Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Tuesday, April 15, 2008

MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
April 15, 2008
Council Chambers
1175 E. Main Street

CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Morrison called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
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ROLL CALL
Councilors Hardesty, Navickas, Hartzell, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present.
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MAYOR'S ANNOUNCEMENT OF BOARD AND COMMISSION VACANCIES
Mayor Morrison announced vacancies on the Airport, Forest Lands, Housing, and Tree Commissions.
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SHOULD THE COUNCIL APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THESE MEETINGS?
The minutes of the Study Session of March 31, 2008 and Regular Council Meeting of April 1, 2008 were approved as presented.
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SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
The annual Ragland Award was presented to Amy Amrheim for her work on the Ashland School Board, the Coalition for School Funding Now, the Ashland Schools Coalition, and the Soroptimist International of Ashland.
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CONSENT AGENDA
1. Does the Council accept the Minutes of Boards, Commissions, and Committees?
2. Does the Council wish to approve a Liquor License Application from Michael Rozenfeld dba Fresh Feast, LLC?
3. Does the Council want to approve a resolution authorizing Clean Renewable Energy Bonds to pay for a photovoltaic project?
4. Should Council approve a resolution to adjust budget appropriations for changes in operational expenses to remain in compliance with Oregon Budget Law?
5. Does the Council wish to confirm the Mayor's appointments for the various Commissions/ Boards whose terms end April 30, 2008 as established by Resolution No. 89-24?
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It was noted that a correction had been made to the Budget Appropriations Resolution submitted for approval.

Councilor Hartzell/Chapman m/s to approve Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 6-0.

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PUBLIC FORUM
Ambuja Rosen/
Criticized several council members for not supporting a tethering restriction ordinance, despite the thousands of signatures received from citizens.

Eve Woods/920 W. 11th Street, Medford/Thanked the Council for her appointment as the SOU Student Liaison to the Bicycle & Pedestrian Commission.

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UNFINISHED BUSINESS
1. Does the attached spreadsheet illustrating the allocation of funds generated from an increase to the Transient Occupancy Tax clarify the concerns voiced during the March 3 study session? Are there additional needs other than the list identified by council for the use of the increase? Does the Council wish to schedule a public hearing to consider an increase in the Transient Occupancy Tax?
City Administrator Martha Bennett presented a brief overview of staff's recommendations, should the Council decide to increase the Transient Occupancy Tax:

1) Use the "non-tourism" dollars to acheive the Council's Economic Development Strategy goal and Community Based Strategic Planning goal, which are high priority, but currently unfunded.
2) Reduce the Chamber of Commerce's grant for Economic Development work from $175,000 to $80,000.
3) Increase the total amount granted to the Visitors and Convention Bureau (VCB) from $88,000 to $300,000.
4) Increase the amount available for the small grants that are tourism based by $50,000.
5) Reserve the remainder of the funds for tourism related capital projects, which might include public art, streetscape improvements, and renovation of the Plaza.

Ms. Bennett clarified the specific allocations do not need to be resolved prior to the public hearing, but staff felt it would be beneficial for the public to have an idea of what the increase would be used for.

Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg indicated that raising the tax by 1% would generate $218,000 more dollars, and a 2% increase would generate $436,000. He clarified 70% of any additional revenue is required to go towards tourism, and 30% could be used for other purposes.

Councilor Chapman submitted a revised distribution chart to the Council and provided a brief explanation of his suggestions.

Ashland Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sandra Slattery and Chamber President Katy Bazylewicz addressed the Council and noted the other Chamber members in attendance. Ms. Slattery commented on the Chamber's desire to increase winter business and noted their proposal focuses on this issue. She commented on some of the Chamber's current winter activites, such as the "Winter of Romance", and provided examples of other activities that could be created.

Ms. Slattery commented on how events are monitored and tracked, and clarified that putting on these events takes significant staff time. She noted the HDTV item and indicated a dedicated server would be located at Project A; and stated they would like to purchase their own editing software if additional funding became available.

Ms. Slattery commented on the potential of winter activities, and cited the Food & Wine Festival and the Chocolate Festival as examples of successful winter events. She stated during these months the Chamber would conduct different types of marketing that would target the regional market.

Ms. Slattery clarified the printing costs listed in their proposal. She stated this is due to the higher volume of brochures that would need to be printed and noted there is a payment associated with having these materials placed at key visitor locations. Ms. Slattery also provided a brief explanation of email/internet marketing activities.

