City of Ashland
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
April 22, 2013
Present: Commissioners Gardiner, Landt, Lewis, Seffinger, Shaw; City Council Liaison Voisin; Superintendents Dials and Dickens
Absent: Director Robertson
CALL TO ORDER
Seffinger called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Study Session – March 18, 2013
MOTION Shaw moved to approve the minutes as presented. Gardiner seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes
Regular Meeting – March 25, 2013
Landt said the motion regarding Calle Guanajuato outdoor dining space between Oberon’s Tavern and Salame Restaurant included exact square footage but he did not mention square footage in his motion. He requested having the motion reflect more accurately that “square feet would be equally split between the restaurants, with exact square footage determined by Parks staff.”
MOTION Landt moved to approve the minutes as amended. Shaw seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes (Lewis abstained)
ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA
Landt said that, depending on the discussion and the motion / vote regarding the Parks budget resolution, he might want to add a Parks budget discussion to the agenda.
FORESTRY, TRAILS, NATURAL RESOURCES, AND CONSTRUCTION DIVISION OVERVIEW
Seffinger said the commission would begin hearing monthly Parks and Recreation divisional overviews, with the first overview provided by the Forestry, Trails, Natural Resources, and Construction Division. She welcomed Jeffrey McFarland, Central Division Manager, and said he was the Parks Department’s own Paul Bunyan and recently completed 30 years of service. She praised his excellent work and invited him to proceed.
McFarland showed a slide presentation and talked about the work of his divisional crew: fuels reduction for forest health and fire prevention (partially funded through grants); maintenance of the Bear Creek Greenway from the interchange to the Ashland Dog Park; trails management, maintenance and construction with the help of Parks staff and volunteer crews; preservation of natural areas; restoration projects for protection and enhancement of natural resources and the environment; riparian work and Nature Center projects; installation of trail easements; small carpentry work as well as heavy equipment demolitions; rebuilding of greens at the Oak Knoll Golf Course; rebuilding of bridges throughout the Parks system; the installation of a tile mosaic recycling center at the Nature Center; the Michael Grubbs memorial bench on the Central Bike Path adjacent to Hunter Park; and a new ping pong table with concrete pad at Hunter Park.
Seffinger said a national trend involved providing outdoor equipment for older adults to increase stability and balance. She said the Parks Department would be the first in the state to offer the free, publicly available equipment at Hunter Park, with the equipment conveniently placed adjacent to the playground area.
PARKS BUDGET RESOLUTION DISCUSSION AND APPROVAL
Seffinger said Landt would read his proposed Parks budget resolution aloud and then the City Administrator would speak, which would be followed by public input.
Landt read his Parks budget resolution calling for use of special revenue Parks funds for Parks purposes and providing historical perspective on Parks funding.
City Administrator Dave Kanner, 20 E. Main Street, said he was reluctant to talk about the proposed City budget as the Budget Committee had not yet seen it.
Commissioners asked Kanner a number of questions about proposed uses of Parks funds by the City. Kanner said the new City proposal, which was based on the Mayor’s “white paper,” called for a lower Parks ending fund balance (12.5% versus 25%), with the remaining Parks funds transferred into the City’s General Fund. He said all Parks operational expenses and critical maintenance projects would be fully funded over the next biennium. Gardiner said the commission and staff viewed the new budget model as a game changer and there hadn’t been a public process. Landt said for the past 23 years the City allowed, following passages of measures 47 and 50, a “gentleman’s agreement” of $2.09 per thousand in tax revenues for Parks and the Ashland City Charter also called for separate Parks funding. Kanner said a gentleman’s agreement was fine as long as all the players agreed with it but the current ruling body of Ashland did not agree to it. He invited the Parks Commission to weigh in on the budget during the public budget process commencing on May 1. He said any party expecting to achieve success needed to bring forward solutions for the entire City, not just one faction of the City.
Seffinger thanked Kanner for attending the meeting and said the Ad Hoc Committee was dedicated to looking for long-term solutions. Kanner said the Parks Commission and City Council had practical and moral obligations to find a solution for everyone. Quoting Eleanor Roosevelt, he asked the commission to light a candle, not curse the darkness.
JoAnne Eggers, 221 Granite Street, said she valued discussions and a community discussion was appropriate in this situation. She said she appreciated the commission bringing the resolution to the meeting as it was important to the community. She said Parks always kept its spending to the $2.09 tax allotment and she asked why the other elected entity in Ashland was not able to keep its spending within budget limits. She asked for community involvement on the matter in the near future.
Suzanne Marshall, 369 Meadow Drive, said the process with the City should have been much more public and democratic. She indicated her support for parks, trails, golf courses, and all other works of the Parks Department. She said Ashland, 100 years earlier, planned ahead and put in place separate funding for Parks. She expressed full support of the Parks Department and its resolution and said she would continue attending meetings and participating in this major proposed funding change for Parks.
