MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
July 16, 2002 - 7:00 p.m.
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Mayor DeBoer called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
Councilors Laws, Reid, Hartzell, Morrison and Hearn were present. Councilor Jackson was absent.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of July 2, 2002 were approved with the following amendments: page 3 under Bill Greenstein second sentence, amend the sentence to read: " would "not" be worth giving up control." On page 4, paragraph 4; change the spelling of "antidotal," to "anecdotal." Page 3, paragraph 3, change last sentence from, " collaborate with the City Council when considering potential land acquisitions," to " collaborate with other commissions when considering funding strategies."
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS (None)
1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.
2. Ashland Fiber Network Quarterly Report.
3. Annual Liquor License Blanket Approval.
4. Liquor License Application from Jason Edwards dba Los Gordos at 33 3rd Street, No. 3.
5. Liquor License Application from Aaren Glover dba Alchemical Solutions, LLC at 1090 Benson Way, # 1.
Mayor noted that free bus service is now available in Ashland.
Councilors Laws/Reid m/s to approve Consent Agenda. DISCUSSION: Hartzell requested that item #2 be pulled for discussion. Motion amended to approve Consent Agenda items #1, 3-5. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Electric & Telecommunications Director Dick Wanderscheid reported that the connections for cable TV are about 100 above the business plan, the connections for residential internet are about 50 below the plan, and that these figures are net figures. He explained that it is the nature of this community, due to the amount of college students leaving for the summer, to have large amounts of disconnects in May and June. He also noted that another impact on these figures was the cessation of AFN construction from the end of May to end of June because the budget allocation for that had been spent. Construction resumed on July 1.
Wanderscheid reported that bulk TV accounts were over target and that while anticipated revenue was down $44,000, expenses were down $250,000. He noted that it is a goal to try to make AFN available to the entire city in the next fiscal year, and that current installation response time averages 8 days. Wanderscheid clarified that information was available for people who would like to use AFN and also keep their AOL service.
Council directed that in the future AFN Quarterly Reports be placed on the Agenda for discussion rather than on the Consent Agenda.
Councilors Hartzell/Laws m/s to approve AFN Quarterly Report. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
PUBLIC HEARINGS (None)
Patricia Zoline/240 Nutley Street/Read aloud a letter requesting that the Strawberry LID project be reviewed one final time at the next City Council meeting. She noted that although the City's proposed modifications to the sidewalks are an improvement over the original plans, they are still a "lesser of evils" and that on upper Nutley it would be a better option for the City to omit sidewalks altogether.
City Administrator Greg Scoles explained that the only issue that would interfere with further discussion would be the construction schedule.
Reid/Morrison m/s to place discussion of Strawberry LID on agenda for discussion. DISCUSSION: Voice vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Reid noted that since many hours of testimony had been heard and the community and the project engineers had resolved issues, she was not willing to reopen the process. Hartzell requested discussion regarding mountable curbs and sidewalks, and to hear Staff's recommendation. Scoles noted that Staff's recommendation could be brought to the Council, but it would slow progression of the project. Laws saw no reason to discuss mountable curbs, noting that he thought the Council had already agreed to go along with Staff on this issue. He did however, want to discuss sidewalks on upper Nutley. Hearn noted that he had thought the issue would be brought before the Council again.
Public Works Director Paula Brown noted that bringing this back to the Council in three weeks would delay the project. She explained that final checks would go back to the engineers today and it could go out to bid within the next two weeks. Bringing the issue back to the Council would delay this for whatever time it takes for the Council's final decision.
Morrison requested that the issue be brought back on the next agenda, noting it was his understanding that Staff was given direction and latitude in looking at these issues but it would come back to the Council for approval. He stated that he was not open to large-scale changes.
Brown clarified that Staff did not recommend mountable curbs due to safety issues, noting that Fire Department apparatus has no problem mounting flat-face curbing. DeBoer noted support of Staff recommendation on no mountable curbing.
