MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
January 6, 2015
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.
Councilor Voisin, Morris, Seffinger, Rosenthal, and Marsh were present. Councilor Lemhouse arrived at 7:22 p.m.
ELECTION OF COUNCIL CHAIR
Mayor Stromberg announced vacancies on the Public Arts, Transportation, Housing and Human Services and Tree Commissions.
Councilor Marsh announced the first annual State of City celebration on January 27, 2015 beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Community Center 59 Winburn Way.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Study Session of December 15, 2014 and Business Meeting of December 16, 2014 were approved as presented.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
Mayor Stromberg read the proclamation of January 10, 2015 as Christmas Tree-Cycle day in Ashland.
Huelz Gutcheon/2253 Hwy 99/Explained climate change was already here and there were more disasters on the way. Society accidentally created a monster carbon-blanket-pile-up. The least Ashland could do was stop building homes and buildings designed to spew carbon pollution for the next hundred years. Stopping bad growth would not ruin the economy. New construction costs citizens twice the money it brought to the economy. Ashland was wasting $7,000,000 to ruin the atmosphere 30 times faster than not. He suggested a moratorium on building growth effective immediately. Government salaries could go towards energy engineers to install mega watts of solar, run cutting edge upgrade programs and generate intelligent structural wattage destinations. The Ashland Renewal Acquisition Department would oversee planning. Mr. Gutcheon himself would put it all together. The City could start by cost effectively leasing Tesla electric cars to all the Councilors to help learn where we are all heading and what it feels like to be going the right way.
1. Approval of a public contract to Professional Sales and Service for a Type 1 Ambulance
2. Special procurement for the purchase of flame resistant clothing from Tyndale Company
Councilor Rosenthal/Marsh m/s to approve Consent Agenda items. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
PUBLIC HEARINGS (None)
UNFINISHED BUSINESS (None)
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Approval of AFN Strategic Business Plan
Director of Information Technology and Electric Mark Holden explained staff had ordered the equipment to increase internet capacity, were writing the Request for Quotation (RFQ), and expected to have the system up and delivering commercial internet by the end of May or mid June 2015. The Strategic Plan had a broader scope that suggested a shift to a service solution orientation. The Plan would also help Internet Service Providers (ISP) reverse customer loss and AFN gain customers. The second project providing fiber optic would not be implemented until 2017 and was still technically, financially, and operationally viable for AFN. Staff would bring the project to the next budget cycle.
Net neutrality would prohibit an individual or a company’s ability to prioritize their traffic over the internet in deference to others. Presently, it looked like the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would support net neutrality. It would not affect AFN but could affect customers who purchase Hulu or Netflix.
Council supported the options but wanted more information regarding the Strategic Plan. If it was a strategic business plan, it needed development regarding marketing, advertising, and promotions. Mr. Holden clarified a tactical plan traditionally contained that level of detail. The strategic plan drove the philosophy behind the tactical plans creating an operating cycle.
Councilor Lemhouse arrived at 7:22 p.m.
Currently staff was using a product approach to the market and wanted to change that to a market and solutions approach instead. The Strategic Plan defined the markets AFN wanted to reach and how to provide products and services unique to those markets. Mr. Holden clarified the Passive Optical Networks (PON) was a delivery of internet services under a new technology. Historically AFN’s approach was as an internet company when it was actually a company of a value provided by the product to a market place. The City needed to sell that value to specific markets and that is what the new approach would entail. PON was a faster, more reliable way of delivering that service. AFN was trying to form these into product sets that served market needs rather than a product company. This was the fundamental shift in how AFN would look at the market, advertise, and sell and how it would work with their partners. Establishing PON would begin 2017 and would give AFN a strategic advantage.
Mr. Holden clarified AFN’s goal was not to market against any of their Internet Service Providers (ISP) partners, the goal was to market against Charter Communications. Network performance and reliability would be the biggest determining factor of AFN’s success. Other challenges AFN needed to work through was inconsistency and ineffectiveness bringing new products to market. That had been the most detriment to AFN in the past.
Council majority was not ready to approve the plan and directed staff to come back to the next Council meeting with a document showing the steps and decision points between now and the implementation of the first phase of the plan.
2. Annual review of Investments Policy for the City of Ashland
City Recorder Barbara Christensen explained no changes had occurred since the last time the investment policy came before Council. Although the City added local credit unions to the policy a couple years prior, so far none had elected to participate in the state program. The current portfolio was at $33,500,000 with $32,500,000 in the Local Government Investment Pool and recently picked up a $1,000,000 certificate of deposit (CD) through the local branch of the Umpqua Bank at a higher interest than the Local Government Investment Pool offered.
Councilor Rosenthal/Morris m/s to approve City of Ashland Investment Policy. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Morris, Lemhouse, Seffinger, Rosenthal, and Marsh, YES. Motion passed.
