Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Tuesday, September 18, 2007

MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
September 18, 2007
Civic Center Council Chambers
1175 E. Main Street


CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Morrison called the meeting to order at 7:10 pm in the Civic Center Council Chambers.

ROLL CALL
Councilors Hardesty, Hartzell, Chapman, Jackson, Navickas and Silbiger were present.

MAYOR'S ANNOUNCEMENT OF BOARD AND COMMISSION VACANCIES
Mayor Morrison announced vacancies on the Tree and Forest Lands Commissions.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Special Meeting of August 27, 2007, Executive Session meeting of September 4, 2007 and Regular Council meeting of September 4, 2007 were approved as presented.

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
Mayor Morrison asked that the contingent from Southern Oregon University ASSOU come forward and introduce themselves. He thanked them for coming to participate in this meeting.

CONSENT AGENDA
1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions, and Committees
2. 2007-2008 Grant Agreement with the Chamber of Commerce
3. Hunter Internet Service Provider (ISP) Contract Approval

Councilor Chapman/Navickas m/s to approve Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

PUBLIC HEARINGS None

PUBLIC FORUM
John Sexton/321 Clay Street/ Gave his gratitude for the Council's efforts regarding the Library Levy. Stated that previously they had 3 full time librarians but with both the County plan and our additional levy plan only two librarians would be employed. Urged the Council to remember that they not forget to continue working towards a permanent funding solution.

Councilor Chapman announced that this Saturday, September 22, 2007, is international Car Free Day. He gave some details on all the activities planned by the Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission to celebrate the day.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS
1. Schedule for Rates and Fees Review
Finance Director Lee Tuneberg gave overview of table regarding potential timing for review of upcoming rates and fees. Other projects may alter the current schedule but hopefully this will give the council a good general idea of what we are currently working on and what the timing is for most of the reviews.

Currently they are working on Transportation and Storm Drain SDCs and hope to work next on Water and Wastewater rates. Would like to include, as part of water and wastewater rate reviews public and council input regarding the right rates and the correct methodology that we use to determine the rates. Electric rate increase was deferred in December to await BPA's releasing information regarding the wholesale rates we would be charged. These rates will be the biggest determiner as to what rates we will charge. The current timeframe for working on Electric rates approximately 2008-2009.

Councilor Silbiger requested clarification on the senior discount program. Tuneberg clarified that this was for disabled seniors and does not necessarily include low-income. This is not the same as the Ashland Low Income Energy Assistance Program, which is applied regardless of age. Those receiving the discount must apply and qualify for the rate reduction.

Councilor Hartzell asked if there are budgetary implications that he has not outlined in the Council Communication or is this just part of normal operating procedures. Will these fee adjustments be handled by staff or contracted out? Mr. Tuneberg stated that due to staffing levels and knowledge necessary we will contract out any of the major work with support from city staff. Councilor Hartzell asked if any of these were currently in the budget. Mr. Tuneberg stated we do have monies budgeted for some and for those that are further out on the timeline we will put into future budgets.

Councilor Jackson/Hartzell moved to approve staff process as outlined in the council communication. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

2. Record Submissions and Deliberations for PA 2007-00455, 247 Otis Street Final Plan
Councilors stated they have had no ex-parte contacts.

Community Development Director David Stalhiem stated that since the close of the public hearing there was a request to keep the record open. The Council has received the two submissions to the record; the submission by Art Bullock and the response from Chris Hearn. The record is now closed. Findings were not prepared for tonight they have received a two week extension of the time deadline so that Council is able to make a decision tonight. Findings will then be prepared for the next regular Council meeting.

Councilors Silbiger/Jackson m/s to approve the application for Final Plan approval under the Performance Standards Options Chapter 18.88 for an 18-unit residential subdivision, including one lot containing the existing home and swimming pool structure on the site, for the property located at 247 Otis St. in PA 2007-00455 with the conditions of approval attached by the Planning Commission as stated in the Findings and Orders dated July 10, 2007. Roll Call Vote: Councilors Hardesty, Hartzell, Chapman, Jackson, Navickas, and Silbiger, YES. Motion passed.

NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. PERF Report Update
City Administrator Martha Bennett stated that as she forgot to get this council packet to the council two weeks in advance, as she had originally agreed to do, she suggests that tonight Council gets the overall report, make a recommendation on the downtown substation portion of the report and save all other decisions for the next regular Council meeting.

