MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
February 20, 2001 - 7:00 p.m.
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Mayor DeBoer called the meeting the order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilors Laws, Reid, Hartzell, Morrison and Fine were present; Hanson arrived at 7:10 p.m.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of February 6, 2001 were approved with the following amendments: page 6, paragraph 3 under Discussion, second sentence should read "The report from the ad hoc committee and the letter from the Forest Land Commission are aggressive statements reflecting thoughts,...." and page 3, 2nd paragraph under Public Hearing, "Reid requested a traffic comparison for University District before a decision is made to close University Way."
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
Mayor DeBoer read Proclamation of Hunger Awareness Month.
1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.
2. Confirmation of Mayor's appointments of the following to the Ad Hoc Living Wage Advisory Committee: Suzi Aufderheide, Carole Bonney, Lawrence Wheeler, Arnie Green and Valri Williams.
Morrison requested amendment to Study Session minutes under item #1 as follows: page 1, 5th paragraph, 1st sentence should read "...the survey may be a little skewed because of the weighted sample and over representation of older and female citizens."
Councilors Fine/Hartzell m/s to approve Consent Agenda Item #1 with amendment. VOICE VOTE: all AYES. Motion passed.
Hartzell requested the removal of item #2 from the Consent Agenda. Hartzell felt it was important to clarify that the committee is not being asked whether to enact an ordinance, but to examine the identified issues, to do some research, and to discuss unintended impacts as a result of the way the document is written. The committee will then come back with options or proposals for addressing these issues. Hartzell requested the appointment of a council liaison for the committee.
DeBoer explained his reasons for appointing the committee members. Valri Williams represents the Chamber of Commerce; Arnie Green represents a nonprofit agency (Community Works); Lawrence Wheeler owns Service Master and is a contractor to the City; Carole Bonney and Suzi Aufderheide were recommended by Oregon in Action. He was in agreement for appointing a council liaison, and thought a Parks representative was also a good idea.
Morrison supported Hartzell's suggestions, and felt it was important not to limit the committee, as any number of recommendations could be possible.
Laws noted that the council seems to be in agreement that full-time City employees should be paid a living wage, but acknowledged that questions arise when part-time or contract employees are included. He clarified that the purpose of this ordinance was to use as an example, and supported Hartzell's suggestions, but does not want to limit the committee to the issues identified by the council.
Councilors Fine/Laws m/s to approve Consent Agenda Item #2 with an amendment to section one to read, "research the issues that could result in unintended impacts or problems with implementation," and the addition of a council liaison, to be named by the mayor, and the addition of the Parks Director, or his designee, to the list of members. VOICE VOTE: all AYES. Motion passed.
PUBLIC HEARINGS (None)
PUBLIC FORUM (None)
UNFINISHED BUSINESS (None)
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Council Meeting Look Ahead.
Reid requested setting aside item number 7 until a later date. Fine requested adding the issue of an ODOT-funded Welcome Center on the Look Ahead schedule. The council engaged in a general discussion of when to hold the discussion, and the council agreed to put the issue on as a study session agenda item. Laws reminded the council that the City does not have jurisdiction in this matter and that the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) would make the decision. However, the council should let the State know how a Welcome Center would affect the community.
Hartzell suggested sending the Look Ahead out to the committees and commissions.
2. Low Power FM license application.
Administrative Services Director Dick Wanderschied stated he was approached by J.B. Nelson and John Parman from the KSOC radio station, along with Pete Belcastro, requesting that the City apply for a low-power FM license for KSOC radio. He had spoken with Fire Chief Keith Woodley regarding the City providing a low-power station for emergency broadcasting, but the expense was prohibitive. Further, KSOC has agreed to provide this service during emergencies. As a result, Chief Woodley is in support of the application. Wanderschied explained that legally, the same guidelines for community-access television would cover KSOC radio broadcasting. City Administrator Greg Scoles requested direction from the council in order to move forward with the application.
Laws stated that he would be in favor of the request if Jefferson Public Radio (JPR) is consulted regarding possible conflicts. In addition, he requested that it be done in such a way as to assure there is no liability for the City.
Wanderschied explained that reports are received from RVTV on how many hours are used for community broadcasting, but that there is no other oversight. He felt that something may need to be written into the contract with KSOC protecting the City.
