Parks and Recreation

ISSUE STATEMENT: Should the Parks and Recreation Commission continue to be elected or be appointed by the City Council?   Should the Director of Parks and Recreation continue to be supervised by the elected commission or be under the supervision of the City Manager?
EXISTING CHARTER LANGUAGE AND ORDINANCES:   The Parks commission is described in Article 19 of the Charter and the Recreation Commission in Article 21 and Section 10.68 of the municipal code (attached).
  • Budget - See attached 2005 budget.   Prior to the passage of Measure 50 in the mid 1990's the Parks Department had the authority to levy a separate tax for operations. Because of the long history of an independent Parks department the budget committee has continued to honor Parks autonomy.
  • Accountability - The approximately 46 Parks employees are supervised by the director of Parks and Recreation who reports to the 5 elected Parks Commissioners.
  • Organizational Impacts - While the director works closely with the City Administrator and for a fee uses many services of the City such as the legal, personnel and finance departments, the Parks Department maintains autonomy in areas such as personnel policies and compensation levels which are overseen by the elected commissioners.
  • Appropriate for charter inclusion:- The elected Parks and Recreation Commission is historic and unique in Ashland. As with the City Band, retaining acknowledgement of the institution in the Charter seems appropriate.
Alternative I - Leave reference to the Parks and Recreation Department in the Charter. Combine Articles 19 (Parks Commission) and 22 (Recreation Commission) and streamline language.
  • Budget - Remove the funding formula as it is obsolete. Continue to fund Parks and Recreation as an autonomous department of the City.
  • Accountability - Retain the elected Parks Commissioners and Director under their supervision.
  • Organizational Impacts - Retaining the elected commission underscores the importance of Parks and Recreation in the community. While the City Council by Charter has certain oversight responsibilities, the intensive work taken on by Parks Commissioners relieves the council from becoming overburdened. Some disparity between Parks and City employees may exist.
Alternative II - Remove Parks and Recreation from the Charter and have the Commission be appointed by the Council.
  • Budget - Fund as a department of the City.
  • Accountability - Director reports to the City Administrator as other department heads. Commission reports to the Council.
  • Organizational Impacts - The City Council and the Administrator would take on the policy making and implementation roles respectively. This could serve to diminish the importance of the Parks and Recreation function in the City or overwhelm the Council and Administrator. Some gains in continuity between employment groups may be realized.
Alternative III - Retain in Charter. Maintain elected Commission and Director. Write ordinance to formalize funding levels.
  • Budget - Locks in budget amount which would then rise with the general budget assumptions.
  • Accountability - Same as Alternative I
  • Organizational Impacts - May create inequity in budget allocations with other departments.
Submitted by Carole Wheeldon

ARTICLE XIX - Park Commission

Section 1. Dedication. All those lands specified by the Charter Amendment of December 15, 1908 and May 13, 1912, are hereby reserved and forever dedicated to the people of the City for park purposes and shall never be sold, leased, encumbered or used for any purpose inconsistent therewith; provided, however, that such public buildings as may enhance the beauty of said park, or that shall not detract therefrom, may be constructed if so directed by a majority vote of the electors of said City; and provided further, that nothing contained in this act shall be construed so as to impair or interfere with proper construction or operation of the City's light, power or water system.

Section 1-C. That the Ashland Park Commission, with the consent of the Common Council, shall have the authority to lease to the Oregon Shakespearean Festival Association, a non-profit corporation of the State of Oregon, any portion of Lithia Park described as follows, to-wit:

That certain property commencing at the northeast corner of the Chamber of Commerce building; thence, southerly along the base of the hill to southern side of pond in lower park; thence, east to ditch carrying water to waterfall; thence, southerly along ditch 150 feet; thence, east 110 feet to west side of Hargadine Street; thence, northerly on west line of Hargadine Street to northeast corner of park property; thence, following the meandering north line of park property to place of beginning, containing approximately two acres
for the purpose of remodeling and expanding the present Festival theatre and the construction of additional buildings which are hereby designated as public buildings for use by the Oregon Shakespearean Festival Association for any of the purposes authorized by the corporate charter of said association, said use to be on such terms and conditions as the Ashland Park Commission, with the consent of the Common Council, deems in the best interests of the City; provided, however, that any lease shall not exceed a period of ninety-nine (99) years.

