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Parks Commission Study Session Minutes

Minutes
Monday, January 14, 2013

City of Ashland
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
 STUDY SESSION MINUTES
January 14, 2013

ATTENDANCE
Present:  Commissioners Landt, Lewis, Seffinger, Shaw; Superintendents Dials and Dickens
Absent:   Director Robertson

CALL TO ORDER
Seffinger called the study session to order at 7:03 p.m. in the Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer Street.

ANNUAL FEES AND CHARGES DISCUSSION
Seffinger welcomed everyone in attendance and asked the commission if they wanted to allow for public comment. Commissioners agreed to allow two minutes per speaker.

Dials said she would present the information and then answer any commissioner questions.

Dials said the commission reviewed all fees and charges annually, since 2006, as a kick-off to their budget process. Information reviewed included fees and charges associated with indoor and outdoor facility rentals, Daniel Meyer Pool, Ashland Rotary Centennial Ice Rink, Calle Guanajuato, community gardens, North Mountain Park Nature Center, Oak Knoll Golf Course, adult and youth recreation programs, the Ashland Senior Center, and special events. Staff assumptions in evaluating each program or service included:

  • Expenses and revenues for fiscal year 2011-2012

  • All programs with associated fees or charges

  • Itemizations of staff time (by percentage) for each program overseen

  • Direct costs for each program (direct costs include associated part-time staff, full-time staff assistance, materials and services)

Dials said staff would present recommendations for increases but the commission would not vote on any changes until their January 28 regular meeting. In light of upcoming budget challenges facing Parks, including the potential loss of up to $1.5 million in revenues for the FY 14-16 budget, staff proposed implementing fee adjustments beginning July 1, 2013.

Facilities
Indoor and outdoor facilities include Pioneer Hall, Community Center, Senior Center, picnic sites, picnic shelters, pavilions, golf clubhouse, the bandshell, and wedding packages. Total revenues for FY 11-12 were $71,298, expenditures were $139,140.12, and the category saw a 51% recovery rate for FY 11-12, an increase from under 40% the previous year. A 15% increase was recommended for all long-term / non-profit renters from the current rate of $15 per hour, and 5% increases were recommended for the regular hourly weekday rate of $19.50 / hour and weekend rate of $31.50 / hour. Any approved increases would require City Council approval for the City-owned facilities.

Ballfield Lights
Current hourly ballfield lighting rates cover 84% of costs. Utility rates went up in 2009 and 2011 by 4%; in 2013 rates went up by 5.3%. An increase of 5, 10, or 15% was recommended for FY 14.

Daniel Meyer Pool
Programs include swim lessons and camps, open swim, concessions, lap swim, water aerobics and fitness. Expenses include part-time staff, 10% of front office staff, 20% of Recreation Coordinator, 25% of full-time staff for maintenance and upkeep of facility, pool equipment, supplies, and utilities. Total revenues in FY 11-12 were $33,614.64, expenditures were $103,929.70, and the program saw a 32% recovery. Fees were increased by 30% in February 2009. No increases were recommended for FY 14.
 
Ashland Rotary Centennial Ice Rink
Programs include recreational skate, skate rental, and concessions. Expenses include part-time staff, 15% of front office staff, and 16% of Recreation Coordinator along with utilities, materials and supplies. Total revenues in FY 11-12 were $60,565.60, expenditures were $87,814, and the program saw a 69% recovery. The commission increased the youth rate to $3.50 for FY 13. No increases recommended for FY 14.

Calle Guanjuato
Revenues include per square footage rates for the artisan market and outdoor restaurant seating along the Calle. Expenses include labor and supplies and 5% of the Recreation Superintendentís time. Revenues in FY 11-12 were $17,341 and expenditures were $17,369. Current rates cover 99.9% of associated costs. Rates are $4 per square foot for artisans and $5 per square foot for restaurants. Per commission approval in November 2010, the restaurant fee was to increase by $1 per year, with a goal of reaching $7 per square foot in three years.

