Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

December 19, 2006
Civic Center Council Chambers
1175 E. Main Street

Mayor Morrison called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilors Amarotico, Hartzell, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present. Councilor Hardesty was absent.
Mayor Morrison announced vacancies on the Historic and Tree Commissions; and the opening for a SOU Student Liaison on the Forest Lands Commission.
The Executive Session meeting minutes of December 5, 2006 and Regular Council meeting minutes of December 5, 2006 were approved as presented.
Mayor Morrison noted the reception held prior to the Council meeting honoring Councilor Amarotico for his service on the City Council.
1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions, and Committees.
2. Appointment to Ashland Community Healthcare Services Board of Directors.
3. Contract for Rental Needs Analysis with Ferrarini and Associates.
4. Current Year Financial Report - July through October 2006.
5. Bid Award to Pro-Safe Training Systems for Live-Fire Training Unit.
Councilor Amarotico/Silbiger m/s to approve the Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Ambuja Rosen/
Commented on the need for a tethering ordinance and explained that some individuals permanently keep cats in their carriers. She stated this is cruel, but is currently legal in Ashland. Ms. Rosen commented on the need to include minimum space requirements in the Municipal Code and voiced her disappointment that this provision had been cut in the proposed ordinance from 150 sq. ft to 97 sq. ft. for dogs, and the provision removed completely for cats.

Ann Wilton/Noted she is President of the Companion Animal Rescue and Education non-profit group (C.A.R.E). She stated it was appropriate for an ordinance regulating the containment of animals to address cats as well as dogs and explained many of the cases C.A.R.E has been involved with had to do with cats being kept in very small spaces. Ms. Wilton stated animal control typically does not respond to cases involving cats and noted 37% of all homes in the United States have at least one cat.

Peg Stewart/Noted her involvement with C.A.R.E and shared experiences with cases involving cats. She stated one individual kept multiple cats in carriers in their vehicle, another woman kept almost 50 animals in cages, and another kept cats permanently in rabbit cages. Ms. Stewart commented on the need to enact laws regarding this and stated it is important for cats to be included in the tethering ordinance.

Marilee Jenkinson/Displayed a banner and briefly commented on the situation regarding Lt. Watada and the Iraq war. Ms. Jenkinson shared her desire for a community outlet where citizens could discuss concerns and issues, and find out what actions others are taking.

Dr. Lara Chamberlain/253 Cambridge Street/Stated that the scientific community is starting to figure out that animal intelligence is far greater than previously believed and encouraged the Council to be as kind and generous to animals as possible. She explained that tethering for long periods of time is very dangerous because dogs can become tangled and kept from their water dish. She also stated that dogs need to run and have exercise and therefore constantly tethering an animal can decrease their lifespan.

1. Discussion of City Charter.
Management Analyst Ann Seltzer addressed the Council and submitted revised language to the water provision. She explained that the current draft of the city charter includes all of the recommendations from the Charter Review Committee, with the exception of Recommendations #1, #2, and #4. Ms. Seltzer clarified Recommendation #1 addressed a change to a city manager form of government; #2 recommended the Mayor's veto power be eliminated and that he/she vote on all issues; and #4 recommended citywide, at-large elections. Ms. Seltzer noted the Council did not agree to move forward with Recommendations #2 and #4, and decided for #1 to be placed before the voters as a separate ballot item. She also noted the Committee's recommendation for funding to be handled by the Budget Committee which is why there are no budget references in the draft.

Ms. Seltzer noted the comments recorded at the open house are included in the packet materials. She asked the Council to identify any changes they want made to the draft charter and then direct staff to prepare the ballot measure language, which will come back to Council for review in January. Ms. Seltzer noted the timeline Council adopted and reminded them the final language needs to be submitted to Jackson County in March in order to be placed on the May ballot.

John Enders/367 Bridge Street/Co-Chair of the Charter Review Committee/Voiced his support for the draft charter, but stated he wanted to add a few comments. Mr. Enders noted the extensive efforts the Charter Review Committee made to gather public comments during their work and noted the comments from the open house were just the final piece. He urged the Council to not get bogged down with ethics, instant runoff voting, the water language, or anything else that might come up before this goes to the ballot and warned the Council that some people will attempt to derail this process. He stated they have a good product with the draft charter; it is simple and they should keep it this way. Mr. Enders shared his concern about the separation of the form of government recommendation from the draft charter. He stated this was the Committee's most important recommendation and feels that separating this provision would send the wrong message to the voters. He urged the Council to reconsider their decision to keep this separate and noted there is a great deal of support for a city manager form of government within the City.

