To: Charter Review Committee
From: Ann Seltzer
Re: Outdated charter provisions
Date: October 1, 2004
The following is a list compiled by Paul Nolte a number of months ago. He asked that I forward it to all of you.
From: Paul Nolte
To: Ann Seltzer
Date: 2/4/04 3:55PM
Subject: Examples of outdated charter provisions
5/18/04: also add debt limitation provision in Article IX, section 5, and
Article XVI, public utilities, water works.
Ann, this is by no means an exhaustive list but here are some of the outmoded, antiquated, obsolete or superceded portions of the existing charter that need to be examined.
Article IX, Section 1. Provides that the city can sentence a code violator for a "term at hard labor" not exceeding 60 days. I don't think we even know what that means much less actually sentencing someone to it.
"Section 1. Violation of Charter, Ordinance and Laws. The Council, at any regular or adjourned meeting, shall have the power within the limits of the City of Ashland to enact laws, ordinances and pass resolutions not in conflict or inconsistent with the laws of the United States, the State of Oregon, or the provisions of this Charter; and to provide for punishment of any person or persons found guilty by a competent tribunal of the violation of any such laws, ordinances, or any of the provisions of this Charter, by fine or imprisonment of such offender, until such fine and costs are paid; and to provide for the working of such persons so convicted on the streets of the City or at any other work, and to provide the compensation therefor to be applied on such fine and costs; but no fine shall exceed the sum of $500 and the costs of prosecution, nor shall any imprisonment or term at hard labor exceed 60 days."
Article IX, Section 2(b). Flood Damage Restoration Bonds. This section authorizes flood bonds for the 1974 flood. Decades ago general obligation (GO) bonds had to be authorized by charter amendment. GO bonds still require a vote of the people but it is no longer necessary to cobble up the charter for each special bond authorization.
"Section 2(b). Flood Damage Restoration Bonds. In addition to the indebtedness otherwise authorized by law and by this Charter, the City Council of the City of Ashland shall have the power and authority to issue the general obligation bonds of the City in such amounts and with such maturity dates as the City Council shall, in its discretion, deem advisable in an aggregate amount not to exceed Seven Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($750,000.00) for the purpose of financing the cost of repair and restoration in accord with current construction standards of the City's water, sewer, electrical and storm sewer systems; City streets and bridges and watershed roads and bridges; Lithia Park; the repair of riprap at the Ashland Airport; and the purchase of a dredge for the removal of present and continuous accumulations of silt in the City's water reservoir; and to further provide that all state or federal funds received to assist Ashland in repair of flood damage shall be used for that purpose or to pay principal and interest on these bonds and for no other purpose; and shall have the power and right to designate the manner and time of payment of said bonds and the interest thereon, provided that considering any discounts or premiums paid, the effective rate of interest on such bonds shall not exceed that allowable by the laws of the State of Oregon. The power herein granted shall be exercised by the Council without submitting the question to a further vote of the electors and the bonds issued in pursuance to this Article shall not be subject to the limitation on bond or other indebtedness elsewhere contained in the Charter of said City."
Article IX, Section 2(c) Hospital Improvement Bonds. This section authorizes bonds for a long ago hospital expansion. The section should be removed from the charter.
"Section 2(c). Hospital Improvement Bonds. In addition to the indebtedness otherwise authorized by law and by this Charter, the City Council of the City of Ashland shall have the power and authority to issue the general obligation bonds of the City in such amounts and with such maturity dates as the City Council shall, in its discretion, deem advisable in an aggregate amount not to exceed Three Hundred Sixty Thousand Dollars ($360,000.00) for the purpose of financing the design and construction of additions and improvements to the Ashland Community Hospital; and shall have the power and right to designate the manner and time of payment of said bonds and the interest thereon, provided that considering any discounts or premiums paid, the effective rate of interest on such bonds shall not exceed that allowable by the laws of the State of Oregon. The power herein granted shall be exercised by the Council without submitting the question to a further vote of the electors and the bonds issued in pursuance to this Article shall not be subject to the limitation on bond or other indebtedness elsewhere contained in the Charter of said City."
Article XI, Section 1. Condemnation. This section provides for a process for condemning property for public use. The procedure is now controlled entirely by statute and this section is obsolete.
