MINUTES FOR THE STUDY SESSION
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
Monday, April 4, 2011
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way
Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 5:32 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room.
Councilor Silbiger, Chapman, Morris, Slattery, and Voisin were present. Councilor Lemhouse was absent.
1. Look Ahead Review
City Administrator Martha Bennett reviewed items on the Look Ahead.
2. Does Council have feedback about the proposed work plan for the 2011 – 2012 Council Goals?
1. Adopt a comprehensive economic development strategy to; diversifying the economic base of the community, support businesses that use and provide local and regional products, increase the number of family-wage jobs, leverage Ashland’s tourism, and repeat visitors. Adopt an action plan to ensure City programs and activities support the overall strategic direction by June, 2011.
Council expressed concern about meeting the June deadline. Staff explained that even though funding ended June 2011 there was a placeholder for $150,000 for Economic Development in the Budget that Council would provide direction on how to spend prior to July 1, 2011.
2. Develop a strategy to use conservation and local renewable sources to meet Tier 2 power demands.
Council determined previously it was unrealistic for the City to meet Tier 2 power demands as well as the timeline but retained the goal without a completion date knowing they would revise it in the future. Staff added the City would receive the Contract High Water Mark from the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) October 2011 that will indicate where Tier 2 rates begin. The City anticipated reaching Tier 2 rates 2016 or 2018. Tier 2 rates will fluctuate with every rate case and every other year BPA will allocate the Tier 1 system.
Council agreed to review the goal in Fall of 2011 and revise it to include language to start identifying strategies for meeting Tier 2 power issues.
1. Decide whether to develop or sell the remaining land on Clay Street.
Staff explained the Housing Commission wanted to make a recommendation to the Council regarding the land prior to Council making a decision.
3. Complete a feasibility and financing plan regarding renovating the Grove for the Ashland Police station. Evaluate use of the existing police station for other City office needs.
Council requested staff include public input.
3. Implement specific capital projects and operational programs to ensure that City facilities and operations are a model of efficient use of water.
Council replaced “water” with “resources” changing the language to the following: “Implement specific capital projects and operational programs to ensure that City facilities and operations are a model of efficient use of resources.”
3. Will Council clarify the goals listed below?
Develop a concise sustainability plan for the community and for City operations.
Conservation Commission Chair Jim McGinnis described the Commission’s recommendation that Council establish a term limited Sustainability ad hoc Committee with members of City Commissioners that would direct tasks to their commissions or citizen groups as needed. The original proposal would create a baseline inventory of a comprehensive plan, city services, and practices and identify what the City was already doing to conserve environmental, social, and economic resources. They would use the baseline as a reference to define gaps. The Committee would prioritize results in a Comprehensive Plan with city services, associated plans, practices, and gaps with timeframes to implement and note impacts. At the end of the year, Council would evaluate whether to continue the ad hoc or redirect the Conservation Commission into a Sustainability Commission. The Conservation Commission also thought having a pilot project like retrofitting and insulating homes would help promote sustainability.
Council majority did not support an ad hoc committee and was interested in the Conservation Commission taking on a form of sustainability planning. The Conservation Commission would involve the Planning, Transportation, Budget, and Airport Commissions as needed. Council saw sustainability as two plans, one for the City and the other for community.
Evaluate the need to revise the powers, duties, and membership of the Tree Commission, Housing Commission, Conservation Commission, Public Arts Commission, and Planning Commission.
Staff noted in order to retain Tree City USA status the City is required to have a Tree Commission. However, Council could reduce member requirements and recast the mission to focus more on outreach and education instead of land use issues.
Additionally there were concerns the Planning Commission was too large, it was difficult to recruit qualified Commissioners and the lack of training for new Commissioners was noted.
Councilors supported sending an additional Councilor along with the Commission’s Council Liaison to meet with the various Commissions. They would send Management Analyst Ann Seltzer their suggestions. Councilor Morris and Councilor Voisin volunteered to attend the Planning Commission. Councilors will work with these Commissions to determine current issues, possible new charters, and forward that information to Council for a decision.
Recognize and affirm the value of the contributions of volunteers to the City and the Community.
Council discussed ways to recognize volunteers and the feasibility of extending the volunteer base from City volunteers to encompass all community volunteers. Council directed staff to recreate a volunteer recognition program for City volunteers.
4. Does Council wish to provide direction to a group of citizens forming to discuss potential short-term, low-cost improvements to the Plaza?
Councilor Chapman explained that he, two other Councilors, and a few citizens discussed ways to improve Plaza aesthetics that would involve volunteers providing supplies and the work effort.
Staff expressed concern having three Councilors inadvertently creating a quorum, costs and public perception. Council was generally supportive but concerned regarding a quorum forming and the project being outside of Council Goals. The Councilors involved will create a plan and present it to Council for approval.
Meeting adjourned at 7:05 p.m.
Assistant to the City Recorder