City of Ashland, Oregon / City Council
City Council - Minutes
Tuesday, February 07, 2012
City Council - Minutes
Tuesday, February 07, 2012
AGENDA FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
February 7, 2012
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 Slattery, Morris, Lemhouse, Voisin, Silbiger, and Chapman were present.
Mayor Stromberg announced openings on the Forest Lands, Planning, Historic, Housing, Public Arts, Tree, and Transportation Commissions, and the Audit Committee.
SHOULD THE COUNCIL APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THESE MEETINGS?
The minutes of the Regular Meeting of January 17, 2012, the Special Meeting of January 27, 2012, and the Executive Sessions of January 27, 2012 and January 28, 2012 were approved as presented.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS None
1. Will Council approve the minutes of the Boards, Commissions, and Committees?
2. Does Council wish to confirm the Mayor’s appointment of Mike Gardiner to the Transportation Commission with a term to expire April 30, 2012?
3. Does Council wish to confirm the Mayor’s appointment of Frank Betlejewski to the Forest Lands Commission with a term to expire April 30, 2013?
Councilor Slattery/Chapman m/s to approve Consent Agenda items. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
1. Will Council approve and authorize the Mayor to sign a quitclaim deed to relinquish all City interest in a 0.2 acre parcel of land along with approximately 4300 square feet of existing sewer easement in exchange for a new easement needed to abandon the Nevada Street sewer pump station?
Engineering Services Manager Jim Olson briefly explained how the sanitary sewer system and pump stations worked. The pump station in question no longer functioned properly and was located 12-feet from Ashland Creek. The property owners agreed to a connection on Oak Street, wanted to receive remote electrical service and use the abandoned pump station as storage area. In addition, the property owners would provide an easement and asked the City to return the .2 acre through a quitclaim deed.
Public Hearing Opened: 7:07 p.m.
Public Hearing Closed: 7:07 p.m.
Councilor Morris/Silbiger m/s to approve and authorize the Mayor to sign a quitclaim deed to relinquish all City interest in lot 39 1E 4B-1000 and adjourning easement. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
2. Will Council adopt the FY13 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Project List, the Overall FY13-18 CIP Program in Concept, and the FY13 Capital Equipment Plan?
Engineer Technician Scott Fleury and Public Works Director Mike Faught provided a presentation that included:
FY 2011 Highlights
Transportation Total CIP Budget
Transportation CIP FY13-18
Wastewater CIP FY12
Staff factored in the new purchase price, sold the used vehicles during the Sale-Bid Auction, with proceeds from the sales going into the Equipment Fund.
Public Hearing Opened: 7:29 p.m.
Public Hearing Closed: 7:29 p.m.
Councilor Voisin/Morris m/s to accept the staff report and approve the following three items: a) the proposed FY13 Projects for Budget Purposes, b) the FY13 Capital Equipment Plan, c) the FY13-18 Overall CIP for Planning Purposes. DISCUSSION: Mr. Fleury confirmed that some of the projects budgeted in 2012 for the full amount would roll over and carry the funds with them with the exception of the Hersey/Wimer overlay. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Emery Way/430 Ashland Street/Announced several community groups had come together to a launch a Legalize Sleep campaign with a goal to gather 5,000 signatures before the 2012 election to support the City making a legal place to sleep for its homeless population one of the City’s commitments and goals.
1. Will Council adopt a resolution establishing a new policy for the City’s annual economic, cultural, and sustainability grant program?
Councilor Slattery declared a potential conflict of interest and left the meeting at 7:36 p.m.
Interim Assistant City Administrator Lee Tuneberg ensured the draft resolution would reflect an earlier Council decision that changed the minimum amount requested to $5,000 and would remove bonus points from tourism. Council would send sustainability criteria to staff.
Lynn Blanche/347 Lantern Hill Drive/Explained she was the Co-Director of Southern Oregon Sustainable Business Network (SOSEN) and advocated for keeping sustainability as a significant category for grants and not a criterion. She noted the importance of localism and provided examples.
John Lamy/347 Lantern Hill Drive/Introduced himself as the Co-Executive Director of Southern Oregon Sustainable Business Network (SOSEN). He read suggestions for scoring from a document he submitted into the record that included a reduction in economic dependency on volatile commodities, a reduction of economic externalities, increase in local infrastructure that fostered Human and Social Capital, and a reduction of environmental collateral damage.
Tracy Harding/334 Bridge Street/Spoke as the Rogue Valley Director of Farm to School and stressed the need to retain sustainability as a category and made suggestions to improve the reporting aspect of grants.
Stuart O’Neil/770 Faith Avenue/Introduced himself as the Executive Director of Rogue Farm Corps and explained how sustainability grants were important to organizations like his and encouraged Council to retain sustainability as a category by itself.
