Agendas and Minutes

Citizens' Budget Committee (View All)

Budget Committee Meeting

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


City of Ashland Budget Committee Meeting
 Draft Minutes
May 9, 2007 6:00pm
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street

Chairman Thompson called the Citizen’s Budget Committee Meeting to order at 6:10 pm on May 9, 2007 in Council Chambers at 1175 East Main Street, Ashland Oregon.
Mayor Morrison was present.  Councilors Navickas, Hartzell, Hardesty, Silbiger, Jackson and Chapman were present.  Committee Members Bond, Heimann, Thompson, Stebbins, Everson, Levine, and Gregorio were present. 
Paula Brown, Public Works Director, presented the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for the City of Ashland.  Ms. Brown began her presentation by listing the responsibilities of CIP development (see attached handout).  She continued with the structure of the program which is split out by divisions.  The divisions listed were Transportation, Storm Water, Airport, Water, Wastewater, Electric, Telecommunications, City Facilities, Technology and Parks & Recreation.  Ms. Brown continued with the major accomplishments of FY 06-07 (see attached handout).
Ms. Brown addressed the significant budget changes from 06-07 to 07-08 as increased materials costs.  It was reported that petroleum, steel and pipe have increased significantly and that street projects have increased 30% over the last two years.  Other changes include under spending the anticipated FY 07 CIP by approximately half and then reprogramming the 8 million for FY 08.
Ms. Brown explained that Council approved 3 modifications (see attached handout).  Ms. Brown said that work at the police station will need to be postponed until Facilities Master Plan is completed.  She also reported that sidewalks are still a priority and that they are looking for grant funding for the Laurel St. sidewalks.  Ms. Brown said that they are reviewing options for paving A & B streets, and that A St. will be paved in FY 08 but that B St. will be postponed.  It was stated that A St. is partially grant funded and that the City is responsible for approximately $190,000. 
Ms. Brown also spoke about the formation of a Transportation Finance Committee.  The committee looks into street financing/funding and long-term planning. 
Ms. Brown stated that the total proposed budget for fiscal year 2008 is approximately $8,900,000.  She continued by listing the various projects per division (see attached handout for complete list).   Some of the projects mentioned were the Jefferson St. extension, C & Eureka construction, miscellaneous concrete repairs, bus shelters near high school, Hosler Dam security projects, plant processing improvements, Lithia Fountain renovation, Wastewater Plant permit renewal, park development and Oak Knoll irrigation.   
Ms. Brown talked about the Park and Ride.  She said that grants have been received from the Federal Transit Authority and that the City is currently working with RVTD, ODOT and Jackson County to figure out a site.  The City is currently looking at a site near El Tapatio (Hwy. 99).  Ms. Brown reported that Jackson County will try to match the grant, but that the City has reserved $30,000 for that project.  The committee asked about the need for a Park and Ride.  It was answered that various studies over the last few years have shown a need for a Park and Ride.     
Ms. Brown also spoke about the Airport Entitlement Project.  She reported that the new Avigation Weather Operation System (AWOS) was finally approved and it allowed parking lot/road improvements.  The project is 95% grant funded by FAA and Oregon Department of Aviation. 
The committee inquired about the street fund being out of balance and bond funding.  Ms. Brown explained that the FY 07 anticipated CIP was so much higher than what was actually spent that most of those projects were shifted to FY 08 construction funding.  It was also reported that the funding and long-term plans for the remainder of the projects are being evaluated by the Transportation Finance Committee.    
Committee member Gregorio inquired about why the FY 07 System Development Charges (SDC’s) are lower than in previous years.  Ms. Brown replied that it was a conservative estimate but added that the City is not seeing as many new projects coming down the line as in the past.  It was also reported that the monies associated with the SDC’s are restricted. 
Councilor Hartzell asked about the long-term projections for 2009-2012 and inquired about the ending fund balance.  Ms. Brown explained that the bonds are affecting the ending fund balance.  It was clarified that the projections take expenditures into account but not as much revenue.  Ms. Brown also said that the Transportation Finance Committee (Street Task Force) is looking for new possible revenues, but that the projections only take the current standard practices into account.  Mr. Tuneberg talked about future projections.
The committee discussed the history of debt funding.
Mr. Gregorio inquired about the cost of the plan permit renewal and what is included in the $250,000.  It was answered that the $250,000 is for design (thermal reduction/cooling plant), analysis and permit but not actual improvements.  Ms. Brown said that the City will only spend the $250,000 if they have to and that it’s a high estimate.  She also talked about the importance of meeting DEQ requirements.
Councilor Hartzell asked about the Lithia Fountain replacement.  Ms. Brown said that it is up to historical standards and that the design is an exact replica.  She also reported that it will be bronzed so it won’t break.