Section 2. Park Commission. The certain board created by a vote of the qualified electors of the City of Ashland, Oregon, at a special election held on the 15th day of December, 1908, which became effective by the proclamation of the Mayor published on the 17th day of December, 1908, and known and designated as the "Ashland Park Commission", be and the same, as constituted and created by said Charter amendment, and as now existing, is hereby perpetuated and continued as five (5) members with all the powers conferred and duties imposed by said Charter amendment and ordinances of the City of Ashland.

Provided, that at the general biennial election to be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, 1920, two commissioners shall be elected to serve for the term of four (4) years from the first day of January, 1921, and that at the general biennial election to be held in November, 1922, three commissioners shall be elected to serve for the term of four (4) years from the first day of January, 1923, and that the term of office for each succeeding commissioner shall be four (4) years unless elected to fill a vacancy, in which event he/she shall be elected to serve until the first day of January following the next succeeding biennial election after any such vacancy. Provided, further, that each of the commissioners now constituting the present Ashland Park Commission shall hold office for the term for which he/she was elected, and until his/her successor is elected and qualified.

Section 3. Funding. The said Park Commission shall have control and management of all the lands here dedicated for park purposes and of all other lands that may hereafter be acquired by the City for such purposes. They shall have control and management of all park funds, whether the same is obtained by taxation, donation or otherwise, and shall expend the same judiciously for beautifying and improving the City's parks.

It shall be the duty of said Commission and they shall, at the beginning of each month, file with the City Recorder for the information of the City Council and the public, a report of their doings for the preceding month. Such report shall specify all funds on hand and the source from whence obtained. It shall carry a clear statement of all monies expended and for what purpose. All purchases made and all labor performed, together with the cost thereof, shall be embodied in said report. At the time for making the tax levy for general City purposes in each year, the said Commission shall cause a careful estimate to be made of the money required for park purposes for the ensuing year and file the same with the City Recorder, whereupon there shall be included in said general levy not to exceed four and one half (4-1/2) mills on the dollar to meet such requirements, which, when collected, shall be deposited with the City Recorder subject to the order of said Commission. The levy herein authorized shall be outside the limitation on taxation set forth in Article XI, Section II of the Constitution of Oregon.

Section 4. Salary; Government. The said Commission shall serve without pay and shall have power to formulate and adopt rules and regulations for their government and for the purpose of carrying into effect the purposes of their creation as Park Commission. They shall enter upon the discharge of their duties immediately upon their organization and shall, as soon as may be expedient, cause a map or maps to be made of the lands herein dedicated, and shall make the same conform to the descriptions contained in the instruments by which said City obtained title thereto; which said instruments shall be considered as carrying a more specific description of said lands.
ARTICLE XXII - Recreation Commission

Section 1. The Ashland Recreation Commission is hereby created to be composed of the five (5) Ashland Park Commissioners and their terms of office shall be the same.

Section 2. The powers and duties of the Recreation Commission shall be as set forth in this Charter, the Ordinances of the City of Ashland, and by any other applicable law.

Section 3. Any funds to be spent by the Recreation Commission for recreation purposes shall be from such funds as may be appropriated from time to time by the City Council, and in no event shall any funds be spent for recreation purposes that are received pursuant to Article XIX of this Charter and which relates to the Park Commission and a levy for park purposes.
Ashland Municipal Code 10.68 Public Parks

10.68.010 Parks - defined

Unless some other meaning clearly appears, the words "park" and "parks" means the lands dedicated for park purposes under and by virtue of that certain charter amendment adopted by a vote of the people of the city at the annual city election held on December 15, 1908, and proclaimed by the mayor December 17, 1908, together with all other lands since acquired or that may hereafter be acquired, or may have been dedicated, or may hereafter be dedicated, for park and recreation purposes, either by the city, by corporations, or by individuals.

(Ord 626 S1, 1916)

10.68.020 Parks - Purpose

The parks are maintained for the recreation of the public and the greatest possible use is encouraged, subject only to such regulation as will preserve the parks for the purposes for which they are laid out, and the enjoyment, convenience, and safety of all concerned.

(Ord 626 S2, 1916)

10.68.030 Park Commission - Authority

The Park Commission of the city is authorized to make such rules and regulations not in conflict with the ordinances of the city as it may think necessary for the better control and management of the parks. If any person feels aggrieved by any such rule or regulation, such person may appeal to the Council for its amendment or repeal by filing with the City Recorder, a petition which shall be presented to the Council at its next regular meeting, but until amended or repealed by the Council, such rule or regulation shall be in full force and effect as if it were an ordinance.

(Ord 626 S3, 1916)

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