Police Chief Terry Holderness gave overview of the recommendations from the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) report. The PERF group were asked to do things: 1) develop policies and procedures to institutionalize community policing in the City of Ashland and 2) update some policies, particularly those related to the use of force.

Chief Holderness reviewed all the recommendations of the report and gave the current time line for accomplishing these goals. They intend to implement all the PERF report, with only a few exceptions:
1) implement area commander system rather than neighborhood policing as it better fits our neighborhoods and our current staffing levels
2) extending mission statement timeline as Chief Holderness would like his officers to be better trained on community policing and would like community involvement prior to creating the statement
3) increasing staffing as we do not currently have this in the budget they are, however, currently working with Medford to get the statistics regarding when staffing levels need to be highest (i.e. when the get the most calls) to ensure staff levels are appropriate
4) restructuring step increases as we are in the middle of a three year contract Chief Holderness recommends waiting until the contract is up before implementing.

Chief Holderness explained that PERF recommended an update to the taser policy. The new policy is un the council packet. The department would like to go forward with the PERF recommended purchase of new tasers which would include a new camera system. Anytime the safety is turned off on one of the new tasers the camera would automatically begin recording both audio and visual so that each incident could be reviewed in a way never before possible.

Chief Holderness explained that another recommendation of the PERF report is a downtown contact station. The reasons for having this substation include:
1) Increase police presence.
2) Reduce reported crime and disorder
3) Reduce the perception of crime and disorder
4) Reduce response times to incidents
5) Improve service to community

There are three options for the opening of a contact station: 1) Lease space from private property owner at a reduced rate (as it was originally offered) 2) Lease space from private property owner at market value 3) Use existing space in City Hall. There are pros and cons with each location. Advantages for a private location include; visibility, two parking spaces come with the location, a back door for prisoners, and more removed from the hectic activity level of City Hall. Some of the disadvantages of the private location include; need and alarm/safety system, public perception of potential favoritism, further away from city hall activity, and the costs of leasing. Advantages for city hall location include; cost, public perception, security for clerk, closer to other city departments, and existing design. Disadvantages for city hall location include; parking, crowding in city hall, no back door.

Chief Holderness explained the criteria for judging the success of the contact station. This includes; number of hours officers actually use the location, crime and CFS before and after the substation, response times in the downtown area, response times in the entire city, and number of times substation is used by the community. He would suggest that we review this for at least two years.

Councilor Jackson requested a clarification of the area command structure. Chief Holderness clarified that the area command structure works better for smaller agencies with fewer employees (like ours) so that even when officers are out sick, on vacation or away at training someone is around to pay attention to every area. Also it gives more incentive for all people to work together on any problems rather than just the one or two officers dealing with a problem in one specific area. Lastly, it is easier to gather the four commanders that to gather all 16 officers - which technically is impossible as you need people in the field and not everyone works the same shift.

Councilor Navickas asked for clarification as to why city hall's lack of a back door is an issue and if it would be possible to use the current finance department area for the substation. Chief Holderness explained that they had considered both the front area and the back (finance) area. The front is preferable because it is easier for the public to access, and a more easily visible location. Additionally, the space in the front of city hall is already physically designed correctly for a substation use. Also, we have ADA access issues which come into play if we were to use the back area.

Councilor Hartzell requested clarification on the reasons for needing to bring someone into the substation in handcuffs. Chief Holderness clarified that those people would be non-violent, typically people they would process and site release. It would help to keep officers in the area, they would still be in the downtown area and therefore be more readily available for additional contacts. Councilor Hartzell requested clarification that regardless of the problems we could make city hall work. City Administrator Bennett stated that yes, we could make it work. However, they do need to be aware that due to the limited space and the overall poor design, any change would be a challenge and would bring up many other issues regarding the lack of space and easy public contact in city hall. Councilor Hartzell requested clarification on how many city spots we currently have for city use at city hall. City Administrator Bennett stated that we currently have one reserved space. Councilor Hartzell questioned if the council has the ability to designate other parking spaces. City Administrator Bennett stated that yes they can. That previously we did have three spaces dedicated to the city but we took those away for the sake of customers trying to park in the downtown area.

Councilor Hartzell questioned whether or not bullet proof glass would need to be installed at the substation. Chief Holderness stated he didn't see a particular reason why that would be necessary. He stated an open counter is a more friendly environment and more customer service oriented. He also stated that statistically speaking the lobbies of police departments are not prone to acts of violence.

