MINUTES FOR THE STUDY SESSION
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
Monday, July 20, 2015
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way
Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 5:29 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room.
Councilor Lemhouse, Rosenthal, Morris, Voisin, Seffinger, and Marsh were present.
1. Public Input
Huelz Gutcheon/2253 Hwy 99/Distributed a document submitted into the record that showed the total per capita of energy used and that 53% was lost through heating. The energy signature showed residential, transportation and factories each used one third. Residential used the majority of energy for heating and cooling. Electric bills based 10,000-kilowatt (kW) hours per year for household use. When combined with wasted heat that increased to 200,000-kW hours yearly per household. Greenhouse gas problems were a 20-40 year plan. Carbons per household added up to 5,000 tons yearly. The Greenhouse Gas Inventory would establish a number that included housing but did not measure cars or factories. Electric cars, eating lifestyle, and frugal spending would decrease transportation and manufacturing but there would always be one-third use for factories. City infrastructure added another 30% carbon increase.
Mayor Stromberg postponed the Executive Session. They had not received input from all the Councilors to conduct the performance evaluation of a public officer.
2. Look Ahead review
City Administrator Dave Kanner reviewed items on the Look Ahead.
3. Discussion of Housing Trust Fund
Housing and Human Services Commission (HHSC) Chair Rabbi Joshua Boettiger provided recent history on the Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF) and explained it needed three components. The first component was already in place, and was the mission. It included history, use of funds, a possible activities list, and related to Council Goals. The second component was establishing an administrative body to run the Trust and third, identify a dedicated source or sources of revenue. The Commission wanted approval to focus on a study and make recommendations on revenue sources. They would identify the housing needs in the community first, analyze a list of possible ongoing funding sources, look into economic possibilities, and make recommendations to Council with the goal of having a sustainable funding stream approved prior to the 2016 budget cycle.
Senior Planner Brandon Goldman explained one of the reasons the City formed the AHTF was how it would work collaboratively with the Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). The federal government funded the CDBG program and allocated money for specific activities. The AHTF established a funding source the City could use to close the gaps and work with CDBG money. One of the stipulations in Resolution 2008-34 was trust funds could not contribute more than 50% of the cost of a project. The CDBG fund could provide the other 50% or outside funding sources.
Inclusionary Zoning was a strategy under the land use code where a certain percentage of units are required to be affordable within a proposal. Up to 25% of units acquired through annexation needed to be affordable. Instead of building affordable units, a developer could pay an In Lieu of Fee that went towards purchasing land or developing affordable housing elsewhere. One of the concerns with an In Lieu of Fee was whether the City had land available to apply the funds for affordable housing.
House Bill 2564 would have permitted the use of inclusionary zoning to create affordable housing in all communities but it recently failed. There was a possibility it would be re-introduced in February 2016.
Proceeds from the Chitwood property sale went into the AHTF and was currently at $166,000. One of the directions received in 2008 from the Finance Department was in order for the fund to become viable it needed to be at $250,000 to pay for its own internal audits. There were not any projects currently asking for the funds but the CDBG application from Options for Homeless Residents in Ashland (OHRA), indicated using AHTF funds as part of a funding source.
Conservation grants were available for solar or conservation measures on any type of housing. One of the eligible uses in the AHTF was measures that reduced utility costs for occupants.
The HHSC subcommittee was interested in funding from several revenue sources and possibly a small percentage of the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT). Housing Specialist Linda Reid would administer the grant process.
Council wanted the Commission to focus on what they would use the money for, how much was necessary, justify the expense to the public, and then establish funding sources in accordance to current code and goals. Council should be the ultimate administrators as well. One comment suggested prioritizing the eligible uses under 3.5 in Resolution 2008-34. Another suggestion was looking into acquiring built units, retrofitting to extend the sunset on affordability, and investigating market rate units as well.
Mr. Golden explained the resolution outlined how the AHTF would be administered. Staff and the HHSC could issue a request for proposal (RFP) for 90% of the funds in a given year. Evaluating responses would be similar to the CDBG process with Council approving final awards. The remaining 10% could be awarded through a notice of funding availability. Chair Boettiger further explained Council could eventually allocate AHTF funds to homeownership and down payment programs, rental and housing repair projects and identify needs yearly.
Council majority approved the HHSC moving forward to research and develop a plan that included needs, uses, priorities, cost amounts, and revenue sources for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund for future review by Council.
Meeting adjourned at 6:13 p.m.
Assistant to the City Recorder