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Parks Commission Study Session Minutes

Minutes
Monday, December 10, 2012

City of Ashland
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
 
STUDY SESSION
MINUTES
December 10, 2012

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

CALL TO ORDER
Eggers called the study session to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer Street.

PROCESS FOR APPPOINTMENT OF COMMISSION MEMBER
Robertson reported attending a recent council meeting and hearing the council process for filling a mid-term elected vacancy. Rosenthal’s commission seat #3 would be vacated in January due to council election, leaving a two-year balance in his term. Council could either make a direct appointment or allow the commission to review applications, interview candidates, and recommend an appointee with the aid of City Recorder Barbara Christiansen, with council making the final appointment. Robertson said council chose to allow the commission to work with Christiansen and recommend a replacement, with the process concluding 60 days following Rosenthal’s resignation.

Eggers welcomed City Recorder Barbara Christiansen and invited her to speak to the commission.

Barbara Christiansen said that as the City’s elections official, she would help the commission with the process. Their deadline was set as March 1 and they needed to run a display advertisement in a local newspaper with questions for candidates. The ad would run several times over a ten-day period. Candidates were required to live within City limits and be registered Ashland voters. The commission could review the choices and decide on candidates to interview, if any, with all interviews and discussions open to the public. Christiansen suggested interviewing candidates in a special meeting format to allow for a vote once a candidate was selected.

Discussion Among Commissioners
Commissioners agreed with Christiansen’s recommended process. They discussed minimum requirements for the position and expressed interest in having a new commissioner in place by late January or early February. Robertson said he would work on the timeline and assist Christiansen with basic questions for the advertisement. Christiansen said the ad would begin its run after the December 17 regular meeting approval.

MINUTES DISCUSSION
Robertson said the commission asked for meeting minutes to include specific commissioner comments leading up to split vote decisions. Staff worked on reducing the number of direct quotes in minutes but recorded specific commission votes in motions. He asked for Christiansen’s input on the topic.

Christiansen said this was a common issue for City minutes. City minutes takers for council and commission meetings used similar procedures and there was an art to taking minutes. Minutes were staff-intensive and time-consuming and staff tried to glean core messages but usually did more than was required by law. Minutes usually captured discussions leading up to motions and votes, with most quotes found in discussions of motions rather than in discussions leading up to motions. She said minutes could not be retroactively edited or corrected and changes needed to be reflected in subsequent meeting minutes during “Approval of Minutes.”

BUDGET DISCUSSION
Robertson distributed a draft budget schedule for FY 14-16 and said staff was expected to provide City Finance with projected expenses by December 31. He said a Parks Commission / Council joint meeting was set for January 24 and he and City Administrator Kanner would collaboratively establish an agenda in advance.
 
Robertson said Kanner proposed including a commission project—the restoration of the Butler Perozzi Fountain—in an upcoming City public improvements revenue bond. The commission’s portion of up to $500,000 could be guaranteed with Parks Food and Beverage Tax receipts. The commission could bond for the project or possibly use existing funds from the Parks ending fund balance [currently not budgeted for the project].

Discussion Among Commissioners
Commissioners expressed concern about using meals tax revenues for a rehabilitation project when the funds were previously approved by Ashland voters for park land acquisition and development. They said several neighborhood park areas remained undeveloped and meals tax revenues could be used for those projects. Additional concern was expressed about choosing the fountain repair over many other park projects, including master planning Lithia Park. Commissioners said public input was needed along with Historic Commission involvement. Robertson said a revenue bond would allow for project completion within three years’ time.

Further discussion points on the fountain included:

  • Its historical and iconic relevance to Ashland
  • Interest in seeing the creation of a “Friends of the Fountain” fundraising committee
  • Retaining its historical essence while using a more durable, restorative coating [such as bronze]
  • Including up to three Lithia Park projects in the revenue bond

Robertson said the City of Ashland revenue bond would be discussed at the next council meeting.

NATURE CENTER ADDITION
Dials said the commission heard a report at their November 19 study session on Nature Center addition bids received and staff was prepared answer questions from that evening’s discussion.

