Agendas and Minutes

Citizens' Budget Committee (View All)

Budget Committee Meeting

Monday, May 16, 2005



Budget Committee Meeting

Draft Minutes

May 16, 2005, 7:00pm

Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street





Chairman Jim Moore called the Ashland Budget Committee meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. on May 16, 2005 in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street Ashland, Oregon.




Mayor Morrison was present. Councilor Amarotico, Hartzell, Jackson, and Silbiger were present. Councilor Hardesty was absent.  Budget Committee members Bond, Levine, Mackris, Olsen, Thompson, and Williams were present.













PUBLIC WORKS                                                                Capital Improvement Section

         page 3-63 to 3-100


Joe Strahl, Interim Public Works Manager, spoke to the Capital Improvement Plan. Mike Morrison, Superintendent, is responsible for completing the budget.  Mr. Strahl spoke to Public Works responsibilities and gave an overview of the budget. He noted when budgets are prepared, assumptions are made about projects that look out many years ahead.  He said there are also issues with respect to grant funds.  Many come from ODOT and subject to regional and statewide competitive processes, and there is no guarantee funds will be available.  


Mr. Strahl pointed to a recent analysis done on $2.7 million backlog of paving projects in the City. Over the six year program, only $1.7 million is being addressed, creating a backlog that continues to grow in dollars and projects. Different strategies will be looked at, but local cash infusion may be necessary to plan for projects.


Mr. Strahl spoke to Water and Wastewater which are largely supported by dedicated funds and rates that citizens pay.  He added that when shifting from one fiscal year to next, this shift happens to fall during the busiest time of year for Public Works department.  Estimating expenditures are difficult, and not always correct when the fiscal year ends. The Public Works department managers will be meeting to refine current capital improvement projects to see where they stand for this year.  


The Committee inquired about the performance standard of the Overall Condition Index (OCI) of 78%, and how it is maintained with $1 million backlog.  Mr. Strahl explained the pavement index system is how the City tries to analyze what condition the streets are in. He added they would like to have all streets in the backlog above 65 OCI. Mike Morrison, Superintendent of Public Works, explained that the OCI is done every two years and the 78% referenced (3-71) is a carryover from the previous year inspection.  He also noted some of the streets have been postponed because there is not a dire need at this time.  Mr. Morrison said the streets from Dewey to Mountain, need to be completely restored.  He added some streets need water and sewer mains in streets. He added, the department tries to stay even with the median streets by putting a surry seal on them. Lee Tuneberg, Finance director said the 78% is a benchmark for the overall city.


Mr. Strahl walked through the Capital Improvement Plan. (See Proposed Budget 2005-2006; pages 2-8 to 2-95.)  He explained ODOT rail funds will not be available for the railroad crossing improvement at Hersey, Laurel & East Main Streets.  The department is looking for other sources of funding for the $400,000 project.  Committee asked if the project would be reprioritized if funds weren’t available, and if the railroad companies pool their funds. Mr. Strahl said if the funds weren’t available, the project will be reprioritized.  He added that he didn’t know exactly where the railroads get their funding, but thought they worked with Federal dollars.


The North Main & Wimer Street intersection does not currently have a guaranteed STIP grant.  Mr. Strahl said he will be attending a meeting to discuss ways of being more effective in obtaining grants, as well as continuing to pursue funding through STIP and other sources.  


The Committee asked if the City purchased the lot on N. Main Street. Mr. Strahl confirmed the lot purchase for additional parking space, adding the earliest use to be 2008.  


The Committee asked about the Allison St repairs being done in 2009.  Mr. Morrison said there was much more work to do in the next four years.


Mr. Strahl said the Nevada Street bridge has no current monies to count on, and the Downtown Plan Phase II STIP monies are not allocated to the City as of yet.  Committee inquired how many years in advance funds are approved for STIP.  Mr. Strahl said typically two years.


Mr. Strahl said the City recently requested bids on miscellaneous sidewalks, but only received one bid due to contractor’s busy schedules.  This bid was 45% higher than our Engineers estimate, so the project has been put on hold until we can get some reasonable prices. He said the high cost of oil has had a double negative effect on transportations projects, causing the price of materials to also go up. At the same time our revenues will decrease as people use less fuel.  


Committee inquired when a project gets put on hold, and the City banks the money from LID residents, who pick up the additional charges if the cost goes up?  Mr. Morrison said the City will not charge citizens if project goes over 10% of the engineers estimate, and there is a $4400 lot limit, no matter what size.  Committee asked if the Beaver Slide funding was solid. Mr. Morrison said the money is anticipated to be budgeted in 2007. He explained the Walnut Street monies are promised by SEMAC grant, but it looks like it will not be enough. He added the Hosler Dam transmission line replacement is nearing completion but the bid may exceed projected amount in the budget. The Committee asked what determines the order for water line replacement, and based on the figures, what percentage will be taken care of in the next six years.  Mr. Strahl said age, problems, leaking, upsizing, and other conditions determine when.  As for the percentage of those being worked on he would have to get back to the Committee, but a good water line should last 50 years.  He added that a normal street should last 25 years. Mr. Morrison added the Siskiyou Boulevard line is made of steel and hasn’t been replaced in 50 years.  He added the lines around the hospital are smaller, and need to be upsized for fire protection. Mr. Morrison said the lines are determined by the water master plan, which was completed last year.  Mr. Strahl said most decisions will be based on technical decisions.