Monique Teal/1250 Siskiyou Blvd. She is the current SOU student body president. Appreciate changes made in the new taser policy. Stated that training for all officers on the use of tasers and the addition of video/audio recording devices to the tasers is absolutely necessary. Even though they respect the changes they believe additional changes are necessary including; additional cultural training for APD, taser training by group other than Taser International, mandatory testing for all tasers to insure they work properly, review of each taser incident in the same manner as review of use of deadly force.

Suzanne Frey/ 1042 Oak Knoll Dr. Spoke in support of the downtown substation. Remembered when entire police station was downtown. During those times t never felt like a police state, no one lost their free speech right, there was more civility and it generally felt like a more welcoming place to be, no one was harassed, there were fewer signs of vandalism. Urged the council to support the substation.

Richard Hansen/ 25 N. Main St. Spoke in favor of police substation located downtown. Explained that he has seen the higher levels of vandalism, graffiti, bad language, and garbage since the police moved out of the downtown area. Stated that tourists often tell him they won't return because the town is no longer family-oriented and that they feel harassed. Because there is a greater concentration of population on the plaza that is where the greater police presence needs to be.

Ron Hansen/2659 Takelma Way, Allen Sandler/1260 Prospect, Ralph Temple/150Myer Cr. Rd, Art Bullock, Pam Vavra/457 C St., & David Moss. Spoke in favor of downtown substation. Reminded us that officers are trained in emergency medical assistance, which helps with so many people in the area to have quick response time. Spent a great deal of time with this varied group discussing this issue and all have come to agree that this substation is necessary on public property.

Ralph Temple/150 Meyer Cr. Rd. Stated his support of the downtown station. Stated the station needs to have a two-year trial period with specific goals for police to track and achieve. Stated that it is important the substation be located on public space so that police and commercial interests are not too wedded to each other. Feels that since they (the group above), as a widely diverse group, are able to work together so should the council be able to work together.

George Sexton/396 Bridge St. Motivated to speak today by the student who was tasered at the John Kerry rally. Stated that a taser's only job is to cause pain in order for officers to gain compliance. Is upset that we are allocating money to purchase pain compliance devices. In regards to the substation he stated that disorder is the real issue and the perception of disorder is more to the point. This perception is due to bias and intolerance.

Dennis Slattery/1405 Pinecrest. Thanked the council for their service to the community. Stated an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Spoke in support of the downtown station.

Marilee Jenkinson/2200 Ashland St. Stated that she sees lots of confusion and unrest on the plaza. Wondered what mentoring is being provided. Reminded everyone of the trial of Lt. Watata and showed the banner she has made in support of him.

Howie Wilcox/120 Gresham St. Thanked the council for creating a very special town. His only disappointments in this town have revolved around the crime in town. Supported the substation and providing "beat cops" for the assistance of our youth. Wants a commitment for us to be tough on crime. Not the lost youth, but the real criminals.

Councilor Navickas stated that the real problem is not crime downtown, but rather the intolerance and bigotry of people in the downtown area. If we are going to do this substation we need to have community outreach to deal with this intolerance.

Mayor Morrison asked of Chief Holderness how to distinguish between crime and just unpleasantness? Chief Holderness stated that it is officers first responsibility to be peace officers. It is important that both sides understand what is and isn't allowed. Both people breaking laws and people calling the cops need to know that laws are or aren't being broken.

Councilor Hartzell stated this is not about starting to enforce laws, the police already enforce the laws in the downtown area it is about just getting more police officers into the downtown area. She has not really supported this substation, however she is willing to trust the new Chief and his actions. She stated that the things going on here are the same in other cities and the homeless trends are shown nationally. One remedy is to get local people downtown. She talked about public perception and being able to change those perceptions. She stated that there is a public perception that if the substation is located in a private location it could be a conflict of interest or involve ulterior motives. If it is important for us to do this substation then it should be important enough for us to put it in public space.

