Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

October 4, 2005
Civic Center Council Chambers
1175 E. Main Street

Mayor Morrison called the meeting to order in the Civic Center Council Chambers at 7:00 p.m.
Councilors Hardesty, Amarotico, Hartzell, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present.
The minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of September 20, 2005 were approved as presented.
Mayor's Proclamation of October 9-15 as National Fire Prevention Week and Proclamation of October 2-8 as Mental Illness Awareness Week were read aloud.

Forest Lands Commission Presentation
Fire Chief Keith Woodley introduced Forest Lands Commissioners Frank Betlejewski, Dan Maymar and Joseph Vaile. The Commissioners covered the three-year goals of the Commission as the following:

To develop and implement a more comprehensive monitoring plan on city-owned forestlands.
To review and update the existing Memorandum of Understanding with the USFS for approval by the City Council.
To update the 1992 Ashland Forest Plan and make it consistent with the Northwest Forest Plan.
To complete a silvicultural prescription for the 160-acre Winburn Parcel. Projected implementation is 2006-2007.
To design a riparian management strategy for city-owned lands.
To develop a community outreach plan to increase awareness of our watershed and promote greater community involvement within city-owned forestlands and beyond. Involvement could include monitoring of the AFR. This may require City funding.
To create an active non-native species control effort on city lands (includes inventory, eradication plan and monitoring).
To create a fire management plan to address potential wildland fire occurrences. Defines a program to manage wild land and prescribed fires.
Accomplishments by the Commission were noted as the following:
Drafted a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP), held public forum, and obtained Council approval on this first in the nation CWPP under the Healthy Forests Restoration Act.
Hosted a public hike to the Winburn Parcel; redefined Ashland Forest Resiliency Community Alternative (AFRCA) tasks to respond to the Forest Service's request for clarification on AFRCA; appointed Marty Main and Darren Borgias as liaisons to the Forest Service.
Hosted public hike to lower watershed.
Renewed effort to develop a management plan for the Winburn Parcel.
Retreat by Commission to identify goals, roles of participants and future collaboration processes with various stakeholders.
Various national fire plan grants received; fire prone domestic vegetation removal and general thinning on private lands programs implemented within the Ashland interface area.
AFRCA team began biweekly meetings to respond to the Forest Service DEIS
City Staff met with Forest Service and agreed to a two month window in which to clarify City's response to the DEIS.

1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions, and Committees.
Councilor Chapman/Jackson m/s to approve Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Ann Marie Huston/550 Oak Knoll/Submitted statement into the record where she voiced her frustration that the City Council imposed an unfair, unjust and immoral surcharge against all citizens of Ashland, regardless of whether they are Ashland Fiber Network (AFN) subscribers. She shared her personal experience with bureaucrats and submitted a petition of 300+ signatures of citizens who oppose the $7.50 AFN surcharge.

Eric Navickas/711 Faith Avenue/Spoke regarding watershed management and warned the Council about an aggressive project being put forward by the Bush administration. He stated that the Forest Service has yet to complete the watershed management project previously agreed to and stressed that fuels reduction should be completed through non-commercial means. Mr. Navickas noted the Ski Ashland expansion proposal and stated that if these projects go forward simultaneously, there would be severe problems in the watershed. He added that the City should be skeptical about what the Forest Service is doing in the watershed.

1. Fire Station 2 Update
Fire Chief Keith Woodley presented the Staff Report to Council. He explained that earlier this year Staff conducted a survey of commercial property along the Ashland Street corridor that would be suitable for Fire Station #2, and noted that the construction of a new fire station has been before the Council as a Capital Improvements Project for several years. He stated that Staff is proposing that this be voted on by the public at the November 2006 election, which would allow Staff more time to update the 1995 Space Needs Study and develop an outline plan for the project. He added that no Council action is required at this time.

Mr. Woodley clarified for Council that the existing fire station site was selected as the preferred site for expansion following the commercial property survey; and stated that Staff was following a similar program as what was used for Fire Station #1. Mr. Woodley noted the issue of trying to get the fire station planning and the budget cycle to match each other, as they are currently out of sync.

Council commented on the level and types of activities projected to occur at Fire Station #2, and that they might not be able to be done there or be desirable to be done there.

Mr. Woodley concluded by clarifying that several years ago he approached the Parks Commission and proposed the possibility of purchasing some of the park lands.

Mayor Morrison responded to the Public Forum testimony regarding the Ashland Fiber Network surcharge and stated that the Council was taking the future of AFN very seriously. He explained that they have appointed a committee that is looking into what can be done and stated that all options are being considered. He stated that Council was concerned with the impact this surcharge would have on fixed and low-income households and stated that they have been exploring ways to identify and exempt citizens with hardship cases.

Mayor Morrison stated that AFN has contributed greatly to the community and explained how the costs of cable television would be a great deal higher if it were not for AFN. He noted that there are many individuals in the community who rely on AFN, and stated that the community needs to continue to support this resource until a final determination is made. He noted that the options for AFN would be presented to the Council in November.