Calle resurfacing, estimated to cost $300,000, is set to begin in fall 2013. The CIP Fund currently has $29,075 for improvements to the Calle, collected over the last seven years. Some Calle contracts may need to be shortened to accommodate the resurfacing project.

Staff suggested increasing the artisan fee to $5 per square foot for FY 14.

North Mountain Park Nature Center
Revenues are generated from community programs, community gardens, school programs, and donations. Expenses include community classes, school programs, community gardens (staffing and water), interpretation and exhibits, among other costs. Total revenues in FY 12 were $47,869.15, expenditures were $202,487.62, and the category saw a 24% recovery, an increase from 13.5% the previous year. Staff said this is the highest cost program category with the lowest recovery rate. No increases recommended for FY 14.

Community Gardens
Garden plots are located at Hersey Street/Ashland Creek Park (43 in ground), Clay Street Park (12 mixed), Scenic Park (10 raised beds), and Garden Way Park (10 raised beds). Total revenues in FY 11-12 were $2,060, expenditures were $3,446, and the category had a 60% recovery rate. Increases effective July 1, 2013, were recommended as follows: Either 10 or 15% increases for $25 / $50 / $65 / and $75 plots.

Oak Knoll Golf Course
Revenues generated from green fees, power cart rentals, the driving range, monthly specials, annual passes (single and family), clubhouse merchandise, and food and beverages totaled $300,746.01. Expenses for full and part-time staff, equipment and supplies, merchandise, utilities and advertising were $414,373.45. The category saw a 72.5% recovery, a decrease from 96% the previous year. Staff recommended increasing the daily coupon rate to $10, the 9-hole cart rate to $10 and $8 for seniors, the daily rate for nine holes (off-season) to $14 and $12 for seniors, and the daily rate for 18 holes (off-season) to $20 and $18 for seniors.

Adult Recreation Programs
Programs in the adult recreation category generated $87,018.37 in revenues for FY 11-12. Expenses for instructor contracts, 25% of Recreation Coordinator, and 10% of front office staff, along with materials and supplies were $85,674.92. No increases were recommended in FY 14 for this self-sustaining program.

Youth Recreation Programs
Programs in the youth recreation category include drawing, painting, tennis camps, mother and daughter programs, and adapted programs. The category generated $3,715 in revenues for FY 11-12. Expenses for 5% of the Recreation Coordinator position and instructor contracts were $6,278.30. The program recovered expenses at 59%, up from 43% the previous year. No increases were recommended for this category.
 
Senior Center
Revenues in FY 11-12 from the RVCOG grant, classes and donations, and foundation donations were $36,143.04. Expenses for full and part-time staff, materials and supplies, the Food and Friends meals program, utilities, phone, and foundation funds were $144,194.33. The recovery rate of 25% was identical to the previous year. The Senior Center learned that RVCOG would be lowering their $9,000 grant to $6,000 in the next year. Senior Center expenses would be lowered to manage the gap, with the reductions probably affecting the Food and Friends program.

Special Events
Revenues in FY 11-12 from the Bike Swap, 4th of July Run, and Bear Creek Festival were $41,472.84. Expenses for 20% of the Recreation Coordinator, 5% of front office staff, the Bike Swap, a bicycle safety instructor, the 4th of July Run, Bear Creek Festival, and 5% of the Stewardship Coordinatorís time were $61,046.85. The recovery rate of 68% was slightly less than the 69% of the previous year. The department assisted with the funding for bicycle education classes through Bike Swap revenues.

Public Comment
Tom Beam, 1015 Mary Jane, owner of Sesame Restaurant, said the Calle program was one of the few Parks Commission programs meeting its own costs. He asked for the topic of restaurant square footage to be reopened for discussion and the rate rolled back to $4. He reviewed some of the expenses Calle restaurant owners paid to operate their businesses, including business licenses, and said the artisan market had one collective business license.

