Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, July 20, 1999

July 20, 1999
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street

Council Chairperson Don Laws called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m., in the Civic Center Council Chambers.

Councilors Laws, Reid, Hauck, Hanson and Fine were present; Mayor Shaw was absent; Councilor Wheeldon arrived late.

The minutes of the Hospital Board from July 6,1999 were approved as presented. The minutes of the Regular meeting of July 6, 1999 were approved with the following amendments: Councilor Fine requested that the following sentence be added after the first sentence on page 9: "Fine added that initially he had deferred to the political judgement of Mayor Shaw that it would be better to link the two measures; but as she no long was of that view, he should prefer to let the citizens vote on the two measures separately." Continued meeting of July 7, 1999 were approved as presented.

1. Update and presentation by the Housing Commission.
Slide presentation by Housing Commission and introduction of commission members Gerry Sea, Carlus Harris, Madeline Hill, Joan Legg, Joseph McKeever, Larry Medinger, Sondra Nolan and Jan Vaughn were made. Presentation stated the mission of the Housing Commission which is to encourage affordable housing for a wide range of Ashland residents; preserve the diversity and character of Ashland through enhanced cooperation between public and private sectors; and encourage financial entities to support housing programs within Ashland.

Current programs include, Ashland Rental Assistance; Ashland Home Ownership Program; and Ashland Community Land Trust Program. Commission members explained what the Community Land Trust Project (CLT) was and how it will work. A video was presented for further explanation on the program.

It was noted that the (CLT) is a non-profit membership, that it endeavors to create a stock of permanently affordable housing and would attempt to meet the needs of residents least served by the prevailing market. CLT would be distinctive because of the commitment to local control, it would represent a new approach to the ownership of land and housing, and would protect long-term affordability of housing through resale formula.

It was explained that the CLT would be a partnership between the Ashland Housing Commission, ACCESS, Inc., and area residents. Current efforts include creating a ACLT Board of Directors, adoption of Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws, approval of land lease and resale formula, community outreach and membership campaign, and the targeting of property for acquisition with CDBG funds and other sources.

On-going Housing Commission projects were noted as updating of Ashland Housing Element; evaluating current Affordable Housing Density Bonus and SDC Deferral Program.

1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.
2. Monthly Departmental Reports.
3. A Motion Approving the Purchase of Property Jointly with the Cities of Talent and Phoenix for the Purpose of Placing the Regional Pump Station for the TAP Intertie Project, and Authorizing the City Administrator to Negotiate the Final Purchase Price, Sign the Purchase Agreement and Authorize Payment of the Earnest Money for the Property.

Item #3 was pulled from consent agenda and placed under New Business.

Councilors Hanson/Reid m/s to approve consent agenda items #1 and #2. Voice vote: All AYES. Motion passed.

1. Public Hearing and Decision on the Action Plan for the One Year Use of Community Development Block Grant Funds for Fiscal Year 1999-00.
Associate Planner Maria Harris presented the synopsis on the action plan that is required to show how monies are being spent for the Community Block Grant. Explained that this years allocation is $221,000 and indicated a table that showed where the monies had been spent. Table showed the CDBG projects for fiscal year 1999-00 and the recipient organizations, their activity name, location and funds distributed. Explained that the consolidated plan needs to be updated every five years, which is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Development (HUD) for the receipt of the City's CDBG funding.

Councilor Wheeldon arrived late.

PUBLIC HEARING: Open 7:30 p.m.
No speakers.
PUBLIC HEARING: Closed 7:30 p.m.

Councilors Reid/Hauck to adopt Action Plan for the One Year Use of CDBG Grant Funds for Fiscal Year 1999-00. Roll Call Vote: Laws, Reid, Hauck, Hanson, Wheeldon and Fine; all AYES. Motion passed.

Sophia McDonald/1250 Siskiyou Blvd/
SOU representative of Student Government presented herself for questions and update to issues regarding Southern Oregon University. Stated that she hoped to have student representative at future council meetings. Touched on alternative transportation issues.


