CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilor Voisin, Morris, Lemhouse, Slattery, Rosenthal, and Marsh were present.
Councilor Slattery/Morris m/s to add to the agenda consideration of a letter to Jackson County regarding Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) application to amend the conditions of approval for the Siskiyou Welcome Center Project No. 27 of Jackson County Ordinance 2009-7 and requesting an exemption from the automatic irrigation requirement in LDO 9.2.8. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed. The agenda item went under NEW & MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS as number 5.
Councilor Marsh/Slattery m/s to add to the agenda discussion regarding the submission of a letter to Jackson County Commissioners urging the placement of non-partisan election of County Commissioners before the voters. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed. The agenda item went under NEW & MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS as number 6.
Councilor Rosenthal/Voisin m/s to move agenda item number 1 under ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS to Section VI. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
1. Council approval of Mayor’s appointments to the joint planning committee of the City Council and Parks Commission
Council discussed the need of a formal committee in order to set agendas for a joint meeting of the Council and Parks Commission. Council expressed concern regarding transparency and it was clarified the group would make no decisions.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Executive Session of October 14, 2013, Study Session of October 14, 2013 and Business Meeting of October 15, 2013 were approved as submitted.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Approval of a resolution titled, “A resolution approving a Jackson County Order to initiate formation of a Jackson County Library Special District and consenting to the inclusion of city territory within the boundaries of the district”
Jackson County Commissioners Don Skundrick and Don Rachor explained the Jackson County Budget Committee determined the County could no longer continue funding libraries resulting in the formation of a Library Service District that would unfold in three phases. During Phase 1, 2013-2014, the County would continue to fund libraries. If no additional monies came in Phase 2 would shut down the fourteen satellite libraries and keep the Medford library open. If again there were no available funds at the end of 2014-2015, Phase 3 would close the Medford library.
The Jackson County Board of Commissioners agreed to the formation of the Jackson County Library Service District and planned to place a measure on the May 2014 ballot to establish a permanent tax rate of $0.60 per $1,000 of the assessed value for the district’s operations. Every City Council in the County needed to vote to allow citizens to vote on the measure. Not allowing citizens to vote would leave that entity outside of the district and the library would close. If the measure failed countywide, municipalities that voted in favor would have the option of forming their own special district and contract with the County for services and distribution of materials.
City Administrator Dave Kanner added Ashland’s local option library levy would not go away if the countywide measure failed and would still bring in $400,000. The City could use the funds to contract with the County for minimal level of services.
Councilor Slattery/Lemhouse m/s to approve Resolution #2013-36.
DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse explained it was important citizens had the opportunity to vote and the library would be better off in a district then alone. Councilor Voisin expressed concern the measure might not pass and wanted to be ready in case it failed. Commissioner Skundrick was confident the measure would pass. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Slattery, Rosenthal, Marsh, Voisin, Lemhouse and Morris, YES. Motion passed.
Mayor Stromberg went on to announce vacancies on the Citizen’s Budget Committee with a November 15, 2013 deadline. In addition, there were vacancies on the Tree, Transportation, Public Arts, and the Firewise Commissions as well as the Band Board.
1. Approval of commission minutes
2. Authorization to award a contract to KOGAP Enterprises for water line and electric utility upgrades in the Calle Guanajuato Resurfacing project
3. Intergovernmental Agreement for the Oregon Federal and State Surplus Property program
4. Downtown Parking Management and Multi-Modal Circulation Advisory Committee appointments
Councilor Voisin pulled Consent Agenda item #4 for discussion and questioned the appointment of Councilor Slattery as liaison to the Downtown Parking Management and Multi-Modal Circulation Advisory Committee. She voiced concern that his wife is the Executive Director for the Chamber of Commerce, on the committee, and questioned if there was a possibility of financial gain from recommendations of the committee. To avoid the perception of a conflict of interest, she requested the Mayor appoint another Councilor as liaison. City Attorney Dave Lohman did not discern a conflict of interest. Mayor Stromberg retained Councilor Slattery as liaison.
