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Parks Commission Special Meeting Minutes

Minutes
Wednesday, March 26, 2008

City of Ashland

PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION

 

SPECIAL MEETING

MINUTES

 

March 26, 2008

 

ATTENDANCE

Present:    Commissioners Eggers, Gardiner, Lewis, Noraas, Rosenthal; Director Robertson; Superintendents Gies and Teige

Absent:     City Council Liaison Navickas

CALL TO ORDER         

Gardiner called the regular meeting to order at 12:05 p.m. at the Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer Street.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

BUDGET DISCUSSION AND APPROVAL

Robertson asked the commission to continue their budget discussion and potentially endorse the proposed budget, with a recommendation for approval to the Budget Committee. He spoke about three budget items: 1) reducing funding for the Central Area Patrol (CAP) and Community Service Officer (CSO) positions and Park Patrol; 2) North Main / Scenic Park bid process and associated issues; and 3) upper duck pond and its relevance to the proposed budget. He welcomed Finance Director Lee Tuneberg and water quality enthusiast Paul Kay and invited them to answer questions from the commission.

Robertson distributed budget materials showing proposed service reductions, Parks and Recreation Fund revenues and expenditures, and Parks and Recreation Department budget figures (actual and proposed) spanning 2006-2009 (all categories and divisions). He said some of the numbers were inaccurate due to recent developments, including a vacant position that would not be filled and an increase in the contingency fund.

Robertson said the proposal was to reduce by half the funding for the CSO, CAP officer, and Park Patrol positions and to bring Park Patrol exclusively into Lithia Park. He said this might be the last year for any type of police funding.

Gies talked about the Scenic Park Improvements RFP bid process, stating that the low bidder agreed to eliminate certain items contained within the original project specifications, bringing the project costs down to $380,000 (from over $400,000). Robertson said most of the funding would come from SDCs.

Robertson reviewed the upper duck pond project and said funds were set aside in both FY 2007-2008 and FY 2008-2009 for the cleanup. He spoke of the value of including Paul Kay in the process and said the fourth option proposed by Kay was the clear winner, as it recommended removing the muck from the pond with minimal disruption to park visitors and residents, efficiently using energy and funds, and incorporating a public education component.

Paul Kay expressed the importance of developing a long-term nutrient management plan, as residual nutrients would continue to enter the pond after the cleanup. He indicated that the work (somewhat dependent on weather conditions) would continue until the project was completed and said the fertilizer, once collected into the holding pond at the Sam’s Valley dairy, would be applied to hay crops as needed.

Gies talked about capital costs associated with the project, including irrigation equipment, and said labor costs would be covered by the Parks operations budget. He expressed hope that the cleanup could begin in the April/May timeframe, with the new system becoming operational in the fall.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners voiced approval about the current projects, with Gardiner stating that the pond cleanup would benefit the community by replacing pond water with TID water for use in irrigating Lithia Park. Commissioners asked staff to continue with the cleanup and said they were comfortable funding the project over two fiscal years.

Robertson reviewed the list of proposed service reductions, including:

Service or Program                                                         Savings (Net)

  • Eliminate summer Garfield Park Program                                      $6,000
  • Eliminate Men’s Softball                                                               $1,000
  • Reduce number of rafting trips                                                      $2,500
  • Transfer rec. temp employees to temp agency                           $40,000
  • Eliminate ½ Community Service Officer                                       $32,640
  • Eliminate ½ Central Area Precinct Officer                                     $50,000
  • Eliminate ½ Park Patrol                                                              $19,000
  • Reduce non-native vegetation reduction                                     $20,000
  • Reduce fuels reduction                                                              $10,000
  • Reduce tree pruning program                                                     $10,000
  • Eliminate vacant custodial position                                              $25,000
  • Reduce capital transfer for equipment                                         $40,000
  • Eliminate Golf capital expense                                                     $8,000
  • Reduce Parks capital                                                               $195,000
  • Reduce Employee Benefits Program                                          $83,773
  • Eliminate Park Worker position                                                   $56,500
  • Eliminate transfer to capital budget                                            $110,000
  • Close pool on Fourth of July                                                           $500
  • Delay pool opening to June 15                                                    $1,000

TOTAL                                                $710,913

Robertson said the reductions were not necessarily eliminations of programs or services and were important for the short-term goal of reducing costs. Commissioners provided comments and suggestions about the proposed reductions and asked Tuneberg for his opinion about the potential reaction from the Budget Committee.

Lee Tuneberg said it was important for the Parks Commission, as custodians of the parks system, to propose what they believed to be in the best interests of the system. Eggers asked whether, once approved, it would be possible to shuffle priorities within categories and Robertson said it would be easy to move money within categories but not from one category to another. He expressed the importance of sharing with the Budget Committee the process used and tradeoffs made to develop the proposed Parks budget.

MOTION Rosenthal moved to approve the FY 2008-2009 operating budget as presented, with a recommendation for approval to the Budget Committee. Noraas seconded the motion.

The vote was: 5 yes – 0 no

ADJOURNMENT– By consensus, Gardiner adjourned the meeting at 1:42 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks and Recreation Department

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