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Parks Commission Study Session Minutes

Minutes
Monday, March 19, 2012

 

City of Ashland
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION

 STUDY SESSION
MINUTES


March 19, 2012

ATTENDANCE
Present: Commissioners Landt, Rosenthal, Seffinger; Director Robertson; Superintendents Dials and Dickens
Absent:   Commissioner Eggers and Lewis; City Council Liaison Silbiger

CALL TO ORDER
Seffinger called the study session to order at 7:05 p.m. in the Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer Street.

BUDGET DISCUSSION
Robertson distributed the Parks and Recreation Fund long-term budget projection showing actual, amended, and projected revenues and expenditures from 2007 – 2018. He asked the commission to consider two highlighted numbers in the center of the spreadsheet—$150,000 into the City reserve account and $200,000 into the Parks CIP fund for deferred maintenance. He said the document showed a Parks ending fund balance (EFB) of $1,534,919, slightly less than the 30% EFB proposed and adopted per Parks Commission policy. He said the figures were shared with both the City Finance Director and City Administrator and they recommended a $1.320M balance (25%). He said a larger EFB was prudent as the commission relied on it for operating revenues during the first third of the fiscal year prior to the collection of tax receipts. He said another option was to increase the Parks contingency fund, currently at $50,000. He said City staff contacted him just prior to the meeting to tell him they planned to recommend to the Budget Committee a 25% Parks EFB along with a transfer of $350,000 into the Parks CIP for deferred maintenance. He said he assumed the transfer to the City reserve fund would be $150,000 as proposed by the commission.

Robertson reviewed potential FY 2012-2013 deferred maintenance projects based on a 30% EFB:  
·       Hunter Parks sidewalks / paths                 $    102,150
·       Hunter Park parking lot resurface               $    18,000
·       Hunter Park tennis courts resurfacing         $    12,200
·       Garden Way Park sidewalks / paths           $     22,275
·       Garfield Park basketball court                    $      5,000
·       Railroad Park basketball court                   $       5,000
·       Triangle Park sidewalks                            $     17,100
              Total                                             $       181,725


Landt said the City’s acknowledgement of serious deferred maintenance issues in parks was a good thing. Robertson said the most serious concerns were on the Calle and in Lithia Park, including the non-ADA-compliant pathway between OSF and the park. Landt said Garden Way Park sidewalks and paths were not serious issues compared with the Enders Shelter in Lithia Park. Robertson said those two items could easily be swapped out. Landt said it was important to retain historic features in Lithia Park while also addressing safety concerns. Rosenthal asked about a project manager for the projects and Robertson said if the projects were undertaken, a project manager would be necessary.

Robertson reviewed potential FY 2012-2013 deferred maintenance projects based on a 25% EFB: 
·       Clay Street Park parking lot paving                  $   50,000
·       Oak Knoll Golf Course parking lot                        20,000
·       Hunter Park tennis handrail                                   2,000
·       Daniel Meyer Pool sunshade                                25,000
·       Skate Park retaining wall/toilets/concrete seal        22,000
·       YMCA parking lot                                              10,000
·       Project Manager                                                 75,000
              Total                                                      $  204,000


Dickens distributed a brochure featuring a soccer field overlaid onto a basketball court. He said Garfield Park would be a good location for such a project.  

Seffinger spoke of the need to address safety issues in high traffic areas and to repair historic sites in the park, including the Perozzi Fountain. She said historic elements were important to visitors and the community. Robertson said he would compile another list with an eye toward safety concerns, high traffic areas, and repairs to historic features.

Robertson distributed the CIP list and said the category entitled “Ashland Creek Park Development” was included per commission direction. He said staff was moving forward in writing a grant proposal for $450,000, to be supplemented by $300,000 in City funds.

Dials said another project on the list, “Nature Center Remodel,” would include the addition of 160 square feet of space along with an enclosed outdoor pavilion at an estimated cost of $25,000-$32,000. She said the project was included on CIP lists every year since 2008 and staffing levels and volunteer numbers had increased since then. She said Nature Center staff expressed willingness to contribute $10,000 of fundraised dollars toward the project as the current space was inadequate for operations. Robertson said the remodeling project would increase efficiencies at that location. Landt asked if the project would increase Nature Center revenues and Robertson said staff could not make that argument. Rosenthal said Nature Center programs were important to the community and subsidized by the commission. He said the remodeling project, in terms of square footage, seemed small and suggested having staff look beyond immediate needs and possibly increase the project to accommodate future space requirements.

Robertson referenced the MOU between Parks and the City and said it was last reviewed in 2010. He said the document would be presented to council for review and a vote on Tuesday evening and the commission would do the same on March 26.

Additional documents reviewed included a recovery rate sheet showing improved rates over time along with a document showing Parks FTEs which were decreasing in number. He said staff positions were lost, including a custodial position and two school district positions, along with several others due to attrition and the balancing of budgets. Landt asked if the parks system was adequately managed compared to past years despite lower staffing levels and Robertson said probably not to the same level, largely due to a lack of pesticide use. He said staff used better equipment and managed their time better but he would not be comfortable having staff levels reduced any lower. He said the Parks Department showed good stewardship of its resources (the $2.09 millage rate) as staff worked smarter and harder with existing resources.

Dickens asked if a rebuild or relocation of the Enders Shelter would cause it to lose its historic registry. Landt said a partial repair to the shelter might see it through (between the present time through completion of a Lithia Park master plan). He said its current location made it vulnerable to every Ashland flood. Landt said staff could research the possibility of relocating the shelter and suggested having staff conduct the research through the agency that originally registered it as an historic amenity in Lithia Park.

Landt asked staff to provide a Design Standards Subcommittee update at the Monday regular meeting.

ADJOURNMENT– By consensus, Seffinger adjourned the meeting at 8:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Dyssegard
Ashland Parks and Recreation

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