Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Minutes
Tuesday, May 21, 2013

MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
May 21, 2013
Council Chambers
1175 E. Main Street

 
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
 
ROLL CALL
Councilor Voisin, Morris, Slattery, Rosenthal, and Marsh were present.  Councilor Lemhouse arrived at 7:40 p.m.
 
MAYOR’S ANNOUNCEMENTS
Mayor Stromberg announced vacancies on the Housing, Planning, Transportation, and Tree Commissions and one vacancy on the Band Board.  The Council was in the process of merging the Housing Commission with the ad hoc Homelessness Steering Committee and would not accept new applications until the process was completed.
 
APPROVAL OF MINUTES 
The minutes of the Study Session of April 29, 2013, and the Business Meeting of May 7, 2013 were approved as presented.
 
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
David Chapman and Igon Dubois presented the City with the Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community award from the League of American Bicyclists.  They explained the history and process and went on to thank staff and the community involved for their efforts to create a bike friendly city.
 
Tom Burnham/1344 Apple Way/Explained he was on the Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission and the Transportation Commission.  In 2003 the City received the bronze award and stayed at that level until 2007. He described the efforts made by the Bicycle & Pedestrian Commission and the Transportation Commission that lead to achieving the gold level in 2013.  He thanked Mr. Chapman, Mr. Egon, the City and Council for making this happen.  The next level was platinum.
 
CONSENT AGENDA
1.   Approval of minutes from committees and commissions
2.   Liquor license application for Susan Means dba Milagros Fresh Mexican
3.   Request for approval of AFG SAFER grant application through the Department of Homeland Security
4.   Request for sewer connection to a residence located outside the city limits and within the urban growth boundary
5.   Resolution transferring appropriations within the FY 2012-13 Budget
6.   Resolution authorizing and approving a State revolving fund loan agreement to finance wastewater system projects
 
Councilor Rosenthal and Marsh pulled Consent Agenda item #3, and Councilor Voisin pulled Consent Agenda item #4 for further discussion.
 
Division Chief - Fire Marshal Margueritte Hickman explained the AFG SAFER grant would cover salaries for three firefighters for two years with the City providing salary once the grant period concluded.  City Administrator Dave Kanner added if the City received the grant, a renewal would most likely not occur due to competition.  The Fire Department currently had two positions that would retire in two years. The grant funded positions could fill the vacancies and matriculation would create the third.  Fire Marshal Hickman clarified the grant covered salaries and benefits from date of hire and the Fire Department had an in-house academy.  The grant would not cover uniforms or personal protective gear that came to approximately $12,000 for three employees.
 
Council expressed concern aligning the grant hires with the retiring position, maintaining staff levels, and possible gaps in service.  Mr. Kanner noted Ordinance 3078 Amending Chapter 3.08 Personnel Policies contained Limited Duration Position language.  If retirement did not occur, Fire Chief John Karns was prepared to lay off the grant funded positions.  
 
Engineering Services Manager Scott Fleury addressed the sewer connection to a residence outside the city limits within the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) and explained the owner would pay the difference in fees for redevelopment of the property if that occurred.  System development charges (SDCs) applied to the square footage of the house and if remodeled, the owner would pay the difference if the square footage increased.  Commercial properties paid per fixture unit and not square footage.
 
Councilor Morris/Voisin m/s to approve Consent Agenda item #3.  DISCUSSION:  Councilor Morris thought it was beneficial to have staff trained even though there were unknowns.  Councilor Voisin supported applying for the grant in terms of retirement and replacement.  Councilor Rosenthal was not against the motion just reluctant to see someone hired and possibly laid off due to lack of funding.  Councilor Marsh agreed with Councilor Rosenthal and wanted more information before making a decision.  Roll Call Vote:  Councilor Voisin, Morris, Slattery, and Rosenthal, YES; Councilor Marsh, NO.  Motion passed 4-1.
 