Ms. Slattery commented on the wealth of talent in this community and their desire to bring the local talent together with the Chamber's marketing experience.

Ms. Slattery provided her personal assessment of the proposed increase to the Transient Occupancy Tax and stated she would not increase the TOT unless they were going to significantly increase the amount of money that goes to tourism through the Visitors Convention Bureau. She acknowledged that $300,000 sounds like a lot of money, but noted Medford spends twice as much, and Klamath Falls and Grants Pass spend $500,000 a year. She stated this is a very competitive market and Ashland is far behind.

Chuck Young/1313 Clay Street/Stated he is speaking on behalf of the Ashland Bed & Breakfast Network. Mr. Young stated he is concerned with the proposed increase, and is unconvinced that there is a well thought out plan on how this money would be spent. He voiced support for increasing tourism in the spring and fall, bust stated it would be difficult to convince travelers to come to Ashland in the winter. Mr. Young voiced support for an adjustment of the current TOT allocation that goes to toursim, rather than adding new taxes, and is worried about the perception of Ashland being "too expensive". He recommended that if the tax is increased, that the effective date be postponed until the end of the season due to the issues with advanced bookings.

Mayor Morrison questioned if the Counci wishes to schedule a public hearing; and how much, if any, the increase would be.

Councilor Navickas/Hartzell m/s to shift allocation for Chamber VCB grant to $225,000, Economic & Cultural Development Grants to $109,000, and qualified City projects for tourism to $68,000. DISCUSSION: Councilor Navickas clarified the motion presumes a 2% increase. Councilors Hardesty and Jackson voiced their support for the motion. Councilor Silbiger shared his concern that they are not being specific enough about what the money would be used for. Councilor Hartzell suggested a small amount of the increase be allocated to the City's General Fund for the Housing Trust Fund. Councilor Chapman voiced his opposition to the motion and stated it does not resolve what he thinks needs to be resolved. Roll Call Vote: Councilors Hartzell, Navickas, Jackson and Hardesty, YES. Councilors Chapman and Silbiger, NO. Motion passed 4-2.

Councilor Hartzell/Navickas m/s that 5% of the additional General Fund revenue be dedicated to the Housing Trust Fund. DISCUSSION: City Administrator Martha Bennett clarified once the Chamber's grant is reduced, and the increase amount dedicated to the VCB, the balance available is $225,000. She stated the add package to complete the Economic Development and Strategic Planning goals is approximately $200,000. She added the second year of the proposal requires more funding than and staff would have to figure out how to make this up. Councilor Hardesty stated that people who cater to tourists need a place to live and stated it was easy to justify spending this small amount on the Housing Trust Fund. Councilor Silbiger voiced concern with including these types of projects without first looking at the whole picture. Councilor Hartzell indicated her belief that this is directly related to economic development and stated it was appropriate to bring this up at this phase in the process. Councilor Silbiger commented on the need for a much more specific placement of the dollars. Councilor Jackson voiced support for the proposed distribution and stated she would not vote in support of the motion. Mayor Morrison questioned if this was the appropriate time to discuss a 5% allocation to the Housing Trust Fund and noted they would have the opportunity to resolve these issues at the public hearing.

Councilor Chapman/Jackson m/s to call for the question. Roll Call Vote: Councilors Chapman, Silbiger, Hartzell, Hardesty and Jackson, YES. Councilor Navickas, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

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

Mayor Morrison requested the Council motion to support either a 1% or a 2% increase.

Councilor Jackson/Navickas m/s to schedule a public hearing to take public input on raising the Transient Occupancy Tax by 2%. Roll Call Vote: Councilors Silbiger, Hardesty, Jackson and Navickas, YES. Councilors Hartzell and Chapman, NO. Motion passed 4-2.

Staff indicated the public hearing would be scheduled for June 3, 2008.

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2. Which of the public art funding options does the Council wish to explore?
Public Art Commissioners Jennifer Longshore, Dana Bussell, David Wilkerson and Melissa Markell addressed the Council. Mr. Wilkerson stated both staff and the Public Arts Commission support Option #1, which outlines the following three components to generate funding for public art: 1) 1/10 of 1% Public Art Commercial Development Fee, 2) of 1% of Capital Improvement Projects over $25,000, and 3) 5% of tourism dollars generated from a potential increase to the TOT. Mr. Wilkerson stated this option would have the least impact on the City's limited resources and spreads the responsibility for funding public art between residents and visitors.