1. Council Meeting Look Ahead.

Public Works Director Paula Brown clarified for council that item #23 of the Look Ahead is a discussion scheduled at a study session to work with the Oregon Department of Transportation on Siskiyou Boulevard and other state operated owned facilities in Ashland. Discussion is anticipated in regards to whether it is worthwhile for the city to take over the ownership, maintenance, etc. of those facilities for funding.

Councilor Reid stated her skepticism over this matter and questioned whether it would be a good deal for the citizens of Ashland. Stated that her concern stems from what has happened in other communities. Reid informed council that she would be absent at the time that this session is scheduled and that she would like to be a part of this discussion. Brown agreed to look into changing the date of the study session in order that Councilor Reid could attend the study session. In addition, Brown would gather input from other cities and the League of Oregon Cities.

2. Final 1998/99 Construction and Major Project Activity Summary #4.
Public Works Director Paula Brown presented the summary of construction and major project activities completed by the Public Works Department during FY99. Explained that many of these projects are budgeted in various Divisions within the Department and are coordinated through the Engineering and Public Works Administration Division. Included for council review was the WWTP-Carollo progress report No. 7.

Stated that the upcoming study session will cover in detail further information on the TAP Intertie project.

Brown explained that additional data is continuing to be collected for the wetlands demonstration. That the bench test is showing below .08, which is enough promise to do it in the field and make the changes to see if we can remove phosphorus and get below .08. Brown explained that Cascade Earth Sciences was contracted to design, build, evaluate, and monitor project for a certain price. Cascade Earth Sciences is asking for additional monies, but Brown is skeptical over the need for additional expenses. Brown will keep the council appraised of the situation.

Brown voiced her concern that the project is way behind schedule on timing and that the project has already been extended once. Stated that they will continue to work with Cascade Earth Sciences, who are making every effort through various project management changes to keep the project going. Explained that, in terms of future budgeting, it would depend on the design modifications being made, and if these show resulting changes in phosphorus reduction. Brown would bring these results back to council for direction in regards to continuance and budget requirements.

Brown confirmed for council that Public Works crew is working through an agreement with the City Administrator and the YMCA to pave the YMCA parking lot and that there has not been any final decision regarding the paving of the Elks parking lot.

Brown stated that she was unsure of the how the agreement was written regarding the paving of the parking lot for the new YMCA swimming pool, but that discussion was held in that our city's crew would provide the labor to pave the parking lot. Explained that this was something that the City Administrator worked on and she is unaware of all the details. Council requested that staff place this on the next council agenda to answer the question of what the agreement is with the YMCA and what the possible donation that the city is making to the YMCA is in regards to the paving of the parking lot.

3. Discussion regarding community transit needs.
Administrator Services Director Dick Wanderscheid presented synopsis of prior discussion held with council on May 20, 1999 and the process and schedule for which the goals were agreed upon. Commented on the failure of the RVTD levy and the taking away of the Reduced Fare Program. Stated that internally, it did not seem wise to spend the next six months doing a survey, and was not the best way to proceed. Wanderscheid explained that it would be hard to survey citizens because citizens would have a hard time reacting to what the service levels are, when the service levels have changed. Also, services could change in the next six months.

Wanderscheid questioned council to determine if it were still their direction to spend the next six months doing a survey, or if there was something else council may want to do to proceed along with this quicker. Suggested public forums, focus groups, or bringing in individuals who have a vested interest in transit alternatives. Reiterated that he did not feel that a survey would be valuable at this point.

Councilor Reid questioned why auto and parking data would not be a part of the research in identifying alternative transportation. Reid would like to have the question posed as to why so many students are driven to school and if you can't understand how to get individuals out of their cars, you don't know why they are in their cars. Reid voiced her concern that proposed process as outlined in memo didn't seem to meet the need as discussed by council.

Wanderscheid questioned whether Reid was at the study session when proposal was adopted. Reid explained that it was her understanding, from a council meeting that she did attend, that the council was interested in why there is a problem around all the schools in regards to traffic.