Councilor Voisin/Slattery m/s to approve the remaining Consent Agenda items.  Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
 
PUBLIC HEARINGS
1.   First reading of an ordinance granting a timetable extension to the Verde Village Subdivision Development Agreement
Mayor Stromberg called the Public Hearing for Planning Action No. 2013-00537 to order at 7:03 p.m. and stated the rules for the conduct of the hearing were in the Public Hearing Format for Land Use Hearings – A Guide for Participants and Citizens and available on the wall in the back of Council Chambers.
 
ABSENTIONS, CONFLICTS, EX PARTE CONTACTS
Councilor Voisin disclosed previous contact with the main principals three years before who explained the development plan to her.  Councilor Morris was on the Planning Commission when the project was initiated.   He also served as Planning Commission Liaison during a meeting that discussed the plan.
Councilor Slattery and Rosenthal had nothing to declare.  Councilor Marsh served on the Planning Commission as well and participated in discussions regarding the project.  Council affirmed they had not prejudged the application and were not prejudiced or biased by prior contacts or involvements and would make a decision solely on the application, relevant criteria, standard to facts, evidence and record of proceeding.
 
Councilor Lemhouse arrived at 7:40 and per the City Attorney would not participate in the hearing.
 
CHALLENGES – None
 
STAFF REPORT
Community Development Director Bill Molnar explained this was a first reading to amend the development agreement created in December 2007.  He clarified the applicants were not proposing any changes other than extending the timetable.  Project Planner Derek Severson provided background on the project.  The proposal involved two phases, the first phase consisted of building 15 affordable housing units known as Rice Park currently occupied.  The second phase included 24 cottages at the southwest corner of the site.  The later phase was single family attached and detached units, completion of streets, infrastructure, and new connections to the Dog Park and Bear Creek Greenway.
 
The development agreement required Council to adopt modifications as an ordinance and go through a public hearing with the Planning Commission’s recommendation.  The Planning Commission recommended extending all the thresholds and timetables in the original agreement 7 years to progress the project in increments to achieve the 15 year requirement in smaller pieces.  Staff concurred with the Planning Commission’s recommendation.  The only criteria were Oregon Revised Statues (ORS) required up to a 15-year time frame at Council discretion. 
 
APPLICANT’S PRESENTATION
Greg Williams/744 Helman Street/Stated he did not have anything further to add to the discussion.
 
Valerie Williams/744 Helman Street/ Stated she did not have anything further to add to the discussion.
 
Mr. Williams explained the Planning Commission’s recommendation not to have a blanket extension as originally requested did not impact the project.
 
THOSE WISHING TO PROVIDE TESTIMONY - None
 
PUBLIC HEARING 
Opened: 7:55 p.m.
Closed: 7:55 p.m.
 
REBUTTAL BY THE APPLICANT - None
 
REQUESTS TO SUBMIT FINAL WRITTEN ARGUMENT - None
 
ADVICE FROM LEGAL COUNSEL AND STAFF - None
 
COUNCIL DELIBERATION AND DECISION
Councilor Marsh/Slattery m/s to approve First Reading by title only of the ordinance titled, “An Ordinance Granting a Timetable Extension to the Verde Village Subdivision Development Agreement,” and move it on to Second Reading.  DISCUSSION: Councilor Marsh had no issues with the extension.  Mayor Stromberg noted the unprecedented funding for the project justified the extension.  Roll Call Vote:  Councilor Marsh, Slattery, Voisin, Rosenthal, and Morris, YES.  Motion passed.
 
2.   Public hearing to consider increasing water, wastewater, transportation, and storm drain utility rates
Public Works Director Mike Faught explained the adopted Water and Wastewater Master Plans recommended a 10% rate increase to pay for capital projects and daily operational costs. The 10% increase was effective through 2016.  In 2017, it would drop to 8% then 3% yearly through 2022.  The Wastewater Master Plan was an 8 year financial package with a 10% rate increase through 2017.  Council adopted the first year of the long range schedule to pay for capital projects in 2012.
 
