CALL TO ORDER
Council Chair Morris called the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilor Voisin, Lemhouse, Slattery, Rosenthal, and Marsh were present. Mayor Stromberg was absent.
MAYOR’S ANNOUNCEMENTS None
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Study Session of April 1, 2013 were approved as presented.
Councilor Rosenthal made the following correction and clarification to the Business Meeting of April 2, 2013. On page 3, the third sentence in the discussion under the motion regarding Community Development Block Grant funds awards, he indicated “Housing Commission” should be replaced with “staff’s” so the sentence read, “Council Rosenthal was not comfortable shifting funds from staff’s recommendation but supported the agencies that applied.”
On page 4, the fourth sentence in the discussion under the motion to amend the community Quality of Life Goal, bullet #2, Councilor Rosenthal clarified the word “but” should be “and” to read, “Councilor Rosenthal would support the motion and was uncomfortable with the word poor.” The minutes of the Business Meeting of April 2, 2013 were approved with changes noted.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
Council Chair Morris presented Roberta Stebbins with the Annual Ragland Volunteer Spirit Award. Ms. Stebbins read an acceptance speech submitted into the record.
The Mayor’s proclamations of April as Fair Housing Month and May 4-11, 2013, as Firewise Week were read aloud. Firewise Coordinator Ali True and Vice Chair of the Firewise Commission Kathy Kane thanked Recology for their participation and contributions during the previous Green Clean Free Day and announced the next one would occur May 5, 2013.
Michael Cavallaro, the Director of the Rogue Valley Council of Government (RVCOG) presented the annual report.
1. Approval of minutes from committees, and commissions
2. 2013 annual appointments to city commissions and committees
Councilor Slattery pulled Consent Agenda item #2 to confirm the Parks Commission Liaison to the Forest Lands Commission was a voting position and the title should read Parks Commission Representative instead of Liaison. Staff will update the title from Liaison to Representative.
Councilor Slattery/Marsh m/s to approve Consent Agenda items. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
PUBLIC HEARINGS - None
PUBLIC FORUM None
UNFINISHED BUSINESS – None
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Council consideration of a grant application for a Help Center for those in need, including the homeless, in Ashland
City Administrator Dave Kanner provided history on the grant solicitation. Councilor Marsh worked with Mr. Kanner and the Mayor on an application that was reviewed during the April 1, 2013 Study Session. The revised document was before Council for approval.
Dr. Joel Feiner/593 Prim Street/Addressed homelessness and explained that everyone was similar and needed food, shelter, clothing, nurturing, and support. Some aspects were different and each person had their own trajectory that made them unique. Referring to others as “them” made people forget the similarities. He encouraged Council to remember the likenesses when dealing with homeless people or those in need.
Councilor Voisin suggested removing the word “qualified” from the first sentence and adding “faith communities” so the sentence read, “The City of Ashland seeks applications for grant funding from nonprofits or faith communities…” Council agreed with the change. She went on to note concern regarding the use of the word sustain in the same sentence “…with the expectation that the successful applicant will sustain the Help Center beyond the initial two-year period with non-City resources,” and thought it should go under criteria for rating applications as well. Council discussed their interpretations of the expectation and noted under the Required narrative responses section, the application asked how the applicant would sustain funding beyond the two-year City grant period.
Mr. Kanner clarified CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) was technically federal money, Ashland was an entitlement jurisdiction and guaranteed a specific amount of money each year. Council added CDBG to the second sentence in the Funding section of the application so it read, “Future funding requests will be incorporated into the City’s Human Services grant process and/or Community Development Block Grant funding.”
Councilor Lemhouse/Slattery m/s to direct staff to advertise the approved grant application for the provision of a Help Center in Ashland. DISCUSSIOIN: Councilor Lemhouse hoped they would receive applications for a decentralized facility. He thought there were resources available that needed a coordinating body to ensure people knew they existed. Councilor Slattery wanted a mission statement. He also wanted to pursue an idea he and Councilor Lemhouse had regarding a Jobs Council or Commission that would provide one-day or one-week labor positions in Ashland.
Councilor Slattery/Marsh m/s to amend the motion to add for consideration a Jobs Bank within the concept of the Help Center. DISCUSSION: Councilor Marsh explained the ad hoc Homelessness Steering Committee (HSC) was hesitant to add a Jobs Commission to the application because it was an expansive responsibility for applicants and suggested adding it to Services Wanted. Councilor Lemhouse supported the amendment, having the City move forward on a Jobs Commission might alleviate possible concerns applicants had.