John Parman/1401 Oregon #764/Explained that drifts no longer occurs now that transmitters are digital. He has spoken with JPR, and they support low-power FM. Their concern is not with Ashland, but with rural areas. No studies have proven that JPR will lose listeners. JPR transmitters are located on the top of Central Hall at Southern Oregon University. The KSOC transmitter would be placed on top of the Physical Plant, which is beyond the 500-foot barrier required by the FCC.
Wes Brain/298 Garfield/Spoke in favor of the application as he felt it would benefit the community by offering a wide variety of programs. The National Association of Broadcasters is against low-power FM but the FCC has ruled that some of their concerns are not valid. The application process calls for a Board, and 75% of the people serving, must live within ten miles of the broadcast. Brain encouraged the council to support the application.
J.B. Nelson/125 Lincoln #6/Stated that the FCC addresses many of the concerns about low-power FM on their website. The advantage to the application is that KSOC is an established station. More than 35 producers provide 65-75 hours of original, live programming every week. He stated that RVTV has an internal Board, and discussion has already occurred regarding adding KSOC to the board process.
Scott Young/262 W. Hersey #A/President of Associated Students of SOU/Spoke on behalf of KSOC, stated that students strongly support the opportunity for low-power FM. KSOC is a hallmark program at SOU, providing service to local community members.
Russ Silbiger/562 Ray/Explained that low-power FM is specifically for the creation of new broadcast opportunities. SOU cannot make the application, because it already has the JPR station. He did not think there would be any added liability as AFN is already providing community-access television. Silbiger supported the application.
Fine voiced his support of the application and noted the need for a designated frequency for the local community in case of an emergency.
Suzi Aufderheide/321 N Mountain/Explained the FCC application process and stated that there is no competition with JPR because the audiences are different. She clarified that the producer is liable for anything put over the airwaves, not the City.
Councilors Hanson/Reid m/s to authorize staff to work with KSOC and SOU to prepare and submit an application for a low power FM station license.
DISCUSSION: Laws stated that he could not support the application at this time as he felt there was not enough information, particularly technical, available for making an intelligent decision.
Hartzell requested that if the council approves staff to work with KSOC and SOU in preparing an application, that the application come back to the council, prior to submission, in order for the council to be fully informed.
VOICE VOTE: Reid, Morrison, Hartzell, Hanson, Fine: Yes. Laws: No
3. Presentation by Youth Focus regarding a teen shelter.
Carolyn Ruck/1325 Romeo/Professor at SOU Education Department and President of Youth Focus/She explained that Youth Focus is a nonprofit organization working to begin a shelter in Ashland for displaced teens. Ruck requested the endorsement and support of the council.
Ashland Police Youth Outreach Officer Jan Janssen explained the need for a teen shelter. There is a shelter run by Community Works and located in Phoenix/Talent area, but it has many stipulations and makes it difficult for some kids to meet. She is disappointed in the way The Grove has been utilized as it could be used to fulfill some of these needs. Officer Janssen urged the council to support the shelter.
Laura Garlington/335 Tudor/Clarified that the Talent Shelter has only 1.5 beds available for displaced teens, the other beds are for juvenile delinquents. Teens cannot simply knock on the door and request a bed. She shared her personal experiences providing shelter for a homeless teenager and explained that Social Services was unable to help because there is nowhere for kids to go. Child Protective Services provide help for children up to age 12 and Community Works provides a transitional program for kids age 16-18 to teach them to live independently. She explained that Community Works can only take 15 teens from all over the county and there is a waiting list. She stated that there is a gap for kids ages 12-16 who needs help and the council, where are the kids going to sleep tonight?
Sarah Davis/270 Wimer/Shared her personal experiences as a displaced teenager and the difficulties she faced.
Dr. W. M. Sammons/155 Terrace/Shared his personal experiences while providing help for displaced teens. He strongly supported the proposed shelter, and urged the council to help.
Reid suggested using CDBG monies, and noted that similar funds were used to build The Grove. She noted that it had taken a long time to build the youth facility and it was hoped that the building would address some of these issues. She agreed that there is a need for a shelter in Jackson County.
DeBoer clarified that the group is requesting a letter, drafted by Carolyn Ruck and him, in support of the nonprofit organization and the needs of the community.
Councilors Hartzell/Fine m/s to allow the Mayor to draft a letter supporting Youth Focus and the need for this type of service in our community and county. The letter should also indicate the City’s status as a community that receives Community Development Block Grant Funds (CDBG) and provides competitive Social Service grants.