Wanderscheid explained that the discussion with council at the study session was the need to focus and do a relatively short survey. That the discussion was to focus on alternative transportation in order to get a survey that was workable and to get data that could tweak the transit and the alternative transportation efforts currently being done. Stated that he was following the timeline and had gathered data that was available, but when the RVTD levy failed and the Reduced Fare Program went away, it was decided that this may not be the best way to go.

Reid stated that she could not imagine a better understanding of alternative modes of transportation, unless we include why people are in their cars.

Councilor Wheeldon commented on the outside surveys that were being conducted and how we could use this data. Requested that there be some type of task force committee formed to look at the entire transportation issue. Suggestion was made that this be held off and more time allowed to gather additional information and determine what our current situation are in regards to service.

Councilor Fine agreed with suggestion of forming a task force, but requested that staff proceed with their charge to survey transit demands and to look at what kinds of alternative transits would stimulate demand. Felt that a meaningful survey could be conducted to gather very important information which would feed into a future study that will need to be done. Would like staff to tell council whether they can follow the charge of the council on this request. Fine voiced his concern on staff informing council that they have a problem carrying out their charge. Fine would like to hear from the department head concerned, as to whether they are saying to do nothing, or is there some particular thing that they could do better than what was asked of them.

Wanderscheid stated that to spend six months on what they envisioned as a survey, to tweak the transit system, is not a very good use of our resources. Councilor Fine continued to feel that information gathered from a survey would be very important.

Council discussed appointment of task force when Mayor returns. Laws recommended that this be postponed and that an advertisement be placed to find out the interest of community members in volunteering to be a part of this task force. Reid felt that the schools play a large role in the transportation issue.

Council discussion on what they need to think about what and what the right direction to move in is. Laws requested that the City Administrator put a meeting together as soon as possible to discuss what direction to take and it was suggested that this take place at a study session. Laws requested that this be scheduled as a study session at 6 o'clock on August 3, 1999 prior to the regular council meeting.

4. A Motion Approving the Purchase of Property Jointly with the Cities of Talent and Phoenix for the Purpose of Placing the Regional Pump Station for the TAP Intertie Project, and Authorizing the City Administrator to Negotiate the Final Purchase Price, Sign the Purchase Agreement and Authorize Payment of the Earnest Money for the Property.
Public Works Director Paula Brown explained that the request is to approve purchase of property for placement of Regional Booster Pump Station needed for the TAP Water Intertie Project. Explained that the purchase cost is $75,000 of which Ashland's portion would be $11,775 is within the initial council approval of the intertie project.

Councilors Wheeldon/Reid m/s to approve staff recommendation of purchase of property. Roll Call Vote: Reid, Hauck, Laws, Hanson, Wheeldon and Fine, all AYES. Motion passed.

1. First reading by title only of "An Ordinance Amending the Comprehensive Plan Map, Zoning Map, and the Detail Site Review Zone Map for the Property North of the Railroad Tracks between Oak Street and North Mountain Avenue."

Councilors Reid/Fine m/s to approve first reading and place on agenda for second reading. DISCUSSION: Community Development Director John McLaughlin explained to council that everything to the north of the area next to Hersey Street is zoned E1 to Rogue Place, and the area around Williamson Way is zoned multi-family. McLaughlin also noted the areas for council and what their zoning was. Noted the hope for mix use and the continued work with the railroad for connection of roads in this area. Clarified for council that there is concept planning for a road along Mountain Avenue. McLaughlin explained for council that this is a great tool for strong street scape and over-all landscaping design standards. Stated that staff is currently working with a property owner to develop a full plan for all the railroad property, but is not in a position to take the lead. Stated that this project is being treated as a priority, but does not quite fit in for this years priority projects. Roll Call Vote: Wheeldon, Laws, Hanson, Reid, Fine and Hauck; all AYES. Motion passed.

2. First reading by title only of "An Ordinance Authorizing an Intergovernmental Agreement Creating the Oregon Utility Resource Coordination Association Intergovernmental Agency."

Councilors Hauck/Reid m/s to approve first reading and place on agenda for second reading. Roll Call Vote: Fine, Reid, Hanson, Laws, Wheeldon and Hauck; all AYES. Motion passed.