Brown clarified that at the last meeting it had been explained that there was not enough right-of-way for "winding" sidewalks on upper Nutley. She reported that staff had asked residents if they felt they could offer property but no offers were received. She reiterated Staff's recommendation that we do not have mountable curbs on this project, citing safety and parking issues. Brown urged the Council to make a decision tonight so the project could move forward.
Councilors Hearn/Laws m/s to approve the current version of the design as staff has recommended but with the elimination of sidewalks on upper Nutley. Discussion: Hartzell noted issues with sidewalk widths. Brown clarified that Council had given latitude on sidewalk widths. She noted that storm drain and concrete construction could move ahead during the fall and winter.
Hearn motioned to amend the motion by dropping the upper Nutley sidewalk part. Laws did not withdraw his second from the original motion.
Roll Call Vote: Laws, Hearn; YES, Morrison, Hartzell, Reid; NO. Motion Failed 2-3.
Councilor Hartzell motioned that staff bring this back on the next agenda, with the plans, and that we limit discussion to width of sidewalks that were modified since the last discussion, the mountable curbs, and the Nutley sidewalk. Motion died for lack of a second.
Councilors Laws/Morrison m/s to ask staff to bring back the plans for the Strawberry project with regard to the sidewalk locations and widths. Voice vote: Laws, Hearn, Morrison, Reid; YES, Hartzell: NO. Motion passed: 4 to 1.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS (None)
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Water Reservoir Status Update.
Public Works Director Paula Brown reported that, with a conservative estimate, Reeder Reservoir is at 100%. Graphs were presented which indicated water use comparisons for July 2000, 2001 and 2002; water use and temperature comparisons for July 2001 and 2002; and Reeder Reservoir levels. She commended the community for water conservation efforts and noted that practices that were put in place last year are holding true for this year and people are using water wisely. Brown said that there should be no problems with water this year and projects that the reservoir would not go below 70 to 75%.
2. Approval of Three Agreements with the Oregon Department of Transportation:
a. Agreement No. 19017 - Traffic Signal Maintenance Agreement City of Ashland;
b. Agreement No. 19489 - 2001 Oregon Transportation Initiative Act Agreement - Siskiyou Boulevard at Lithia Way and E. Main Street; and,
c. Agreement No. 19686 - Cooperative Improvement Agreement Helman - 2nd Street and Valley View to 4th.
Brown gave a brief overview of the three agreements with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).
Councilors Laws/Morrison m/s to approve the plan and authorize signatures. DISCUSSION: The issues of parking and right-of-ways were questioned and Brown clarified that parking in front of the library is already in the design and approved. That other design improvements could be considered and taken to ODOT. She also noted that jurisdiction issues would be investigated. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS:
1. First reading by title only of "An Ordinance Modifying the Street Dedication Map of the Ashland Comprehensive Plan for the Area known as the Railroad Property between Clear Creek Drive, Williamson Way, Mountain Avenue, and 'A' Street."
Community Development Director John McLaughlin explained the background of the application and Planning Commission's approval and the procedures that were used in the adoption.
McLaughlin brought attention to an error on the part of staff in terms of processing and bringing this forward to the Council. Under procedure changes adopted by the Council a few years ago, the Planning Commission holds authority to take such actions as is necessary to make amendments to maps and zones without further action from the Council, unless the decision is appealed. He explained that an appeal had not been made so further action from the Council was not required. He explained that the Master Plan would come back to the Council sometime in the fall.
McLaughlin stated that it was Staff's opinion that it was appropriate to adopt a Master Plan of streets for this area. The plan would ensure that as development occurs in the future it is done in a pattern consistent with Ashland's Comprehensive Plan, values, and policy, in terms of scale and size.
