MINUTES FOR THE STUDY SESSION
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
Monday, December 17, 2012
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way
Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room.
Councilor Silbiger, Voisin, Lemhouse, Slattery, and Marsh were present. Councilor Morris arrived at 5:31 p.m.
1. Look Ahead review
Assistant City Administrator Lee Tuneberg reviewed items on the Look Ahead.
2. Discussion of possible changes to the uniform policies and operating procedures for Advisory Commissions and Boards (request of Mayor Stromberg)
Mayor Stromberg had two concerns, one was Council appointing liaisons, and the other was deciding if the City needed all the commissions and possibly shifting how often they met.
City Attorney Dave Lohman explained the proposed changes came from meetings he and City Recorder Barbara Christensen had with commissions regarding public meeting law and ethics requirements that resulted in the Discussion Outline for Uniform Board and Commission Guidelines.
1. Quorum Definition
Staff recommended establishing a membership range of 5-7 members to achieve a quorum. Council majority thought the range should apply to the total number of positions on the Commission. The Planning Commission should have different quorum requirements. Other comments thought quorum should be the majority of positions currently filled in a commission.
Mayor Stromberg thought Council could go through each commission and determine which ones could meet part time. Mr. Lohman commented under the current rules each commission determined how often it met.
2. Attendance Requirements
Staff proposed commissioners attend 75% of scheduled meetings per calendar year. Council consensus agreed and thought the rule should extend to study sessions for the Planning Commission as well. Subcommittee attendance requirements were not pertinent.
3. Attendance by Phone or Other Electronic Means
Currently each commission had the discretion to allow attendance by telephone or Internet. Staff proposed retaining the rule and Council agreed.
5. Excused or Unexcused Absences
Covered by points 1-4.
6. Officer Elections
Council agreed with staff’s recommendation to elect the chair and vice chair the first month following the annual appointment process.
7. Officer Terms
Staff proposed increasing the consecutive annual terms to three consecutive annual terms instead of two, Council agreed.
Public Works Director Mike Faught addressed the false seismic alarm that went off at the dam over the weekend. They were able to reset the alarm earlier Monday and it was now working fine.
3. Status report on the plaza final redesign
Engineering Services Manager Scott Fleury provided an update on the project. Staff was reviewing 95% of the plans and specifications. They had a target bid date of December 20, 2012 through January 10, 2013 and planned to bring the construction contract award to Council January 15, 2013 for approval.
Currently the archeological site survey was underway with three more test sites needed to verify the presence or absence of culturally significant items. Directly following the site survey, staff would remove designated trees. However, they were postponing work until December 27, 2012 for local businesses in lieu of the Christmas holiday. Once the site survey was complete, Archaeologist Jeff LaLande would prepare a final report for SHPO (State Historic Preservation Office) and two federally recognized tribes.
Mr. Fleury addressed an incident where citizens had photographed one of the archeologist test digs and sent them to SHPO to stop the project. SHPO in turn contacted Mr. LaLande who verified what was actually occurring. Mr. LaLande was looking at strata of earth to determine when the soil was no longer fill but natural native material while sifting through each level looking for prehistoric artifact. When excavation hit natural soil, he would conduct another test, map and log the results, to determine if further digging would disturb a significant cultural resource. Mr. LaLande initially applied for an archeological site survey permit, sent it to SHPO, the City, and the two tribes who reviewed and commented on the permit itself.
Mr. Fleury went on to address the tree removal. In August 2012, the Tree Commission discussed removing the trees in the Plaza with input from staff Arborist Anne Thayer. The Commission requested a second opinion from an independent arborist Southern Oregon Tree Care. Staff removed the diseased Modesto ash and planned to remove two sweetgums, one was 31 inches and the other 21 inches. The 31-inch sweetgum was in poor health and Southern Oregon Tree Care agreed. The other sweetgum was fine but had the potential to deteriorate. During the site survey excavation, they discovered the old Highway 99 bed only three feet below, leaving no room for roots, contributing to the ill health of both trees.
Councilor Voisin supported removing the larger sweetgum but did not approve removing the smaller one. She questioned why the City would remove them when the plaza needed large trees for shade. Mr. Fleury confirmed the staff arborist suggested removing the 21-inch sweetgum because it would continue to deteriorate like the larger tree. Councilor Voisin wanted the record to reflect she objected to the removal of the smaller sweetgum.
Mr. Fleury explained the City had spent to date $28,735 on the original concept design from Covey Pardee, the archeology survey, and the final construction documents. The initial construction estimate was $141,836 and staff did not it think would not change. Adding the contracts, project total was approximately $194, 446. This amount did not include the City costs that staff was tracking and would total at the end of the project.
Councilor Voisin was concerned the biding time occurred during the holidays and wanted to extend the January 10, 2013 date. Mr. Fleury explained they needed to complete the work by March before the tourist season. Covey Pardee contacted contractors for overall construction costs and the contractors were aware of the upcoming bid.
4. Discussion of whether to add to future agenda a change to the cold weather shelter rules (Request of Councilor Voisin)
Councilor Voisin explained there was community interest in changing the temperature of the cold weather shelter from 20 degrees to 33 degrees. In addition, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and Temple Emek Shalom wanted to offer a third shelter night. They had volunteers willing to run the shelter but did not have a space and wanted the City to provide a facility. Currently the Presbyterian Church offered shelter on Monday nights and the Trinity Episcopal Church had a shelter for Wednesday nights. Councilor Voisin wanted the City to provide emergency shelter when temperatures dropped to 33 degrees using The Grove, Pioneer Hall, or the Community Center. The Homelessness Steering Committee (HSC) trained 25 people on running a shelter. The two faith organizations had an additional 12 volunteers to assist.
Council and staff determined raising the temperature on the emergency shelter resolution would obligate the City 5 nights a week for almost five and a half months and raised concerns regarding availability, utility costs, liability insurance and general budget impact. They would need additional information on costs and available City facilities to make a decision. It would change the shelter to a winter shelter and require due process and vetting with the neighborhood along with public input. Working with volunteers to add a third shelter night was more viable. Council thought it was premature to add the item to the next night’s agenda due to the research involved.
Council gave direction to staff to analyze the costs and logistical issues involved to add a third shelter night weekly in collaboration with the faith community and provide that information possibly at the January 15, 2013 Council meeting.
Mayor Stromberg addressed the Newtown CT massacre that occurred Friday, December 14, 2012 and wanted input on showing support as a City. Council and the Mayor discussed observing a moment of silence at the Council meeting, sending a letter or tile, planting trees, and would forward other suggestions to the Mayor. Other comments included gun control, more assistance for children with mental illness, and the need to remain non-political.
Meeting adjourned at 7:29 p.m.
Assistant to the City Recorder