Staff recommended a 3% inflationary increase for the Transportation Utility fee.  The last rate increase was 2009, since then the inflationary impact showed a 7.8% decrease in value of the money.  During that time the cost for materials and labor went up as well as the impact of PERS (Public Employee Retirement System).  Staff was in the process of proposing rate analysis studies for the Storm Water and the Transportation Utility that would result in rate increases.  The interim 3% increase would keep up with inflation until completion of the studies. 
 
Water and Wastewater rate increases matched the financial recommendations in both Master Plans. The proposed 3% Transportation Utility increase would create an impact of .23 cents per month per customer and .12 cents per month per customer for Stormwater.  Total net of all proposed rates would result in an increase of $6.30 per month.
 
Mr. Faught addressed what would happen if Council voted no on all rate increases.   The Water and Wastewater Master Plans had specific regulatory or capacity projects that needed to happen and staff would reanalyze those projects.  Transportation and Stormwater would continue to lose value until the rate studies were completed.    
 
City Administrator Dave Kanner explained the rate increases were before Council prior to the final Budget meeting because they would go into effect July 1, 2013 and staff needed 30 days or more with the Utility Billing system to enter new rates. 
 
Mr. Faught clarified rates included 4 tiers based on customer usage.  Additionally the proposed rates were annual, not biennium.  Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg added 1,000 cubic feet water equaled 7,500 gallons.  Mr. Faught went on to explain the City might not make enough revenue to manage or pay for the fund if they only raised rates for the higher tiers due to possible lower consumption by customers.  Staff analyzed usage increase across the boards and the proposed rate increase reflected the results.  Mr. Tuneberg confirmed a 10% per acre increase in TID (Talent Irrigation Ditch) rates from approximately $127.65 to $140.41.
 
Mr. Faught explained if the Budget Committee approved the Cost of Service studies, staff would send out RFPs (Request for Proposal) after July 2013.  The Transportation Utility Master Plan would take 9 months.  The capital portion of the cost of service study for the Stormwater Master Plan was almost complete and the financial portion would take 3-4 to months.
 
Public Hearing Open: 8:15 p.m.
 
Steven Richie/1481 Windsor/Explained he had only heard of the rate increases the day before.  With approval of the budget occurring within the week, he was concerned the public did not have enough time to comment on the issues.  He had trouble believing a budget of $100,000,000 was not enough to pay for the costs of the rate increases and thought Ashland government was over reaching its responsibilities.  He wanted City government to fill potholes, put out fires, arrest offenders and keep the parks safe and clean.  He cited an article from the May 1, 2013 Ashland Daily Tidings and found it offensive the City was obligated to pay 31% more into the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) stating it was mismanagement at the federal, state, and local level.  Civil servants used to work for the opportunity to serve, not for the pay or benefits and now it seemed civil servants were retiring younger with larger pensions and better benefits than those in the private sector who worked longer and harder to pay taxes and fund government.  More insulting than that was using reserve funds to help pay for a Help Center for homeless people.  He did not think it was a City government responsibility.
 
Marilyn Briggs/590 Glenview Drive/Noted the increases in utilities rate and questioned who made the decisions.  The following night a Budget Committee meeting would discuss add packages and she thought it was egregious to have $100,000 for the downtown plan.  She cited an article in the Ashland Daily Tidings that stated the public would have to pay for watershed fire mitigation through increased property taxes.  Council needed to draw the line now, the public was disgusted with Council’s laziness in not finding solutions within a fair amount of money that did not burden the public.  She addressed fire mitigation and thought the City should partner with the Mill and use the slash to make particle board for money instead of charging the public.  She wanted Council to be more frugal with what they had and more imaginative in getting more money.
 
Public Hearing Closed: 8:20 p.m.
 