Councilor Hardesty asked Ralph Temple and Councilor Hartzell if they believe locating the contact station in a property where city pays market rate rent is still considered private property and if that is the case, what is their objection? Ralph Temple stated that the lease creates a relationship between the police and the landlord. He stated that landlords and tenants do things for each other because they understand that this relationship is important. It has more to do with the police being too tied into commercial interests in general. Councilor Hartzell stated that the substation was prompted by a study that was specifically targeted to downtown business owners it didn't then follow up with other community members. This shows her that the whole reason for this is specifically for business owners. She stated again that if it is important for us to do this substation then it should be important enough for us to put it in public space. We have significant square footage downtown already if it is important then we should put it there. We have other activities, such as our utility billing, which are more of a commercial nature.

Councilor Navickas moved to approve downtown substation conditional on it being within public space, that the City Recorder's office be protected, and that the space be used for a weekly free meal to be administered by Police Department. No second was made. Motion failed.

Councilor Navickas stated he thinks the free meal is an important issue for those who will feel antagonized by additional police presence. It could be something that could really build community and thinks it is important that the police department work with non-profits to make better connections community, particularly the youth and homeless communities.

Councilor Hardesty stated that she likes the idea of making stronger connections between the police and other parts of the community. Stated that city hall is too crowded and that renting a space and paying full market value doesn't necessarily mean that there will be a special relationship with the landlord. In fact, the lease could be written to directly address and avoid such a relationship.

Chief Holderness stated that he didn't think you should be asking police to be handing out meals. It isn't a cost effective way to do business and we don't have the extra man power for such a project. He would rather be involved with helping people get off the streets by working with organizations who specialize in that. He believes that the police should get involved with groups who focus on helping people get off the streets.

Mayor Morrison stated we are looking for a way for the police to interact with the community. We have several organizations who provide meals and perhaps the police could participate with them. He stated what we are really looking at a way to support and develop good relations.

Councilor Silbiger stated he does not have a problem with it being in a private location. He has seen substations in strip-malls and in many other locations. The issue is really whether or not we want the substation not the location. Having a contact station relaxes people's perceptions of police. The more the police interact with people the more people will react positively towards the police in general. What we are being offered is good, even if we have to pay full price.

Councilor Jackson stated that she doesn't see a conflict if the city leases private space it is important that we establish the contact station so that the central area patrol and so that the additional space and interactions can happen downtown. Agrees with Councilor Navickas' notion of getting the police to interact with the community more but believes that there are many thing which we can and will to increase that.

Councilors Jackson/Chapman m/s to direct the Police Chief to move forward with negotiations to lease a space on the plaza for a police contact station. DISCUSSION: Councilor Hardesty asked if she would be willing to amend that to "for market rate". Councilor Jackson agreed.

Councilors Hardesty/Hartzell m/s to amend motion to read that city pays market rate for the contact station. Roll Call Vote: Councilors Hartzell, Hardesty, Jackson, Silbiger, YES. Councilors Chapman and Navickas, NO. Motion passes 4-2.

Discussion continued on amended motion: Councilor Hartzell stated that we had originally bought the mobile data computers on the premise that the officers would be down in the downtown area more frequently and it just wasn't so. She will be voting against this motion, not because she's not willing to compromise and give this substation a chance but because of the issues she has already raised tonight.

Roll Call Vote: Councilors Chapman, Hardesty, Silbiger and Jackson, YES. Hartzell and Navickas, NO. Motion Passed 4-2.

Councilors Navickas/Hardesty m/s to direct staff to look at ways to do outreach to the downtown business community to address some of the issues of intolerance that have been raised through the survey that was taken with regard to the downtown substation and return within two (2) months with proposals on how we could do outreach to the downtown community.

Councilor Hardesty moved to amend the existing motion that the outreach includes ways to reach out to young people in the downtown area. Councilor Navickas agreed to the amendment to the existing motion. DISCUSSION: Councilor Navickas asked Councilor Hardesty if she intends that this includes something like his suggestion of a free meal from the substation. Councilor Hardesty stated yes, but it was more about some sort of friendly mentoring to reach out the young people.

Councilor Jackson stated that she supports everything that the motion stands for but she believes that this is already the intention of the PERF report. She doesn't find a need to be so specific at this point in time. Councilor Silbiger stated that this would be much more appropriate after we have the rest of the PERF report discussion at the next regular meeting.

Councilor Hartzell stated that the proposal for the substation was one effort to defuse the situation down in the business area for a number of different reasons. The Police Chief has stated that he is starting to work with the downtown business owners and he has read the survey. Councilor Hartzell noted that only a records clerk would be at the substation, there was never any mention of adding more officers to the downtown area. So rather than voting for the motion as it is currently structured she would rather ask the Chief to spend more time than he has so far in the downtown area working with the business owners. This was done on a promise and she would like to see the promise fulfilled.