DISCUSSION: Ruck clarified that she had spoken with Nola Hail and Janice Alpine, Directors of the Outreach programs through Community Works. Youth Focus' intent is to build a shelter that would provide overnight accommodations for two to three weeks to allow the time to reunite the teen with his or her family, or find other arrangements. She explained that they would work in tandem with Community Works to fulfill the needs of displaced teens, and that initial negotiations had been positive.
Laws stated that he felt this problem should be approached regionally, not on a city by city basis. He noted that land and housing is expensive in Ashland, and a more cost-effective location could provide more help to our children. He felt that providing a shelter is not the most cost effective way of dealing with the situation. He mentioned other programs that could be more effective, and that using CDBG monies could use up all the resources. Before he would feel comfortable providing funds, he would need more information.
Fine stated that the government has not done its job taking care of the people and noted that other democratic nationalities have done a better job. As a council, he felt that we had no right to tell voluntary agencies, who have studied the problem, where to begin. He clarified that the council had been asked to give its blessing, not to pledge funding.
VOICE VOTE: all AYES. Motion passed.
4. Update from BPA regarding wholesale power rates.
Electric and Telecommunications Director Pete Lovrovich introduced John Lebens, Account Executive of Bonneville Power Association, who presented information regarding the supply crisis. The current contract ends in October 2001. New electric wholesale rates are expected in July 2001.
Lebens explained that BPA provides power to municipalities, direct-service industries, and investor utilities. He noted that the California shortages are spreading to the Northwest. To manage supplies, various actions are being taken to meet the challenges. The Northwest has enjoyed a flat-to-falling rate for the past five years. Ashland’s ongoing energy efficiency will create a significant buffer to rate increases. Low-water conditions in the Northwest, supply and demand imbalances in both electric and gas sectors, and deregulation in California, have all factored in the power problem. Normally, BPA purchases power from California and British Columbia to help meet winter loads when water supplies are below normal, but none has been exported this winter. Lebens speculated that deregulation in California resulted in the sale of generation plants to companies with no obligation to serve. The California Power Exchange makes daily spot-market purchases only, which has turned out to be a failure. The utilities have not passed the wholesale costs to consumers and the system is now in chaos.
Lebens noted that the Columbia River is not only for power generation, but also for flood control, recreation, and fish operations. Poor water conditions and power emergency situations negatively affect biological outcomes. Federal managers decided in January to increase power generation and to protect salmon by drafting the Grand Coulee Dam. Ongoing efforts to manage the situation, on a short-term basis, are curtailment of use. A significant amount of new generation is expected through the building of new facilities and providing short-term generators during peak periods. Rates are going up in October due to the volatility in the market and a depletion of reserves. BPA may need to go to the US Treasury for funding to continue, which would be very expensive. Lebens speculated that BPA rates would push public utility's rates close to or above investor-owned utilities in the region.
Lovrovich noted that both direct-service industries and investor-owned utilities are getting a significant amount of power from BPA at a fairly low rate. This creates a controversial debate, because some think that public power utilities should be getting the lower rate. Lebens explained that the controversy comes, not who gets the best rates, but who gets the power. Lebens anticipates that new generation facilities will be brought on-line in the next few years, and that the higher rate crises will spawn more conservation.
Lebens explained that the supply-system debt, a mortgage BPA is paying, would begin to drop away in 2012, which is one-third of the expenses paid each year. The important political message is that congressmen’s alliances, around the country, are pressuring Congress to take away the subsidy in the Northwest. BPA feels there is no subsidy, because a mortgage is paid to the Treasury at fair market value. BPA sells power at cost, which is why rates are low. BPA and customers (except the direct-service industry) agreed to develop rates. The agreement creates a methodology for resulting rates to adapt to market supply conditions. Actual rates will be known by July 2001. Likely rates will depend on loads and market rates. Customers should target a 30% to 50% increase, and 100% increases are possible.
Fine questioned if any financial incentives for conservation are possible for the community and Lebens responded that no current structure is in place for incentives.
Lebens explained that the 4-H-10-C Fish Credits was a deal made between BPA and Congress that allow for, at times of low water, a credit for fish restoration. This year's credit is expected to be approximately half a billion dollars. BPA is taking steps to minimize impacts, including conservation, load curtailment, identification of extra generation, and informing the community of things that can be done.
Lovrovich explained how generation sites work. The contract with BPA does not allow for much flexibility. The community could be penalized for adding or removing a lot of loads. A 20-year contract was signed in August 2000, and will not come up for renegotiations until August 2005.