Council clarified sustainability was and would remain its own category. Council majority agreed on using the two-step process for screening applicants, and discussed forwarding sustainability criteria to staff in preparation for a Study Session Tuesday, February 21, 2012 prior to the regular meeting.
Councilor Voisin/Lemhouse m/s to continue deliberation on the economic cultural sustainability grants until the meeting of February 21, 2012 with a Study Session at 6:30. DISCUSSION: Councilor Silbiger suggested the Study Session should start at 6:00 p.m. and the Executive Session at 6:30 p.m.
Councilor Voisin withdrew the motion with Councilor Lemhouse’s consent.
Council discussed using set amounts and percentages and the need to hold the line on non-tourism amounts and deal with pressing needs in the City.
Councilor Chapman/Silbiger m/s in the Non Tourism part of the fund set the General Fund to 80%, Economic Development to 10% and Small Grants to 10%. DISCUSSION: Mr. Tuneberg noted Non Tourism Small Grants at 10% would total $146,294. Councilor Lemhouse thought it was a good compromise but agreed on holding the line. Councilor Voisin explained allocating $110,000 to the $35,000,000 CIP was not as effective as retaining that amount for grants. When grants went to non-profits, funds stayed in the community, created jobs, developed sustainability, and projects.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Chapman, Lemhouse, Silbiger, and Morris, YES; Councilor Voisin, NO. Motion passed 4-1.
Councilor Chapman/Lemhouse m/s for the Tourism portion of grant Council assign 56% to the Chamber of Commerce, 21% to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF), 10% Small Grants, 3% to the Arts, and 10% to City projects. DISCUSSION: Councilor Chapman explained 10% would take $10,000 from Small Grants. It would add small amounts to the Chamber of Commerce, OSF, and some toward city projects. Mayor Stromberg confirmed Small Grants would receive $199,500. Councilor Voisin thought the percentages were arbitrary and needed review. Councilor Silbiger supported the motion, keeping the Chamber of Commerce where it was, and suggested OSF stay at $110,000 as well.
Councilor Silbiger/Chapman m/s to amend the motion for OSF to receive $110,000 and put the remaining few dollars in City Projects. DISCUSSION: Councilor Chapman did not think the allocations were arbitrary. Council consistently dealt with $500,000 for grants. Councilor Morris appreciated Councilor Chapman using past levels to even the amounts and liked Councilor Silbiger capping the amount. However, setting a fixed dollar amount meant readjusting percentages annually. Mayor Stromberg observed Council tended to use both fixed amounts and percentages to determine grant allocation. Councilor Lemhouse added percentages were a good starting point but Council needed to use revenue in other places. Councilor Voisin thought Council needed to look at the assumptions in the percentages.
ROLL Call VOTE: Councilor Morris, Lemhouse, Silbiger, and Chapman, YES; Councilor Voisin, NO. Motion passed 4-1.
Roll Call Vote on amended motion: Councilor Lemhouse, Silbiger, Morris, and Chapman, YES; Councilor Voisin, NO. Motion passed 4-1.
Councilor Morris/Lemhouse m/s to continue this to the meeting on February 21, 2012 preceded with Study Session at 6:00 p.m. Voice Vote, Councilor Lemhouse, Silbiger, Morris, and Chapman, YES; Councilor Voisin, NO. Motion passed 4-1.
Councilor Slattery returned to the meeting 9:04.
Mayor Stromberg asked Council to move agenda number 7. Does Council wish to pay the special event fee for the Oregon Student Public Interest Research Group’s march and demonstration to be held on March 4, 2012?, under NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS and agenda item number 1. Will Council direct the City Attorney to prepare a resolution supporting the creation of a constitutional amendment to eliminate 'personhood' for corporations and unions for purposes of campaign expenditure limitations and to stop treating money as speech for political purposes?, under OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS to the number 1 and 2 spots under NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS.
Councilor Silbiger/Lemhouse m/s to follow the orders of the day. DISCUSSION: Councilor Chapman agreed to move item number 7. but did not want the last item go before other City business. Councilor Voisin noted Council had repeatedly moved items for people to speak and thought both items should move. Councilor Lemhouse agreed with Councilor Chapman. Voice Vote: Councilor Morris, Lemhouse, and Silbiger, YES, Councilor Slattery, Voisin, and Chapman, NO. Mayor Stromberg broke the tie vote with a NO vote. Motion failed 3-4.
Councilor Slattery/Chapman m/s to move agenda item number 7. then reserve the order.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Slattery, Morris, Lemhouse, Voisin, Silbiger, and Chapman, YES. Motion passed.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Does Council wish to pay the special event fee for the Oregon Student Public Interest Research Group’s march and demonstration to be held on March 4, 2012?