Mr. Strahl addressed the Wastewater Plant and said it is the best effluent in the state. Mr. Morrison said the costs are related to temperature and capacity.  He added the cost includes adding a couple more membrane filters.



Break until 8:15


Mr. Tuneberg answered questions on CIP projects that have more to do with other funds that reside in Public Works.  He addressed P.2-84, and the covered storage building for electric. He said $120,000 was in CIP and $120,000 in electric fund. He proposed $120,000 cut out of electric fund, because the electric department pays fees toward facilities that pay for this. Mr. Tuneberg added that the numbers do not take into account future inflation. 


Mr. Tuneberg presented the Public Works Budget, pointing to P. 3-63 to 3-99.  He began an overview of each section, and spoke to fees that will be adjusted for final budget document. Committee asked about the transportation fee.  Mr. Tuneberg said the fee is assessed to customers to pay for the street fund operations. He said personal costs are running an average 6-7% increase per year, due to health care, retirement, benefit costs, etc.  He added a significant portion of materials and services are internal charges. He noted the capital outlay is lower, adding that the equipment costs are also included in capital outlay as well as capital improvements.


Mr. Tuneberg spoke to the Airport Fund.  He pointed to P. 3-68, 3-69.  He stated that there are significant expenditures finishing construction of T hangars and improvements, most improvements are done through federal grants. The revenues come from rentals and service charges at the airport itself. He said in 2006, they are not doing any capital improvements with FMA or FAA grants. Committed asked about the Miscellaneous Charges and Fees.  Mr. Tuneberg said included in the fees are the T hangar construction, part of internal charges, and payments back to equipment fund for underground storage tanks we replaced a few years ago. 


The Committee pointed to 4-22, and the long term 2006 deficit.  Mr. Tuneberg said at the first part of year they had to borrow money internally and the $200,000 dollars will be paying it back.  Committee asked if the long term deficiencies are anticipated in the new master plan.  He replied the master plan looks more at improvements and maintenance of the facility; we look at what activities go under and charge the appropriate amounts. Committee asked how central service fees are calculated.   Mr. Tuneberg said it is a very complex calculation, that depends on each activity and the benefits received.


Mr. Tuneberg spoke to the Street Division. P. 3-70–3-73.  He addressed the performance measures and rating for OCI. He noted how the Public Works Department identifies items that relate to Council goals and safety. 


Mr. Tuneberg spoke to Grounds Maintenance. P. 3-74-3.75.  He said in some cases City contracts with Parks to do services.  As we improve the streets and put in more grounds to maintain, the costs will go up.


Mr. Tuneberg spoke to Storm Drain.  P. 3-76 – 3-77.  He said many of the people in Public Works shift between divisions for project work. He noted the proposed 5% increase in storm drain fees. The Committee asked about the rate increases, and if they are implemented when budget is approved.  Mr. Tuneberg replied it is a separate process that depends on the activity or type of fee.  He said depending on if it was originated by resolution or ordinance that identified some inflationary amount. Most of the fees have to be reviewed by Council in a four-five year period.  


Mr. Tuneberg spoke to the Water Division. P. 3-78-3.79.  He addressed the use of TID water, and said it is used in various ways throughout the City for irrigation. He said the Department of Revenue suggests that they set a budget at the last moment and adjust as needed with things that change in June. He said if you see an adjustment, it’s not unusual.  Pointing to P. 3-80 and the Treatment Division, Mr. Tuneberg noted the interest on debt services in 2003 of $206,000 was due to refunding of 1994 bonds. This required an up front interest payment, and a savings of total interest cost over the life of debt service.  Referring to the Forest Interface Budget, he said the budget is almost the same amount because they are anticipating the same activity. He added line 605 is funded 100% through grants. Mr. Tuneberg said they are currently studying water and wastewater SDC’s, which will be simplifying the tracking process and future presentations.  


Mr. Tuneberg spoke to the Wastewater Division, P. 3-84 – 3-88.  He gave an overview of the infrastructure; special equipment used; Council and division goals; budget issues and performance measures. He said the proposed rate increase is 3%. He added this fund receives monies from food and beverage revenues of $1.2 million per year; with a debt service in the $1.7 million range.  Committee asked if there was a compliance deadline for the TMD, and what the cost was. Mr. Strahl said he did not know of any deadline, and said the cost depends on what is implemented; testing criteria; what has to be improved and what the problems are related to. Pointing to P. 3-86, Mr. Tuneberg gave a general overview of the Collection and Construction Divisions.  He said there was no construction proposed for treatment plant. Committee asked about upgrades in CIP.  Mr. Tuneberg said that was in another area, 3-87 process improvements rather than in the overall project. Pointing to P. 3-87, and the Treatment Division.  He said they are proposing to add $242,000 to the Capital Outlay proposed budget of $56,750.  He noted this was a disconnect in the process, and is work that was budged or identified in the CIP but didn’t make it all the way through the detail, but will be included on the final summary. 