Councilor Navickas stated he would like to see something more formal than a promise. He would like to see a staff report with several, very specific proposals. He doesn't believe that the PERF report addresses the issues he is concerned about. There is no mention of diversity training or working with other groups, like the Chamber of Commerce.

Roll Call Vote: Jackson, Navickas, Hardesty, YES. Chapman, Hartzell, Silbiger, Morrison, NO. Motion Fails 4-3.

2. Transient Occupancy Tax Rate Increase and Use of Proceeds

Finance Director Lee Tuneberg reviewed our current TOT policy. Currently we have two documents that regulate our TOT and the use of the revenues. The first is Ordinance no. 2674 which set the tax rate at 7% and the second is Resolution number 2007-08 which stated where the monies were to be allocated. In general we charge a tax rate of 7% which generates about 1.5 million in revenue. One-third of that is used for economic and cultural grants the other two-thirds are treated as general fund monies. in 2004 the State issued new guidelines for the use of proceeds came into effect. Due to this, we went through a process to identify the amount of monies spent on tourism. It turns out we spent approximately 14% in the prior year. This is now the minimum amount to be spent on tourism to meet the states requirements.

Councilors Hartzell/Hardesty m/s to extend the meeting to 10:30 pm. Voice Vote: motion approved.

Mr. Tuneberg stated that currently about $1 million goes to support the general fund and $500,000 goes to the granting process and an additional $200,00 that goes to the Chamber of Commerce and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. There is a conflict between city and state guidelines so that if we were to alter the tax amount there would be a natural shifting from non-tourism activity to tourism activity. He tried to answer two questions regarding what we could do and what the impact could be. Without resolution 2007-08, if we were to just follow the state guidelines and use the 14% for tourism that would "free-up" about $300,000 for use in other activities for the Council to identify. As you consider any overall TOT increases this amount would continue to raise.

Councilor Jackson asked about the base amount, unencumbered, if Resolution 2007-08 is repealed, and specifically what this is. City Administrator Bennett stated that this currently is the portion of the Chamber grant and other small grants that goes towards economic development.

Mr. Tuneberg stated that the staff recommendation is that if we are to consider an increase in the tax rate that we go through a process to get all the people who will be impacted (lodging community, grantees, etc…) an opportunity to give their input prior to making any decision on whether or not we should make any changes to the tax rate and the use of the monies.

David Runkle/ 586 E. Main St stated that he is the President of the Ashland Bed and Breakfast Network. He provided the Council with a report about the tax levels in other cities in comparison to Ashland's. He stated Ashland's tax rate is right in the middle of Oregon's average tax rate. He stated city's Bed and Breakfasts would like to participate in any future discussions regarding TOT usage or increase. Also, wanted to remind that it is not state guidelines, it is state law. What Ashland has been doing all along is illegal under the state law.

Councilor Jackson asked her fellow councilors what, specifically, we are going to be spending the money on. She could see using some of the money we already generate from the TOT for the economic development staff person approved earlier. She reminded the Council that in 2004 she attended the state hearings regarding the 1% state-wide tax and she testified opposing the limits of the 70% because many of our communities spend additional funds for water and wastewater, and for police activities related to the large increase in population in the summertime. The state law does not allow cities to count those sorts of expenses towards the tourist money requirement. She would suggest that an effort to change that legislation would be advisable.

Councilor Silbiger stated one of the key problems and questions is understanding where the money will be going to. He hopes this is just the starting discussion and not the actual decision making time. He hopes to be able to use some for the economic development plan, as this is important to tourism. The TOT rate hasn't changed since 1992 but every time we raise any other fees or taxes those costs get added to the room rates, so in essence we have increased the costs to the hotels, bed and breakfasts, etc… He reminded everyone that we also have the food and beverage tax, which is also unique to our community and must be considered. He does think that a minimal raise is probably necessary, especially if we are committed to doing the economic development strategy.

Councilor Hartzell asked who would be handling the workload on this. Ms. Bennett stated she and Mr. Tuneberg would be handling this project. Councilor Hartzell asked if they had the time to work on this. Ms. Bennett stated not immediately, but they could within two months.

