Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Minutes
Monday, September 14, 2015

                                             MINUTES FOR THE STUDY SESSION
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
Monday, September 14, 2015
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way
 
Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 5:33 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room. 
 
Councilor Morris, Seffinger, Voisin, and Marsh were present.  Councilor Lemhouse arrived at 5:38 p.m.  Councilor Rosenthal was absent. 
 
1.    Public Input Jeff Sharpe/553 Fordyce/Suggested Council start inviting professionals in the community to attend Council working sessions to share their expertise on agenda topics.  This would also include better publishing of agenda topics, specific invitations to community members, and holding the meetings in Council Chambers to accommodate more attendees.  He went on to address the recent Greenhouse Gas Request for Proposal (RFP) and shared his disappointment in the process.  His company submitted an RFP and he described the efforts that went into the preparation.
 
2.    Look Ahead review
City Administrator Dave Kanner reviewed items on the Look Ahead.
 
3.   Energy Efficiency and Conservation Programs update
Management Analyst Adam Hanks introduced City employees Larry Giardina who managed commercial energy and solar systems and Dan Cunningham who managed residential energy and construction.  Mr. Hanks provided a presentation on Energy Efficiency and Renewables that included:
Goals
  • To provide educational and technical assistance to Ashlandís residents, businesses and institutions in the efficient and cost effective local generation and use of energy
Objectives
  • Ensure programs include all customer segments
  • Emphasize services/programs that achieve the greatest savings at the lowest cost over the life of the product
  • Participate in development of efficiency programs regionally to enhance local opportunities
 
Mr. Hanks participated in the Utilities Sounding Board that provided customer feedback to Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) as well as the Oregon Municipal Utilities (OMU) that handled legislation and energy related issues relating to municipalities.
 
How are we funded
  • BPA
  • Energy Efficient Implementation (EEI) Budget on a two year rate period (Federal FY)
  • Reimbursements only for BPA approved efficiency measures
  • Annual Implementation Manual is the guide for eligible programs
City Electric Rate Funds
  • Solar PV and Thermal Programs
  • Augmenting incentives to increase uptake for targeted BPA programs
  • Conservation Loan program Ė Zero interest five year revolving loan.
Budget Breakdown graphs - Numbers higher this year than last year, SOU had a project
Programs
  • Appliances, weatherization, HVAC (heat pumps), Lighting, New Construction, Renewable Energy Generation, Custom Projects, Technical Assistance
Program Tools:  Rebates, Incentives, Zero Interest Loans (on bill financing), Technical Assistance & Education
Program Benefits
  • Customers
  • Cost savings from reduced consumption increased comfort and health, improved efficiency of equipment
Electric Utility/City
  • Mitigation of future rates
  • Improved grid/demand management
  • Economic Development support
Program Highlights graphs
Program Highlights continued Solar PV Program graphs
Coming Soon
  • Online Home Energy Assessment
  • Energy performance Score Pilot
  • Solar resource GIS Mapping tool
  • Solar Pioneer II - Pricing Updates
  • Net Metering Policy Update
  • Energy Efficiency & Renewables Annual Report
 
Mr. Giardina explained customers consumed energy generated from their solar panels on site or gave it to the City who credited it back to them later in kilowatt-hours.  It reduced their electric bill by the amount of the solar they generated.
 
Council was interested in having a report that showed how solar and other conservation efforts progressed over a five-year period. 
 
Mr. Giardina went on to explain there were approximately 200 customers using solar energy.  Two-thirds of the residents could not have solar due to shading issues.  Ashland was the in the top three per capita for solar installations in the state.
 
Historically the City spent BPA allocations on popular energy efficiency programs.  BPA changed their financing in 2011 and recently downsized some incentive amounts for measures due to higher building codes that might make it less of a match for customer needs.  Staff had encouraged BPA to look at developing measures for the tourist industry.  The City wanted to address the majority of rental property in Ashland that typically were less energy efficient than privately owned property.  The Northwest Public Power Council required BPA to allocate funds for energy efficiency programs.
 
Council suggested adding links on the Conservation website to industry associations and partner agencies.
 
4.   Plaza enhancement Project Update
City Administrator Dave Kanner explained the Historic Commission reviewed the project and recommended using 5-gallon plants.  Covey Pardee already recommended this in their proposal along with 3-gallon pants.  Installing fencing around the east and west plant beds was an issue discussed at the previous Council meeting.  Mr. Kanner supported some form of fencing at least temporarily that would allow the plants to establish.
 
Allan Pardee from Covey Pardee further described collapsible and temporary fencing and explained why the public would still trample a foliage barrier.  He recommended a stout fence installed temporarily that was bolted down, approximately 33 inches high, set back 6-inches from the back of curb and did not attach to the seat wall.  Mr. Pardee suggested hunter green for fence color.
 
The Historic Commission also recommended each planter contain an evergreen for year round interest.  Mr. Pardee explained the planters would be four feet across.  Some evergreens would work but might not allow room for annuals.  The planters would connect to the irrigation system used for the hanging baskets in the Plaza.  They would remove the pavers under the pots and a couple in between to install the controller and lines.
 
Council discussed concerns they had with the fencing.  The majority supported sturdy temporary fencing for two years followed with an evaluation on leaving the fencing in place and using hunter green for the fence color.
 
Mr. Kanner noted a letter from the Tree Commission requesting a second review of the tree plan Kerry KenCairn proposed for the Pioneer Street and Lithia Way projects.  Council discussed the request.  Concerns expressed included Ms. KenCairnís treatment by the Tree Commission and during a recent Council meeting, and whether the Tree Commission had already had adequate time to review the plans at an earlier meeting.  Council agreed to let the Tree Commission review the plans but wanted the City Administrator present.  Mr. Kanner would be out of town for that meeting and would send Management Analyst Ann Seltzer in his place.
 
5.   Discussion of purchase of an air quality monitor for Ashland
Councilor Voisin disagreed with City Administrator Dave Kannerís decision not to recommend purchasing an air quality monitor. She suggested the City could work with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF), find a grant, or enlist local meteorologists to manage the system.
 
Mr. Kanner explained the US Forest Service loaned an air quality monitor to OSF.  The raw data fed via satellite to the Western Region Climate Center and posted on their website.  The US Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) might be able to give the City a monitor at no cost.  The City would locate the monitor in the radio room at Fire Station No. 1.  The data would feed to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) who would interpret and post it on their Air Quality Index website.  Depending on the arrangement, the acquistion costs could be $2,500 - $3,000 annually or zero.   He was meeting with the person who arranged the monitor loan for OSF with US Forest Service September 18, 2015.  They were thinking of relocating some of the air quality monitors in the state.  In a phone conversation Mr. Kanner had with DEQ and the US Forest Service, both agencies were in favor of locating a monitor in Ashland.  The DEQ website gave air quality readings for the last hour and prior 24-hour period.  They also provided the same color-coded chart the City website posted.
 
The contract involved DEQ, the US Forest Service, and BLM would expire next month and they would discuss monitor locations during that process.  There was a strong chance the City could get a monitor with data posted on the Air Quality Index website and based on Mr. Kannerís phone conversations with these agencies, they agreed.  If they said no, Council could revisit the issue.  Purchasing an air quality monitor would require hiring a contractor to provide maintenance services that included inspecting and recalibrating it monthly. 
 
Council directed Mr. Kanner to look into the possibility of DEQ, BLM, and the US Forest service installing a monitor in Ashland.
 
Meeting adjourned at 7:04 p.m.
 
 
Dana Smith
Assistant to the City Recorder
 
 

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