Cate Hartzell/892 Garden Way/Spoke regarding the appointments to the Downtown Parking Management and Multi-Modal Circulation Advisory Committee. She thought the committee lacked diversity and suggested including skateboarders and members from multi modal community as well as people with disabilities. She shared Councilor Voisin’s concern regarding the perception of having Councilor Slattery as a liaison on the same committee as his spouse.
Councilor Rosenthal/Lemhouse m/s to approve Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
PUBLIC HEARINGS - None
Sandra Coyner/1160 Fern Street/Provided a report from the Plaza Watch, a group of 10 people who participated in 70 two-hour shifts observing activity in the Plaza and Chamber area over the summer. People were identified as homeless, affluent visitors, backpackers, buskers, locals and local youth. There were 25 observations involving people with mental illness. Plaza Watchers reported 77% of panhandling consisted of signs, with no reports of aggressive pan handling and two instances of homed people verbally harassing panhandlers. At times sidewalks were somewhat blocked and occasionally people were rude. Locals exhibited more rude behavior than the homeless did. The greatest number of mentions was the police presence and their friendly interactions with everyone. Ms. Coyner noted three of four possible issues as the following: previous bad behavior on the Plaza seemed curtailed due to police presence and the friendly approach from police and citizens; exception to the pattern was mental illness with the police as the default position in dealing with the mentally ill; and instances of stereotyped attitudes were against the homeless and not from them. The Plaza Watch was open to discussing results further with Council during a Study Session.
Sandra Holstein/228 West Street/Explained she participated in the Plaza Watch and shared her observations and interactions with police, homeless, locals, and tourists that for the most part was positive.
Fran Adams/292 Gresham Street/Also participated in the Plaza Watch over the past two summers, confirmed there were fewer street people this summer and the Plaza was calmer, and ascribed that to the strong police presence during the first part of the summer and possibly the smoke and heat during the last part of summer. She thought only 10% of the homeless spent time downtown while the most spread out and kept low profiles. The rowdiest people on the street were local teenagers. The other thing she noted was the amount of responsibility and generosity she witnessed among homeless people.
Eric Navickas/2060 Mill Creek Drive, Prospect OR/Spoke regarding Reeder Reservoir and appreciated the City cleaning out the upper two catchment basins. The City experienced few problems with sediment until the US Forest Service started building roads and fire management began in the watershed during the 1950s. The US Forest Service had done large scale logging projects in the name of fire management since then, clear cutting up to 1,000 acres in the watershed. The City had the capability to get an accurate reading of the total daily sediment load occurring in Reeder Reservoir. He encouraged the City to take action to find out the load and adjust the type of work going on in the watershed since the US Forest Service was admittedly going into steep areas, riparian areas and hauling out logs.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS - None
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Placing a lien on a property at 707 Helman Street as a result of unpaid assessments for weed abatement
Division Chief-Fire Marshal Margueritte Hickman provided background on the weed abatement program the Fire Department took over in 2009 as part of the Fire Safety and Prevention Program. The Fire Department implemented weed abatement in the wildfire hazard zone and then by complaint throughout the city. Educational efforts included signs, mailings, the City Source newsletter, the City website, and local media. They worked with landowners on extensions once they received an abatement notice and only issued citations when they did not gain compliance. Weed abatement was due by June 15 annually and the first opportunity the City had to cause abatement was twenty days following that date.
Fire Marshal Hickman explained the Fire Department had contact with the Robertson’s every year since 2009 and experienced challenges gaining compliance. In 2012, the Fire Department worked with them extensively on compliance that ended in a citation and the Fire Department performing the abatement. The Robertson’s did not enter a plea with the Court regarding the citation nor had they paid any of the citation costs that eventually went to collections. The lien was an effort to recoup the costs the City had put into the abatement.
City Recorder Barbara Christensen requested Council consider adding the $104 cost of placing the lien on the property as well. Fire Marshal Hickman further explained this was the first time a lien like this had occurred in the City and they tried to include all staff costs in the lien.