Mr. Tuneberg pointed to Administration and Engineering Division, P. 3-90 – 3-92.  He said this is primarily in the central service fund. He added there is one significant change of a half time employee.  This employee is providing valuable support and is proposed to be moved to full time.  


Mr. Tuneberg pointed to the Facilities and Cemetery Maintenance Divisions, P. 3-94 – 3-97. Mr. Tuneberg said there are no significant changes. Committee noted the significant costs in line 603 from 2003 to 2006.  Mr. Morrison said he raised the budget for the increased costs of water and electricity. Mr. Tuneberg said the Cemetery operates out of the General Fund. Chairman Jmaes Moore questioned the release crew. Mr. Morrison explained line 602 as low cost workforce.


Mr. Tuneberg spoke to Fleet Maintenance and Acquisition, P. 3-98 – 3-99. He said equipment replacements are located here. The Jet Rodder was originally budgeted for 2005, and may be extended into 2006. There is one disconnect; a need to add a used ambulance, for $100,000. This will be restored by higher rents in the fire department.  He said the justification is very good for replacement, they have two other older apparatus that because of age, is hard to get parts. Mr. Morrison is looking at electric vehicles to reduce fuel costs. He said they are proposing, a water treatment SUV, which is a little more expensive, because it is a dual fuel, electric hybrid. The Committee said it is time to look at other options for fuel efficiency. Mr. Tuneberg said total Capital Outlay will increase to $970,000 with the addition of the used ambulance.  Committee asked if the ambulance was a replacement or an addition, and asked about the utility billing upgrade.  The ambulance was a replacement.  Mr. Tuneberg addressed the utility billing upgrade.  He said there are certain things that are sizeable in capital outlay. They purchased the Eden Software, out of the Equipment Fund and the departments pay the fund back. He said the $250,000 is a place holder, and they are currently studying software for an upgrade or another avenue. Committee asked about the Eden software and if the upgrade was for it or other software.  Mr. Tuneberg said the utility software is home grown, and the question becomes is it time to change or put more money into it.  He noted that it was not a part of the Eden software. Council asked about the Jet Rodder proposed $131,000, and the rest of the $19,000. Mr. Tuneberg said it may be reduced, adding that when the budget was put together they didn’t know what the bid was going to be.


Mr. Moore asked if there was a final figure for capital outlay. Mr. Tuneberg said instead of 8,210,150, it would be 8,344,150.


James Bond, Budget Committee Member/Councilor Kate Jackson m/s approval of Public Works budget as amended.  All Ayes.


 FINANCE (ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES)                  page 3-17 to 3-27, 3-33 to 3-38


The Committee asked if Finance changes would affect central services budgets in all departments.  Mr. Tuneberg said, not materially.



Break until 9:37pm


Mr. Tuneberg gave an overview of the Administrative Services and Finance Administrative Department. He spoke to proposed budget as it stands now. He noted the department proposed 36.65 FTE’s, and now have 23.65.  He said they pulled out all AFN and IT activities. He then spoke to accounting, utilities, parking enforcement, rate models, studies, and general support.  Pointing to P.3-19 and the overall proposed budget. He pointed to operating and non operating divisions. $738,500 includes fire station expenses. Insurance fund relates to the additional monies for PERS that are set aside. Because of losses and other actuarial information the rate would have gone up over 80%, adding that we set aside monies a year ago and will spend these.


Mr. Tuneberg spoke to the Municipal Court Division. This division came to the Department a couple of years ago.  He said there is no allocation of his time or central service charges. He added there is a proposed increase of .4 FTE. He added the need for security and having the doors open during the hours of operation for customers. The Committee asked about the increase in personal services, and that it doesn’t equal to fines and forfeitures. Mr. Tuneberg said that there is a significant impact in benefits, which is offset by not having to pay overtime. He said the revenues in the court are up 3% and are driven by cases. He added the overall costs of the court are pretty even. Committee asked about the judges’ salary; is it at half time and is it set in the charter.  They also asked if they have looked at other ways to cover the hours of operation, security and vacation schedules.  Mr. Tuneberg wasn’t sure about if the salary was set in the charter, and would have to look into this.  He said he has looked at how to manage efficiently.  Currently there are not enough people to cover the shifts, without drawing on other City Hall staff that are not necessarily trained to do the work itself.  He said they did several improvements with computer conversion, helping with segregation of duties and also our reporting and tracking to help with efficiency. 




This meeting was adjourned at 9:54 p.m.


Respectfully Submitted,


Deborah Fleishel

Administrative Secretary


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