The committee inquired about spending $100,000 for general improvements and maintenance for City facilities.  Ms. Brown reported that with regard to the number of City facilities, $100,000 is not excessive.
The committee asked about underground electric work and it was reported that the subdivisions were chosen based on priority.  It was reported that these aging neighborhoods have wires built directly into the dirt and now they need conduit.
Ms. Brown finished her presentation by talking about the challenges for FY 2008.  Ms. Thompson said that another challenge is funding an 8 million dollar CIP budget without identified financing sources and wants to know about prioritization of projects.  Ms. Brown explained that the CIP is based on the Master Plan and that the Master Plan is based on the current rate models.  She explained that the life of a material (i.e., pipe) must be taken into account.  Ms. Brown spoke about how it takes a lot of balancing to figure out what is or isn’t a priority and then determine how to finance it.
Everson/Bond ms to approve CIP budget as presented.
The committee was opened to discussion. 
Committee member Heimann expressed concern about not knowing the funding.  Ms. Brown pointed out that FY 08 is funded and the only project without funding is the Helman Sidewalk project which will probably be grant funded.  If not grant funded, it will be brought to Council.  Discussion about long-term projections and funding followed. 
Councilor Navickas inquired about the thermal improvements.  He said that there are various alternatives that are not achievable because of political reasons.  Ms. Brown stated that the City must meet DEQ requirements and that she will bring the best solution to the Council. 
The committee voted on the motion.  All Ayes.
Paula Brown, Public Works Director, also presented the budget for the Public Works Department.  Ms. Brown talked about the organization and major accomplishments of the department (see attached handout).  Ms. Brown also spoke about the budget over time and the 2008 proposed budget (see attached handout).  The 2008 proposed budget was reported to be approximately $24,000,000.  Ms. Brown said that the Public Works budget is broken down by fund and presented the committee with a pie graph (see page 4 of handout).      
Ms. Brown continued by talking about the significant budget changes.  Ms. Brown spoke about how CIP is the most volatile and that project costs have increased significantly.  She also spoke about how FY 07 CIP was under spent.  She said that the focus for Water this year will be updating the treatment plant and watershed management.  She said that another focus is transportation safety such as traffic safety, pedestrian safety, bicycle safety, and railroad safety.  Ms. Brown reported that she is pleased with conversations with ODOT and the Railroad about alternatives and improvements. 
Ms. Brown also talked about the airport.  She said that the City has not raised rental rates as much as needed and therefore, maintenance will continue to decline as rent stays flat.  The new parking lot/road improvements should improve the situation.  Ms. Brown said that many of the current leases are 20 years long but that many of them are up for negotiation.  She explained that the City owns the hangars which can be a source of revenue and that there is 100% occupancy for the hangars.
Ms. Brown spoke about the responsibilities and the personnel of the Street division.  She talked about the increases in Personal Services and said that the total increase was about 7%.  Ms. Brown stated that the Street division does about $230,000 in general maintenance.
Ms. Brown continued to talk about the responsibilities, focus, personnel and budgets for Ground Maintenance, Storm Water, Water, Wastewater, Cemetery, Facilities Maintenance, Admin/Engineering/GIS and Fleet (see attached handout for detailed lists).   
Committee member Stebbins asked if fringe benefits are more influenced by health benefits or retirement.  It was answered that health benefits usually have more of an impact.  Councilor Hardesty asked if it’s typical for health coverage to double from single to family.  The answer was yes.
Councilor Hartzell inquired about the Facilities Master Plan and whether or not it will be helpful.  Ms. Brown answered that she thinks it will be helpful because it will identify space efficiency and the needs of the City facilities.
Ms. Brown spoke about the Green Fleet Strategy.  It was reported that the City has not yet worked on its “carbon footprint” but that there has been discussion.  Ms. Brown pointed out an error on page 105.  She pointed out that the Total Replacement cost should be $882,000 and that Total New Equipment should be $30,000, not $130,000.
Ms. Brown also said that 3 vehicles (2 dump trucks and 1 Digger Derrick) have been reprogrammed from FY 07 to FY 08.  It was explained that these vehicles have a long build-out time.  Ms. Brown has proposed 2 electric cars for pool vehicles and those will be purchased for about $15,000 each. 
Ms. Thompson called attention to 3-68 and asked about the debt service line.  Ms. Brown said that it is old debt.  Mr. Tuneberg said that the City has refunded some of the old debt to offset new debt.  He also said that a significant portion of it is associated with the Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Levine/Bond ms to accept the Public Works budget as presented.  All Ayes.
Councilor Hardesty complimented all the grant work done by the Public Works Department.  Ms. Brown talked about her staff and the good work they do for the City.
Meeting adjourned at 8:17 pm.
Respectively Submitted,
Miranda Iwamoto
Account Clerk II

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