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Parks Commission Study Session Minutes

Minutes
Monday, November 15, 2010

City of Ashland

PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION

 

STUDY SESSION
MINUTES

November 15, 2010

ATTENDANCE

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

Absent:       City Council Liaison Jackson

CALL TO ORDER

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

CHITWOOD PARK DISCUSSION

Robertson said the commission decided (at the October 18 meeting) to slow down the Chitwood Park master plan process. He said housing developer RVCDC needed to move forward with the enhanced wetland stormwater bioswale on the site.

Landscape architect Kerry KenCairn referenced two drawings of the potential park site, one showing existing conditions and the other, proposed conditions. She said all surface water currently reached the wetland area and flowed to the creek and the low areas on both sides of the dike could be converted for the commission into a wetland stormwater bioswale by RVCDC. She asked for the commission’s approval to move forward in creating documents for their signature and said if RVCDC were to maintain the bioswale, an easement would need to be put into place.

Commissioners voiced approval for having RVCDC develop and maintain the stormwater and wetland portions of the development project. They said neighbors of the park property might be confused by the slow pace of the project. KenCairn suggested sending a postcard to neighbors notifying them that the commission was considering delaying the master planning process and park development.

Staff was directed to place the topic on the November 22 regular meeting agenda. Robertson said he would talk with the City Attorney and bring a document to the meeting for the commission’s review and signature.

FEES AND CHARGES DISCUSSION

Dials distributed copies of her presentation showing all FY 2009-2010 fees and charges along with revenues and expenditures. Categories included Facilities, Daniel Meyer Pool, Ashland Rotary Centennial Ice Rink, Calle Guanajuato, North Mountain Park Nature Center, Oak Knoll Golf Course, Adult Recreation Programs, Youth Recreation Programs, Ashland Senior Center, and Special Events. For the next fiscal year, Dials suggested maintaining current fees or even lowering fees in certain categories. Dials presented as follows:

FACILITIES

Facilities include the Ashland Community Center, Pioneer Hall, Lithia Park picnics and weddings, The Grove (rentals and special events), Hunter Park Senior Center rentals, ballfield and lighting rentals. Dials said expenditures in this category included half of the Customer Service Specialist’s salary, part-time summer staff assistance, materials and supplies, utilities, facility use fees for renovations and major repairs of buildings, lighting costs, contracted custodial services, and Parks custodial time.

Dials said the only fee increased in this category was the lighting fee, raised to $28 per hour to get to the 80% recovery point (effective July 1, 2010). She said the Facility Manager position remained unfilled, with those duties absorbed by the department. She said staff received feedback that the $300 security deposit for facility rentals was too high and she suggested lowering the fee for facility renters having smaller meetings. She also recommended lowering wedding fees based on similar feedback.

Total Revenues: $55,395.38 / Total Expenditures: $142,655.17 = 39% Recovery

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners said they decided to increase wedding fees in past years because they wanted to recoup costs associated with weddings. They asked staff to provide a thorough breakdown of wedding fees for the December regular meeting.

DANIEL MEYER POOL

Dials said the commission approved a 30% increase in pool fees in February 2009. She said FY 2009-2010 revenues generated by swim lessons and camps, open swim, concessions, lap swim, water polo, and water aerobics and fitness classes decreased by $9,153 over the previous year; expenditures for part-time staff, full-time administrative staff, pool equipment, supplies, and utilities decreased by $8,800; and swim lesson participation decreased by 135; for an overall 5% recovery rate drop over the previous year. She attributed the decrease in swim lessons and revenues to a lack of scholarship funding and said she was brainstorming with the Recreation Coordinator about new options for camps and other pool activities for summer 2011.

Total Revenues: $37,385 / Total Expenditures: $114,093 = 33% Recovery

No increases were recommended for this category.

ASHLAND ROTARY CENTENNIAL ICE RINK

Dials said the commission approved increases in ice rink fees beginning in November of 2008. She said the FY 2009-2010 season was short due to the reconstruction of the ice rink and the last comparable season was FY 2007-2008. She said revenues were generated from recreational skate, skate rentals, and concessions while expenditures were incurred for part-time and full-time staff, office pods, utilities, materials and supplies. She said staff training and setting up / tearing down the rink took 1-2 weeks on each end of the season and cost just over $3,000.

Total Revenues: $51,245 / Total Expenditures: $77,325.17 = 66% Recovery

No increases were recommended for this category.

CALLE GUANAJUATO

In September 2009 Dials said the commission approved increasing the square footage fee on the Calle—charged to artisan market vendors and restaurateurs—from $3.60 per square foot to $4.00 per square foot. She said any revenues collected after expenses were directed into the CIP fund for future improvements of the Calle and the current balance in that fund was $13,069. She referenced a letter from Grilla Bites Restaurant owner Tom DuBois who asked the commission not to raise fees for outdoor restaurant seating on the Calle and not to use the rental fees for costs associated with maintaining the Calle restrooms, as his restaurant patrons did not use those restrooms.

Total Revenues: $16,170 / Total Expenditures: $11,012.76 = Self-sustaining program

Discussion Among Commissioners

Rosenthal said the restaurateurs, operating on the Calle seven days a week during the Calle season, paid a total of $9,500 while artisan vendors, operating their market just two days a week, paid $6,684 for the season, with the artisans clearly paying a higher rate for use of the same space as the restaurants.

No increases were recommended for this category.

NORTH MOUNTAIN PARK NATURE CENTER

Dials said Nature Center program revenues were generated from community programs, donations, school programs, and community garden rentals while expenses were incurred from staff costs for community classes, events, and community garden coordination; school program costs; staff time and supplies for interpretation and exhibits; staff time and supplies for the service learning program; staff time and supplies for volunteers; and the foundation. She said recovery for FY 2009-2010 was down 3% from the previous year.

