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Study Session

Minutes
Monday, November 19, 2007

CITY COUNCIL STUDY SESSION MINUTES

Monday, November 19, 2007 at 5:15 p.m.

Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street

 

 

Mayor Morrison called the meeting to order at

 

Councilors Hardesty, Navickas, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present. Councilor Hartzell was absent.

 

1.     Look Ahead Review

City Administrator Martha Bennett reviewed the Look Ahead with the Council and noted several changes and additions.  The meeting for December 3 will be noticed as a Special Meeting rather than a Study Session in order to hold a Public Hearing for an appeal of System Development Charges (SDC).  Councilor Jackson noted that she will not be in attendance at the December 3 meeting.

 

Ms. Bennett noted that there had been some flyers distributed in regards to closure of Glenn Street and Laurel Street.  That the flyer was incorrect in stating that council is considering closure of Laurel Street but that the public hearing is in regards to the railroad crossing at Glenn Street.  Mayor encouraged individuals to come and speak regarding Glenn Street but not in regards to Laurel Street.

 

Meeting scheduled for December 17 is for an Executive Session rather than a Study Session.

 

2.     Review of regular meeting agenda for November 20, 2007

Public Works Director Paula Brown clarified that the Talent Ashland Phoenix Intertie (TAP) topic is schedule for council decision in order to move forward with final design.  This is meant to move construction along.

 

Councilor Silbiger noted that there had been questions from the local newspaper in regards to Council Rules.  City Attorney Richard Appicello explained that the newspaper had noticed the city that they did not agree with the proposed language in regards to how the council conducts themselves following Executive Sessions and how topics are discussed.  Mr. Appicello stated that City Administrator Martha Bennett had submitted new proposed language but that the local newspaper did not approve of the alternative language.  He advised that this is advisory language and noted that he strongly suggests that councilors not speak to the newspaper on items discussed during Executive Sessions.  He noted specific cases regarding “attorney/client privilege” and there are criminal statutes associated with speaking on topics discussed during Executive Sessions.  Mr. Appicello suggested language “Councilor and staff should not discuss confidential matters with the press” and that the language could be made plural in order to accommodate more councilors.  Clarified that this provision is advisory and the proposed language is meant only to remind council of the confidential nature of matters discussed during Executive Session.  He felt that it was okay to leave the language as “may” rather than changing to “shall.”

 

3.     Does the Council wish to adopt the Public Art Master Plan?

It was noted that this item will be moved from the consent agenda to New & Miscellaneous Business on the council agenda for the November 20 regular meeting.

 

Public Arts Commission chair Melissa Markell introduced fellow members Dana Bussell, Jennifer Longshore, David Wilkerson, Annette Pugh, Tomi Douglas and Carissa Moddison as the SOU capstone student, Adrienne Graham from Leapfrog Training and Facilitation.  She also acknowledged Councilor Alice Hardesty, staff member Ann Seltzer, Mark Malarz, who was the graphic design artist for the plan.

 

Jennifer Longshore reported that over the years artwork has become a notable landscape of the community which has been enjoyed by many.  She stated that there had been a recommendation that artwork be incorporated into the Downtown area as early as 1998 but that there has been very little artwork implemented since that time. She explained that the Friends of Art study group was formed and a recommendation to form the Public Arts Commission was brought forward with a mission to enhance the cultural and aesthetic quality of life in Ashland by actively pursuing the placement of public art in public spaces and serving to preserve public access to the arts.  She went on to explain where public art has been placed throughout the community.  She stated that the commission has set criteria and guidelines for selection of public art and drafted its policy and procedure.  She presented the council with the proposed Public Arts Master Plan.

 

Annette Pugh explained and noted the public outreach process which was designed to reach the most people as possible.

 

Carissa Moddison, SOU Capstone Student explained the public input process, which included a questionnaire, public forums and focus groups. The public forums were facilitated by Adrienne Graham from the Leapfrog Training and Facilitation which were derived from the questionnaire process.  The forums were based on the types of public art, locations of public art, and funding for public art.  The two focus groups were formed and also facilitated by Leapfrog Training and were based as “invitation only” and were sent to those that had identified themselves in the questionnaires, public forum and those there were known by the Commissioners as supportive of the Public Art process.  These forums focused more on how Ashland was unique, placement of artwork in the community and public funding.

 

 

Dana Bussell spoke on what the Commission learned from the outreach to the community.  She stated that they had found that there was general support for public art in the community.  The types of art supported were noted as art that adds uniqueness and reflects Ashland’s values, different types of functional pieces and free-standing structures in mediums.  There was general support for changing sign ordinances to allow murals.  High visibility of artwork was noted along with the artwork being accessible and in a variety of places throughout the community.  Funding options suggested included the following, those that are diverse and stable with at least one reliable source, the City should provide ongoing support for the Public Arts Commission as well as “seed money” for public art, donations should be encouraged, and the ability to accumulate money was important in order to finance large projects.

 

Tomi Douglas spoke on the goals of the Commission which was to create more public art and the goals are a synthesis of what the citizens communicated to the Commission.  These goals included 1)diverse, reliable and stable funding for public art through the City of Ashland, 2) Require a component of public art in all developments over 10,000 sq. ft or 100 ft in length in the detail site review, 3) Collaborate with and encourage the City Departments, especially Public Works and the Parks Department, to incorporate art into functional pieces such as benches, sidewalks, etc. 4) See changes to the City of Ashland sign code to allow for murals, 5) Continue to pursue grants and donations from public and private sources for specific projects as they become available and are identified, 6) Elevate the awareness of public art and the presence of the Public Art Commission with other City Commissioners, 7) Continue to expand the collection of public art in Ashland,    8) Develop community-based public art projects which could incorporate neighborhoods and local schools., 9) Identify “gateway” art projects for the existing locations approved by the city Council in 203 as well as additional ‘;gateway” locations, and 10) complete the inventory and location of existing City-owned public art, and develop a Public Art Guide.

