Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Monday, October 03, 2005

These Minutes are preliminary pending approval by Council
at the October 18, 2005 City Council Meeting.

October 3, 2005
Civic Center Council Chambers
1175 E. Main Street

Mayor Morrison called the meeting to order at 5:02 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chamber.
ROLL CALL: Councilor Hardesty, Amarotico, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present. Councilor Hartzell arrived at 5:07 p.m.
1. Charter Recommendations Next Steps
Management Analyst Ann Seltzer presented the Staff Report. She explained that the Charter Review Committee presented their recommendations in layman's terms and the next steps will be for the consultant Tom Sponslor to prepare a draft based on the recommendations of the Committee, Council will then review the draft language and determine which of the recommendations will be placed on the May 2006 ballot. Ms. Seltzer stated that Staff has scheduled meetings for November 7th, December 5th and January 12th for Council to review the recommendations, take public input, and come to a decision on the ballot language.

Mrs. Seltzer explained that the Charter Review Committee recommended that further research was needed on the following items: Duties of the City Recorder, Compensation of the Municipal Judge, Water Works Language, and References to the Hospital and Cemetery. The suggested actions include: 1) Appointing a small committee to review current duties of the City Recorder and compensation of the Municipal Judge and bring a recommendation back to the Council, and 2) Direct the City Attorney to present to the Council an overview of the Water Works provision for clarification purposes and review and draft updated language regarding the hospital and cemetery provisions.

Councilor Jackson explained that she would need to leave early and suggested that the Council discuss how to proceed with the recommendations of the Charter Review Committee. She voiced her support for forming a small sub-committee as suggested that they further discuss which election date to shoot for.

Councilor Jackson left the meeting at 5:15 p.m.

Comment was made that the May election might be too soon. Additional comment was made suggesting that the Council not have Mr. Sponslor prepare a draft until after they have had discussions amongst themselves and the public on the Committee's recommended changes. Ms. Seltzer clarified that the Council can move forward however they so choose.

Assistant Attorney Mike Reeder clarified that the Council can make changes and are not bound to the recommendations of the Charter Review Committee.

Council discussed how they would like to proceed, including whether to adopt the format of the model charter. Ms. Seltzer explained that the Charter Review Committee recommended the format of the model charter because they felt the charter should be easy to read, concise and precise. She stated that the Council could move forward by either discussing the recommendations of the Committee first, and then having the consultant prepare a draft; or preparing the draft document first and then holding their discussions. She stated that a benefit of having a draft document first is that it gives the citizens a chance to see in advance what they might be voting on. She added that it would be more efficient to start with a draft charter, but added that it is up to the Council to determine how they would like to proceed.

It was questioned how much time it would take for Mr. Sponslor to prepare a draft of the model charter that incorporates Ashland's existing charter provisions and the recommendations of the Committee. Ms. Seltzer noted that there are a certain number of hours remaining on Mr. Sponslor's contract; however she was unable to state at this time how long it would take him to prepare the draft.

City Administrator Gino Grimaldi suggested that at the November 7th meeting, the Council could begin discussing the recommendations made by the Committee and Staff could provide additional information regarding how many hours and the cost for Mr. Sponslor to prepare the draft charter. Suggestion was made for Mr. Sponslor to prepare a draft that incorporates the policies of the existing charter without the recommended changes of the Committee. Mr. Grimaldi stated that Staff can obtain two estimates from Mr. Sponslor on the costs for preparing two different drafts, one in the model charter format with the existing charter provisions and another in the model charter format with the recommendations of the Charter Review Committee. This information can be presented at the November 7th meeting and Council can then determine how they would like to proceed. Council agreed to proceed as suggested by Mr. Grimaldi.

2. Additional Charter Recommendations Presented by Art Bullock
Art Bullock/791 Glendower/Provided the amendments recommended by the group.
Amendment #1: Articulate the core values of the democracy in a way that guides city government and allows enforcement.
Mr. Bullock listed the following core values:
• Open and transparent government.
• Advancing the common good.
• Protecting the commons.
• High citizen involvement.
• Limited government with checks and balances.
• Accountability.
• Honest and integrity.
Amendment #2: Establish a professional Ashland Code of Ethics for all public servants. Make it clear, specific, and enforceable.
Amendment #3: Revamp Public Forums to be more citizen-friendly and respectful.
Amendment #4: Use a Public Interest Vote, a semi-formal vote of the 'silent majority' on major proposals to guide Council decisions.
Amendment #5:
Define the limits and procedures for condemnation. Establish a majority vote requirement to condemn private property.
Require an LID to have majority support from those affect by the LID, who have liens put on their properties to pay for it.

Council thanked Mr. Bullock for his efforts and Mayor Morrison stated these recommendations would become part of the discussions as the Council moves forward with the process.

Marjorie Carson/455 B Street/Submitted the following written comments into the record:
"I hope the council approves the work of the Charter Review Committee. It looks clean and practical to me, particularly the change that transfers management powers to a City Manager."
Ms. Carson stated that she appreciates the efforts of the group, but expressed her concern about a citizen group that seems to think they are speaking for all of the citizens of Ashland. She stated that the information presented by this group would only amount to gridlock.

Philip Lang/758 B Street/Stated that process was the problem and encouraged the Council to consider all of the suggestions presented and not just the recommendations of the Charter Review Committee. Mr. Land commented on Ethics and stated that this is addressed in the Ashland Municipal Code; however it only applies to employees and needs to apply to elected and appointed officials as well. He also voiced his support for incorporating items into the Charter stating that ordinances can be changed too easily.

ADJOURNMENT:  Meeting adjourned at 6:38 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder

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