City Attorney Dave Lohman explained Resolution 2011-22 provided a consistent interim fee structure until the adoption of a formal policy that would occur spring 2012. The Oregon Student Public Interest Research Group (OSPIRG) applied for a city permit to assemble 500 people and march from SOU to the Plaza. There was some confusion regarding the map route and lanes of traffic used. Originally, OSPIRG want to occupy two lanes at a $350 fee and reduced it to one lane for a fee $135. However, using the Plaza required street closures leading to and from the area at a permit cost of $1,000. The City received a letter from OSPIRG requesting the City waive all fee closures and permits through co-sponsorship.
The US Courts did not recognize an absolute right to peaceable assembly without permits. The Government could impose time, place, and regulations including requirements for permits and fees as long as the regulations met certain conditions. Four key conditions included that regulations not vest government decision makers with uncontrolled discretion in issuing permits. Second, they must not allow selective enforcement. Third, the regulations must provide comprehensive and unambiguous objective criteria when determining whether to allow or deny permit application and fourth, must provide reasons for denial and not burden speech anymore than necessary to accomplish a legitimate government interest and ensure traffic was not blocked. Fees could only cover administrative costs like traffic control and could not preclude indigent groups from engaging in expressive activity at available alternative forums when traffic controls were not an issue.
Finally, the law was not clear if it was permissible to submit an application 60-90 days prior to an event and a government could apply new and consistent rules to clarify or create permit fee regulations if needed. Until June 2011, the City was slightly inconsistent with Special Event fees. Council could charge less for fees but not charge more. The $130 fee for an event that required no City staff covered basic permit meetings, and coordinating with departments. Fees were absorbed for events sponsored by the City.
Police Chief Terry Holderness explained the Plaza could contain approximately 160-170 people if streets remained open with the overflow relocated to Lithia Park. That number would increase with street closures but most likely would not hold 500 people.
Pam Vavra/457 C Street/Supported OSPIRG’s request for the fee waiver and thought the fee constituted an infringement on the right to peacefully assemble.
Thomas Letchworth/125 Lincoln Street/Clarified logistics regarding the event and would require a rolling closure of one southbound lane from Siskiyou Boulevard through Lithia Way. The event itself was primarily educational and awareness raising on the loss of free and fair elections due to the influence of money in politics and did not support a specific candidate.
Mr. Letchworth clarified that OSPIRG worked closely with the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group. The event was intended to encourage civic engagement on the part of the citizenry regarding the democratic process.
Staff confirmed the Chamber of Commerce paid $350 for both the Halloween and Festival of Lights parades. The Chamber of Commerce did not pay additional costs for police and street closures.
Councilor Chapman/Slattery m/s to deny the payment of Special Events fee for OSPIRG event scheduled March 4, 2012. DISCUSSION: Councilor Chapman thought it was appropriate OSPIRG paid for the fee. Councilor Voisin would not support the motion and thought OSPIRG had the right to have a parade without expense. This was a student organization and Council needed to support youth and future leaders of the country. Councilor Slattery responded it was not an issue of right. Students could raise the money for these types of events. Freedom of speech did not include the freedom of doing it without paying part of the costs. Councilor Lemhouse clarified it actually was a political event and the Supreme Court had rules on consistency. If Council waived the fees for this event, they would have to do that for others and was not responsible action for a City to take. Councilor Voisin stated in order to be fair and consistent the Chamber of Commerce needed to pay more for the parades they promoted. Councilor Silbiger commented the City needed to be fair, non-discriminatory and not make judgments on content. The citizens would pay for approximately 50% for the event. Councilor Slattery addressed Councilor Voisin’s earlier comment and stated the Chamber of Commerce did pay their fees.
Mr. Lohman clarified that since the adoption of the interim policy the chamber of Commerce had paid full fees for the events they sponsored. Mayor Stromberg would waive the fees based on the difficulties students had financially. Councilor Morris pointed out that was exactly the reason Council should not waive the fees. It isolated one group from others and was discriminatory in nature. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Chapman, Silbiger, Lemhouse, Morris, and Slattery, YES; Councilor Voisin, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
2. Should Council authorize the Mayor to sign an Intergovernmental Agreement between various Oregon municipal electric utilities and the City of Ashland to create a public entity known as the Oregon Municipal Electric Utilities association?
Interim Assistant City Administrator Lee Tuneberg explained the City would get $20,000 or more value by joining the Oregon Municipal Electric Utilities (OMEU) association. The City would receive lobbying efforts regarding energy, the benefit of energy issue resolution with Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), professional development, cooperation on policies and administration between participating agencies.
Councilor Chapman/Lemhouse m/s to authorize the Mayor to sign the inter-governmental agreement with Oregon Municipal Electric Utilities. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
3. Will Council authorize Ashland Fire and Rescue to apply for a grant to fund 3 safety positions through the United States Department of Homeland Security’s Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant program?
