Full Budget Committee: Wrap-up/Budget Approval
May 16, 2002, 7:00pm
City Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street
CALL TO ORDER
Chairperson Marty Levine called the meeting to order at 7:06 p.m.
Committee Members Alan DeBoer, Jim Moore, David Williams, Diana Goodwin-Shavey, Regina Stepahin, John Morrison, Chris Hearn, Cate Hartzell, Ray Olsen, Russ Silbiger, and Don Laws were present. Members Cameron Hanson, Susan Reid, and Kate Jackson were absent. Staff Greg Scoles, Lee Tuneberg, Paula Brown, Keith Woodley, David Hard, Greg Case, John McLaughlin, Dick Wanderscheid and City Recorder/Treasurer Barbara Christensen was present. Media present: Miles Murphy (Daily Tidings).
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the April 11 Full Budget Committee Meeting, Subcommittee meeting minutes of April 18, April 25, May 2 and May 9 were approved as presented.
Committee Member Williams shared with the committee and discussion followed regarding a table reflecting property tax versus population and inflation.
FUND BALANCE DISCUSSION
Finance Director Lee Tuneberg gave brief overview of the Ending Fund Balance Comparison, referring to the new recommendations and guidelines from GFOA. The committee discussed issues relating to Ending Fund Balances, rate increase, Parks and Open Space.
Larry Medinger /115 Fork Street/ Spoke regarding the need to make a distinction between active parks and inactive parks. He agreed that it appears that Ashland has more parks acreage than that of comparable cities, but it was a matter of taking advantage of an opportunity to purchase large pieces of land. If this land had not been purchased by the city, then private developers would have purchased the land and the City would never have the corridor over the top of the City. He pointed out that this corridor is currently in process of being developed as a trail system. He felt that, when only considering active parks, Ashland is just holding its own in regards to parkland.
The committee discussed the issues raised regarding Open Space parkland and how the City has been utilizing these lands.
Committee Members Moore/Olsen m/s to approve the April 18 subcommittee recommendation regarding the Parks budget, not including parking lot issues. Roll Call vote: DeBoer, Levine, Moore, Morrison, Hearn, Olsen and Laws, YES; Hartzell, Stepahin, Silbiger, Williams and Goodwin-Shavey, NO. Motion passed 7-5.
Jack Blackburn /805 Oak Street/ Voiced his concern regarding the high cost of living in this community. He cautioned the committee regarding conflict that may occur when considering purchase of land for open space and the need for affordable housing.
Nancy Richardson /93 California Street/ Brought to the attention of the committee the Housing Commission Action Plan. She noted that Ashland was losing its population between the ages of 35-44 and because of that would face major economic problems. She advocated the need for a staff position to work on finding major funding sources. She explained that cities are eligible to receive money that non-profits cannot. She stated the need for someone to organize the non-profits, along with the banks, the private sector, and the government sector. She pointed out that the half-time position proposed would not necessarily turn into full-time position.
The committee discussed the possibility of contracting for this position and the difficulties it could involve.
Richard Seidman /891 Garden Way/ Voiced his support for contracting out this position as he felt there were several non-profit housing providers who could field a position like this. He felt that there would be general fund monies available in the future to develop financial partnerships with other housing providers and housing financiers. He noted his involvement with the State Housing Council and explained that much of their funds are committed regularly where there are local partners willing to match funds. He stated that a great deal of leveraging could be done with a relatively small amount of city funds to bring in other state and federal funds.
Andy Dungan /260 Meadow Drive/ Stated that creating a staff position is a direct function on how growth has changed the nature of our community noting the decline of 35-44 year olds. He commented that this is a complex issue without simple solutions and would require coordination with institutions outside of the City. He felt that without designated staff committed to housing issues, it would be very difficult to maintain a sustained effort in reaching a real impact.
The committee discussed the points made by the public regarding the request for a Housing Coordinator staff position and whether it should be brought forward for approval. The committee agreed to wait and hear comments on any other parking lot issues before making any decisions.
Jack Blackburn /805 Oak Street/ Spoke regarding conflicting policies and asked if there wasn’t a better way of dealing with these issues.
Juli di Chiro /Superintendent Ashland School District/ Briefly updated the committee on the crisis involving funding issues for the schools. She explained that any funding support that the City could provide would be help the School District through this very difficult time. She noted the appreciation by the students and how this would allow them to maintain some of their core programs.
The committee discussed in length the merits of supporting the schools, responsibility of taxpayers, if it was within the purview of the city to providing funding, along with other issues and concerns.
REVIEW PROPOSED BUDGET – AMENDED
The Committee discussed the Parking Lot Issues Summary handout, commenting on parking lot issues.
Committee members Morrison/Hearn m/s to remove all parking lot issues from consideration with the exception of the proposed $205,000 to maintain school grounds by the Parks Department.
The Committee discussed parking lot issues relating to the Fire Department and schools and parks.
Committee members Williams/Levine m/s to amend the motion that there would be no increase in property taxes to support this funding and that staff would continue to explore ways to increase efficiency of the Parks Department and how it relates to City management overall. Roll Call Vote: DeBoer, Levine, Moore, Williams, Goodwin-Shavey, Stepahin, Morrison, Hearn and Laws YES; Silbiger, Olsen and Hartzell, NO. Motion passed 9 to 3.
The Committee continued to discuss ways to find additional funding and it was suggested that by eliminating the City Source would save $45,000 plus staff time.
The Committee discussed the need to consider the request by the Fire Department for additional staffing. Fire Chief Keith Woodley provided additional information on this request and explained that by adding these additional positions could result in savings because it could decreasing staff response and overtime.
Tuneberg explained how funding sources could be found to support parking lot requests.
Scoles commented on some issues that had been raised by the committee regarding the funding request for Park maintenance of the Ashland School District and referred to page 10 of the handouts. He stated that it was important to protect the City and School District from violating Ballot Measure 5 and that this would have to be considered.
Roll Call Vote on amended motion: DeBoer, Levine, Moore, Williams, Goodwin-Shavey, Stepahin, Morrison, Hearn, Olsen, Silbiger, YES; Laws and Hartzell, NO. Motion passed 10 to 2.
Committee members Laws /Hartzell m/s to approve 2.0 FTE Firefighter positions as presented in the parking lot. Voice Vote: All ayes. Motion passed.
COMMITTEE APPROVAL OF 2002-2003 BUDGET
The committee discussed modifications to the proposed budget which included General Fund Senior Program- $31,210, CDBG Carryover - $279,000 and the Electric Fund Energy Analyst - $55,000.
Committee members Moore/Hearn m/s to approve the proposed budget as modified including the Property Tax Permanent Levy of 3.56420/$1,000, Local Option Tax Levy of 1.38000/$1,000 and Bond Levies of $592,000 for a total budget of $91,740,514. Voice Vote: ALL AYES. Motion passed.
Meeting was adjourned at 10:17pm.
Kirsten Bakke, Administrative Assistant to the Finance Director