Malena Marvin/107 Alida/Stated that "when the market decides" is not an appropriate way to develop our community, and that there needs to be community input with the end result benefiting as much of the community as possible. She noted concern that she has not talked to anyone who likes the proposed design. In her opinion the draft Master Plan needs to be talked about, needs to be publicized, and people need to know what is planned for that area. Also, she suggested that the community be given more information about the free bus service.
Tom Emsheimer/2799 Siskiyou/Urged the Planning Commission and the Council to consider working with the community in making the community aware that this kind of development is in the works. He stated that this should have been a community project and the community should have been included right from the beginning. He suggested going back and having a look at the issue in regards to roads, wetlands, wildlife, and soil and water contamination.
Eric Navickas/711 Faith Street/Presented a slide of the area under discussion indicating what he felt is one of the last contiguous open space areas. He stated that the scale of this project was designed around promoting national chain type businesses, and explained that he feels the upscale design will be the downfall of the downtown area. He suggested that the property could be developed in a more sensitive way in order to preserve the economics of our downtown, and maintain large park spaces and existing pathways.
Kathy Holt/99 Emerick #14/Showed pictures and noted that 5 to 6 roads are planned in the area which will be opened up to Oak, Hersey, and North Mountain and noted that this area is already a high traffic area. She encouraged the City to follow the Valdez Principals and requested that they spend an equal amount of time, money, and energy on preserving this natural open space as they have in the development of the Master Plan. She suggested a poll of Ashland residents, and requested a halt to road developing or any other development of this property by the City.
DeBoer clarified that there was a lot of public input over the last two years for this plan. McLaughlin clarified that access is not conducive to a downtown type of retailing and that businesses with high traffic would not likely be the type businesses in this area. He noted that what we will probably see are buildings 4,000 to 20,000 square feet, multi-story, with some residential up above and some mix of uses. He clarified that this is not a development, not a proposal, and not even a proposal to build the streets. It is a plan that ensures that when development happens, it is done in such a way that you can get from point A to point B in a connected manner. He noted that while connections must be made and the basic shape of the streets must be in place, there can be adjustment for preserving natural features, and minor changes can happen. Laws commented that as the City does not own any of the property and does not have the money to buy it, it is impossible for the City to try to control it in any manner other than zoning and setting design standards.
2. First reading by title only of "An Ordinance Amending Sections 4.34.050, 4.34.070, 4.34.110, 4.34.120, 4.34.130, and 4.34.140 of the Food and Beverage Tax Code of the City of Ashland to Specify Application of Delinquent Payments, Clarify Appeals and Correct Errors."
City Attorney Paul Nolte gave a summary of the proposed changes to the Food and Beverage Tax Code, noting that the changes clarified how payments would be applied, when returns would be considered "filed," when taxes are owed for previous reporting periods, and limits on rights of appeal. Further, other sections were amended for "housekeeping" reasons to correct grammatical and other errors. He explained that the overwhelming majority of restaurant operators have no problem complying with this ordinance, and that the City has continual problems, in terms of delinquent payments and failure to pay penalties and interest, with only a very few operators.
Two changes were suggested for Council consideration: 1) Increase operator remuneration from 5% to 10% (Fiscal impact: $70,000 per year), and, 2) Reduce the interest charged on delinquent accounts from 1% per month to 9% per annum.
Ron Roth/6950 Old Hwy 99S/Owner operator Geppetto's and Plaza Café stated that mandatory penalties were not needed and were not an "Ashland" way of doing things. He noted that other taxing entities, such as the IRS and ODR, are tax period specific, and suggested that the interest rate on delinquencies be reduced to the rate charged by the City for interdepartmental loans. He questioned how the Water and Wastewater funds received money and how this money could be loaned to AFN. He suggested considering if the meals tax were needed and to consider putting it to the people for reconsideration.
Darby Stricker/410 Rapp Rd, Talent/Addressed penalties and proposed changes for the applications, noting that they were more severe than the IRS and asked that the Council consider applying the appropriate percentage of a late payment to delinquencies while a business tries to catch up.