Councilor Voisin/Marsh m/s to approve the attached resolution increasing Water rates 10%.  DISCUSSION:  Councilor Voisin served on the Ashland Water Advisory ad-hoc Committee (AWAC) for two years and described their efforts.  There was nothing more critical than providing the infrastructure and planning needed to maintain the water supply.  An economist looked at the best way the City could pay ahead for large capital improvements that were necessary.  Part of the rates the citizenry paid would be set aside for these improvements.  Councilor Marsh attended the presentations done by the Technical Committee and was impressed with the thoroughness of the work involved.  However it was awkward approving a rate increase when the cost of service studies was coming soon and she wanted to know what would happen if Council delayed the increase.  Councilor Slattery was also concerned asking for a rate increase when there was a cost of service study pending. He wanted a more in depth look at budgeting and planning and wanted to postpone rate increases until after the study.
 
City Administrator Dave Kanner reiterated the rate increase would pay for capital projects identified in the Water Master Plan.  If Council did not approve a rate increase, the alternative was reopening the Master Plan and deciding which capital project the City would not do.  Delaying rate implementation until the study was done would result in a larger rate increase farther down the road to keep the City on the schedule for debt financing in the Water Master Plan.  Mr. Faught clarified the financial plan for water and sewer was in the existing Master Plans.  The cost of service study came from Council’s Conservation Goal to look at conservation methods.   The Waste Water Treatment Plant would reach capacity requirements in 2018.  The cost of service study would not change the course of action in the master plans.
 
Councilor Lemhouse agreed it was awkward discussing a rate change prior to approving the budget but the decisions involved large projects that were necessary.  Councilor Voisin added Council was responsible to maintain the integrity of the infrastructure.  The increase would cost residents as extra $70 a year and would support a structure all citizenry benefited from.  Councilor Slattery would vote against the motion explaining it was a matter of timing, planning and thought the case needed to be stronger.  He was more comfortable paying more later if he was convinced it needed to occur. 
 
Councilor Morris would vote for the increase and thought they should review the capital improvement projects during fiscal year 2015 to see if the City could do them for less.  Mayor Stromberg noted the City hired a specialist in rate structures for the purpose of a long-term plan so the increases were not too extreme because that was more difficult for the public than having moderate increases.  Councilor Slattery clarified he wanted the City to make a stronger case to the public for the rate increases. 
 
Councilor Voisin motioned to amend the motion that during 2013-2014 there be rigorous educational program for citizens about our water.  The motion died for lack of a second. 
 
Councilor Lemhouse/Marsh m/s called for the question.  Roll Call Vote:  Councilor Voisin, Morris, Lemhouse, Slattery, Rosenthal, and Marsh, YES.  Motion passed.
 
Roll Call Vote on Main Motion:  Councilor Voisin, Morris, Lemhouse, Rosenthal, and Marsh, YES.  
Councilor Slattery, NO.  Motion passed 5-1.
 
Councilor Lemhouse/Voisin m/s to approve a Resolution revising rates for Wastewater (sewer) service 10% pursuant to Ashland Municipal Code Section 14.08.035 and repealing Resolution 2012-13.  DISCUSSION:  Councilor Voisin explained the rate increase was just as critical as the water service rate increase.  There were DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) regulations and DEQ was providing 0% loan regarding effluent.  Roll Call Vote:  Councilor Lemhouse, Voisin, Morris, Marsh, and Rosenthal, YES; Councilor Slattery, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
 
Councilor Voisin/Morris m/s to approve a Resolution increasing Storm Drain Utility Fee Schedule 3%. DISCUSSION:  Councilor Voisin noted the need to pay for infrastructure and rate increases was how it happened.  Mr. Faught explained the increase was inflationary. The costs for supplies, materials, and staff had increased since 2009 while the revenue remained flat.  Currently the transportation fee and gas tax subsidized the storm water fund because it did not generate enough money to maintain its own system.  Roll Call Vote:  Councilor Marsh, Voisin, and Morris, YES; Councilor Slattery, Lemhouse, and Rosenthal, NO.  Mayor Stromberg broke the tie with a YES vote.  Motion passed 4-3. 
 