Councilors Hartzell/Hardesty m/s to direct staff to schedule public meetings and a hearing to take input on the changes to the Transient Occupancy Tax and use of proceeds including allocations identified in Resolution 2007-08. DISCUSSION: Councilor Jackson stated that this motion does not give any information as to what we will use the extra monies for and the motion does not specify one, two or three percent increase. Councilor Hartzell stated her intent with the motion was that before we make those decisions we have public input. This is just giving staff permission to initiate a discussion about the TOT.

Mayor Morrison stated that while some don't appreciate it, this is a town based on tourism and with current issues like the high price of gas and expensive airline tickets tourism is essentially a discretionary decision. It is a highly competitive market. We actually have pulled back on spending on tourism which can be an economically dangerous thing for us to do. We needs to be careful as a council and a community that we not take the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Chamber of Commerce, and our other tourism activities for granted. He hopes to hear more about these issues in the hearings we are suggesting with this motion.

Mr. Tuneberg stated that although we haven't identified what we will be spending the tourism dollars on the Bed and Breakfasts were at the granting process and were denied monies due to lack of 501c status even though these monies do technically fall under the tourism requirement. The amount of money requested for grants continues to increase so we will never be out of options for spending the TOT money.

Councilor Jackson stated that she will be voting no because she doesn't feel that we should go to public hearings without the council having a plan for what they want to do with the money.

Roll Call Vote: Hartzell, Chapman, Hardesty, Navickas, Silbiger, YES. Jackson, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

3. Economic Development Strategy
Community Development Director David Stalheim and Finance Director Lee Tuneberg presented some options and strategy for developing economic strategy for the City of Ashland. Mr. Stalheim stated that this really is a vision for the community. He stated that in the past year the Community Development Department has begun to do background work on this by do the economic opportunities analysis. Out of that analysis came three issues necessary to the strategy. These include; preservation and enhancement of the quality of life, creation of a diverse and sustainable economy, and approved coordination of processes for civic and government sectors. There are three main tasks which have been identified for the City to do; 1) Review existing programs for City, Region and State), 2) Develop strategy not number crunching but a proactive strategy to move economy forward, and 3) Implement strategy and establish monitoring practices.

Mr. Stalheim stated that they need the following tasks and discussions from the council; 1) determine timing with regards to other city projects and goals, 2) creation of economic development taskforce. (No other current standing committee with skill base to do this. They recommend size of 9-15 members.), 3) determine staffing needs. The work would require considerable staff time. There are two options for council to consider regarding staffing needs they can either hire a consultant and use staff to assist the consultant or they can hire new staff member to focus solely on this task.

Mr. Stalheim estimated the cost of the project to be approximately $150,000. Mr. Tuneberg stated that they have looked at potential sources of budget and found that the most likely revenue streams for this project would come either from using the 4 1/2 cent property tax originally identified in the budget to be spent on master planning, or from a Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) increase of 1%, or from increasing other charges or fees.

Councilor Chapman asked if we were to raise the TOT when would we start collecting the money? Mr. Tuneberg stated that this would not be able to happen until after we had public discussions about how much we would raise the TOT before we could start collecting any money. He estimates it would take us at least 90 days. Councilor Chapman asked if we wanted to start the project sooner would be borrow funds from elsewhere in anticipation of receiving the TOT funds? Mr. Tuneberg stated that they could look to fund it through open positions or other currently un-used funds. However to do this project we really do need to have a good revenue stream.

Councilor Hartzell stated it is important that the visioning portion of this be very healthy as we are delaying visioning in lieu of this project. We need to be sure to include working people in order to be sure we are including workforce housing and minimum wage. Also, because the Oregon Action was involved with the City working on living wage they should be included in the taskforce. She said that a dedicated staff position does have some budget issues but overall has good continuity. She would prefer to see that the funding come from TOT.

Councilor Hardesty agreed with Councilor Hartzell's statement that it is important to include employees on the taskforce. She questioned why Rogue Community College (RCC) was on the suggested list of taskforce members. Mr. Stalheim stated that RCC does lots of the job training and placement which directly effects economic growth but, of course, the suggested list of representatives can always be altered.. Councilor Hardesty suggested we get started soon. She would like to use the $80,000 that was already been targeted to master planning for the first year but find an alternate funding source for the second year.

Councilor Jackson stated she would like to start taskforce and will prefer to have less than 15 members. Would like to look at the possibility of a temporary staff position as we don't know how this will work out currently. She would like to use the master plan funds to start this project, which should get us through this fiscal year. This project should be flexible enough to evolve as we get information from other projects.