DeBoer suggested changing the time frame of the second penalty from 30 days to 60 days. Reid agreed. Morrison noted that it is not the goal of the City to be punitive, but to provide sanctions that lend an incentive for performance. Finance Director, Lee Tuneberg, clarified that by using tax specific periods, his staff work is doubled, maybe even quadrupled. Nolte noted another problem with tax specific periods, that when an operator refuses to pay for a specific period, the only way for the City collect is to sue.
It was clarified that the taxes collected are public funds held in trust by the operator and the operator is paid to handle these funds. If these funds are not turned over to the City, then these funds have been diverted and that diversion constitutes a theft. Further, the penalties and interest imposed do not cover the cost of collecting from operators who refuse to remit the taxes owed to the City. It was noted that new businesses that indicate they are going to be a restaurant or otherwise provide prepared foods are given a copy of the tax code and that they must comply with and other information pertinent to the issue.
It was explained that the amount in the Wastewater and Water Fund comes from loans, System Development Charges, and Food and Beverage taxes. These funds are for current and future capital expenditures and in the interim may be available for other purposes. It was noted that AFN has been refinanced which will minimize the amount borrowed from the fund.
Councilors Hartzell/Hearn m/s to pass the first reading of the ordinance with following changes: 1.) Change the date that triggers the second penalty to 60 days; 2.) Change the time on the appeals process from 15 days to 30. DISCUSSION: Nolte assured the Council that a 30-day appeals process would be fine. Roll Call Vote: Hartzell, Hearn, Laws, Morrison and Reid:YES. Motion passed.
3. Reading by title only of "A Resolution Authorizing Agreement No. 725 - Abandonment Agreement Siskiyou Boulevard at Lithia Way and E. Main Street Rogue Valley Highway No. 63 (OR99) MP 19.52 to 19.46 (to the City) City of Ashland with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT)."
Councilors Hartzell/Morrison m/s to approve Resolution #2002-24. DISCUSSION: Reid noted her appreciation of those that worked on this plan but explained that she would remain consistent with her previous concerns about long-term costs. Roll Call Vote: Hearn, Morrison, Laws and Hartzell: YES. Reid; NO. Motion passed 4 to 1.
4. Reading by title only of "A Resolution amending the Pay Schedule for Management and Confidential Employees for Fiscal Year 2002-2003."
Laws declared conflict of interest due to a family member who receives compensation through this resolution.
Councilors Reid/Hearn m/s to allow Laws to abstain from voting on this Resolution. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Council questioned if the employees covered under this Resolution would be treated differently with regards to the ability to have health care, or to maintain it, or any of the things available to other employees. Scoles clarified that employees in this unit would pay 5% of their monthly premium. That by paying this, there would be benefits available, such as buying down insurance or getting different levels of insurance, that are not available to those who do not pay part of their premiums.
Councilors Hearn/Hartzell m/s to extend the meeting to 10:30 if necessary. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Councilors Morrison/ m/s to support the staff recommendation and the adoption of Resolution #2002-022. Roll Call Vote: Morrison, Hearn, Hartzell, Reid: YES. Laws abstained. Motion passed.
5. Reading by title only of "A Resolution of the City of Ashland Clarifying Certain Conditions of Employment for Management and Confidential Employees and Making Such Conditions Consistent with the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act by Repealing Resolution No. 97-18."
Councilors Morrison/Hearn m/s to adopt Resolution #2002-23. Roll Call Vote: Laws, Reid, Hartzell, Morrison and Hearn: YES. Motion passed.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS
Reid suggested that the City inventory land it owns and see if there are lands available for use in obtaining, through sale or trade, other lands for land trust, open space, or other uses. Scoles clarified that a map has been prepared and that Staff is in the process of developing it to show properties that are not committed. He noted that Council would receive this map within the next three or four weeks.
Meeting was adjourned at 10:08 p.m.
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