Mr. Kanner suggested adding language under the first bullet on page two of the application that spoke to desired services asking for job skills/assessment/employment preparation/job placement via a job bank or other appropriate means. Councilor Slattery added the City could involve the Chamber of Commerce, the business community, and others. Councilor Voisin wanted an employment analysis conducted prior to voting.
City Attorney Dave Lohman explained the amendment did not comport well with the original motion and it would be simpler to withdraw the motion and make a new one that added the words “and placement” instead.
Councilor Slattery withdrew the motion with Councilor Marsh’s permission.
Councilor Slattery/Lemhouse m/s move to amend the motion to direct staff to advertise the approved grant application for the provision of a Help Center in Ashland with a proposed modification in the Desired Services to include “and placement” after job skills assessment/ employment preparation. DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse noted unemployment in Jackson County was 12%. The Ashland Emergency Food Bank served 500 families a month with only a small percentage of homeless clients. Additionally, people who were homeless wanted the opportunity of having a job.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Slattery, Lemhouse, Morris, Marsh, Rosenthal, and Voisin, YES. Motion passed.
Councilor Voisin/Marsh m/s to amend the RFP in places where needed, to replace the words “qualified nonprofit social services” to read “nonprofit agencies or faith communities.” And add under funding CDBG funds where necessary.” Roll Call Vote: Councilor Lemhouse, Voisin, Marsh, Morris, Rosenthal, and Slattery, YES. Motion passed.
FURTHER DISCUSSION ON THE MAIN MOTION: Councilor Voisin wanted the RFP to address that every citizen had the right to have his or her basic needs of shelter, food, healthcare, and hygiene met before looking for a job. Councilor Marsh added the most important quality in the application was flexibility.
Mr. Kanner clarified staff and Council would review applications based on the following criteria:
1. Organizational stability and solvency
2. Demonstrated history of providing similar services
3. Extent to which the proposal meets grant objectives
4. Ability to work cooperatively with other area non-profits in area of interest
Councilor Voisin thought there should be more substance to the criteria. Mr. Kanner explained the intention was to allow Council maximum flexibility in determining the grant award and not constrict them by becoming too specific in the criteria. This was not a formal bid process but a judgment call on Council's part as to who they believed would do the best job based on narrative responses. Councilor Slattery commented the City was looking to improve the current situation and hoped it became a vital part of the community by the end of the two years.
Councilor Voisin/Rosenthal m/s to call for the question. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Morris, Lemhouse, Voisin, Rosenthal, Slattery, and Marsh, YES. Motion passed.
Roll Call Vote on the main motion as amended: Councilor Marsh, Slattery, Rosenthal, Voisin, Lemhouse, and Morris, YES. Motion passed.
Council and staff discussed the RFP review process. Council supported a Study Session or Special Meeting to review applications with a decision made the following night during the business meeting. Another suggestion was having applicants attend the Study Session and give a 3-4 minute presentation.
Councilor Lemhouse/Marsh m/s to have a Study Session where grant applicants are invited to present their application to the full Council and where the full Council will consider their application and make a decision during the following Council meeting.
Councilor Marsh/Slattery m/s to amend the motion to specify the ad hoc Homelessness Steering Committee review and provide comments on the applicants to the Council. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Lemhouse, Slattery, Rosenthal, Marsh, and Morris, YES. Motion passed.
Roll Call Vote on the main motion as amended: Councilor Marsh, Rosenthal, Morris, Slattery, Lemhouse, and Voisin, YES. Motion passed.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Resolution titled, “A resolution extending the term and defining the responsibilities of the ad hoc Homelessness Steering Committee”
City Administrator Dave Kanner provided the background on the ad hoc Homeless Steering Committee (HSC).
Connie Saldana/1650 Sunset Street/Explained she was a member of the HSC and read a letter the Committee wrote to the Mayor and Councilor asking for a continuation of 6 months to complete or advance specific projects. If Council continued the HSC, they may need to reappoint members.
Regina Ayars/199 Hillcrest/Represented the Housing Commission and read a letter from the Commission regarding a possible transition of the Housing Commission and HSC into a Housing and Human Services Committee. The Housing Commission supported a process that would allow the two groups to create a new mission statement and set of goals that addressed an expanded set of needs of low-income citizens. The Housing Commission was concerned it might lose focus on housing issues since human service issues were more acute. Another concern was recruitment, and member retention.
