternative pending a decision from the 9th Circuit Court. He noted status quo worked fine for 13 years when the City served as the permit holder and stated this should not change. He suggested the MAA board be more open to the
Jay Lininger/95 Marion Lane, Eugene, OR/Expressed his fondness of the
Councilor Hartzell agreed with Councilor Jackson that the lease does not address environmental issues but the SUP does. She stated the Council should wait until a decision has been made by the 9th Circuit Court before moving forward on a final agreement and that an independent consultant be hired to assess what needs to happen on the mountain for the next 25 years. She stated the SUP allows the City to have more of a say in what happens with the watershed and voiced her concern with the motion that was previously passed. She suggested the Council be involved every step of the way during the negotiation process and urged them to utilize an independent 3rd party Quality Control Team. She also stated the importance of giving policy direction to staff before they head into the negotiation process and what the liablity for the city would be by giving up the SUP.
Councilor Navickas read aloud a brief summary of the history of the ski area which included the number of times it has gone bankrupt and the number of different owners. His opinion is that there is an attidude that the City will give up the SUP in order to escape liability if MAA closes and that if the city gives up the SUP it would open the door for expansion without City control but that the City would still have liability.
He voiced his frustration with the developing chain of events and addressed the conditions of the ski area by presenting several photographs to the Council. He urged the City to take action concerning the current conditions of the ski area and voiced his support for an independent consultant to review issues on
Mr. Navickas stated if MAA moves forward without oversight on these issues, the City is putting itself at risk for another major flood. He voiced his opposition against expansion and stated the Council needs to look at the big picture and focus on protecting the watershed rather than focusing on the specifics of the current lawsuit. He stated if the City does choose to give up the SUP, they need to define it in broader terms. He presented a map of a visual image of the proposed expansion and noted it doubles the footprint of the watershed. He pointed out areas that have been clearcutted and commented there is a severe fire risk as a result. He stated the City has allowed the Forest Service and MAA to abuse the City’s powers and voiced his opinion that the City has made dissapointing moves in regards to the watershed.
Councilor Hardesty voiced her opposition against using the SUP in negotiations. She stated it would be disingenuous of the City to use it in the negotiation process and expect to gain all of the conditions they want in return. She stated the City should find out the cost of restoration, monitoring for QA/QC and a quality control team on its own. She commented on the idea of consolidation and stated the City needs to be aware this could happen if they give up the SUP.
Councilor Silbiger agreed the City needs protection, and the issue has nothing to do with expansion but with today’s reality. He clarified the Council is not trying to get rid of the SUP but rather trying to negotiate terms using the SUP as a tool. He noted the motion passed procluded previous discussion or direction that staff had been given in terms of negotiations. He stated the City does not have protection, and he added if MAA goes bankrupt the City will be stuck. He commented the City needs to have a plan in place before the 9th Circuit Court rules.
Kim Clark/General Manager MAA/Encouraged the Council to support the motion presented by Councilor Chapman that was approved. He stated MAA is in a landlord/tenant sitatuion with the City and in this type of situation both sides need the ability to talk. He noted this has not been possible as staff has not been allowed to speak to MAA due to previsous decisions. He commented that the 9th Circuit Courth does not have any effect on this motion and is a separate issue that deals with the proposed expansion. He noted the importance of communication lines between the City and MAA.
Mr. Clark clarified that all discussion held in mediation is covered by priviledge and MAA cannot divulge this information. Mayor Morrison explained that both parties did agree to confidentialty in terms of mediation.
Council and staff discussed the difficulty of discussion with MAA due to the pending lawsuit. Mr. Clark shared that MAA would like to come to the table and begin discussions for resolution. Ms. Bennett reminded the Council that many of them did not feel it was a good idea for her to talk to Mr. Clark when she approached them previously.
Councilors Hartzell/Jackson m/s to extend meeting until 10:30 p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Ms. Bennett clarified that the items she and Mr. Clark were to talk about did pertain to the pending lawsuit.
Councilor Hardesty stated that negotiations do concern the SUP and the Council must be prepared to give up the SUP during the negotiation process.
Mayor Morrison stated there has been no strategy on the City’s part on how to move ahead with the
Mayor Morrison stated if the City is able to negotiate a defined document between all three parties involved, they would have a more clear operational document that could address details. He urged the Council to take the issue seriously and avoid an expensive and vicious cycle of litigation that accomplishes nothing. He stated the importance of moving ahead with a plan to protect the watershed as well as the economic interests of the City and MAA. The plan should delineate the City’s responsibilities, strengths and powers in regards to the Forest Service, and address the reality of climate changes. He commented these are not unreasonable positions to take and noted the City cannot move ahead on these items unless they talk to MAA.