Total Revenues: $29,879.07 / Total Expenditures: $291,315 = 10% Recovery

No increases were recommended for this category.

OAK KNOLL GOLF COURSE

Dials said golf course revenues were generated from green fees, power cart rentals, the driving range, monthly specials, annual passes for singles and families, clubhouse merchandise, and food and beer while expense items included staff time, equipment and supplies, merchandise, utilities, and advertising. She said total rounds of golf played in FY 2009-2010 were 16,093. She said the commission approved fee increases in February 2008 for summer daily rates along with increasing the senior age to 55 and raising the summer senior fees and cart fees. She said the FY 2009-2010 recovery rate dipped by 9% over the previous year. Robertson said that was largely due to staff costs, including a payout to a long-time golf maintenance employee who terminated his employment with Parks. He said an internal employee was promoted to that position and the additional work was completed using part-time temporary labor. He said an additional permanent part-time employee had been budgeted to work as the golf clubhouse assistant.

Total Revenues: $325,711.07 / Total Expenditures: $437,285.33 = 74% Recovery

Discussion Among Commissioners

Noraas said the commission had talked at length about diversifying use of the golf course land by installing a walking trail and disc golf course. She said she expected those amenities to be implemented by summer 2010 but that had not happened. She asked for the agreed-upon markings for the walking trail areas and said it was a beautiful area and the more people using it, the better. Gardiner said disc golfing and regular golfing could probably co-exist but disc golfers did not like to “pay to play.” Robertson said staff continued to schedule cross country meets at the golf course each fall.

No increases were recommended for this category.

ADULT RECEATION PROGRAMS

Dials said adult recreation programs included classes in languages, dance, photography, fitness, painting and drawing, tennis, and bookbinding. She said program expenditures were incurred for instructor contracts, full-time administrative staff, materials and supplies. She said classes were contracted on an individual basis, with between 60-70% of revenues directed toward instructors, but staff was decreasing percentages paid to instructors and increasing class fees so the recovery rate increased by 8%.

Total Revenues: $102,562 / Total Expenditures: $112,535.29 = 91% Recovery

No increases were recommended for this category.

YOUTH RECEATION PROGRAMS

Dials said youth recreation programs included rafting, tennis, Salsa Rueda for teens, and percussion for teens while program expenditures included full-time administrative staff and instructor contracts. She said youth programs were continuing to be scaled back due to a decrease in participation. She said the FY 2009-2010 recovery rate declined by 18% over the prior year.

Total Revenues: $4,000 / Total Expenditures: $10,950 = 37% Recovery

No increases were recommended for this category.

SENIOR CENTER

Dials said Senior Center revenues were generated from the RVCOG grant, classes and donations, and foundation donations while expenses came from full- and part-time staff costs, materials and supplies, and the foundation. She said expenses were up over the previous year due to one full year of a rehired position. She said staff would present to the Parks Foundation a request to install a “Donate Now” button on the foundation Web site so donations could be received in that manner. She said new offerings were provided for Senior Center patrons in FY 2009-2010 such as an ice cream social, discussion groups, and a French art class and the recovery rate was up by 9% over the previous year.

Total Revenues: $25,558.75 / Total Expenditures: $134,480 = 19% Recovery

No increases were recommended for this category.

SPECIAL EVENTS

Dials said special events included the Bike Swap and the 4th of July Run while Bear Creek Festival funds went directly through the Parks Foundation. She said both the swap and the run had fewer participants than the previous year and the special events recovery rate was down by 6% over the previous year.

Total Revenues: $27,256 / Total Expenditures: $50,300 = 54% Recovery

Dials said this was the final program category and asked the commission for their feedback

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners asked Dials for a further breakdown of weddings in Lithia Park and for a total number of students enrolled in Parks Department classes. Rosenthal encouraged subsidies for regular swim lessons and Gardiner said Parks Foundation scholarship for recreation programs could be used for that purpose. Other commissioners suggested placing a donation box on the registration form to allow program participants to donate toward swim lesson scholarships. Dials said the “Donate Now” button on the Parks Foundation Web site would allow donors to provide assistance to any program offered by Ashland Parks and Recreation.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS FROM PARKS STAFF

Gies reported on two possible grants for Ashland Parks and Recreation:

§         Firewise Grant

Gies reported meeting with Ali True, Firewise Coordinator for Ashland Fire and Rescue, about using the Parks office as a model for modifying a building and the surrounding area to prevent fires. He said they discussed replacing the existing roof with a metal roof, clearing brush from the back of the building, and taking out trees. He said if Parks received the grant, it would cover the cost of materials and supplies, with Parks assisting on labor.

§         Biomass Grant

Gies spoke of a possible grant through Biomass in which Parks staff used their own equipment and labor to chip trees delivered by Biomass, with all chipped materials used within the parks system.

ADJOURNMENT OUT OF STUDY SESSION – By consensus, Gardiner adjourned out of study session at 8:45 p.m.

ADJOURNMENT INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION – By consensus, Gardiner adjourned into executive session at 8:45 p.m.

§         Executive Session: To consider the employment of a public officer, employee, staff member, or individual agent – ORS 192.660 (2)(a)

ADJOURNMENT OUT OF EXECUTIVE SESSION – By consensus, Gardiner adjourned out of executive session at 9:15 p.m.

ADJOURNMENT– By consensus, Gardiner adjourned the meeting at 9:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks and Recreation

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