"Section 1. Condemnation. Any necessity of taking property for the City by condemnation shall be determined by the Council and declared by resolution of the Council describing the property and stating the uses to which it shall be devoted. The procedure for the condemnation shall be as ordained by the Council or provided by State law."
Article XI, Section 2. Improvements. This section authorizes special assessments for public improvements and requires suspension of the improvement "except for sidewalks" for six months upon the filing of remonstrances. I do not know why sidewalks have been excepted from the remonstrance provision.
"The procedure for making, altering, vacating or abandoning a public improvement shall be governed by general ordinance or to the extent not so governed, by applicable general laws of the State. Action on any proposed public improvement, except a sidewalk or except an improvement unanimously declared by the Council to be needed at once because of an emergency, shall be suspended for six months upon a remonstrance thereto by the owners of two-thirds of the land to be specially assessed therefor. In this section, "owner" shall mean the record holder of legal title or, where the land is being purchased under a land sale contract recorded or verified to the Recorder in writing by the record holder of legal title to the land, the purchaser shall be deemed the "owner".
Article XI, Section 4 . Bids. Comprehensive competitive bidding laws applicable to all cities were adopted by the state in the mid-70s. Competitive bidding requirements are contained in a multitude of state statutes and administrative rules. This section is now obsolete.
"Bids. All jobs or contracts for constructing, repairing, ornamenting or improving any public place in this City or out of it, the expenses of which are to be paid out of the City Treasury, and the probable cost of which will exceed $500, shall be advertised in a newspaper of wide and general circulation published in the City of Ashland for ten days before the closing of the bids, and shall be done in accordance with the plans and specifications approved by the Council. The Council shall have the right to reject any or all bids without incurring any liability for such rejection."
Article XII, Section 3. County Road Tax. This section needs to be analyzed. I'm not familiar with any county road tax within the city and the city does not impose one.
"County Road Tax. The territory within the limits of the City of Ashland as now existing and as may be hereafter extended is hereby excepted out of the jurisdiction of the County Court of Jackson County for licensing purposes and road purposes, and the City Council shall have full and exclusive jurisdiction over the same. The inhabitants of the City shall be exempt from the payment of road taxes and assessments of the property within the City for road work, except such taxes as may be levied and assessed by the City Council, and all such taxes shall be placed in a separate fund and used for street purposes within the limits of the City and not otherwise."
Article XIV, Section 4. Interest in City Contracts. The state now has a comprehensive code of ethics applicable to all public employees. This section is no longer necessary.
"Interest in City Contracts. Except as provided otherwise by law, no officer, agent or employee shall have any interest in any City contract made by him/her in his/her official capacity or by any public committee, board, commission or department of which he/she is a member, agent or employee, except that the employment of the officer, agent or employee shall not be considered a contract for the purposes of this section."
Article XVII, Section 2. Hospital. This section authorizes additional hospital bonds. See Article IX, Section 2(c) above why this section is obsolete.
"The Council is hereby authorized to issue and sell, in manner and form as in its judgment it may deem best, general obligation bonds of said City in a sum not to exceed $350,000.00 for the purpose of providing funds with which to purchase real property for a hospital, construct a building or buildings to be used for hospital purposes, and equip and furnish said hospital in and for said City."
Article XX, Section 1. Municipal Airport. This section empowers the city to operate a city airport. Specific authority in the charter is not necessary for the city to operate an airport.
"Section 1. Power. The City of Ashland is hereby given the power and authority to acquire, own, conduct and operate a municipal airport either within or outside the limits of the City of Ashland, under the authority and direction of the Council."
Article XXI, Section 1. City Band. This section authorizes a tax levy for the city band. After the constitutional amendments by statewide measures 47 and 50 in the late 90s it is likely that this authorization is no longer necessary.
"Section 1. At the time of making the tax levy for general City purposes each year, the Council shall cause a careful estimate to be made of the money required for the purpose of a City Band for the ensuing year, such estimate shall be presented and considered with the other items in the annual budget and there shall be included in the general levy for the ensuing year not to exceed six-tenths (.6) mills on the dollar for such band requirements, which fund, when collected, shall be deposited with the City Recorder, subject to the order of the Council."
Paul Nolte, Lawyer
P.O. Box 104
Ashland, Oregon 97520