3. Council adoption of administrative goals and objectives
City Administrator Dave Kanner explained the department heads and his office developed administrative goals and objectives to address daily services the City provided. Staff broke them down into two main categories and tried to follow the same format Council had used. The major goal categories were the Quality of Life, Environment and Sustainability Goal that included public safety, municipal infrastructure, planning, and economic development. The second was an Administration Governance Goal that addressed the internal service departments. Administrative goals were a sub-set of a strategic plan staff wanted to print and distribute.
Mr. Kanner could integrate the Quality of Life, Environment and Sustainability Goal into the framework of the Council’s strategic goals.
Councilor Rosenthal suggested the following word changes:
- Change the word “Environment” in the Quality of Life, Environment and Sustainability Goal to “Core Services” or “Fundamental Municipal Services.”
- Public Safety Objectives, first bullet point replace the word “increase” with “improve” and include how to measure outcome
- Long Range Planning Objectives, first bullet point, add zones to clarify
- Administration and Governance Goal, change “Governance” to “Government”
- Administration and Governance Goal, Objectives, first bullet point, replace “at an acceptable level” with “with a high level of professionalism”
- Administration and Governance Goal, Objectives, fourth bullet point, replace “Ensure” with “Protect”
- Administration and Governance Goal, Objectives, change language of the fifth bullet point to read, “Utilize proven technology to enhance efficiencies and customer satisfaction”
Council comment supported having the goals as a sub-set instead of integrating them into Council goals for transparency and wanted the City leadership team and the Parks and Recreation Director listed. Other comments expressed disappointment with the lack of sustainability regarding climate change in the goals and objectives and wanted the words “Environment” and “Sustainability” removed from the goal heading.
Mr. Kanner thought environment and sustainability went beyond climate change. Operating efficiently, providing clean water, and wastewater treatment contributed to the environmental quality of the city and the sustainability of internal operations. Staff looked at sustainability as an ethic embraced through daily operations and not a matter of planning for climate change. Additionally, staff did not want to duplicate what Council had discussed in terms of environment and sustainability. That said, he was comfortable removing the words “Environment” and “Sustainability” from the goal title.
Councilor Voisin/Rosenthal m/s to approve 2015-2017 Administrative Goals and Objectives with change of title from Quality of Life, Environment and Sustainability Goal to Municipal Services.
DISCUSSION: Councilor Voisin thought the goals were solid and some significantly related to Council goals.
Councilor Rosenthal/Voisin m/s to amend the motion to include the amendments proposed by Councilor Rosenthal and Seffinger. DISCUSSION: Councilor Marsh supported integrating the documents. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Marsh, Lemhouse, Voisin, Seffinger, Rosenthal, and Morris, YES. Motion passed.
Continued discussion on amended motion: Councilor Lemhouse supported the objectives and goals. He thought the title change was unnecessary, wanted to support the goals in their entirety, and would not vote against the motion. Roll Call Vote on amended motion: Councilor Marsh, Lemhouse, Voisin, Seffinger, Rosenthal, and Morris, YES. Motion passed.
ELECTION OF COUNCIL CHAIR
Councilor Seffinger/Lemhouse m/s to appoint Councilor Marsh as Council President. DISCUSSION: Councilor Seffinger worked with Councilor Marsh in leadership situations and was impressed. Councilor Lemhouse thought Councilor Marsh not only led, she collaborated well, and as a Council Chair, that was an important function. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Morris, Lemhouse, Voisin, Rosenthal, Marsh, and Seffinger, YES. Motion passed.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Approval of a resolution titled, “A resolution of the City Council declaring the Chautauqua Square Fountain surplus property”
City Administrator Dave Kanner explained staff hired a construction cost-estimating firm to examine the fountain and determine repair costs. The firm estimated it would cost $90,000 for repairs and $102,000 to relocate the fountain not including the cost of new plumbing at the relocated site. The bids were higher to cover every possibility and actual costs might be lower. Declaring the fountain surplus property would give members of the public an opportunity to purchase and remove the fountain at their own expense. Incorrect installation, marble not intended for outdoor use, freeze and thaw cycles, and the use of sealant led to cracks and operation issues. The pump and plumbing appeared to be old but functional. Council needed to decide whether to spend the money to save the fountain and determine the City’s obligation to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) to honor their request to remove the fountain.
Better Way Consulting was a construction cost-estimating firm in Medford that had provided cost estimates on historic preservation projects for the Parks and Recreation Department in the past. The Parks Superintendent and the Public Works Superintendent determined the plumbing was functional. The City did not hire a plumbing company nor did they hire a marble expert to examine the marble.
