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Parks Commission Study Session Minutes

Minutes
Monday, June 15, 2009

City of Ashland

PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION

 

STUDY SESSION
MINUTES

June 15, 2009

ATTENDANCE

Present:         Commissioners Eggers, Gardiner, Lewis, Noraas, Rosenthal; City Council Liaison Silbiger; Director Robertson; Superintendents Dials and Gies

Absent:       None

CALL TO ORDER

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

GARFIELD PARK SPECIAL EVENT REQUEST

Josh Hamik, 555 Siskiyou Blvd, requested the use of Garfield Park on Saturday, August 1, from 1-4 p.m. for the “Ashland Hullabaloo,” an event sponsored by Passport2Ashland and the Stratford Inn. He said the event would feature fun activities for the entire family, including a 3-on-3 volleyball tournament with prizes for winners, a hula hoop contest, kids’ bounce house, face painting, flag football game, water balloon toss, super soaker wars, water safety instruction, and a local live DJ playing music, announcing prize and contest winners, and promoting upcoming Ashland High School fall sports. He said free ice cream and popsicles would be distributed and the grand prize winner would receive the “Ashland Getaway” package. He said the event would not be a fundraiser but rather a way to give back to the community while promoting local businesses. He voiced willingness to modify or eliminate amplification if necessary.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners questioned the placement of the rafts in terms of their impact on the surroundings. They invited Hamik to present his request at the June 22 regular meeting and asked him to clarify at that time whether he wished to pursue amplification.

SPECIAL EVENTS REQUEST PROCESS

Dials said staff was developing a special event request form to capture all relevant event information, including the need for amplification. She recommended charging an application fee of up to $25 and an hourly rate for custodial time if applicable to the event. She said staff would handle routine requests but present to the commission requests that included proposed exceptions to park rules or policies.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners suggested requiring three months’ lead time for any special event requests and asked staff to forward requests requiring their input by email prior to commission meetings. They considered giving priority consideration to community service organizations such as the Lions / Rotary clubs or trails organizations. Other suggestions and comments included posting the form on the Parks portion of the City of Ashland Web site for easy accessibility to the public; considering impacts of proposed events on park lands; and ensuring that the number of approved events was not excessive.

FOOD AND BEVERAGE TAX RENEWAL DISCUSSION

Robertson asked the commission about their interest in renewing the Food and Beverage (F&B) Tax and whether they wished to recommend any structural changes for their portion of the tax. He said the current tax (set to expire in 2010) required diners to pay 5% for prepared food and beverages at city restaurants, of which the commission received 20%—or one cent—with the remainder directed toward sewer treatment plant debt. He said Parks’ F&B revenues were restricted to the purchase of Open Space Plan properties and park land but not development of that land. He asked the commission whether they wished to extend the tax and possibly expand the use of the funds.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners spoke favorably of extending the tax and discussed expanding use of the funds—beyond acquisition—for development, capital improvements, major rehabilitation, and operations. They spoke of the need to educate citizens about past successful fund use and potential future expanded use. City Council Liaison Silbiger said council would discuss the matter the following evening and begin developing a proposal to place on the November 2009 ballot.

Commissioners questioned the longevity of the proposed tax extension and learned that it could be renewed for as few as 14 years or in perpetuity. Commissioners debated expanding use of the funds for maintenance and operations, with one speaking in strong support and others saying it would be better to utilize Parks’ stable millage for ongoing operating expenses.

Robertson said the funds available to Parks through the city’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) were generated from two sources: F&B revenues and Systems Development Charges, with the latter accessible for acquisition, planning, and development but not rehabilitation. He said the commission, with voter approval, could place F&B proceeds into the CIP fund and direct that they be used for refurbishment of existing facilities (such as the golf course irrigation system or the Calle Guanajuato surface), ultimately saving on regular maintenance and staff costs.

Commissioners agreed to request the continuation of the existing 20/80 split and said the tax would allow tourists (frequent users of parks) to assist with the park system’s ongoing capital needs.

Robertson said he would convey the commission’s discussion to council the following evening.

OTHER BUSINESS

Forest Lands Commission liaison Noraas said the first of a series of free guided tours within the forest lands was scheduled on June 20 for the purpose of educating the public about fire suppression.

Robertson read through the June 22 regular meeting draft agenda.

Gardiner reported meeting with a member of the Budget Committee who suggested that the commission invite Budget Committee members to future Parks budget planning sessions to provide them with an opportunity to learn about the commission’s budget process.

Noraas suggested inviting the pesticide-free park advocates to the August 17 study session.

Dials reported that Facilities Manager Dawn Smith was resigning from her position effective July 2 and the position would remain unfilled indefinitely.

ADJOURNMENT– By consensus, Gardiner adjourned the meeting at 8:37 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks and Recreation

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