 

David Wilkerson offered to answer any questions from the council.  He noted that the need for stable, reliable funding is the key issue and pending council approval, the Commission would review strategies and then bring this back to council for further discussion during the budget process.  He stated that there are a lot of options available and that it was important to find the right mix of funding requirements.

 

Mr. Wilkerson clarified that the Arts Commission will be having further discussion regarding any necessary changes to the sign code and possible problems associated with proposed changes.  He clarified that the commission does initiate donations of public art and hopes that in the future, through possible funding, the commission would have more of an opportunity to solicit donations.  At this time, they are moderating these types of donations.  The commissioners stated they do not want to make changes on projects that fall within the site review process but that these projects meet one of six requirements.  The goal would be that there be a requirement for when a developer has a project that involves public space, that it includes public art.  He stated that most developers are supportive of this concept and does not anticipate any resistance in the community.

 

Councilor Chapman commented that the Master Plan is important and noted the valuable work done by the commission.  He did note that it felt “incomplete” and that a long-range plan usually begins with current status in to know where it needs to go.  He felt there was some conflict between goals one and seven.  He understands the need for funding but in order to make a case for funding there needs to be definition of what they are going to do with it or what the plans are. 

 

Mr. Wilkerson explained that the commission has worked on an inventory and that it would become the basis as a tool for seeking funding and that the Commission is working to complete this.  That funding is tied to goals and acknowledged potential opportunities.  He noted that there are issues they need to address before moving forward and that they have looked at what other cities have done in regards to funding and what the general accepted amount of funding is to be expected.  The approach is to see what was affordable to the city and what would be acceptable by the citizens.  He acknowledged that the proposed plan is different than other Master Plans the council is used to reviewing.

 

4.     Should the Council accept the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report as recommended by the Ashland Audit Committee?

Administrative Services and Finance Director Lee Tuneberg presented the staff report and explained that this is an annual requirement.  He noted the auditors Pauly, Rogers and Company, the management letter for council review and new changes in Governmental Accounting Standards Board Statement 34 (GASBS).  He explained that the council communication included highlights on the positive position city-wide and commented on key items in the report.  These key items included and explained were the following: 1) Transmittal letter from staff, 2) Report of Audit Committee accepting the audit, 3) Auditor’s unqualified opinion, 4) Management’s discussion and analysis, 5) Basic Financial Statements, 6) Notes to General Purpose Financial Statements, 7) Supplemental reports, schedules and statistical tables and 8) Other required auditor comments and disclosures.

 

Mr. Tuneberg explained that the Parks Department has been presented as a component unit of the city for many years.  He noted that the minutes of the Audit Committee had been provided for council review.  He identified that there are significant changes in governmental agencies for oversight.  Because of changes in the private sector there has been changes in the government sector and noted the difficulty of “bottom-line” budgeting and the ability to explain properly to the public that there are the proper controls needed for internal controls.  He explained that the management letter addressed the problems associated with reviewing internal controls and what the understanding of these is to both the public and to the elected officials.  He stated there needs to be a better understanding of the relationship and expectations of the city and the parks department as a component unit.  Staff will be asking for direction and clarification from council on this issue.

 

Mr. Tuneberg commented on issues related to use of programs and the lack of control of these programs.  He noted the need for internal control in the form of a complete, written and approved document.

 

Mr. Tuneberg explained that the net assets reported in the report for Mt. Ashland is an amount reported for investment purposes only.  He also explained that there have been new cases that have tested the tort limit subject to liability, which opened up the possibility for individuals to be sued and resulted in the city purchasing additional insurance, or the need to purchase additional insurance.

 

5.     Does the Council have questions regarding the status update on the 2007-08 Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) Projects and see a preview of the FY09 CIP program?

Public Works Director Paula Brown presented the staff report which included a summary, a budget spreadsheet on projects for fiscal years 2006 -2013 and updated power point presentation.  She indicated that the changes are in transportation and water and in respect to Local Improvement Districts (LID’s) due the city not doing as many as was expected.  She noted timeline changes on several projects and the budgetary changes associated with these changes.

 

She stated that the city is in overall good shape and that all projects have been started and moving along. Ms. Brown explained that the goal is to bring back to council in the next few months an updated report.  She encouraged the council to provide feedback on how they would like this presented.

 

At the request of the council Ms. Brown quickly went over the updated Power Point presentation.  The presentation included the following:

·         Capitol Improvement Project (CIPP Development Responsibilities

·         Program Structure

·         2008 Adopted Budget

·         Fiscal Year 2008 CIP Transportation/Water/Wastewater/Electric/AFN/TechnologyFacilities/Parks & Recreation

·         Challenges for Fiscal Year 2008

 

Councilor Navickas requested that council discuss matters scheduled for the upcoming Executive Session. Mayor Morrison indicated that it was not appropriate to discuss or to take any action during this Study Session on items scheduled for the Executive Session.

 

Meeting was adjourned at 7:18 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Barbara Christensen

City Recorder

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