Mr. Wilkerson clarified their numbers were based on a 1% increase to the Transient Occupancy Tax and the Council might want to consider adjusting this, since they are now looking at a 2% increase. He acknowledged that there are many groups that will be vying for these funds.

Councilor Hardesty voiced support for keeping the allocation at 5%. She stated the commission's proposal is very modest and noted the first two components are not entirely stable. She noted she is the council liaison to the commission and stated they put forward many good ideas that would qualify for tourism dollars.

Mr. Wilkerson clarified Ashland School District is being permitted as commercial development projects.

Councilor Jackson/Hardesty m/s to support Option #1, which is: 1/10 of 1% of commercial development fee, 1/2 of 1% of Capital Improvement Projects over $25,000, and 5% of the tourism TOT increase. DISCUSSION: Councilor Hartzell requested they look at the impact this will have on the City's CIP budget. City Administrator Martha Bennett commented on upcoming City projects this fee might apply to, and stated next year there is one Park's project. Councilor Hardesty voiced her support for the motion. She stated of 1% is not a large amount and stated she is unaware of any community that supports public art at such a low level. Councilor Silbiger commented that they may need to adjust this allocation at some point, but voiced support for moving this forward at this time. Councilor Chapman voiced support for allocating TOT funds for public art, but recommended they not specify a percentage at this time. Councilors Silbiger, Hardesty, Navickas and Jackson, YES. Councilors Hartzell and Chapman, NO. Motion passed 4-2.

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3. Does the Council have questions about the report on the implementation of Community Policing based on the recommendations made by the Police Executive Research Forum following an audit of the department in 2006 with the modifications and timeline recommended by the Chief of Police?
Police Chief Terry Holderness offered a brief presentation on Community Oriented Policing and PERF update. Mr. Holderness's presentation addressed internal changes to hiring, training, evaluating, career development paths, promoting, statistical information, and reorganization. External changes were listed as: 1) the new contact station downtown, and 2) the area command program.

Mr. Holderness commented on improved communication between the citizens and the Police Department, and stated they would like community involvement in both identifying and solving neighborhood problems. He provided further detail of the area command program and clarified this program began in January. Mr. Holderness also noted Lexipol, the Citizens Academy, the School Resource Officer program, training on how to deal with the mentally ill, and CrimeReports.com.

Ralph Temple/150 Myer Creek Road/Noted on how fortunate our community is to have Chief Holderness. Mr. Temple commented on the staff report, which states that area commanders would use the community meetings to identify community members that are interested in being involved with creating the department's mission statement and goals. He recommended this be modified and suggested these individuals be represented, but not be the only community representatives. He recommended the Chief of Police be responsible for appointing the members of the task force, and also suggested the Chief not be required to attend all council meetings.

Mr. Holderness provided a brief explanation of the Citizen Academy. He stated citizens are given the opportunity to look at what is going on in the Police Department and learn about how calls are prioritized, laws, and the criminal justice system.

Mr. Holderness commented on Mr. Temple's suggestion regarding the make-up of the committee. He stated the committee needs members who feel strong enough about what is going on in their community to attend the neighborhood meetings, and he does not feel this is an unreasonable prerequisite. He stated if a large amount of citizens express interest in being on the committee, he suggests allowing the citizens to come up with a mechanism where they select their own representative. Mr. Holderness noted the need for balance on the committee. He commented on the outreach that is being done and stated he is hoping to get a good cross-section of the community.

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ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Should the City Council conduct and approve First Reading of an Ordinance titled, "An Ordinance relating to public parks, repealing Code Sections 10.68.050, 10.68.070 and 10.68.160" and move the ordinance on to Second Reading on May 6, 2008?
City Attorney Richard Appicello stated this is the first reading and read the title of the ordinance aloud.

Councilor Hartzell/Jackson m/s to approve first reading and set second reading for May 6, 2008. DISCUSSION: Councilor Navickas indicated he does not feel comfortable passing this without an official statement of opinion from the Parks Commission. Roll Call Vote: Councilors Chapman, Hardesty, Jackson, Hartzell, and Silbiger, YES. Councilor Navickas, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

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2. Should the City Council conduct and approve First Reading of an Ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Amending the Ashland Municipal Code, Chapter 10.115, Tenants Rights, Amending Section 10.115.080, relating to fines" and move the ordinance on to Second Reading on May 6, 2008?
City Attorney Richard Appicello stated this is the first reading and read the title of the ordinance aloud. He clarified the City's Charter includes a provision that limits the fine to $500; therefore, this amendment is necessary to make the ordinance conform.