Councilor Marsh/Voisin m/s to approve a Resolution increasing the Transportation Utility Fee Schedule pursuant to Ashland Municipal Code Section 4.26 and repealing Resolution 2009-27.  DISCUSSION:  Councilor Marsh explained it was evident the City was lagging in street repair and noted earlier public testimony stating it was the City’s job to fill potholes.  This increase would allow for that activity.  The fund had fallen behind cost of living standards and it was prudent to take a minimal move towards funding the streets.  Councilor Voisin added staff had done an overlay of streets needing repair so it would not cost as much as repairing an entire street.  Councilor Slattery would not support the motion.  He thought there needed to be a better job explaining why the rate increases were necessary at this level.
Councilor Marsh noted the street user study and suggested adding user impact to the study to assess users.  Councilor Voisin agreed with the suggestion.  Roll Call Vote:  Councilor Marsh, Morris, and Voisin, YES; Councilor Rosenthal, Lemhouse, and Slattery, NO.  Mayor Stromberg broke the tie with a YES vote.  Motion passed 4-3.
 
Councilor Marsh appreciated bundling water, wastewater, storm drain and the transportation utility fee rate increases together and suggested adding electric rates as well so Council could see what they were forecasting for the City and how it would affect citizens instead of doing each individually.
 
PUBLIC FORUM
Kathryn Thaldon/550 Ashland Loop Road/Explained she was a landscape Architect from Kansas City.  She thought the Plaza was the heart of Ashland and a good next step was adding color using flowers.  She and her husband offered to retrofit the five lamp posts with arms to hang two baskets from each lamp post for a total of 10 baskets at their expense.  In addition they would also fund 3-4 large pots of flowers.  They located the pots and had talked to a nursery regarding the flower baskets.   
 
Barry Thaldon/550 Ashland Loop Road/Added their research showed they could easily retrofit the lampposts with arms.  The Parks and Recreation Department was willing to fertilize, rotate and deadhead the flowers and the Water Department agreed to water the plants 5 days a week.  The Thaldon’s would fund the entire installation then turn it over to others for maintenance.  The Thaldon’s hoped the City would consider their proposal.
 
Councilor Marsh/Slattery m/s to place this on the agenda for discussion under OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS.  Voice Vote:  ALL AYES.
 
UNFINISHED BUSINESS None
 
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1.   Council direction for the Historic Commission and the Community Development Department to create a Historic Marker Program
Assistant Planner and Historic Commission Staff Liaison Amy Gunter shared events for April National Historic Preservation Month. Commissioner Allison Renwick explained cultural heritage travelers to Oregon spent more than 60% per person than the national average and contributed $19.6 billion to Oregon.  For the Historic Marker Program, the Historic Commission invited members from the Public Arts Commission and formed a sub-committee and created the Historic Markers Master Plan.  The Historic Commission also connected with the Parks and Recreation Department who had their own historic marker program. 
 
The sub-committee developed a hub and spokes plan for the four historic districts in Ashland:

  • Site One – Downtown District
  • Site Two – Railroad District
  • Site Three – Siskiyou Hargadine
  • Site Four – Skidmore Academy

Each hub would had a contemporary site specific sculpture based on a historic theme that would lead to spoke sites identified as key places within each district.  Spoke sites could be marked by plaques in the ground, bike racks, or some other form of marker appropriate to the site.  Each hub and spoke site would have a quick response code for smart phones and tablets. 
 
The program was broken into three Tiers.  Tier One included all four districts, securing artists, historic markers, monuments, funding the hubs and spoke sites and cost approximately $144,500.  Tier Two pertained to the Downtown and Railroad Districts only at an estimate of $85,000.  Tier Three would focus on the Downtown District only and cost approximately $53,500.
 
Ms. Gunter explained funding options included grants from the state and Oregon Community Foundation, residuals with tourist moneys.  The program was intended to be incremental.  Commissioner Renwick clarified the Public Arts Commission was not involved in funding the program. 
 
