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Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Parks Commission Study Session Minutes

Minutes
Wednesday, May 21, 2008

City of Ashland

PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION

STUDY SESSION
MINUTES

 

May 21, 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 meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at the Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer.

PUBLIC FORUM

Joanne Navickas, 711 Faith, speaking on behalf of Peace House, requested permission to float candles in walnut shells on the lower duck pond following a three-day vigil in August commemorating the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombings. She said the vigil—mainly conducted on the Plaza—would feature displays mounted for viewing, and estimated that the closing ceremony at the pond would draw 30 or 40 people. She said the shells, if approved, would be removed with skimmers following the closing ceremony.

The commission approved the request in principle and directed staff to handle the details.

PARKS COMMISSION / AUDIT COMMITTEE RELATIONSHIP

Robertson welcomed Administrative Services and Finance Director Lee Tuneberg and invited him to speak to the commission.

Tuneberg said the city and Parks were required to conduct annual audits, per state statute, with any outstanding issues identified in a “management letter” from the auditors directed to an appropriate representative in each entity. He said two Parks issues requiring attention had been identified by the auditors in past years:

1.       Communicating Internal Control Related Matters Identified in an Audit

a.       Set into writing the Parks procedures for internal controls involving computer use and cash handling, among others, and prepare to be tested on them.

2.       Auditor’s Communication with those Charged with Governance

a.       Determine what authority the Audit Committee has over the Parks and Recreation Commission’s audit and financial report, if any.

b.      Establish main contact for Parks; e.g., chair, Parks Director, or commission.

Tuneberg asked the commission to: 1) determine a main Parks contact for the auditors; and 2) decide whether to utilize the City’s Audit Committee for review of the annual audit or, instead, establish direct contact with the auditors for the explanation of audit processes and a review of the management letter. He recommended allowing the Audit Committee to review the annual audit and associated details on behalf of the Parks Commission, as the Audit Committee is comprised of people familiar with accounting policies and rules. Tuneberg said the commission was required to take formal action on these matters in June. Robertson agreed to draft a request for action for the June regular meeting.

ENERGY AND GREENHOUSE GAS ENVIRONMENTAL AUDIT

Robertson reminded the commission of their goal to audit Ashland’s parks and the Parks Department’s facilities in terms of energy usage in an effort to potentially reduce electricity, water, natural gas, oil, and pollution. He suggested including an audit of miles driven per year on Parks vehicles and associated fuel consumption, pesticide/fertilizer use and their impacts, and production of trash/recycling/waste and their possible reduction. He recommended the following steps toward achieving a successful audit:

§         Gather the baseline data on consumption for each of the items listed (two years’ worth if possible)

§         Measure and quantify the areas of consumption; provide strategies for reduction

§         Determine goals for reduction with recommended strategies for implementation and determine whether this fits into the process

§         Provide quarterly updates

Robbin Pearce, City of Ashland Conservation Analyst, talked about the Green Business Program, a voluntary program encouraging environmental stewardship while practicing ecologically sound business practices, and recommended that Parks apply for that status. She distributed a list outlining elements of a typical energy reduction plan and said her three-person audit team hoped to see a reduction of the carbon footprint in the Parks Department along with efforts to educate Parks employees and the public about their energy reductions. She said her team would conduct “walk-throughs” of Parks facilities and emphasized her team’s willingness to support Parks in reducing energy usage.

Jim McGinnis, Conservation Commissioner, offered to help the commission establish a long-term goal of energy reduction and sustainability and develop “maturity steps” toward achieving their goal.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners expressed strong support for the recommendations provided by staff and the Conservation representatives. Staff was directed to include updates on the energy audit process in the seasonal recreation guide and to focus on long-term economic costs and benefits rather than the short-term financial picture. The commission agreed to allow Pearce to list them as an “in process” Green Business on the city Web site.

ADJOURNMENT – By consensus, Gardiner adjourned the meeting at 8:53 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks and Recreation

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