Councilor Kate Jackson
|DATE:||May 12, 2005|
|TO:||Mayor and Council Members|
|FROM:||Councilor Kate Jackson|
|RE:||Update on Regional Problem Solving Project|
For Council Meeting May 17, 2005
The Regional Problem Solving Project has reached a key point of action. Having worked out many of the organizational challenges and retained every city as a participant in the project, the Policy Committee is ready to prepare the Regional Problem Solving Plan documents needed to seek State approval. The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) has nearly finished evaluating all the communities' Proposed Growth Areas. The Policy Committee will then review the entire package of recommendations and make its own recommendations of which Growth Areas to include in the Regional Plan.
The Policy Committee decided to hire a consultant to prepare the Plan documents, and to assist the Rogue Valley Council of Governments staff. It was agreed that an independent group is needed to provide detailed legal support, to support a new round of public input, and to draft the Plan itself. The firm of Parametrix in association with Fregonese Calthorpe Associates, ECONorthwest, and Perkins-Coie LLP has been selected. I participated in the selection of the firm. The team selected has extraordinary, nationwide experience in community planning. The legal firm has very strong experience in Oregon land use and particularly with complex Plan Acknowledgement processes. The cost of the project is $205,000. The project timeline is to have a Regional Plan ready for submittal to the State in September 2006.
The cost of the RPS Project over the past years has been a combination of DLCD grants and city contributions to the RVCOG. The method of calculating each city's part has been based on population. Ashland has been contributing approximately $2,000 per year.
For the preparation of the draft and final Regional Plan, DLCD is again providing financial support to the COG. The cities are asked to contribute based on a weighted average that includes their portion of population and also their portion of proposed Growth Areas. This decreases Ashland's portion from 11% to 5.5% of the fees. The cities are expected to bear a cost of $25,000, or for Ashland, $1,375.
The largest portion of the funds, $190,000, is proposed to come from the MPO, which has some federal transportation funds available. (The numbers add up to more than $205,000 because funds for the COG are also needed.)
The RPS Policy Committee is appealing to the MPO Board for the requested funds at the upcoming May 24 meeting. As the City's representative on the Policy Committee, I will be attending to support the request. The Mayor is the City's MPO Board member and will be present to vote on the request. The chair of the MPO, Mike Quilty, is supportive in concept of the request, because the Regional Land Use Plan will help integrate land use and transportation planning in the region.
This is an exciting development. I have been involved with the project for six years. This Regional Plan could be a model for the rest of the state. No other effort has succeeded or been this complex. To actually have a completion date ahead of us is terrific.
Thank you for your support.