3. Reading by title only of "A Resolution Authorizing an Interfund Loan to the Community Development Block Grant Fund and Telecommunications Fund."

Councilors Hauck/Wheeldon m/s to approve Resolution # 99-45. DISCUSSION: Councilor Fine voiced concerns brought to him by members of the community which relate to the telecommunication operation. Specifically, in regards to the decision to pay a salary at a certain level, to a recently created position that he does not believe was budgeted for at this level. Requested that his reservation be noted and plans on following up these concerns with the City Administrator who is not in attendance at this meeting. Explained that the position in question is a Customer Service Specialist. That the budget for the initial position was for a Utility Billing Clerk, which is a lower level, lower paid position. Explained that this position will be paid at the top of the city scale and Fine has been told that this position would be compensated more than our 911 Dispatch Supervisor. That it would also be compensated at more than the going market rate of pay for this position in the private sector in Southern Oregon. Stated that he has only been able to get pieces of information regarding this proposed position and has not been able to get the complete story. Noted his concerns in relation to the agenda item which is to allocate more money to the fund from which this position will be paid.

Councilor Laws noted that this may be two separate issues.

Finance Director Jill Turner explained that this is a authorization request for an interfund loan for the telecommunication division. That the telecommunication division operated at a loss last year and that there were expenses with no revenue. Explained that the business plan showed that the telecommunication division would be operating at a loss for the first four years and then after four years would have enough revenue to begin to pay back operating loss. Explained that this authorization request would come before the council every year, as this expires every year. Stated that this request is to refinance the prior loan approved by council and to add on expected operating loss for this fiscal year. Explained that operating costs include customer service, internal service charges, installers, expenses in capitol needs for transmission and distribution system, etc. Stated that the capitol needs will be financed on a long term basis and the request for authorization to complete this transaction will be put before council soon. Explained that there is a working capitol need, which is a short term need for operating loss and there is a long term capitol need. Clarified that this authorization deals with the short term capitol need.

Turner stated that the requested interfund loan is very close to the amount that was authorized in the 1999-00 budget. Stated that staff has completed an updated 10-year plan based on these numbers.

Councilor Laws requested of Councilor Fine, to inquire of Turner and City Administrator, the issue surrounding the proposed position. And, if necessary bring back to council. Turner requested that this be deferred to City Administrator Mike Freeman and Assistant City Administrator Greg Scoles as she will be out of town.

Turner clarified for council that the original amount of the estimated costs were lower and that the higher amount is due to this being a new entity. Stated that estimates are continuing to be used to determine expenses.

Roll Call Vote: Hauck, Wheeldon, Laws, Hanson, Fine and Reid; all AYES. Motion passed.

4. Reading by title only of "A Resolution Exempting from Competitive Bidding the Selection of a Utility Billing/Cable Interface Software System for the Department of Finance."
Finance Director Jill Turner explained that staff had heard from one of the two potential vendors we would be purchasing our head-in equipment from and that they won't promise a delivery schedule until this part is secure. Believes that by researching and writing a contract, a competitive product could be secured in a fast and efficient manner. Turner explained that the expense of the "canned" part of the product is around $30,000 and that the costs for interface will depend on features and could be anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000. Stated that the competitive bidding process would add approximately 45 days to the process.

City Attorney Nolte clarified for council that it is very difficult to competitively bid software and that it is very time consuming. Noted the time frame needed to launch this business and that this is one element that needs to be done very quickly. Nolte stated that he will participate in writing the contract and will ensure that a competitive selection process is used.

Councilors Hanson/Fine m/s to approve Resolution # 99-46. Roll Call Vote: Fine, Hauck, Wheeldon, Reid, Hanson and Laws; all AYES. Motion passed.

Councilor Hauck noted a article about Ashland in the Oregonian which commented on the Ashland Fiber Network along with other items.

Councilor Reid noted the article on Hayword and Iowa and their similarities of implementing fiber optic network in relation to battling cable television.

It was noted that Councilor Wheeldon and Mayor Shaw would be traveling to Guanajuato in August. Reminder of study session on Thursday, July 22, 1999.

Meeting was adjourned at 8:47 p.m.

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