Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Wednesday, April 7, 2004 at 12:00 p.m.
Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street

Mayor DeBoer called the meeting to order at 12:00 p.m.

City Council: Kate Jackson, John Morrison, Alex Amarotico, Chris Hearn and Don Laws.
Councilor Hartzell arrived at 12:21 p.m.
Staff: City Administrator Gino Grimaldi, Finance Director Lee Tuneberg, Public Works Director Paula Brown and Management Analyst Ann Seltzer.

I. Update regarding the Public Art Commission.
Ann Seltzer introduced Public Art Commissioners Bruce Bayard , Richard Benson, Kip Todd, David Wilkerson, and Ingrid Jorgensen.

Engaging the Community:
It was explained that public art can help to beautify the environment, memorialize and commemorate, unify, focus, revitalize and serve, and please and challenge. A slide show was presented showing various examples of public art, including the memorial in Lithia park, the Plaza statue, the arch over entrance to SOU, a killer whale coming out of sand box located in multi-housing units, and various other examples around town.

Celebrating Success:
The Public Arts Commission has set various goals and priorities, including: funding for the placement of art at the gateway island and Calle Guanajuato, the completion of a Policies and Procedures Guide, and establishing working relationships with various organizations and City departments. It was explained the first draft of the Policies and Procedures Guide has been reviewed by City Attorney Paul Nolte, who stated they are off to a great start.

Project One: Calle Guanajuato Stairway
It was explained that the Calle Guanajuato Stairway was a perfect place for public art. The Commission has been working with the Parks & Recreation Department as well as landscape architects to establish public art in this location. The proposed areas where they would be adding art are located at the overlook at the top of Granite Street, the Sculpture Garden, the Stairway, and the Gathering Area. The most immediate project is the overlook, and they would then move on to the sculpture garden. The theme for the artwork is "The Celebration of Water", and was conceived by the Lithia Arts Guild. It was explained that they would like to use art that would tie into our sister city, Guanajuato. The Commission will request a call for entries to obtain artwork, and there will be an established jury that will judge the entries and select the winner. It was noted they do have some funding in place, however additional funding is necessary to complete the project. The Public Arts Commission plans on using this opportunity for funding and awareness to educate the community about the Commission.

Project Two: Boulevard Gateway
The Commissioner noted the importance of the Boulevard Gateway, stating it is a major focus of the City of Ashland. It is where the Fire Station, the Library, and the Boulevard all intersect. The Public Arts Commission has proposed that four areas be set aside for public art in this area: 1) the island, 2) the wall located in front of the Library, 3) the Gateway itself, and 4) the bump-out at Evo's.

Making it Happen
The Commissioners handed out 'fake' money with statements written on them as a way to demonstrate that there are all kinds of ways to raise funds. Some of those examples included: local foundations granting seed money to the Public Arts campaign, silent auctions, City approval of an annual line item in the city budget for a public arts fund, and 1% allocation of private developers project costs for the installation of public art at a prominent location.

The Commissioners clarified for Council that public art has become a good way to memorialize passed family members, and they are solidifying the acceptance of gifts policy in the Policies and Procedures Guide. They also clarified they are developing a master plan as a sort of road map to determine what types of art pieces should go where.

Council questioned the timeline for the Guanajuato Project. It was explained that the Parks Department received bids a few weeks ago, and a contractor has not been selected yet. They are anticipating approximately 8 weeks to complete the structure. The construction will take place first, and the public art will be the last thing installed. It was noted the Parks Department has left the overlook unfinished for the Public Arts Commission to complete. In addition, to complete the projects they still need to assemble a jury for judging the artwork, assemble the information packet for the interested parties, and complete the fund raising.

Council expressed the need for the Commission to develop their budget information. The commissioners clarified they will be working on the Guanajuato Project first, and should have the final Policies and Procedures Guide by the end of the year.

II. Proposed Billings Ranch Gold Course - Effluent Reuse Options/Update on DEQ WWTP Temperature Standards and Permit Renewal.
Public Works Director Paula Brown introduced Mike Peru, who is representing the Billings Golf Course. Mrs. Brown explained that staff continues to pursue effluent reuse options and "the right water for the right use". She also explained that the use of treated effluent for golf courses has been a traditional link for effluent reuse.

Mrs. Brown stated there is a proposal separate to this issue, but they will only be discussing the effluent reuse option at this time. Mrs. Brown explained the 10 options being discussed for the use of treated effluent for golf course irrigation. Those options are: 1) Golf course volumes, 2) Creek recharge option, 3) Infrastructure costs, 4) Membrane process, 5) Chemical use, 6) Water trading opportunities, 7) Effluent Level IV designation, 8) Golf course compliance, 9) Golf course benefit, and 10) City benefits.

Mrs. Brown explained the city is required to use membrane filters from May 1st through November 30th, which produces Level IV water. The water being discussed for the Billings Golf Course would need to be Level IV - "unrestricted use" effluent. Mrs. Brown stated that our ability to provide the golf course the water they need would not be a problem. Mrs. Brown discussed the option to "trade water back" to the Ashland Creek, explaining that they have discussed the possibility of Ashland transferring all of it's summer time flows to the golf course. The golf course would hold the water in their ponds and use what they needed, and then release the cooler water from their ponds back into the creek. This option, however, would need to be approved by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). Mrs. Brown explained that she is looking out for the City's fiscal interest with all the options being discussed. Mrs. Brown stated the City's membrane facility is utilized to remove phosphorus from the water, however phosphorus for a golf course is a good thing. There is a possibility that the City could adjust the alum dosage to the membrane facility to allow the phosphorus to remain in the effluent. This option would also need to be approved by DEQ. Mrs. Brown explained the process of transferring the effluent to the golf course would benefit both parties. The golf course would obtain the water necessary for their needs, and the City would not have to worry about the cooling process options now necessary for it's permit renewal. Mrs. Brown explained that she is seeking Council's approval to continue to pursue these conceptual ideas.