2. Police Preparation for Halloween Events
Police Chief Mike Bianca introduced Officers Teresa Selby and Rich Walsh and shared his experiences with the Halloween holiday as both a citizen and a police officer. Mr. Bianca explained that after the 2004 celebration, he directed Staff to analyze the problems associated with Halloween and to make recommendations for police response in 2005. Mr. Bianca voiced his concern with the potential negative impacts for the community associated with the Halloween celebrations.

Officer Rich Walsh stated that the Police Department's recommendation was to bring in outside forces to help insure a safe celebration. Officer Selby stated that she had been working on a public outreach plan educating how the Police Department will be handling violations during the Halloween celebration. She noted the other communities that have volunteered to assist in patrolling our community on Halloween. Officer Selby stated that they held a non-mandatory meeting with local bar owners to address their concerns and discuss potential problems. She further clarified for Council the process in which the Police Department would follow in regards to chain-of-command.

Joaquin Saloma/368 York Street/Spoke regarding the police action of Halloween of 2005 and noted incidents that he felt violated police conduct. He stated that it was important to look at how police action would be structured on Halloween.

3. Ordinance re Community Oriented Policing.
John Stromberg/252 Ridge Road and Ralph Temple/150 Meyer Creek Road/
Mr. Stromberg explained that they are with the Ashland Committee on Policing and Safety and noted that this group was assembled in July and consists of 11 members. A report titled 'Community Policing: A New Paradigm for the Ashland Police Department' was submitted into the public record.

Mr. Temple explained the difference between "professional policing" and "community policing" and stated that the City made the decision to embrace the community policing method when they hired Police Chief Bianca. Mr. Temple gave a brief history of the selection process and stated that many recognized that there would be officers who would not support Chief Bianca. Mr. Temple noted the request by the Police Association to have Chief Bianca removed and commented on various sections of the Association's statement, which is included in their report.

Mr. Temple stated that their proposed ordinance was about the City backing up the Police Chief on community policing. He voiced his confidence that the Council, City Administrator and Legal Department would make the right decision and submitted a legal opinion from Attorney William Mansfield into the record, which addresses whether this was an appropriate subject for an ordinance.

Mr. Temple clarified that they met with the Mayor, City Administrator and various members of the Ashland Police Association when putting the ordinance together. Mr. Stromberg added that Police Chief Bianca and Police Chief McGuire of West Jordan, Utah also provided input. He noted that the City's Legal Department has not had the opportunity to review the report and acknowledged that it is up to the Council on how this proceeds.

Council discussed the proposed ordinance and support was voiced for moving forward with discussions. Comment was made voicing disappointment that the presentation took an "us vs. them" tone. Suggestion was made for the Council to take a step back, invite the public into the discussions, and explain what community policing is all about. Comment was made noting the need for the Legal Department, City Administrator, Police Chief and Police Department to join in on the discussions.

It was noted that the City was in the process of forming a Public Safety Commission, which could have a role in the community policing policy implementation. Statement was made that the Council should not wait until the Public Safety Commission is formed before taking action on this issue. Comment was made that they need to make sure they are putting this policy statement into the right form (resolution vs. ordinance) and it was suggested that Council refer this issue to Staff for legal analysis.

Mayor Morrison stated that it was clear that a policy was needed and voiced his support for moving forward. He stated the policy should reflect the broad base of the community and should be formed by the Council, not the Public Safety Commission. He recommended that they refer the ordinance to Staff for a legal review, develop a list of individuals that should be involved in the review, and schedule a date for when this will come back to Council.

Pam Vavra/280 Dead Indian Memorial Road/Voiced her support for Police Chief Bianca and the formation of a community policing policy.

John Fisher-Smith/945 Oak Street/Voiced his support for community policing in Ashland and hopes the Council can carry the community towards that goal. Mr. Fisher-Smith stated that he did not view the presentation as negative and noted incidences of undue police action. He shared that Police Chief Bianca had been invited to speak to a group he belongs to and voiced his support for community policing.

Councilor Jackson left the meeting at 8:51 p.m.

Molly Wetzel/Garfield Street/Noted her experience with this issue and commented on the need for strategic planning twice a month where the community and the police could come together to discuss community policing needs. She stated that community policing goes beyond the police department and commented on the need to bring the community and the police department together. She added that strategic planning should come first to define what the policy is.

Police Chief Mike Bianca stated that there was a timeliness involved in this issue. He acknowledged that he had been contacted by the committee and had provided input; and stated that he had not been able to find any city that has enacted a law supporting a community policing policy and finds it fascinating. He voiced his hope that he would be the chief that brought unity to the police department, but acknowledged that there has been turmoil within the department.

Chief Bianca shared the feeling of the department on how the proposed ordinance is difficult for them to accept, as it seems to be negative towards the department. He stated that he is opened-minded and ready to explore this issue further.