Fire Chief John Karns explained the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant would augment Fire Department staffing to achieve or come close to achieving the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards for staffing. The grant dropped the employee retention requirement and would cover hiring, clothing, salaries, and benefits for three firefighters for two years. Regarding lay-offs, an employee with the lowest seniority would go before higher seniority regardless of the grant. Receiving the grant would give the City a 4-person engine company at one station. Chief Karns had an eight-year plan for additional hires at the other station.
Councilor Voisin/Lemhouse m/s to authorize staff to apply for 3 safety positions through the United States Department of Homeland Security Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program. DISCUSSION: Councilor Voisin commented it was important to increase fire-fighting staff. Councilor Chapman expressed concern over potential lay-offs in two years.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Slattery, Morris, Lemhouse, Silbiger, and Chapman, YES.
4. Will Council authorize a pass-through funding agreement for $50,000 between the City of Ashland and the Oregon Department of Forestry to use American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funds to help support the creation of defensible space around homes in Ashland?
Firewise Communities Coordinator Ali True explained the grant was a pass through to a pre-existing grant between the Oregon Department of Forestry and the City that continued the reimbursement program for homeowners removing hazardous vegetation around their homes to create defensible space. Changes to the grant included the money coming from a different federal source and an increase to the maximum reimbursement from $400 to $600 per household. The previous program was very successful and exceeded expectations and commitments to the Oregon Department of Forestry regarding the number of homes and acres protected. Last year the expectation was to treat 40 homes instead they treated 165. Homeowners request a Wildfire Safety Home Assessment and become eligible for itemized cost reimbursement.
Councilor Chapman/Slattery m/s the modification of the agreement adopting additional funds for wildfire safety. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
5. Does Council have any questions regarding the second quarterly update on the implementation of the Economic Development Strategy?
Community Director Bill Molnar explained the focus over FY2011-2012 was Priority 1 strategies. Staff efforts included the Chamber of Commerce Business Retention and Expansion (BNR) survey, maximizing impact of the existing City Economic Development Cultural grants process, evaluating Urban Renewal Districts and improving the Land Use Development process. Staff worked on Priority 2 and Priority 3 items that increased opportunities for local import substitution to local purchasing and Thrive’s local business directory for local purchasing.
Mr. Molnar thought initial projects went well but there was a degree of awkwardness having Community Development involved in Economic Development since Community Development dealt with zoning, public infrastructure, and regulated development.
Council noted SOREDI’s Jefferson Grapevine Program that enabled new businesses to network with investors held an event in Ashland that was the best attended and are planning to schedule more.
Councilor Lemhouse/Silbiger m/s Quarterly updated as presented. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed.
6. Will Council approve guidelines for expenditure and sponsorship recommendations from City commissions and committees?
Interim Assistant City Administrator Lee Tuneberg explained the guidelines provided critical information for Commissions, Committees and staff regarding use of monies, support endorsements, and sponsorship. Many Commissions had small budgets for training, education, and programs vested within the actual commission. The guidelines would not change budget amounts for Commissions. Sponsorships would come through Council but routine expenditures would go through Liaison’s and Department Heads. The six-week turnaround to decide sponsorship provided time for the decision making process and eliminated last minute decisions.
Councilor Silbiger/Chapman m/s to approve the guidelines proposed by staff and direct staff to prepare a resolution incorporating the approved guidelines for formal adoption at a future Council meeting. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
7. Does Council have any questions about the quarterly financial report as presented?
Interim Assistant City Administrator Lee Tuneberg explained cash balances increased due to the City receiving the majority of property tax distribution in November and the financing for Fire Station No 2. Proceeds from the bond sale, System Development Charges (SDC’s), monies Council restricted were restricted by statute.
The Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) took a hit in the first quarter possibly due to Bowmer in the Park. It was still early to project Food and Beverage Tax but the current quarter showed a higher number of businesses not reporting or paying on time. Councilor Slattery added TOT decreased due to room rates going down because of the economy.
Councilor Slattery/Silbiger m/s to accept the quarterly financial report as presented.
Voice Votes. ALL AYES motion passed.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS None
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS
1. Will Council direct the City Attorney to prepare a resolution supporting the creation of a constitutional amendment to eliminate 'personhood' for corporations and unions for purposes of campaign expenditure limitations and to stop treating money as speech for political purposes?
Jan Waitt/147 Manzanita Street/Encouraged Council to pass the resolution to amend the constitution to eliminate ‘personhood’ and provided history on how corporations gradually gained personhood and unlimited personal campaign spending and a Supreme Court decision that determined money equaled speech.
Item continued to Unfinished Business on the February 21, 2012 meeting agenda.
Meeting adjourned at 10:27 p.m.
Dana Smith, Assistant to the City Recorder John Stromberg, Mayor