Council expressed concern with developing a dependence and commitment to the golf course this far in advance. Mrs. Brown assured the Council she is looking at all options to address Ashland's needs. Council expressed their support of continuing to look at effluent reuse options.

Mr. Peru explained that this would work great for everyone and feels this is a good option to work in concert with the city to address the temperature issues.

Mrs. Brown gave a brief background of the temperature standards and explained the new standards are required to protect the spawning and migration of the salmon. Mrs. Brown explained that they have looked at opportunities for reuse and also looked at riparian opportunities. This plan was submitted to DEQ approximately a year and a half ago. The plan cited 4 options for cooling the water. Mrs. Brown stated Ashland will most likely end up using a combination of the water reuse and trading, along with riparian opportunities. She believes this is acceptable by the DEQ and EPA to look at more of a holistic view of temperature management throughout the basin. Ashland's permit is coming due, and now that the temperature requirements have been passed by the DEQ, Ashland is required to meet those requirements. Mrs. Brown also stated that the permit will have a Thermal Load Limit, which means that the City can only discharge effluent at a certain temperature. Mrs. Brown explained there is some leniency on the amount for the first few years as we determine exactly what we can do with the treatment plant, how to keep the thermal loads down within the plant itself, and how looking at how the riparian plantings will effect our options. There is a Public Hearing scheduled for May 3, 2004, and the permit conditions should go before the Environmental Quality Commission later this spring.

Mrs. Brown clarified for the Council the effluent temperature is approximately 72-74 degrees. The new temperature requirements are 64-68 degrees depending on the time of the year. Mrs. Brown also clarified that Staff will have a Plan B in case the golf course were to fail.

III. Discussion regarding the allocation of Transient Occupancy Tax Revenues for Cultural and Economic Grants.
Finance Director Lee Tuneberg explained there was a lot of time spent during the meetings going through the history of the allocation of the TOT. They have looked at the activities that have changed, looked at who receives the money, and what they do with the funds.

Councilor Jackson stated they need to accomplish figuring out the tourism component as the state defines it, which is a separate issue from changing the resolution that is currently in place.

Assistant City Attorney Mike Franell submitted a memo included in the packet, which states that Oregon Law defines a tourist as someone who travels over 50 miles or stays overnight. Mr. Franell explained that part of the difficulty Staff was having was that the new State legislation states that the City can not reduce the percentage of the Transient Occupancy Tax funds that are being spent on tourism. In addition, Ashland does not have a tracking policy in place to determine this amount, so we are now having to back track and determine what of last year's allocations were spent on tourism. Staff is also proposing that the Council adopted a new resolution that better defines the new requirements set by the State. Mr. Franell explained that they have met with the Chamber of Commerce and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to determine what they have spent their funds on, but they do not have an accurate tracking system either. The committee has struggled with determining what percentage of last year's allocated funds were being spent on tourism, but have determined that roughly 31% of the Chambers' budget was used for tourism promotion.

Councilor Jackson clarified this determination is separate from the resolution and separate from determining who gets what. The Committee has spent a great deal of time looking at the Chamber's numbers and have agreed on the proportions. Jackson noted that a portion of the Chamber's funds go towards economic development and not just promoting tourism. Jackson stated it became very uncomfortable diving into the details of the Chamber's budget, and they did not want to make a public discussion of what their budget is. As chair of the committee, she supports the 31% determination.

Councilor Hearn stated he initially agreed with the allocation, however on subsequent meetings with the Chamber he came to the conclusion that the accounting data provided could be looked at in a variety of different ways.

Councilor Hartzell noted that the grantees have tried to represent their work towards whatever is it the City is trying to accomplish. So far, they have only asked the Shakespeare Festival and the Chamber of Commerce to provide their figures.

Mr. Tuneberg stated that beyond the math to meet the State requirements, the resolutions have not well addressed what needs to be accomplished. He stated that the City would like good outcomes from the money they grant and they should focus on what they want out of the money, not who should get it. Then, have those organizations measure and report their spending.

Mayor DeBoer stated he believes they should use the figure given by the OSF and Chamber and lock that in for the requirement.

Councilor Laws stated some of the Visitor's Center's funds go toward things that do not draw people in from over 50 miles, noting the Christmas promotion.

Councilor Hartzell stated the committee thoroughly discussed the accounting issues and wants to make sure that any changes that are proposed are done in a way that works for everyone. She does not want to short change an organization that was relying on this funding.

Jackson clarified the real purpose of redrafting the resolution was to better reflect the City's intentions.

Mayor DeBoer noted that this issue will come back to the Council in a Public Hearing.

Mr. Tuneberg expressed the need to get the applications out and with that the applicants will want to know how much money is available. Councilor Hartzell suggests attaching a cover letter to the applicants explaining the Council was still in discussion. Mr. Tuneberg feels they need to straighten this out before they get much further in the process.

Meeting was adjourned at 2:04 p.m.

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