Councilor Hartzell/Hardesty m/s for legal staff to review the ordinance and bring back to Council at their November 15 meeting for first reading and review. DISCUSSION: Suggestion was made for the Police Chief and his department to provide input. Comment was made supporting movement in this direction, but opposing action until legal review is complete. Mayor Morrison stressed the importance of this issue and stated that they need to have a clearly articulated set of expectations as defined by policy and understood by all. He stated that this was a wonderful start and suggested that the Council move forward. Voice Vote: Councilor Hartzell, Hardesty, Chapman and Silbiger, YES. Councilor Amarotico, NO. Motion passed. 4-1

4. Council Goals Update
City Administrator Gino Grimaldi provided a brief update and a timeline for meeting the goals and requested Council feedback.

Council discussed several of the goals and provided the following input:

Goal #1: Suggestion was made to broaden this goal to involve more of the community than just the Chamber of Commerce. Suggestion was made for Staff to provide a report on the status of what the Chamber has done and to provide a set of options on how to broaden involvement.
Goal #5: Suggestion was made to move this forward to the Planning Commission by January 2006 and to Council by February 2006.
Interim Community Development Director Bill Molnar stated that a potential difficulty is that the Riparian Ordinance deals with a lot of technical issues that many of the decision makers are not familiar with. He stated that there is a learning curve associated with this goal, but thinks the suggested timeline is a feasible goal.
Goal #12: Suggestion was made to have the Study Session to review the existing TTPC plan sooner than Fall '07.
Goal #15: Suggestion was made to amend the language to read "Secure ODOT support for the project."
Goal #16:
City Administrator Gino Grimaldi clarified for Council that the City had been given permission from the railroad to perform work on the tracks, which would involve grinding down bumps and filling holes to make the crossings more passable for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Goal #17: Suggestion was made for Staff to propose a timeline for increasing conservation effectiveness before the budget.
Goal #19: Suggestion was made for Staff to set target dates for the activities listed in the second, third and fourth bullet points.
Goal #20: Suggestion was made to replace the bullet points, which are a reflection of the Navigant recommendations, with the actions the City is currently taking.
Goal #24: Comment was made noting that this goal had been delayed due to budget restrictions and request was made that Council address this issue during next years goal setting process.

Mr. Grimaldi stated that Staff would revise the goals and distribute to the Council.

5. Approve Voting Delegate for Oregon LOC conference
Councilor Hartzell/Amarotico m/s to approve Councilor Silbiger as the Voting Delegate for the LOC Conference. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

Councilor Silbiger/Hardesty m/s to approve Councilor Hartzell as the alternative Voting Delegate for the LOC Conference. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

1. First Reading by Title only with changes of "An Ordinance Amending the Ashland Municipal Code Relating to Rules of Procedure for Public Contracting and Personal Service Contracts."
Assistant City Attorney Mike Reeder explained that this ordinance was mostly for housecleaning and clarification, but stated that due to some recent input from Staff and Council it might be best to postpone the first reading in order to obtain more feedback from Council. Council reached consensus to allow Staff additonal time to prepare the ordinance for Council review.

Finance Director Lee Tuneberg clarified for Council that Staff could include information on the AFN contracting procedures when this ordinance comes back to Council for first reading.

Staff requested direction from Council regarding the proposed change #3, which states that change orders and amendments to a contract over $75,000 or more than 25% of the original contract must be approved by the Local Contract Review Board. Mr. Grimaldi explained that the proposed language would be problematic from an operational standpoint and could cause project delays. He stated that they could change it to only require approval if it is more than 25%.

Councilor Hartzell/Amarotico m/s to extend meeting until 10:30 p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

City Attorney Mike Franell stated that changes that result in significant budget impacts already come back to Council in the form of a supplemental budget.

Mr. Reeder noted that Council may wish to discuss the current exception of not needing to bring a contract before the Review Board when it has already been approved though the capital improvement and budget process. Finance Director Lee Tuneberg explained that in the past, Staff would provide updates to the Council on capital improvement projects as they move forward. He stated that with large projects, such as the Siskiyou Blvd. project, change orders do occur and it could become costly to have to wait for Council approval.

Comment was made that it seems redundant to require Council approval on CIP projects that are already thoroughly reviewed. Council questioned at what point Staff brings contracts that have exceeded their bid amount back to Council. Mr. Tuneberg stated that there is no specific guideline, but suggested that 10% over might be an appropriate figure. Statement was made voicing support for establishing a threshold.

Concern was expressed about projects coming in at a low bid and then having multiple change orders that raise the price. Mr. Tuneberg stated that change orders are inevitable with some projects, but stated that the estimate and bidding follows a fair process. He voiced his support for the threshold being 25% for change orders to require Council approval.

Suggestion was made to include language "as allowed by the city charter". Mr. Franell clarified that anything that would be in an ordinance could not violate provisions within the Charter. He noted that the current Charter prohibits the City from selling water other than to residents and noted that further clarification of this charter language may be necessary.

Meeting adjourned at 10:11 p.m.

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John W. Morrison, Mayor

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