Councilor Rosenthal/Slattery m/s to endorse the Historic Markers Master Plan and request that staff and the Historic Commission work toward tier three of the plan for the Railroad District.  DISCUSSION:  Councilor Rosenthal thought focusing on the Railroad District would serve as a good pilot project.  Councilor Slattery agreed.  Councilor Lemhouse supported motion although he preferred Tier Two.  Expanding into historic tourism would help Ashland economically.  Councilor Voisin thanked the Commission and staff.  She preferred Tier One but would vote for Tier Three.  
Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
  
2.   Fiscal Year 2012 -13 Third Quarter Financial Report: January – March 2013
Administrative Director Lee Tuneberg explained the report reflected the first nine months of the fiscal year and during this time staff reviewed budget compliance and what would happen between now and the end of the year.  The City was completing and starting capital projects before the end of the year and assessing conditions that may change projections if they were not completed.  He clarified the AFR program (Ashland Forest Resiliency) was in the Water Fund due to the forest interface grant program 10-15 years prior that focused on keeping the watershed and water clean.
 
Mr. Tuneberg addressed a rating agency comment the City could improve by increasing reserves and explained this was money set aside in reserve or any fund balance to cover unknowns.  The rating agency preferred 25% for reserves and the City tended to stay at 15%-20%.
 
Councilor Slattery/Lemhouse m/s to accept the third quarter financial report for FY 2012-2013.  DISCUSSION:  Councilor Voisin noted there was $870,000 earmarked for the Cemetery Fund and $6,400,000 for System Development Charges (SDCs) considered restricted funds and asked in the case of an emergency could the City use restrictive funds.  Mr. Tuneberg responded the City could use funds from the non-expendable trust and SDCs for an emergency with the requirement of restoring amounts used.  Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
 
3.   Approval of FY14-15 Capital Improvement Program and FY16 -19 Projects in concept
City Administrator Dave Kanner noted project completion rates for the following funds:

  • Street Fund Project - 90% complete or would be August 2013
  • Water Fund Projects - 87%
  • Wastewater Fund Projects - 100%
  • Electric - 82% due to the purchase of the Mountain Avenue Substation
  • Parks and Recreation - 87%
  • AFN (Ashland Fiber Network) - 100%

 
Engineering Services Manager Scott Fleury explained the projects in the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) came from the Master Plans and other Planning level documents.  In addition, staff added a couple critical maintenance projects.
 
Parks and Recreation Director Don Robertson addressed the $400,000 for Open Space Acquisition and Park Development.  The Open Space Plan identified properties for the Parks and Recreation Department to purchase using a small portion of System Development Charges (SDCs) with the majority of funds coming from the Food and Beverage Tax.  Often purchased property sat fallow for several years.  When the need or resources were available to develop the property, the Parks and Recreation Department would create a master plan for the site, determine long-term maintenance responsibility and make an assessment whether the department could absorb the project into their budget and operate it sufficiently.
 
Councilor Lemhouse/Marsh m/s to approve the FY14-15 Capital Improvement Program and FY16/19 projects in concept.  DISCUSSION:  Councilor Lemhouse clarified it was a concept plan and projects would start when funding was available.  Mr. Kanner added FY-2014 projects were tied to appropriations in the budget document.  Councilor Marsh wanted the Planning and Transportation Commissions to review the CIP as well.  Council agreed and directed staff to include both commissions to review the CIP.  Roll Call Vote:  Councilor Morris, Slattery, Rosenthal, Marsh, Voisin, and Lemhouse, YES.  Motion passed.
 
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS None
                 
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS 

  1. Adding flowers baskets and pots to the Plaza. 

Councilor Marsh met with the Thalden’s previously and provided research she conducted regarding maintenance.  The Parks and Recreation Department agreed to take on rotation, fertilization and dead heading and the Water Department agreed to water the plants 5 days since they clean the fountains at the Plaza daily.  The gap for maintenance was weekend watering.  Councilor Marsh was currently in discussion with the Garden Club and there was the possibility of community members volunteering.
 