Melissa Jensen, 690 S. Mountain Avenue, owner of Louieís Restaurant, said she didnít understand why Calle restaurateurs were held partially responsible for the cleaning of Calle restrooms. She said her patrons didnít use those restrooms, they used her restaurantís restrooms, and she asked what was meant by ďmarket value.Ē

Dials said the Calle Subcommittee, in 2006-2007, agreed to share the costs for cleaning Calle restrooms among all users of the Calle, including restaurants.

Landt said if prices were raised to the point where restaurants stopped renting the space along the Calle, the commission would then know they were charging over market value for square footage. He said outdoor square footage rates were still lower than indoor square footage rates.

Commissioners invited Jensen to submit further questions to staff in writing, to go into the office to talk to staff, and / or to attend the next commission meeting.

Discussion Among Commissioners
Commissioner questions included:

  • For ballfield lighting fees, requested a figure showing a 100% recovery.

  • For facility rentals, a request for a list of advantages / disadvantages for a two-tiered system versus one-tiered system (non-profit / long-term rate versus regular hourly rental rate).

  • Comment about Parks paying $44,000 per year to the City to manage the Community Center, Pioneer Hall, Senior Center, and The Grove. Since expenses for operating the buildings exceed revenues collected, give the City-owned facilities back to the City for managing. Dials said one benefit of paying the fee to the City was that capital improvements (such as new curtains at the Community Center or major rehabilitation of a building) were covered by the City.

  • For the Calle square footage rate, a request for possible reduction of fees charged to restaurants and artisans during the Calle repaving project.

  • For community gardens, a request to discontinue raised beds, as they require more water in our semi-arid climate.  Additional request for possibly charging more for raised bed plots to cover water expenses.

  • Request for raising fees by 15% and / or showing what a 100% recovery would look like.
  • Request for an incentive rate program for conservative irrigation practices among gardeners.

  • For the golf course, accept the rate increases as proposed by staff.

  • For special events, use the Bear Creek Festival model of cutting back on costs by inviting other agencies to participate, thereby reducing staff time used for coordination. Additional comment about how the Bicycle Education class is one example of a program in which Ashland Parks and Recreation should participate.

COMMISSION CANDIDATE REVIEW
Seffinger said three well-qualified candidates applied for the two-year position: Mike Gardiner, Joe Graf, and Scott Kurtz. She said the commission could either choose a candidate using the application materials received or interview the candidates. She said the candidate chosen by the commission would be forwarded to council for appointment.

Shaw, Landt and Seffinger expressed interest in interviewing the candidates.

Lewis said 26 years of experience was recently lost from the commission with the departures of Eggers and Rosenthal. He said Gardiner, a two-term former commissioner, would quickly understand the budget process and other complex Parks Commission topics. He said it was not necessary to interview the candidates.

The commission agreed to interview the candidates beginning at 6:00 p.m. on the evening of the regular meeting during a special meeting or study session: Monday, January 28, 2013, in Council Chambers.

CIP DISCUSSION
Due to Robertsonís absence from the meeting, the commission postponed the CIP discussion until a later date.

COMMISSION EMAIL NAMING DISCUSSION
The commission discussed and agreed to change their commission email addresses, with the help of the City of Ashland IT Department, to firstname@ashland.or.us.

PARK PROJECT UPDATES
Dickens distributed photos of the old oak tree in the Lithia Park playground and said it was set for removal the following day as it posed a public safety hazard. He said the Parks arborist and a contracted arborist agreed about the need for its removal. The area was roped off to keep people away.

FINAL STAFF COMMENT
Dials distributed the 1998 letter written by Harvey Rogers of Preston, Gates and Ellis, a Portland law firm. She said the letter outlined his opinion on how Measure 50 affected tax levies in the state.

ADJOURNMENT
With no further business, Seffinger adjourned the meeting at 8:47 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Dyssegard
Ashland Parks and Recreation

 

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