Pam Vavra/2800 Dead Indian Memorial Road/Suggested the charter be accompanied by a brief list describing the changes to the voters. Ms. Vavra asked the Council to consider adding instant runoff voting (IRV) as a charter amendment on the May ballot and noted this was an opportunity for the City to support Peter Buckley's work in the legislature. Ms. Vavra submitted written testimony and additional information on IRV into the public record.

Mayor Morrison noted the rational behind the Council's decision to have the form of government provision (Recommendation #1) as a separate ballot item. Councilor Silbiger stated that Mr. Enders had a good point and suggested incorporating Recommendation #1 into the charter that goes before voters, with a separate ballot item questioning if voters prefer to retain the existing form. Councilor Jackson commented that she was initially cautious about the change to a city manager form, but is more comfortable with it now. Additional support was voiced from Councilors Chapman and Amarotico for including the city manager form of government recommendation into the draft. Councilor Hartzell commented on the role of the Council and voiced her preference to put out a draft that is as close to the existing charter as much as possible, but modernized. She voiced her support for offering a clean-up version of the charter to the voters with the form of government measure separate; and voiced support for including IRV as a separate measure on the ballot as well.

Council continued their discussion on whether to incorporate Recommendation #1 into the draft. Councilor Chapman stated this should be put to the voters as an opt-out, rather than an opt-in. Mayor Morrison noted that when Council set out on this course, they agreed to take a "hands off" position and expressed concern with including the city manager provision in the draft. He stated the goal was to not force an issue, but to present options to the voters with the greatest clarity; and believes this document does that. Council agreed with the Mayor and voiced support to stay with their previous decision to keep the city manager item separate.

Councilor Hartzell stated she is resistant to remove the treasurer duties from the City Recorder position and voiced disappointment that the draft is lacking an ethics provision. She also suggested the following amendments:

1) City Manager Amendment, top of page 2, item (2): Revise to read, "Absence from the city for 30 days without council consent, which shall not be withheld unreasonably, or from all meetings within a 60-day period."
2) City Manager Amendment, top of page 2, item (5): Councilor Hartzell questioned if the "decision by at least four councilors" should be changed to a supermajority. City Attorney Mike Franell stated they are talking about the difference of one vote and stated this gets into a political area. He commented that if you had a council that took action to remove another councilor, and the community disagreed, you would quickly see a recall petition filed and stated this is where it belongs if what the council has done is inappropriate.
3) City Manager Amendment, page 3, item (i): Councilor Hartzell questioned the use of the word "coerce" and suggested including a definition. Mr. Franell stated there is a long standing history in case law of what coercion constitutes and does not believe including a definition is necessary. Mayor Morrison noted a typographical error on this item, and clarified the wording should read, "Neither the mayor nor a councilor may attempt directly or indirectly, to coerce ..."
4) City Manager Amendment, page 3, item (i): Councilor Hartzell questioned the inclusion of the last sentence in this section. Mr. Franell clarified if a city manager is failing to do their job in managing the employees of the city; this is something that is appropriate for the entire council to bring up with the manager.

Council responded to Councilor Hartzell's suggestions. In regards to the treasurer duties of the City Recorder, comment was made that the draft charter addresses this very well. In regards to the ethics provision, Mayor Morrison stated he is not in favor of inserting additional language; and noted the Council would be adopting an ethics ordinance.

Mayor Morrison noted Section 35 of the draft charter should read "city council" instead of "city councilors". Mr. Franell agreed and noted staff would make this correction in Section 36 as well.

Council moved to discussion of the water provision language. Mr. Franell clarified the suggested water language listed at the bottom of the page would not allow for a company to come into Ashland and manage and deliver the water for the City. He also clarified "pertinent" is a legal term that means the water is attached to the property legally. Comment was made questioning what would happen if a company such as Pepsi came to town. City Administrator Martha Bennett clarified the City would need to handle such a situation through the development code, not the city charter.

Support was voiced for the current water language over the suggested language. Councilor Hartzell stated the current language leaves holes and suggested using the suggested water language with the change to the last line to read: "The city shall manager the water system to ensure for the equitable use by all residents." Mr. Franell stated there seems to be a preference for the current language and suggested using the term "residents" instead of "inhabitants". He noted this change in the current language would address his previous concerns. Mayor Morrison pointed out that they are having difficultly coming to an agreement and questioned if the wording in the draft is workable enough to move this ahead. He noted if they are able to come up with better language in the next few months before this goes to the County, they can make a change. He voiced his support for moving forward on this issue and staying with the current water language.