Councilor Silbiger stated he also would like to see this project happen quickly. Even in the last 6 months since we had the discussion with the chamber we've had lots of economic change. He is in favor of using an in-house staff person rather than a consultant. It is clear the city needs its strategy and it needs to be developed by a wide base of people.

Councilor Navickas stated this is one of the most important issues. We need to work on expanding and varying our economy. He supports a staff position and would support using TOT money as he still believes it is important that we do master planning with those funds. Currently our TOT is relatively low in comparison to other cities in Oregon.

Councilors Hardesty/Hartzell m/s to direct staff to solicit members for Economic Development Taskforce and prepare a job description for staff assistance, begin recruitment and fill position. Roll Call Vote: Hardesty, Chapman, Navickas, Hartzell, Silbiger, Jackson, YES. Motion passes 6-0.

Councilors Hardesty/Hartzell m/s to direct staff to develop a clear timeline for development and implementation of the strategy, with the goal to start as soon as possible. Roll Call Vote: Hardesty, Chapman, Navickas, Hartzell, Silbiger, Jackson, YES. Motion passes 6-0.

Councilor Hartzell/Navickas move to direct staff to look to funding the project through an increase in the Transient Occupancy Tax. DISCUSSION: Councilor Hardesty stated that she thinks that the TOT discussion will be more involved because along with it comes the need to spend 70% of any increase on tourism. She questioned whether or not this motion is premature considering we don't know what we will be spending that 70% for. Councilor Jackson stated that she prefers that we designate the funding we already have for master planning. Councilor Navickas stated that when the master plan funds were approved in the budget committee it was very clear that those funds were an add-on and the reason that we got the add on was specifically because it was for long-range planning and not because it was for economic development.

Councilor Hartzell stated that even though she would prefer that this happen quickly, she understands that it might not happen in the next two months. She stated that when she suggested to the budget committee the $80,000 dedicated to master planning it really was due to having watched the city not take advantage of the opportunity down in the railroad district.

Councilor Hardesty agrees that we shouldn't neglect the railroad property. She stated that she favors using TOT monies if we can work out the details.

Councilor Silbiger stated that Councilor Hartzell and Councilor Navickas brought out a good point that we had promised to use the $80,000 for a specific project and we should stick with our promises. We are not locking ourselves into using the TOT, particularly as we would have to go through a public process for the TOT increase.

Roll Call Vote: Silbiger, Hartzell, Chapman, Hardesty, Jackson, and Navickas, YES. Motion passes 6-0.


ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Reading of a Resolution titled, "A Resolution Establishing the City of Ashland Citizen Advisory Ad Hoc Committee"

Councilors Jackson/Navickas m/s to approve Resolution #2007-05. Discussion: Councilor Hartzell proposed the following changes; amending to read, "restore vitality of the Ashland Public Library" and amend that the committee meet "every month". Mayor Morrison agreed with the meeting every month amendment and stated that it would not cause a problem with any of the people he has interviewed for the committee thus far. Councilor Jackston stated that she disagreed with that change, as it clearly states, "more frequently if needed."

Councilors Hartzell/Hardesty move to amend Recital A to read, "… working towards restoring the vitality of the Ashland Public Library" and amend Section 3C to read, "…meeting every month" DISCUSSION: None. Roll Call Vote: Hardesty, Hartzell, Chapman, Navickas, and Silbiger, YES. Jackson, NO. Motion passes 5-1.

Roll Call Vote on original motion: Hartzell, Jackson, Chapman, Navickas, Silbiger and Hardesty, YES. Motion passes 6-0.

2. Second reading by title only of an Ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Amending the Ashland Municipal Code, Land Use Ordinance, Regarding Conversion of Existing Rentals Into For-Purchase Housing in Multi-Family Zoning Districts"

3. Second Reading by title only of an Ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Amending AMC 3.08.020 To Apply Ethics Provisions to Employees, Appointed Officials and Elected Officials"

Items not addressed due to time constraints.

OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS
1. Further Discussion of implementation of July 18, 2007 Council Motion regarding Mt. Ashland Association
2. Discussion regarding Mt. Ashland Association wastewater treatment plant

ADJOURNMENT
Meeting as adjourned at 10:32 pm

 

Diana Shiplet, Executive Secretary
John W. Morrison, Mayor


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