Lebens clarified that an average 65% increase over the next five years, with the first year being a 95% increase at the wholesale level, is expected. Typically the translation from wholesale to retail is 50%. Consumer rates are expected to increase 35%, but rates differ, depending on use (residential, commercial, industrial, etc.).
5. Consideration of an agreement for the purchase of Lithia Water between the City and Patricia Murphy, Ashland Springs Spa.
City Administrator Greg Scoles explained that this is a modification to an agreement approved by the council in 1996. The applicant is requesting consideration of the agreement to provide Lithia Water to the Ashland Springs Spa, next to the Ashland Springs Hotel. Access would come from a different location than what was previously agreed upon. Staff is reticent about providing the water for this type of use, as it is a novelty, not a necessity. Production and quantity come from a very unreliable source due to the corrosive nature of the water and the damage caused to pipes and pumps. The agreement would require the applicant to make the connections from the water line at 1st and Hargadine Street to the spa, including obtaining permits and paying for connections. Ms. Murphy would be required to pay the City $500 per year for the water. There is no added fiscal impact to the City with the direct line connection.
Laws voiced his resistance to cutting streets. Fine agreed with Laws and staff's recommendation, adding that the water is neither tested nor regulated. He questioned any liability the City may incur by injuries caused by the water. In addition, the water cannot be guaranteed, and he questions using staff to maintain the supply.
Patricia Murphy/205 Granite/Owner of Ashland Springs Spa/Clarified that the water would not be used as potable water, but that it would be used in a cast iron tub for soaking. She read a letter to the council, outlining her request for approval of modification to the 1996 agreement. The new location has large, operable windows and fans, along with a state of the art ventilation system, which addresses’ staff's concerns in the original staff report.
Reid stated that there could be more risk to people at the drinking fountain in the Plaza than allowing a business to use it for bathing purposes. She felt that by approving the request it would enhance the character of the City.
Hartzell noted that the memorandum from 1996 sited a number of reasons justifying staff's denial, and yet the council voted favorably anyway.
Laws remembered that there were no concerns regarding the health aspects and that staff and the council was more concerned about guaranteeing the water supply and having the ability to shut off the supply without complaint.
Scoles clarified that the original agreement did not include costs, but only speculated on the need for a meter.
Fine was concerned that the contract would be perpetual. He suggested setting a limit on the amount of water, and setting the term of the contract, possibly a five-year renewable contract.
Morrison was not prepared to make a decision, as there were too many unanswered questions.
Councilors Fine/Laws m/s a motion to table the request to allow questions to be answered by staff regarding health and safety issues.
DISCUSSION: Reid stated her intention to vote no as the City already provides water at the Plaza fountain and maintenance is assured. She clarified that overflow has been dumped into Ashland Creek, and there is no reason not to allow Murphy to pipe water to her establishment.
Hartzell supported tabling the item and requested a provision for answering questions by Legal and Public Works staff.
Laws felt inclined to approve the proposal, but respected the desire for the council to have more information.
VOICE VOTE: Fine, Laws, Hartzell, Morrison, Hanson - all Ayes. Reid - No. Motion passed 5-1.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Second reading by title only of "An Ordinance Amending Chapter 13.12, Street Excavation, of the Ashland Municipal Code by Removing the Pavement Cutting Restrictions for Newly Paved Streets."
Councilors Fine/Hanson m/s to approve Ordinance #2867. Roll Call Vote: Morrison, Hanson, Laws, Hartzell, Reid, and Fine, YES. Motion passed.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS
Hartzell requested that staff keep the council informed and to obtain an update on the status of the Bill in Salem affecting Ashland Fiber Network (AFN).
Wanderschied informed the council that the Bill is going to a work session on February 21, and that an amendment was received from the cable industry through Mr. Bates' office. He explained that the lobbyists have focused on the swing votes on the floor, hoping that it will be defeated. They are certain it will come out of the subcommittee, and then go to the floor for a vote. It will then go to the Senate, and if it is a different version, there will have to be a compromise. Ultimately it will go to the government for approval or veto.
DeBoer noted that he had sent a letter, on behalf of the City, which was presented to the subcommittee at the time Wanderschied testified. The letter stated that Ashland is opposed to the Bill.
Hartzell again requested that the council be notified on information for this Bill and on other Bills with this level of relevancy.
DeBoer read a statement regarding the closing of South Valley View Road from Eagle Mill Road to the Pacific Highway from February 26, until March 2.
Meeting was adjourned at 9:55 p.m.