Councilor Lemhouse/Rosenthal m/s to place a lien on the property at 707 Helman Street in the amount of $1,116.56 for both the administrative and abatement costs in accordance with AMC 9.04.050. DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse commented the property owners had several opportunities to come into compliance and chose not to even after receiving a citation. Councilor Rosenthal questioned the amount of staff time involved prior to coming to Council and wanted to know if there was an expedited process to avoid extensive use of staff time for future issues.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Lemhouse, Morris, Marsh, Rosenthal, and Slattery, YES. Motion passed.
2. Addendum clarifying Mt. Ashland Association Agreement with the City of Ashland
City Attorney Dave Lohman explained at the March 19, 2013 meeting Council discussed what portions of the Mt. Ashland Association (MAA) agreement meant. There were six different projects listed in Section 4(a) as a reference to Phase 1. The discussion was if Phase 1 covered all the projects, whether the provisions in Section 4(b) required MAA to come to Council prior to starting any work, identify the nature of the project and costs, and if MAA had the full amount to cover those projects. The list of projects, application of requirements to the list of projects identified in 4(e) of the agreement as Phase 1 was ambiguous. The understanding from the March 19, 2013 meeting was the US Forest Service bundled what they considered connected projects and that did not necessarily include all six projects. As a result, Council questioned whether the reporting requirements to the City and having the funding available applied to all six projects in Phase 1 or all projects.
Council directed staff to work with MAA on language that no matter the projects, if they interrelated as the US Forest Service defined them MAA would have the full amount of funding for those projects before work began. Mr. Lohman and MAA came up with the following addendum language:
“Before commencing any additional Mt. Ashland ski area expansion project included in the 2004 or 2011 Forest Service Records of Decision which may affect the Ashland watershed and which has not yet received, as of the date of this Addendum, Forest Service final approval to proceed, MAA will
(a) provide to the US Forest Service and the City detailed plans for the project;
(b) obtain any required US Forest Service approvals for the project; and
(c) substantiate by means of a Forest Service financial ability determination, or other means acceptable to the Forest Service, that MAA has sufficient financial resources available to pay for completion of the project and other inter-connected projects as
Mr. Lohman confirmed the 30-day notification requirement remained. The addendum itself was not a substitute to the agreement but in addition to 4(e). The US Forest Service had, and would continue to determine projects and inter-connectedness.
Angie Thusius/897 Beach Street/Explained the agreement clearly stated MAA would provide the City with copies of architectural, engineering, construction, and logging plans including environmental impact studies. The MAA agreed not to proceed with logging, earth moving, or construction, meaning Phase 1, without a bond in the bank covering the cost of the entire expansion. People interpreted Phase 1 as the beginning of the expansion project starting with parking space. MAA was required to give a 30-day notice before logging and construction. It was unclear whether the City exercised its right to technical review and if MAA satisfied the bond amount before starting Phase 1. She wanted to know whether the City consulted experts to find the least hazardous drop off area in the watershed for the dirt removed from the parking lot. The area was highly sensitive to landslides and other perils. The community trusted Council to uphold all the requirements as stated in the agreement. If anything went wrong, the repair costs would fall on the City and taxpayers.
Eric Navickas/2060 Mill Creek, Prospect OR/Explained the parking lot construction would be half finished by winter yet MAA continued to post on the website they were raising funds for that project. It did not give citizens trust when MAA was continuing a fundraiser with a set amount publicly needed to finish the project. The addendum was complicated, ambiguous, and he questioned why it did not simply state before commencing any additional expansion, the terms of the agreement would apply throughout. The terms in the addendum were redundant to language already in the agreement. He suggested adding MAA would comply with all of the terms of the agreement, (a), (b), and (c) of the addendum, or add language to (a) that MAA provide to the US Forest Service and the City detailed plans for the project that met the terms of 4(b) of the agreement. Adding a few phrases in the addendum that tied back to the agreement and would instill community trust.