Councilor Silbiger/Jackson m/s to direct staff to prepare charter ballot measure language, based on current draft with the amendments this evening, for Council review in January 2007. Voice Vote: all AYES. Councilor Hartzell had left the room.

2. Lithia Lot - Affordable Housing Project Agreement.
Housing Specialist Brandon Goldman presented the staff report and outlined a few of the provisions of the agreement. He clarified if there is a public component, the BOLI standards apply; and since the parking would remain under city ownership, BOLI wages would apply regardless of whether the commercial component reverted to Access. Therefore, staff recommends the commercial component revert to the City.

Mr. Goldman clarified the agreement prohibits the use of the units as travelers accommodations. City Attorney Mike Franell noted Section 3.2 of the contract contains this provision. Mr. Franell also clarified the definition of affordable housing has been changed to meet the definition of the State of Oregon Home Program.

Mr. Franell clarified the agreement does not specify a level of use, however if there is too great a vacancy rate, Access would not be able to meet their debt service obligations and the project would revert to the City.

Mr. Goldman clarified all of the units would be under 500 sq. ft., including the market rate units. He also clarified the Electric Department has looked into the relocation of the transformer and have estimated the cost to be $25,000. He stated regardless of whether it is an underground parking or surface level development, anything that is running underground will need to be removed to allow for a foundation. If there are private utility lines running through city property, at that point the relocation costs will be defined. Councilor Hartzell suggested a possible cap on the City's cost regarding this.

In terms of a condominiumization, Mr. Goldman clarified the applicant is required to go through the entire planning process at their own expense. Mr. Franell clarified the expense of creating the condominiumization documents has been passed off to Kendrick; and the City would just need to execute the documents.

Councilor Amarotico/Silbiger m/s to approve the draft agreement as proposed. DISCUSSION: Mr. Franell noted this agreement may need to come back to Council after the State's review. He also stated the Council could add a caveat about the cap on relocation costs. Ms. Bennett suggested this be set at $25,000 and could be inserted in Section 1.3.1.

Councilor Hartzell/Amarotico m/s to amend Section 1.3(c)(1) to include a financial cap of $25,000 for the provision of electric services to move the utility boxes. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

DISCUSSION (Cont.): Councilors Chapman and Hartzell explained why they will be voting against the motion. Mayor Morrison voiced his support for the project. He acknowledged that the units will be smaller than anticipated, but stated people want varied types of housing and there could be a market for these. Roll Call Vote on Amended Motion: Councilor Amarotico, Jackson, and Silbiger, YES. Councilor Hartzell and Chapman, NO. Motion passed 3-2.

3. Deliberation of an Appeal of Planning Action 2006-01294 - Request for a Conditional Use Permit to convert thirty existing apartments to thirty condominium units for the property located at 719 Park St.
Assistant City Attorney Richard Appicello explained that an Alternate Writ of Mandamus has been filed with the State of Oregon Circuit Court commanding the City to make a decision on this Planning Action, alleging the City violated the 120-day rule. The City is essentially commanded by the Court to make the same decision the Planning Commission made and return that decision to the Court, or appear in court on January 2 and show cause why they did not comply with this order. Mr. Appicello noted he has drafted Council Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order. He noted there is a small typo on the first page; it should read "affirming the decision of the Planning Commission with conditions as reflected in the October 12, 2006, Planning Commission Findings..." He noted this is not a land use decision and recommended the Council approve the Findings of Fact, which will be submitted to the Circuit Court along with the certificate and Alternate Writ of Mandamus. He further clarified the Courts have commanded the City to either approve the Planning Commission's decision or appear in Court and provide why the application does not meet the applicable criteria.

Art Bullock/Stated that even with the burden of proof now on the City, there are significant reasons why this action should not be approved, and noted the document he submitted on December 13, 2006 contains the full legal explanation on why this should be denied. He commented on the violation of the 120-day rule and stated by the time this project came before Council it had already violated the rule. He claimed that because of staff delaying the time of decision, it has put the Council in a position where they cannot make a decision. He stated if the Council goes along with this process and approves the Planning Commission's decision, it would set a dangerous precedence and would shift the power to staff by not scheduling hearings at the appropriate time. Mr. Bullock recommended the Council not approve the Planning Commission's decision and defend this case in Court.