Barry Thaldon explained he and his wife would pay for the plants for the summer that should last until October with a possibility of financing other years.
 
Parks and Recreation Director Don Robertson noted maintaining flower baskets could be challenging and difficult.  He developed three options for Councilor Marsh.  The first option the Parks and Recreation Department would provide watering, basket rotation and charge the City actual costs for labor equipment, and materials through the MOU (Memo of Understanding) between the Parks and Recreation Department and the City.  The option would require hiring two temporary employees for an estimate of 28 hours at $12 per hour for 23 weeks at a total of $7,728.
 
The second option was hiring a contractor for the maintenance.  It would cost less than the City’s living wage requirements.  The Parks and Recreation Department or the Public Work’s Street Department could manage the contract.  It would go through the competitive bid process and take longer than a month.  The third option was forming a volunteer contingency with Plaza merchants for watering.  The Parks and Recreation Department would still manage plant rotation, deadheading and fertilizing the plants.
The options did not include the annual cost of re-establishing plants or storing the baskets.
 
Mr. Robertson recommended purchasing 2 additional baskets for back-up in case damage or vandalism occurred.  He explained how basket rotation protected the flowers from exposure and rotation would include the two baskets in reserve.
 
Mr. Thalden thought other businesses or the Chamber of Commerce might sponsor flowers for the baskets in future years. It could become an ongoing program that recovered the cost of watering.
 
Mr. Robertson recommended watering the baskets twice a day during high heat or wind.  The other issue was basket type, husk baskets dried out quicker than plastic.  Councilor Rosenthal researched hanging baskets for the City of Medford and found it cost $150 per basket minus labor annually. 
 
Councilor Lemhouse/Marsh m/s direct staff to work with the Thaldens in accepting their gift and use the third option presented by Parks Director Don Robertson to utilize volunteer efforts to maintain plant hangers and flower pots.  DISCUSSION:  Councilor Lemhouse liked the idea of volunteers, it create community ownership of the space.  Councilor Marsh thought it would be easier moving forward on the baskets instead of the flower pots since there might be issues with location.  Councilor Slattery agreed adding flowers to the Plaza but was leery having volunteers. He preferred the City to pay due to liability issues, water use, and was not sure how a volunteer effort would work.  Councilor Rosenthal thought it was a great idea and offer.  He agreed with Councilor Slattery, it seemed more complex of an undertaking.  It was worth trying out for the summer but he wanted more analysis before starting the project.  Councilor Morris thought it might be less expensive to install a drip system and a controller on the lamp posts.
 
Councilor Marsh clarified the first option included a temporary Parks and Recreation employees on the Plaza 4 hours a day seven days a week, weeding, providing clean up and watering the baskets.  Mr. Robertson added there were no Parks and Recreation Department employees available on the weekend to water the baskets.
 
Councilor Voisin liked the idea and thought Council should move forward with the project.  Mayor Stromberg thought funding the Parks and Recreation Department seemed logical. Mr. Robertson added having the Parks and Recreation Department handle the maintenance offered a presence in the Plaza. However, the least expensive option was hiring a contractor.  The City would pay for the water used.
 
Councilor Marsh/Lemhouse m/s to amend the motion that Council discuss hanging planters and schedule the discussion regarding flower pots for a future Study Session.  Voice Vote ALL AYES.  Motion Passed.
 
City Administrator Dave Kanner designated Ann Seltzer or Adam Hanks as volunteer coordinator.
 
Roll Call on main motion: Councilor Marsh, Slattery, Lemhouse, Morris, and Voisin, YES; Councilor Rosenthal, NO.  Motion passed 5-1.
 
ADJOURNMENT
Meeting adjourned at 10:21 p.m.
 
 
 
__________________________________    _______________________________
Dana Smith, Assistant to the City Recorder     John Stromberg, Mayor
                      
                      

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