Julie Norman/596 Helman Street/Requested clarification on what projects were in Phase 1, and if the addendum pertained to Phase 1 projects or just additional projects.
Cate Hartzell/892 Garden Way/Urged Council not to adopt the addendum until the language was clear. The addendum modified and did not clarify the agreement. Section (a) was already in the agreement. Section (b) existed by law and (c) reduced the financial security the City had with MAA. Council could ask more than the US Forest Service had in the way of financial obligations. She wanted a strong agreement that provided some stewardship and protection in the watershed. She questioned if Council discussed the addendum in executive session and wanted to know the specific section of the law that protected it as an executive session item.
Marilyn Briggs/590 Glenview Drive/Did not want the City to give anything away. The City should have oversight. She was interested in the 30-day advance notice requirement and the project having the funds prior to cutting trees. She recently purchased her ski pass and was excited to ski Mt. Ashland.
Council noted Phase 1 in the Record of Decision (ROD) listed project items but did not really specify what Phase 1 was and now it appeared to head towards any expansion projects and that was better than arguing what was or was not Phase 1. Mr. Lohman explained Phase 1 in the environmental documents were different from the Phase 1 referenced in the original agreement. The focus now was not what was in Phase 1 but ensuring MAA met the requirements with respect to any projects following the projects already approved and identified as connected projects by the US Forest Service. He clarified the addendum did not change anything in the original agreement, it added the paragraph with (a), (b), and (c) that addressed projects not approved by the US Forest Service.
Councilor Slattery further clarified inserting the paragraph was a physical modification to the agreement and did not modify the actual agreement. This was an addition to the agreement, leaving the rest of the agreement in place and asking for MAA’s approval that this was the common understanding. Using the term “Phase One” was the problem. If there was going to be an expansion on Mt. Ashland in ecological sensitive areas, the City wanted to ensure protection by having the money raised prior to starting the project.
Mayor Stromberg commented the only projects MAA could propose to do were in the ROD. The US Forest Service would determine connectedness of the projects and financial analysis.
Councilor Slattery/Lemhouse m/s to approve the proposed Addendum to the agreement between Mt. Ashland Association and the City of Ashland. DISCUSSION: Councilor Slattery supported the addendum because it moved things forward. He did not think it would ever be a perfect situation and if MAA violated the agreement he would side with the group wanting a formal injunction.
Councilor Lemhouse/Marsh m/s to suspend Council rules. Voice Vote: Councilor Morris, Lemhouse, Slattery and Marsh, YES; Councilor Voisin and Rosenthal, NO. Motion passed 4-2.
MAA General Manager Kim Clark clarified the warming hut was at the top of the lift and no trees would be cut. Additionally, the US Forest Service could consider the warming hut a standalone project. Currently MAA did not have any projects lined up and were doing everything on an as needed basis. The sixteen runs were interconnected. Other potential standalone projects included the Guest Services building, the tubing area, Run 23A and the addition of the surface lift on the knoll area. Mr. Clark would provide a list of projects that were potentially connected or not connected.
Mr. Clark explained that fundraising was ongoing. MAA had a goal of $250,000 and needed to raise approximately $6,000. They also had money in reserve. The financial ability determination with the US Forest Service April 2013 satisfied that MAA had enough money to fund the entire the project. He addressed the parking lot expansion and explained by the time all the permits came in for the project, weather prevented completion. They would gravel the parking lot for use during the winter and pave it next spring. The delay would add costs that MAA could cover.
Council rules resumed.
DISCUSSION on motion resumed: Councilor Lemhouse thought the addendum helped clarify the agreement. The document had the best intentions to protect the City from liability, allowed participation in the expansion and put the City in a stronger position than it was before. It was frustrating for some that the US Forest Service had more power than the City in this situation but overall he thought the addendum strengthened the agreement.
Councilor Voisin motioned to amend the motion that Recital (b), Section 4(b), and 4(e) remain as stated. Under 1(a), provide US Forest Service detailed plans for the project within the terms of 4(b) in this agreement. Motion died for lack of a second.