Jeff Kassman/276 B Street/Explained he was new to Ashland and commented on the amount of homeless people he had encountered. Before employing homeless people, he thought it was more important to house them. He suggested getting the citizens involved. The Help Center could serve as an intake where interested citizens could house homeless people. They needed a place to live, shower facilities, and a sense of belonging, before providing them with jobs.
Dan Lehner/Wellsprings/Agreed with Mr. Kassman’s testimony, it was time to give back to humanity. He went on to read two poems he had written, one titled the Face of God, and the other, All of Us.
Councilor Rosenthal/Voisin m/s to approve a Resolution extending the term and defining the responsibilities of the ad hoc Homelessness Steering Committee. DISCUSSION: Councilor Rosenthal thought the merger made sense. Councilor Voisin supported the motion with amendments. Councilor Lemhouse acknowledged he was not always in favor of extending the HSC but supported a merger with the Housing Commission and extending the HSC while it transitioned to the second phase. This was an opportunity create a new Commission by dissolving the HSC and Housing Commission.
Council Voisin motioned to amend the motion in Section 1 Term extended to extend the term of the HSC to a period 6 months from the effective date of this resolution. Motion died for lack of a second.
Councilor Voisin motioned to amend the motion to have the HSC provide an exit report to the Council on accomplishments, missed opportunities, and provide recommendations for the new human service commission and responsibilities to the Council. Motion died for lack of a second.
Councilor Voisin motioned to amend the motion/Section 3 Merger with Housing Commission to ask the Housing Commission to provide recommendations for housing responsibilities in the mission statement for the ongoing responsibilities of the new commission. Motion died for lack of a second.
Councilor Voisin/Lemhouse m/s to amend the motion Section 2 in addition the HSC shall assist and advise the City Council in the review of applications for grant award to non-profit agencies and faith communities to provide a Help Center for those in need in Ashland. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Lemhouse, Slattery, Morris, Rosenthal, and Marsh, YES. Motion passed.
Councilor Lemhouse/Slattery m/s amend the motion/Section 3 to direct staff to prepare for Council consideration the ordinance necessary to amend Section 2.19 of the Ashland Municipal Code (Housing Commission) for the purpose of dissolving the ad hoc Homelessness Steering Committee and the Housing Commission and create a Housing and Human Services Commission in its place. DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse emphasized he was not trying to get rid of two commissions. He thought this was cleaner than merging them. It would help identify what the Housing and Human Services Commission needed and how to populate the commission. Councilor Slattery supported the motion. Councilor Marsh wanted to ensure the members of the existing committees had a significant part regarding projects in progress or pending as well as help develop a mission statement and set of responsibilities. Councilor Lemhouse agreed and thought it was inherent in the motion.
Mr. Kanner clarified the Housing Commission could only be dissolved through an ordinance. Whatever Council decided at this meeting would affect the HSC only. City Attorney Dave Lohman added the resolution directed staff to bring back ordinances pertaining to Council direction for Council consideration.
Councilor Rosenthal was against the amendment and thought it set up a contradictory resolution and message. Councilor Lemhouse explained the amendment was a consideration. Staff would bring a proposal to a future meeting for public input. The amendment was similar to what happened when the Traffic Safety and the Pedestrian and Bicycle Committees disbanded and the Transportation Commission formed. Councilor Slattery added this was not about not having a Housing Commission. These were the steps to consider the change and possibly more forward. Councilor Voisin thought the original resolution did just that and would vote against the amendment.
Councilor Slattery/Lemhouse m/s to call for the question. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Marsh, Rosenthal, Morris, Slattery, Lemhouse, and Voisin, YES. Motion Passed.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Morris, Slattery, Lemhouse, and Marsh, YES; Councilor Voisin and Rosenthal, NO. Motion passed 4-2.
Roll Call Vote on the main motion as amended: Councilor Marsh, Slattery, Morris, and Lemhouse, YES; Councilor Rosenthal and Voisin, NO. Motion passed 4-2.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS
Councilor Lemhouse explained the Historic Commission was working on the historic waypoints for the city and would bring forward a proposal soon.
Meeting adjourned at 9:26 p.m.
Dana Smith, Assistant to the City Recorder Mike Morris, Council Chair