Councilors Hartzell/Navickas m/s that no final agreements will be drafted with MAA on potential transfer of the the SUP until after the 9th Circuit Court rules on the expansion; in the interest of promoting negotiatons with MAA Council directs staff to hire, through sole source contracting if necessary, consultants to evaluate the restoration, and montioring costs and needs in the existing and exanded area; that staff define the mechanisims that could be used to secure the funding for restoration and monitoring by MAA and that staff discuss with MAA the formation of a Quality Control/Quality Assurance (QA/QC) Team that is independent, third party, has more than two people and involves the City of Ashland in selection.
DISCUSSION: Councilor Hartzell stated her position regarding the importance of monitoring on behalf of the City in regards to restoration, and she commented bonding will not work if securing monies through negoiations. She questioned what other options are available and encouraged researching to flush out neogiations. Ms. Hartzell noted her understanding that the motion previously passed by Councilor Chapman was intended to transfer the SUP to MAA and that policy directions were not included. Her intent with the motion is to include policy and not to put staff in the middle.
Councilor Silbiger agreed with a portion of the motion but did not agree with waiting until the decision by the 9th Circuit Court is made and questioned the legality of determining “sole sourcing” prior to a contract being issued.
Councilor Navickas voiced his support for the motion and urged the council to look at the “big picture.” He noted his concern with committing staff time on something that may not happen, as he does believe that the 9th Circuit Court ruing is relevent to this motion.
Councilor Hardesty voiced her concern about going into negotiations without having some idea of what the restoration costs would be and what an appropriate bond would be. She felt that in order to do this, the City would have to hire someone.
Coucilor Jackson suggested that the City Administrator is capable of coming back to Council with any legal, technical or environmental advise. She suggested the Council consider scheduling a study session to discuss what is meant by these issues raised. Ms. Jackson stated her continued support of the previous motion made by Councilor Chapman because it deals with the QA/QC Team and the Forest Service, and offers an updated definition of the watershed protection interests for the City.
Councilor Navickas voiced his frustration with the amount of time that has been spent on this subject when the Council has so many other important issues on the table to deal with.
Councilor Hartzell clarified that that motion is to amend the motion previously made by Councilor Chapman. She stated that the intent of the motion is to replace the previous motion, not in its entirety, but to replace it in regards to the sequence of actions. Mr. Appicello confirmed that the Council could consider the proposed motion as an amendment.
Ms. Bennett explained there was a verbal agreement between the City’s counsel and MAA’s counsel, that discussion between herself and Kim Clark would take place under sections of Oregon Law and would not be admissable in court. She stated this was prior to other things that have happened.
Councilor Chapman stated he would prefer the City Administrator begin negotiations and if policy clarification was needed that she would come back to Council for direction. Councilor Hartzell clarified that the proposed motion directs the City Adminsitrator to begin negotiations with the QA/QC Team and could involve discussion on how to insure monies for restoration. In terms of the SUP, she felt there should be discussion but that there be no final agreement until after the ruling of 9th Circuit Court.
Roll Call Vote: Councilors Hardesty, Navickas and Hartzell YES; Councilors Chapman, Jackson and Silbiger, NO; Mayor Morrison, NO. Motion failed 4-3.
Councilor Hartzell/Navickas m/s to rescind the decision of July 19th to authorize the City Administrator to negotiate with MAA and US
DISCUSSION: Councilor Hartzell explained that this is an attempt to take the Council back to the place where this can be discussed and that the motion passed has made some councilors feel like they are “up against the wall.” She explained that it is not that there needs to be discussion but how it has been brought forward and the placement of authority to do the negotiation. She felt there is a lack of policy directive and supports a study session for further discussion by Council without having this motion in place.
Councilor Hardesty stated this places the City Administrator in a difficult position and may not be the best language to use in order to accomplish this task.
Councilor Navickas reminded the Council that MAA agreed twice to comply with the terms put forward. He feels the City is in a strong position by holding the SUP, and the City needs to stay firm in their position.
Council continued discussing the merits of transferring or holding the SUP and how the City would move forward.
Roll Call Vote: Councilors Chapman, Silbiger and Jackson, NO; Councilors Hardesty, Navickas and Hartzell, YES; Mayor Morrison, NO. Motion failed 4-3.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Designation of Voting Delegate to LOC Annual Conference.
2. Schedule for Rates and Fees Review.
Items not addressed due to time constraints.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
2. Second reading by title only of an Ordinance titled, “An Ordinance Amending the
Items not addressed due to time constraints.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS
Item not addressed due to time constraints.
Meeting was adjourned at 10:30 p.m.
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John W. Morrison, Mayor