DISCUSSION on main motion: Councilor Voisin thought 1(c) and 1(b) weakened the agreement and subsequently weakened the City’s ability to protect the watershed. Mr. Lohman reiterated the addendum strengthened the agreement by making it clear it applied to all the projects in the ROD.
Councilor Morris thought it was an addition and strengthened the agreement. Phase 1 was never accurately defined, not even in the ROD. The addendum provided more protection and security for the City.
Councilor Rosenthal/Lemhouse m/s to call for the question. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Slattery, Voisin, Marsh, Morris, Rosenthal, and Lemhouse, NO. Motion failed.
Councilor Marsh/Slattery m/s to amend the motion adding to the addendum Section 1(c) “and other inter-connected projects as determined by the US Forest Service.”
DISCUSSION: Councilor Marsh thought the addendum needed an acknowledgement of other inter-connected projects and that the City expected MAA to have the financial resources to cover them. Councilor Slattery supported the motion. Councilor Voisin thought the language was ambiguous.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Slattery, Marsh, Morris, and Lemhouse, YES; Councilor Voisin and Rosenthal, NO. Motion passed 4-2.
Roll Call Vote on the amended main motion: Councilor Slattery, Marsh, Morris, Rosenthal and Lemhouse, YES; Councilor Voisin, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
3. A Report on the Mt. Ashland Association’s summer work plan and expansion-related activities
Engineering Services Manager Scott Fleury explained Mt. Ashland Association (MAA) started construction activities in September that included the parking lot expansion and re-contouring the Sonnet and Blossom ski runs with completion on the Sonnet run re-contour. Weather delayed the parking lot expansion. MAA would gravel the lot for use during the winter and pave it spring 2014. There was minimal risk for erosion on the parking lot. MAA had check dams and erosion control measures established around the parking lot, the gravel and impacting would keep it in place.
Eric Navickas/2060 Mill Creek, Prospect OR/Thought MAA failed by starting the parking lot project in September. The engineering plans showed a large catchment basin in the Cottonwood Creek drainage that would not happen this season. The Environmental Protection Agency was harshly critical of the Cottonwood Creek drainage area. These types of projects produced the most sediment the first year following the project and an incomplete project with bare exposed soil was worse. He shared other projects MAA had done badly that had a negative effect on the environment and noted his appeal to the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA).
City Administrator Dave Kanner responded to Mr. Navickas’ testimony explaining he received an email from the US Forest Service earlier stating MAA recently installed the prefabricated sediment basin in the parking lot. MAA would incorporate additional rock check dams in the ditch below the new parking lot back slope to mitigate sediment mobilization off site.
Staff was not aware of seismic requirements for the excavation itself and none were listed in the permit. As far as the contract with David Evans & Associates for peer review of the engineering plans, they reviewed all the plans MAA provided and generated comments on both the engineer plans and the permit. Staff did not expect further review. In addition, David Evans & Associates had already reviewed the paving as part of the engineering plans.
4. FY 2012-2013 Quarterly Financial Report for April – June 2013
Administrative Services/Finance Director Lee Tuneberg explained the report showed preliminary numbers with final numbers coming to Council in December. The City finished the year without budget violations. There was a strengthening in the financial position due to cash carry over, some revenue, and departments under spending budgets. Some projects budgeted for were not completed to projected levels. The City financed the projects it needed to finance and paid obligations that reduced the existing debt service. In the financial report, City Administrator Dave Kanner looked for major variances between actual, budgeted, and overspending.
Mr. Tuneberg addressed the Personnel Services growth rate of 3.3% instead of the budgeted 6.5%. Personnel Services was difficult to budget due to position vacancies. Mr. Kanner added in large organizations 2-3% of the positions could be vacant at any given time. In addition, several large projects that did not get funding attributed to the $10,000,000 shortage in Capital Expenditures. Capital Improvement projects in the budget were close to 100% completion.
