City of Ashland
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
STUDY SESSION MINUTES
June 17, 2013
Present: Commissioners Landt, Lewis, Seffinger, Shaw; City Council Liaison Voisin; Director Robertson; Superintendents Dials and Dickens
Absent: Commissioner Gardiner
CALL TO ORDER
Seffinger called the study session to order at 7:05 p.m. in the Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer Street.
Robertson said the commission approved a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for Parks staff based on west coast CPI on a designated date in 2013. On that date, the CPI was 1.3%. He distributed a revised salary schedule showing the 1.3% COLA for each position with the exception of the director’s position. He said HR would conduct a salary survey for that position. Robertson said he spoke with the commission chair and vice chair about a potential salary adjustment to align his scale with other City department heads.
Landt suggested having staff research the director’s salary in terms of Parks directors in other jurisdictions.
JAPANESE GARDEN UPDATE
Robertson said staff prepared discussion points for the proposed Japanese Garden entrance gate.
Dickens said landscape architect Ian Wessler developed a garden gate drawing and presented it to the commission at their May 13 study session. Dickens talked about cost differences between steel and wood products and reported that both the Planning and Building departments spoke favorably about the project. He said Wessler recommended using reclaimed yellow cedar and project donor Ann Auble voiced support for the gateway design. Once materials were approved, he said project completion would take at 8-10 weeks. He indicated that the Auble donation would likely cover all estimated project costs.
Discussion Among Commissioners
Landt suggested using heavily gauged metal for the garden gateway for greater longevity. He said exposed wood might require more maintenance over the long term. Seffinger recommended using materials that provided the feel of a Japanese garden.
Architect Steve Ennis said he preferred wood but steel could make sense from a maintenance standpoint.
Shaw said once staff was given direction, they should have the ability to implement the project. Seffinger said she saw wooden garden gate structures in Japan that lasted a long time and her personal preference was wood. She asked about the donor’s preferences for materials. Landt said a 3-D mockup might be useful and appropriate given the commission’s desire to build a gateway lasting 50-plus years. Ennis said a drawing would probably take three to four hours to complete; Landt said it would be money well spent. Shaw said he was happy with the drawing and wanted to allow staff to proceed. Ennis said welds could rust at the edges of beads and the structure would need to be manufactured and assembled in advance, then bolted in on-site. The commission suggested a darker, earthier red color.
Robertson said staff would ask the donor about her preferences.
Landt left the meeting at 7:50 p.m.
ENDERS SHELTER BIDS
Dickens said five Enders Shelter bids were opened on Wednesday, June 5, but only four were complete. All bids were higher than anticipated and the low bid from Wes Norton of Roxy Ann Rock came in at $127,244. A post-bid meeting with the contractor, project manager and Parks Superintendent produced a reduction in construction costs. The lower price of $98,973 represented a $28,271 savings.
Commissioners asked several clarifying questions and agreed that the shelter had safety issues and the project needed to move forward.
SENIOR CENTER BUDGET (RVCOG ISSUES)
Dials said the Rogue Valley Council of Governments (RVCOG) provided annual funding over the past 20-plus years along with services related to information and referrals. In exchange for the funding, staff submitted quarterly reports to RVCOG about who made contact with the Senior Center and where people were referred. In FY 11-12, the Senior Center made approximately 11,500 referral contacts.
It was explained that because of limited staffing, the Senior Center couldn’t satisfy RVCOG’s request to answer phones one day per week (the ADRC Program) in exchange for funds received. It was noted that the ADRC Program was not part of the Senior Center mission or scope. Due to the sequester and other factors, RVCOG notified Parks staff of their need to withdraw nearly $10,000 in RVCOG funding, the largest outside revenue source for the Senior Center.
Dials said an Ashland Parks Foundation grant for the Senior Center was requested and approved and it would replenish lost funding to the Food and Friends Program. Staff met with RVCOG Director Dave Toler and expressed staff concerns, including that cuts in one program sector (I&A) affected other program sectors (Food and Friends).
Robertson said the Senior Center was fully funded through the City and would continue providing the same level of service to seniors; however, in 18 months the City could question why Senior Center revenues fell. Staff was scheduled to meet with Toler’s superior the next day to discuss possible alternatives.
Seffinger said she spoke with the mayor and some councilors and the mayor expressed interest in using the same process for hiring the Parks Director utilized for the mid-term commission vacancy appointment when Rosenthal was elected to council in November 2012. Lewis and Seffinger said a possible charter amendment for the hiring of the Parks Director was important; otherwise, the commission could be subject to the whims of the mayor and council. Commissioners asked how to reinstate the power of the Parks Commission in a legal manner and suggested a memorandum of understanding after obtaining an objective legal opinion. Lewis said it was time to address all issues of concern, including recent activities by the mayor and City Administrator.
Seffinger said the next Ad Hoc Committee meeting was scheduled for June 24 at 3 p.m. in the Parks office. She asked commissioners to forward any agenda suggestions to her.
ADJOURNMENT OUT OF STUDY SESSION – With no further business, Seffinger adjourned the study session at 8:45 p.m.
ADJOURNMENT INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION – By consensus, Seffinger adjourned into executive session at 8:45 p.m.
·Executive Session: Real Property Acquisition ORS 192.660 (2)(e)
ADJOURNMENT OUT OF EXECUTIVE SESSION – By consensus, Seffinger adjourned out of executive session at 9:05 p.m.
ADJOURNMENT – By consensus, Seffinger adjourned the meeting at 9:05 p.m.
Ashland Parks and Recreation