OSF General Manager Ted Delong explained OSF wanted to activate Chautauqua Square and make it a more inviting space for patrons and the community. They wanted the fountain removed because it was a detriment to their goals of improving the area and the space itself. OSF short-term plans for the space focused more on use than architecture. Long term was based on the future of the Black Swan theatre itself. OSF was going through the conditional use permit process to have a food concession with tables and chairs. The fountain inhibited the space and removing it would allow for more tables and chairs and better circulation. OSF would be responsible for removing the planter box.
Councilor Voisin commented it was OSF’s responsibility to maintain the fountain as part of the lease and asked why OSF had not maintained the fountain. Mr. Delong was not aware OSF was responsible for the fountain. City Attorney Dave Lohman referred to an email response to Councilor Voisin submitted into the record. Section 8 of the lease gave OSF the responsibility of maintaining, repairing, and renewing any improvements to the property. It was added by the City after the lease began and there was no evidence of any agreement on who would specifically maintain that particular improvement. In the general terms of the lease it was their responsibility. If the City felt the lease was being breached at any time, it was required to notify OSF to cure the breach. The City never notified OSF to undertake the maintenance of the fountain presumably because there was never any clear agreement about that particular improvement. If the City enforced the maintenance obligation, under the lease, OSF was not obligated to keep it and could ask the City to remove the fountain.
Council noted the City originally installed the fountain improperly and if that was the case, the City could not require OSF to maintain it. Mr. Lohman added OSF was not receiving any benefit from the fountain and it was originally the City’s piece of equipment.
Councilor Voisin asked if OSF would take better care of the building.
Councilor Lemhouse called for a point of order regarding the line of questions from Councilor Voisin. Mayor Stromberg ruled in favor of Councilor Voisin. Councilor Lemhouse appealed the Mayor’s decision noting the speaker was there to discuss the fountain and not the condition of the Black Swan Theatre.
Councilor Lemhouse/Marsh m/s to overturn the Mayor’s ruling in the point of order. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Morris, Lemhouse, Seffinger, Rosenthal, and Marsh, YES; Councilor Voisin, NO. Motion passed.
Councilor Morris explained he did not have a question but did have a comment.
Councilor Voisin called for a point of order, this was a questioning time and not a comment time. Mayor Stromberg ruled in favor of Councilor Voisin.
Councilor Marsh/Morris m/s to approve Resolution #2015-01. DISCUSSION: Councilor Marsh noted the fountain was 24 years old, not an historic piece and had created a series of errors from installation to the various attempts at repairs. She hoped OSF would move forward with some interesting and engaging things in the space and wanted to support their efforts. Councilor Morris agreed, the fountain was installed 1990 and shut down in 1992. The design was not right, the installation flawed with inadequate materials. Councilor Seffinger thought Council should work with businesses and partners in a positive way and hoped the space became an attribute to the community.
Councilor Voisin would not support the motion. The fountain was functioning. The material was not the issue it was the maintenance. Citizens were concerned. The fountain was a part of the ambiance downtown. Local experts said repairs could be done very reasonably. Councilor Lemhouse trusted the work done by staff. It would upset people if they thought something was not being done in the right manner especially is they were misled into thinking things were a way they were not. The reality was the fountain was not a historic piece, installed improperly and according to staff something they could not get to work. The lease agreement was clear. OSF was telling the City the fountain devalued the property and wanted the City to remove it per the lease. Councilor Voisin thought comments stating the fountain could not be repaired were unfounded and Council needed a second opinion. She felt strongly that taxpayers should not pay for any removal of the fountain. OSF should be responsible for the removal. It was their responsibility as a lessee. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Rosenthal, Morris, Lemhouse, Marsh, and Seffinger, YES; Councilor Voisin, NO. Motion approved 5-1.
Councilor Marsh/Rosenthal m/s to direct staff to remove the Chautauqua Square fountain if no bids are received for it, to relocate the newspaper boxes on East Main Street to the location formerly occupied by the phone booth and bench opposite the Black Swan plaza, and to work with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival on the removal of the planter box at the southeast corner of East Main and Pioneer Streets. DISCUSSION: Mr. Kanner explained the newspaper boxes were located next to a parking space. Moving them would discourage people from sitting there and contributing to the gauntlet problem the space currently experienced. People would continue to sit on the planter box at Chautauqua Square and around the lamppost. However, it would end the current situation of people sitting on either side. Councilor Voisin reiterated a statement from Police Chief Holderness that moving things would not solve behavior issues. It would just move those people to another place. She would not support the motion. Councilor Marsh agreed, when you take things away it did not change the chemistry of the place. OSF was interested in creating a great public space that invited a cross section of the community. It was not about getting rid of people, it was about creating a different environment by inviting all kinds of people into the space. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Rosenthal, Morris, Lemhouse, Marsh and Seffinger, YES; Councilor Voisin, NO. Motion approved 5-1.