Councilor Rosenthal/Morris m/s to approve the FY 2012-13 Quarterly Financial Report. Roll Call Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
5. Discussion regarding Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) application to amend condition No. 27 of Jackson County Ordinance 2009-7 and requesting an exemption from the automatic irrigation requirement in LDO 9.2.8.
City Administrator Dave Kanner explained during the previous night’s Study Session Council discussed whether to send a letter to Jackson County whose Planning Commission was having a Public Hearing November 14, 2013 on an application from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to amend conditions of approval for the Siskiyou Welcome Center and Rest Area project. ODOT was requesting two things, to amend one of the conditions of approval to get permission from Jackson County to use Talent Irrigation District (TID) water to do irrigation at the property. The other was an exception from the Jackson County Land Development ordinance so ODOT will not have to extend an automatic sprinkler system to drought tolerant landscaping they proposed as part of the project. The amendments ODOT proposed did not affect the City’s agreement with ODOT that required them to use City water only for interior domestic purposes, not for irrigation purposes. It was also explicit in the agreement the City would not extend water and sewer services until they had constructed and provided a plan for staffing the Welcome Center.
Dr. Chris Skrepetos/4424 Hwy 66/Commended the Council for its conditions on the proposed Welcome Center and Rest Area and urged Council to retain those conditions. He reviewed the proposed letter and suggested alternate language. In the letter under item #2 the City should clarify they wanted the Welcome Center and Rest Area built contemporaneously to ensure the Welcome Center was part of the project. The second item would insert the fact Travel Oregon had indicated they would raise $2,000,000 to fund the Welcome Center. The third item was language regarding staffing. The minutes stated the Welcome Center would be staffed by 2-3 members 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Council should emphasize there should always be two staff. Another item was fire prevention.
City Attorney Dave Lohman confirmed the suggestions from Dr. Skrepetos were contrary to the Order Council sent June 2011 and adopting them would create a new Order. Mr. Kanner clarified the four year window would have completion of the Welcome Center by June 21, 2015. Mr. Lohman would include a provision in the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) the City could shut off water to the Welcome Center if staffing requirements changed.
Councilor Lemhouse/Marsh m/s the Council to submit Jackson County Planning Commissioners the letter provided by City Administrator Kanner regarding the proposed Rest Area and Welcome Center by ODOT. DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse appreciated Dr. Skrepetos’ comments but had concern if they changed the Order it could give ODOT another chance to modify the agreement and he did not want to take that chance.
Councilor Voisin motioned to amend the motion regarding the letter to include a statement that the City oppose the exemption because such a system serves an outdoor area like an indoor sprinkler system serves a building and Oak Knoll needs the protection from a fire because of the construction and huge additional human activity that will be taking place around the new center. Motion died for lack of a second.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Rosenthal, Morris, Marsh, Voisin, Slattery, and Lemhouse, YES. Motion passed.
6. Discussion regarding placing on the ballot the matter of changing the elected County Commissioner positions to non-partisan elected positions.
Councilor Marsh explained Jackson County Commissioner Don Skundrick was investigating placing on the ballot a measure whether the board of commissioners should be a non-partisan commission. Council could write a letter to the board of commissioners requesting the item go on the ballot. Council directed staff to draft a letter for a future Council meeting.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS
Councilor Voisin shared results from the October 22, 2013 Veterinary Clinic Day for the homeless and poor in Ashland. Veterinarians vaccinated and examined fourteen dogs and four cats. The next clinic day would occur after the shelter opened early December. The Ashland Homeless Coalition was working on a grant and major contribution to veterinarians so clinic days could continue every three or four months.
Councilor Voisin went on to announce on October 21, 2013, over 70 people attended the volunteer shelter training for the shelter at Pioneer Hall, Cornel West’s rescheduled lecture at the Southern Oregon University Campus would happen November 14, 2013 and that Uncle Foods Diner was feeding over 150 people every Tuesday evening and thanked the volunteers.
Councilor Lemhouse announced the upcoming Ashland High School football game and noted the power sporting events had in bringing the community together.
Meeting was adjourned at 10:26 p.m.
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder John Stromberg, Mayor