She referenced the bid tabulation form showing the seven bids received on 10/23/12. Per the City Attorney, the Todd Mills Construction bid was incomplete and needed to be rejected. The lowest completed bid was from Taylor Site Development in the amount of $45,900. Per the City Attorney, the project could not be re-bid unless there was significant error on behalf of the City. Bids were subject to acceptance by the City for 60 days or until 12/22/12.
Dials explained the advertising, the scope of work for the 272 square foot addition, and how the project would increase the building’s compliance with accessibility requirements. The lowest complete bid of $45,900 or $168.75 per square foot was higher-than-budgeted but staff recommended its acceptance. She said the project was budgeted for the current fiscal year, with up to $25,000 in the CIP and $10,000 in the Ashland Parks Foundation account. Robertson said additional funds could be accessed from the CIP account.

Project manager Steve Ennis said the project was noticed in all the standard ways, including on the City website and through plan centers. He reported calling all pre-bid meeting attendees to notify them of the project when it went out to bid. Costs associated with the small addition were high due to no economy of scale and City of the Ashland Living Wage, among other factors. He recommended accepting the lowest complete bid, as rebidding would be expensive and would not guarantee lower bids. He reported speaking with two cost estimators who said the Taylor Site Development bid was a standard project cost for the times.

Discussion Among Commissioners
Landt expressed concern about the high project cost and asked whether it was necessary to use certain materials specified in the bid documents. Lewis said Ennis’s explanation was helpful and indicated that each incremental piece of the project raised overall costs. He said a standard price per square foot for a remodel was approximately $120.
 
Robertson said staff could proceed with either of the following options: 1) place the item on a regular meeting agenda for an up-or-down vote; or 2) meet with the prospective low bidder and ask about particular items on the bid with the hope of lowering some materials costs. He said the project was previously budgeted and approved.
Ennis said he and staff could ask the contractor about certain bid items at the time of the contract signing. Robertson said staff would provide further details at the December 17 regular meeting.

OPEN SPACE MAPS DISCUSSION
Robertson said the commission discussed, at an earlier meeting, an update to the Open Space Plan [approved by Parks Commission and Council in 2002]. He said they chose a “light” revision rather than a more detailed update. He presented a map of Ashland with park properties identified and said each dot on the map represented three people within a census area. The map was a good indicator of population densities as well as areas where people were well-served with parks or not. He said the commission should not talk about specific properties except during executive session and staff provided the map as an informational overview.

Robertson expressed appreciation for the work of the City’s GIS Analyst, Lea Light.

PARK PROJECT UPDATES      
Hunter Park Sidewalk Project Bids
Dickens reported working with project manager Steve Ennis on the sidewalk project bid process, with Ennis handling all pre-qualification work. Eight bids were received and opened on December 6: low bid was $158,677 from Roxy Ann Rock / highest bid was $312,000. He said the project was expected to begin in January and end in March.

Daniel Meyer Pool Sunshade
Dickens said the current pool sunshade was in poor condition and the project had been identified on the deferred maintenance list for replacement. Suggested replacement was a soft canvas shade, a rectangular piece mounted on poles and removable in off-seasons that could last up to 20 years. The new cover would provide for a more attractive setting around the pool and be more cost-effective. A quote came in at $17,729 and Parks staff could handle the installation.

Dickens spoke about repairing heaving concrete sidewalks at the pool. He also spoke of a proposed solar panel structure on the pool building roof, estimated to cost between $24,000 and $31,500. The entire roof would be covered with the panels, bringing the building up to 82% efficiency versus the current 41% level. The roof would need to be evaluated before new panels could be mounted.

Robertson said the mechanical and physical portions of the pool bathhouse would need refurbishments in coming years. He said the old solar panels might have some salvage value.

ADJOURNMENT OUT OF STUDY SESSION – By consensus, with no further business, Eggers adjourned out of study session at 8:55 p.m.

ADJOURNMENT INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION – Eggers adjourned into study session at 8:55 p.m.
   Executive Session: Real Property Acquisition ORS 192.660 (2)(e)
   Executive Session: Employee Evaluation ORS 192.660 (1)(i)

ADJOURNMENT OUT OF EXECUTIVE SESSION – Eggers adjourned out of executive session at 10:15 p.m.

ADJOURNMENT – With no further business, Eggers adjourned the meeting at 10:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
 
Susan Dyssegard
Ashland Parks and Recreation

 

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