2. First reading of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance amending Ashland Municipal Code Chapter 4.34, Food and Beverage Tax”
Councilor Voisin explained there were a few non-substantive changes. City Attorney Dave Lohman added if Council wanted to move forward with the amendment he thought other language modifications needed to occur for clarification.
Councilor Lemhouse called for a point of order and suggested Council ask Councilor Voisin questions regarding the amendment in lieu of a report to Council. Mayor Stromberg ruled in favor of Councilor Lemhouse.
Councilor Voisin motioned approval of First Reading by title only of an ordinance titled, “An Ordinance Amending Ashland Municipal Code Chapter 4.34, Food and Beverage Tax” and move the ordinance to second reading. Motion died for lack of a second.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS-continued
4. Council discussion of proper interpretation of AMC 2.04.030.B(1), “Agenda Additions by Councilors”
City Administrator Dave Kanner explained the item addressed whether Councilors should have the right to put anything on any agenda or if there should be a check on that authority in the form that required a motion at a Council meeting, going through a Study Session, or where the Councilor did the preparatory work himself or herself. He shared his interpretation of the code and that he realized recently that Council interpreted the code differently.
City Attorney Dave Lohman explained there were three stages to agenda items. First, someone made a decision to spend staff and Council time. The Mayor could unilaterally make the decision to add an item to an agenda and trigger material preparation by staff. The City Administrator and City Attorney could also unilaterally add agenda items. Additionally, four or more Councilors could decide to add an agenda item as well. The second stage involved material preparation. The third stage was deliberation of a proposed action.
The question before Council was when should a Councilor be able to make the decision to spend time preparing, if ever. A Councilor could do that as long as staff preparation took less than two hours. It was not appropriate if what they were proposing would take more than two hours of preparation. Mr. Kanner interpreted it that one Councilor could trigger this series of events as long as preparation did not exceed more than two hours of staff time. The question before Council was do we let one person trigger these steps even if the person prepared the material themselves and if it would have taken longer than two hours for staff to do the work.
Mr. Kanner clarified the suggested motion #1 in the Council Communication that interpreted AMC 2.04.030.B(1) to mean that a Councilor could place on a business meeting agenda an item that would otherwise require more than two hours of staff time, was how he had interpreted the code. Suggested motion #2 that interpreted AMC 2.04.030.B(1) to mean a Councilor could place on a business meeting agenda any item requiring Council action, except those items requiring more than two hours of staff time, was how he thought Council interpreted the code. Additionally, under Other Business From Council Members/Reports From Council Liaisons, a Councilor could make a motion to add an item to a future agenda.
Council commented any Councilor could place any agenda item on the agenda if they did all the work and did not know that Council wanted to do that. It diminished the role of the Mayor as someone who had control over the agenda. The two-hour limit did not work. Other comment wanted a method that involved and encouraged collaboration where a Councilor got at least one co-sponsor to take it to a Study Session. This should also apply to the Study Session agenda.
Councilor Voisin called for a point of order because Council was not discussing adding agenda items to the Study Session. Mayor Stromberg ruled against the point of order.
Council thought retaining the opportunity of one Councilor getting an agenda item before the Council was an avenue for Council to express and hear minority opinions. A Councilor had the opportunity and the right to bring an issue to the Council. Other comments thought it was easy to add agenda items and did not think there was a problem. The City Charter had Councilors going through the Mayor to add agenda items. Council suggested changing the language so a Councilor could put something on the agenda if they did all the work. A Council concern was the amount of staff time and money incurred if there were many instances of adding items to the agenda. Another concern was the observation that Council had already abused adding items to Study Session agendas.
Mr. Lohman noted the objection to a consideration of a motion was powerful and efficient and something Council could and should use to make meetings work better.
The Mayor and staff would work on an amendment that allowed any Councilor to put any item that he or she wanted on a Council meeting agenda. The Councilor would do all the work for the staff report and the Mayor would decide which agenda it went on. Council suggested adding it to Other Business From Council Members/Reports From Council Liaisons. Council wanted a six-month period to put items on agenda. Opposing comment did not think a six-month period was needed when Council could motion to add their item to the agenda at the meeting. Mr. Lohman wanted the ability to review and edit potential ordinances and improve if needed.
The Mayor and staff would bring back an amendment to AMC 2.04.030.B(1) for discussion that allowed Councilors to place an item on the agenda as long they did all the work. The Mayor would determine the agenda date within reason.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS
Councilor Marsh passed out copies of the invitation they were distributing for the State of the City celebration. She asked Council to forward any names they thought should go on the master list to Executive Secretary Diana Shiplet. Council Liaisons would email or talk to their Commissions and encourage them to attend the event as well.
Councilor Lemhouse welcomed Councilor Seffinger.
ADJOURNMENT OF BUSINESS MEETING
Meeting adjourned at 10:04 p.m.
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder John Stromberg, Mayor