Mr. Appicello clarified the reason this action went beyond the 120 days was because the appeal was filed on October 31, 2006 and the Council has a 20-day notice requirement.

Councilor Chapman/Amarotico m/s to adopt the previous Findings of the Planning Commission and forward a decision to the Court. DISCUSSION: Mr. Appicello questioned if the motion includes the 2-page document he submitted to the Council which incorporate sthe Planning Commission's Findings. Councilor Chapman clarified that yes, this was the intent of the motion. Mr. Appicello clarified if the motion is approved, he will comply with the Court's directive and return it as required. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Amarotico, Hartzell, Jackson, Silbiger, Chapman, YES. Motion passed.

1. Appointment to Budget Committee.
Mayor Morrison noted the appointment of the Budget Committee members are done by the Council, not the Mayor. He stated there are five applicants and two positions that need to be filled.

Councilor Silbiger voiced support for re-appointing Dee Anne Everson.

Councilor Silbiger/Chapman m/s to appoint Dee Ann Everson to the Budget Committee. Voice Vote: all AYES.

Councilor Hartzell noted Councilor Hardesty's request to participate in this decision and suggested the Council postpone the second appointment until their January meeting.

Councilor Hartzell motioned to delay the appointment of the second opening until January so that Councilor Hardesty can participate. Motion died due to lack of second.

Support was voiced for moving forward with the second appointment. Mayor Morrison listed the candidates and asked the Council who they would like to nominate.

Councilor Chapman nominated Bill Heimann. Councilor Hartzell nominated John Stromberg.
Voice Vote for Bill Heimann: Councilor Amarotico, Jackson, Silbiger, and Chapman, AYE.
Voice Vote for John Stromberg: Councilor Hartzell, AYE.

Mayor Morrison announced Dee Anne Everson and Bill Heimann as the appointees to the Budget Committee.

2. Acceptance of Audit Committee Report and the June 30, 2006 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).
Administrative Services & Finance Director Lee Tuneberg presented the staff report and commented on the highlights of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. He noted the Auditor's unqualified opinion listed on pages 3-4 states the City has met all standards and they have no exceptions. Mr. Tuneberg commented on how GASB 44 changed the reporting requirements for the City. He also noted the overall assets of the City remain stable; the debt is decreasing; and the fund balances in general are hitting their targets throughout the City. He stated the City's total net assets are at $104M, and noted this has increased this year by $2M. Mr. Tuneberg reviewed the remaining sections of the report, including the Management's Discussion and Analysis contained on pages 5-16, the Basic Financial Statements on pages 19-29, and the Supplemental Reports, Schedules and Statistical Tables on pages 65-131.

Mr. Tuneberg noted the packet materials contain the management letter from the auditors which identifies issues they felt were reportable conditions. The letter listed reconciliations by the Accounting staff on a timely basis as an issue, and Mr. Tuneberg clarified they have taken appropriate steps to resolve this. The other issue was the way city staff downloaded asset records and prepared the information in Microsoft Excel. Mr. Tuneberg stated they will remedy this by making sure the Eden software being used is properly set up to meet the City's needs and ensuring the Accounting staff is properly trained to use it.

Mr. Tuneberg requested Council's approval of the report. Mayor Morrison noted the report was presented to the City's Audit Committee and they were extremely pleased with it.

Councilor Silbiger/Amarotico m/s to accept the Audit Committee Report and the June 30, 2006 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed. Councilor Hartzell had left the room.

1. Reading by title only of a Resolution Titled" A Resolution Declaring the Canvass of the Vote of the Election Held in and for the City of Ashland, Oregon, on November 7, 2006", and Mayoral Proclamation.

Councilor Amarotico/Chapman m/s to adopt Resolution #2006-28. DISCUSSION: Mayor Morrison noted he had received a speaker request form.

Art Bullock/Commented on the recount for Council Seat #2. He stated the manual recount does not reconcile against the machine count and there has been no explanation of why the numbers differed. He stated ballot counting machines register too many over votes and stated it is more accurate when done by hand. Mr. Bullock also commented on the transparency with the recount process. He stated he was allowed to be in the room as the recount was happening, but voiced disappointment that he was not allowed to listen in on what was being said at the individual tables.

Roll Call Vote: Councilor Amarotico, Jackson, Silbiger, and Chapman, YES. Motion passed. Councilor Hartzell had left the room.

Meeting adjourned at 9:55 p.m.

April Lucas, Assistant to City Recorder
John W. Morrison, Mayor

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