Councilor Jackson/Hardesty m/s to approve first reading and set second reading for May 6, 2008. DISCUSSION: Mr. Appicello clarified the proposed ordinance sets the fine at an automatic $500 flat fee. He added the previous language had the fine set at a minimum of $1,000. Roll Call Vote: Councilors Chapman, Hardesty, Hartzell, Silbiger, Navickas and Jackson, YES. Motion passed 6-0.

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3. Should the City Council conduct and approve First Reading of an Ordinance titled, "An Ordinance amending the Ashland Municipal Code, Chapter 9.24, Removal and Disposal of Non-Certified Woodstoves and Fireplace Inserts, amending Section 9.24.055, relating to fines" and move the ordinance on to Second Reading on May 6, 2008?
City Attorney Richard Appicello stated this is the first reading and read the title of the ordinance aloud. He clarified the minimum fine had been set at $250 and a maximum at $1,000, and the proposed amendment sets the maximum at $500. He noted that he had received a suggestion from Councilor Silbiger to set the fine at a flat $500; however, this is Council's discretion.

Councilor Silbiger/Chapman m/s to approve first reading and move the ordinance to second reading with the change of striking "a minimum of $250 and a maximum of $500" so it reads "the fine for violation of any provision of this Section shall be $500.00, excluding any required state and local assessments." DISCUSSION: Mr. Appicello noted this modification would affect Section 2 and an equivalent change would need to be made to that language as well. Roll Call Vote: Councilors Jackson, Hartzell, Chapman, Navickas, Silbiger and Hardesty. Motion passed 6-0.

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4. Should the City Council conduct and approve First Reading of an Ordinance titled, "An Ordinance amending the Ashland Municipal Code, Section 10.100.010, Social Gambling and Social Games" and move the ordinance on to Second Reading on May 6, 2008?
City Attorney Richard Appicello stated this is the first reading the read the title of the ordinance aloud. He clarified the proposed language updates the ORS reference in the code.

Councilor Jackson/Silbiger m/s to approve first reading and move to second reading. Roll Call Vote: Councilors Hardesty, Chapman, Hartzell, Navickas, Jackson and Silbiger, YES. Motion passed 6-0.

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5. Should the City Council conduct and approve First Reading of an Ordinance titled, "An Ordinance amending the Ashland Municipal Code, Section 2.28.270, City Attorney Duties" and move the ordinance on to Second Reading on May 6, 2008?
City Attorney Richard Appicello stated this is the first reading and read the title of the ordinance aloud. He stated the ordinance is currently inconsistent with ORS and this amendment would bring it into compliance.

Councilor Jackson/Silbiger m/s to approve first reading and move to second reading. Roll Call Vote: Councilors Silbiger, Chapman, Hardesty, Hartzell, Jackson and Navickas, YES. Motion passed 6-0.

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6. Should the City Council conduct and approve First Reading of an Ordinance titled, "An Ordinance relating to Solicitation, requiring no trespass signs, limiting solicitation hours, and repealing Code Chapter 6.24 concerning peddlers" and move the ordinance on to Second Reading on May 6, 2008?
City Attorney Richard Appicello stated this is first reading and read the title of the ordinance aloud. He clarified this ordinance is being put forward to address Supreme Court cases having to deal with door to door solicitation, and stated staff feels the proposed ordinance strikes the appropriate balance between First Amendment and Fourth Amendment rights.

Ralph Temple/150 Myer Creek Road/Stated he is representing the ACLU, but at this time, he has not received an official position on this issue. He indicated he would try to obtain ACLU's position before the second reading of the ordinance. Mr. Temple also commented that the earlier criticism of Ambuja Rosen during Public Forum was unwarranted and unfair.

Councilor Hartzell/Jackson m/s to approve first reading and move to second reading. DISCUSSION: Councilor Navickas commented on the Bill of Rights and protecting democratic principles. He voiced his opposition to the ordinance and stated it was an attack on an individual's constitutional rights.

Councilor Chapman/Silbiger m/s to amend by substituting "9 a.m." for "8 a.m." in Section 6.24.010. Roll Call Vote: Councilors Chapman, Jackson and Silbiger, YES. Councilors Navickas, Hardesty, and Hartzell, NO. Mayor Morrison, YES. Motion passed 4-3.

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

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ADJOURNMENT
Meeting adjourned at 10:30 p.m.

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John W. Morrison, Mayor


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