Lija Appleberry, 704 Willow Street, agreed with the previous speakers and said the Parks ending fund balance was being lowered to 12.5%, an inadequate figure for Parks expenses in the next budget cycle. She said City of Ashland debt was too high for a city of its size and more debt was not needed for the future. She encouraged the commission to approve the Parks budget resolution.
MOTION: Landt moved to approve the Parks budget resolution. Shaw seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes
Discussion of Motion
Landt said the commission approved, at their March 25 meeting, the Parks budget contingent on any recommendations from the Ad Hoc Committee but solutions to this complex problem had not yet been found. He indicated that the funding level in the budget was adequate for the next biennium but possibly not for the future. He voiced concern about proposed usage of Parks’ ending funds by the City and said he made a mistake in voting his approval of the budget. He proposed rescinding approval of the Park budget. If the motion passed, he said he would make another motion to approve the Parks operations budget but not the proposed usage of Parks’ ending fund balance.
MOTION: Landt moved to rescind the Parks budget approved at the March 25 regular meeting. Gardiner seconded the motion.
Discussion of Motion
Shaw asked what that would do, realistically, for staff and how it would impact Parks as related to the City. Landt said the commission was on record as agreeing with the budget and proposed usage of ending fund balance monies. He said it didn’t appear Parks had any choice or control over the situation. He expressed a desire to vote on his actual intentions and opinions and he made a mistake in voting “yes” on the Parks budget earlier. This would provide him with an opportunity to correct his vote, which was symbolically important. He would approve the funding level for Parks operations but not for the City’s use of Parks ending fund balance monies.
The vote was: All yes (Lewis abstained as he did not attend the March 25 meeting)
MOTION: Landt moved to approve the funding level of Parks operations for the FY 13-15 biennium as proposed by staff but not to approve proposed changes in Parks ending fund balance as proposed by the Mayor and City Budget Officer. Gardiner seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes
EXEMPTION REQUEST FOR INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT POLICY: USE OF SYNTHETIC HERBICIDES ON NORTH ENTRYWAY MEDIANS
Dickens said prior to the realignment of lanes on North Main Street, staff was able to close a lane while manually pulling weeds on the median strip. Now with just one lane open to traffic resulting from the “road diet,” staff had to divert traffic onto the bike lane to provide a safe buffer area while working on medians. The use of herbicides on north entryway medians would reduce staff time and create a safer work environment. He indicated this was neither a public use space nor a riparian area.
Discussion Among Commissioners
Commissioners expressed support for the exemption, calling it a reasonable request, and said it would provide greater safety for staff and the public.
MOTION: Landt moved to approve the integrated pest management policy exemption request as outlined by staff. Shaw seconded the motion.
Discussion of Motion
Dickens said that if the motion were approved, spot spray use of herbicides would be implemented twice per year to start (fall and spring), with a possible reduction to one time per year once the weeds were better controlled. He indicated that mulching and overplanting to crowd out weeds would also help. A total of 4-5 years was reported as the likely timeframe for herbicide use in the area.
Landt said the herbicide ban in parks was for safety but, in this case, staff safety on a busy highway was a higher priority than the potential damage caused by herbicides. He suggested keeping exemption requests to a minimum and spoke appreciatively of the limited scope of the request along with strong reasons for its support.
The vote was: All yes
SUBCOMMITTEE and STAFF REPORTS
Dials said the 23rd Annual Bike Swap was scheduled from noon – 2 PM on Saturday, April 27, at The Grove, 1195 E. Main Street, with bikes dropped off on Friday evening or Saturday morning. She said 20% of bicycle and equipment revenues would be directed toward bicycle education classes and bicycle donations were welcome.
ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS
Shaw reported attending the unveiling of the Nature Center mosaic recycling center on Wednesday, April 17. He said he also attended a fuels reduction tour in the watershed.
Seffinger said a new program would begin in May and run through the summer: the rewarding of responsible dog owners for picking up after their pets, with gift certificates distributed by volunteers.
Seffinger reported that a “Town Hall Meeting” was set for Wednesday, April 24, at 6 p.m. via RVTV with Senior Center Director Chris Dodson, the Mayor, and herself.
UPCOMING MEETING DATES & PROPOSED AGENDA ITEMS
Study session set for May 13 at 7:00 p.m., Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer Street. Topic:
Special Event / Selling in the Park Policy Annual Review
Regular meeting set for May 20 at 7:00 p.m., Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street. Topics:
Senior Center Presentation
2013-2015 RVTV Contract Review and Approval
By consensus, with no further business, Seffinger adjourned the meeting at 8:57 p.m.
Ashland Parks and Recreation