MINUTES FOR THE STUDY SESSION
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
April 1, 2013
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way
Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 5:32 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room.
Councilor Slattery, Rosenthal, Morris, Lemhouse, Marsh, and Voisin were present.
1. Look Ahead review
City Administrator Dave Kanner reviewed items on the Look Ahead.
2. Discussion of a revised proposal for a help center in Ashland
Councilor Marsh explained the ad hoc Homelessness Steering Committee (HSC) reviewed the draft proposal, endorsed the $50,000 amount being flexible, and supported the more collaborative Request for Proposal (RFP) as well as the non-facility option. Under Concept, they added laundry to basic assistance, and verbiage recognizing the development of services would require time and patience. The Outreach portion would develop and implement an outreach program that accepted and encouraged referrals from residents, social service partners, City employees, and public safety officers. Also added was language stating the contractor should demonstrate the ability to leverage city funding. Councilor Marsh revised language from the original RFP for the required narrative responses.
Feedback received from social agencies indicated the Salvation Army would not apply for the grant, ACCESS was interested in the revised proposal, and Maslow provided positive feedback on the RFP changes, but no firm commitments from any of the agencies at this time. The HSC wanted to sponsor a bidder’s conference.
Basic services could come from one centralized facility, multiple facilities, or possibly a mobile facility. Council wanted to ensure citizens viewed the center as a community assistance center versus a homeless center. Staff clarified the RFP was actually a solicitation for grant award.
Councilor Marsh would revise the added language under Concept.
Council suggested changing the approach and have applicant’s specify what services $50,000 would get the City. If a plan exceeded the allocated amount, Council wanted the ability to consider the application or negotiate. Staff confirmed Council could negotiate but if the solicitation was substantially higher than $50,000, there was a legal obligation to send another grant solicitation out for bids. Council and staff discussed not having a specific amount in the grant solicitation.
City Attorney Dave Lohman explained Council could add language to the grant solicitation that Council could reject any proposal not meeting City needs, and set an expectation the range around $50,000.
Mr. Kanner commented the money for the center was not in the current year or next year’s budget. Staff would request a transfer or a contingent transfer from the Reserve Fund if a grant award happened.
Councilor Marsh would incorporate the suggested modifications into the grant solicitation with staff’s assistance.
3. Discussion to extend the ad hoc Homelessness Steering Committee
Council preferred discussing the topic during a regular Council meeting. Staff would prepare two options, one to extend the ad hoc Homelessness Steering Committee (HSC) and another based on Councilor Marsh’s suggestion to blend the HSC with the Housing Commission to form a Housing and Human Services Commission.
4. Overview of self-funded health benefits
City Administrator Dave Kanner City explained the City could save money and gain control over health benefit costs and a health plan through self-insurance. Essentially the City loss ratio for 10 months of the plan was 74%. For every dollar paid to Pacific Source, 74 cents went to pay claims with the remaining going to Pacific Source’s plan administration, marketing, and reserve. Self-insurance would enable the City to offer the same plan Pacific Source offered for less money. The City would incur a 9.4% increase if they stayed with Pacific Source.
The City bid out the third party administrator work to handle claims processing and Pacific Source offered the best quote for the work. In addition, the City would purchase Individual and Aggregate Stop Loss insurance for assurance against bad years.
Another component of self-insurance was the Employee Health Benefits Advisory Committee the City would create. Comprised of a representative from each of the five bargaining units, four non-represented employees and the Human Resources Director, the committee would meet 8-10 times a year to discuss trends, review benefits, and monitor the fiscal integrity of the health plan. Initially the plan would not change for two years. The committee would recommend changes that Council would approve. Council expressed concern the committee would become a collective bargaining unit. Mr. Kanner clarified the committee would not negotiate what went into the plan nor would they go beyond the specified dollar amount, but would make adjustments as needed. As insurance rates increased, employee contributions would as well and that served as an incentive to keep costs reasonable.
Mr. Kanner further explained under Oregon law a company needed at least 500 covered lives to become a self-insured plan. Currently the City had 750 covered lives. The Ashland School District and Ashland Community Hospital went to self-insurance years before. Mayor Stromberg added the City previously had insurance from CIS who would not divulge actuarial results. Eventually the City moved from CIS to Pacific Source and received the actuarial information required to make the decision to move towards self-insurance.
Council comment suggested having a hearings officer for appeals that was not the City Administrator for privacy reasons.
5. Follow up discussion on councilor announcements and follow-up questions at regular Council meetings
City Attorney Dave Lohman wanted to ensure the information was accurate from the previous meeting.
Council agreed on the information and discussed whether to add it to the Consent Agenda or Mayor’s Announcements as a policy statement.
Mayor Stromberg addressed controversial announcements. Council could let the Mayor determine what was controversial or Council could establish an appeals process to the Mayor’s judgment on what was controversial or not. Mr. Lohman added these agreements fell under Roberts Rules of Order for self-regulating. A Councilor could use a point of order regarding an item they found controversial and the Mayor would make a ruling.
Meeting adjourned at 6:45 p.m.
Assistant to the City Recorder