MINUTES FOR THE SPECIAL STUDY SESSION
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
Monday, June 3, 2013
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way
Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 5:27 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room.
Councilor Lemhouse, Rosenthal, Voisin, Morris, Slattery, and Marsh were present.
1. Review of Look Ahead
City Administrator Dave Kanner reviewed items on the Look Ahead.
2. Presentation by Commissioner Don Skundrick on Jackson Countyís budget and its possible impacts to the City of Ashland (request of Mayor Stromberg)
Jackson County Commissioner Don Skundrick explained how the County had previously funded library services through a deficit in the General Fund and decided not to use reserve funds and make cuts instead. Another factor effecting funding was the County paying $3,600,000, $1,800,000 from the General Fund, and $1,800,000 from dedicated funds for PERS (Public Employees Retirement System).
The Budget Committee would fund the libraries one more year who in turn would try to form a library district. At the end of 2013-14 if the libraries failed to create a district, the County would close 14 of 15 libraries and leave Medford open. If funds were insufficient for the 2014-15 budget cycle, the Medford library would close.
To counter these cuts, Commissioner Skundrick proposed a motion the Budget Committee passed that would add a County Jail Fee on the November Ballot. The monthly $7 fee per household/unit would exclude hotels/motels, and office buildings, produce close to $7,000,000 for the General Fund, and partially cover funds for the County jail, the gap in the General Fund and subsequently the libraries. The County was waiting on survey results to gauge voter support prior to adding it to the ballot. The ordinance would collect the $7 fee without an increase except for CPI (Consumer Price Index) for five years. At the end of five years, it could increase to $10 with no further raises except for CPI. All increases required voter approval. The ordinance would also dedicate money to fund libraries that did not use the Jail Fee.
Commissioner Skundrick clarified if the County had to make cuts to RVCOG (Rogue Valley Council of Governments) they would cut the dues and continue to contract with RVCOG.
3. Discussion of possible Plaza improvements (request of Councilors Marsh and Voisin and Mayor Stromberg)
Councilor Marsh was interested in adding tables and chairs to the Plaza and using flowerpots to define space.
Council expressed concern over the color of the pavers used in the Plaza noting the color renditions provided by Covey and Pardee depicted buff colored concrete. In addition, the consultants discussed adding six benches to the Plaza and added only four. City Administrator Dave Kanner explained the colors in the renderings were limitations to the software used and the gray pavers complimented the artwork. Professional designers consulted with the Public Arts Commission and the Plaza artist to select the paver color. The pallet of materials presented to Council and the public during a Council meeting were gray pavers.
Council majority was interested in directing staff to research tables and chairs, cost and maintenance. Opposing comments expressed concern the Plaza was a pedestrian travel area and table and chairs reduced that capacity.
Greg Covey and Alan Pardee of Covey Pardee Landscape Architects supported adding tables and chairs. They clarified initially Council wanted the Plaza to be a flexible space for variety of activities. They went on to explain construction standards, handicapped access, and grade changes on the Plaza limited the number of benches to four instead of six. Covey Pardee created graphics of the proposed design that showed buff colored concrete. When Council decided to use permeable pavers instead, the consultants worked with the Public Arts Commission on a neutral color to set off the mosaic artwork on the benches that resulted in dark gray. The Public Arts Commission then presented the color pallet to the public. Council reviewed the final materials during a Council meeting.
Engineering Services Manager Scott Fleury researched suggested paver options and explained acid staining would make the pavers darker. Painting the pavers was an involved process that could affect the permeability and it was unknown how long the paint would last. The third option to install new pavers would cost approximately $35,000. Covey Pardee explained the pavers untouched would lighten over time.
Council majority did not think the pavers should change with one comment wanting to replace the pavers. They discussed painting the visitorís information booth and directed staff to bring back a recommendation. Council consensus went on to agree not to allow dogs on the Plaza other than passing through the area.
Covey Pardee addressed the tree grates and explained cast iron initially exposed to air created rust and oxidized over time before achieving its natural color. Council suggested the possibility of painting the flier structure. Council did not think the Plaza needed skateboard deterrents on the benches and seat wall caps as long as police enforcement remained consistent.
Council discussed painting the curb around the Plaza. Suggestions included not painting, restriping part of the area as loading zone only, partially painting the curb or painting the entire curb yellow. Discussion ranged from having extra parking places to potential safety and traffic hazards. The Transportation Commission and Police Department recommended painting the entire curb yellow.
4. Discussion of creation of a Jobs Commission
Management Analyst Adam Hanks presented two options for a Jobs Commission. The first would establish a small advisory board to meet quarterly and the second was a larger body that would handle economic development as well. The commission would work with regional efforts to avoid duplicating services.
Executive Director Jim Fong of the Rogue Workforce Partnership (RWP) added John Lee from Folium Partners was a new Ashland representative for RWP and thought RWP would accept a second representative appointed by the Mayor.
Aurora King, the career navigator and lead for The Job Council One-Stop Centers suggested establishing a satellite office in Ashland with Southern Oregon University (SOU) that offered resume building, career coaching and job clubs.
Council discussed the benefits of option two with opposing comments wanting the commission to focus on job creation locally and not economic development at this time. Alternately, Council expressed interest in having a Mayor appointed representative join RWP and wanted cost information for The Job Council to meet in Ashland once a week. Council directed staff to research a proposal for The Job Council and provide further information on a Mayor appointed representative to the RWP while considering the two options proposed by staff.
Meeting adjourned at 7:44 p.m.
Assistant to the City Recorder