Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

June 19, 2007
Civic Center Council Chambers
1175 E. Main Street

Council Chair Silbiger called the meeting to order at 7:07 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilors Hardesty, Chapman and Navickas were present. Councilor Jackson arrived at 7:08 p.m. Councilor Hartzell arrived at 7:10 p.m.
The minutes of the Executive Session meeting of June 1, 2007, and Executive Session and Regular Meeting minutes of June 5, 2007 were approved as presented.
1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions, and Committees.
2. Liquor License Application - Vic's Mongolian BBQ.
3. Appointment to Historic Commission.
4. Intergovernmental Agreement - Oregon Building Codes Division.
5. Approval of ODOT Local Agency Agreement No. 23719 Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Grant - Diesel Retrofit.
6. Designation of Finance Director to Execute Documents Required to Close Sale of Lot #103, Strawberry Lane.
Councilor Chapman/Hardesty m/s to approve Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed 6-0.
1. Public Hearing to Consider Utility Rate Increases.
Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg presented the staff report and provided the proposed increases for the Water, Wastewater, Street Fund, Transportation and Storm Drain fees. The key issues on all of the areas were noted and a comparison table that indicated the impact on a "typical" house was also provided.

Mr. Tuneberg summarized the proposal and noted the FY 2006-07 budget was adopted with increases contingent upon more review and need, the Electric Fund increase and surchage decrease was deferred to January 2008, and no increases have been done in FY 2006-07. He stated the base revenues for FY 2007-08 were accepted with budget increases equal to 6.7% and the proposed increases would be less than 3.5% a month (which is approximately $5.89 depending on water use).

Mr. Tuneberg clarified that all departments made various adjustments within their budgets to accommodate the Ashland Fiber Network (AFN) debt. He also provided a brief update on the progress of the Street Financing Task Force and stated they should have a report ready to submit to the Council by October.

Mr. Tuneberg commented on the issues raised last night at the Study Session meeting, including adding additional tiers, creating a larger change between the tiers, programs available for low income assistance, and the role of conservation. He explained that a rate redesign is difficult to do "on the fly" and noted the need for better information to accomplish this. He suggested a professional be brought in to do a proper study of the rates and rate structures, and to perform the rate modeling. In regards to the low income and senior assistance programs, Mr. Tuneberg stated the Council could decide to loosen the requirements for participation. He also commented on the transportation fee exemption for churches and places of worship. It was explained that some of these accounts do have residential fees associated, however the building of worship itself is exempted. Mr. Tuneberg stated the Council could decide to change this exemption, but recommended against it until a more thorough review is performed.

Mr. Tuneberg commented on the possibility of postponing the Street Fund increase until the Street Financing Task Force has completed their work. He suggested that if the Council decides to wait, that they not repeal the 1999 resolution and authorize staff to use the ENR adjustment.

Public Hearing Open: 7:44 p.m.

Brice Brandt/280 Meadow Drive/Questioned the discussion on the increase of rates and why the Ashland Fiber Network (AFN) is not listed as a separate department in the budget. He asked that the Council pay down the AFN debt and not take on any new projects until this debt is paid off.

Public Hearing Closed: 7:47 p.m.

Mr. Tuneberg explained the budget process and how the budget is based on revenue streams (ie: rate increases). He noted the City has gone 15 months without any rate increases and explained if the City does not keep up on the maintenance of the streets, waterlines, and infrastructure, it will cost a great deal more in the future when something fails. He also noted that the AFN debt was shared City wide, AFN is contributing towards the debt, and AFN is a separate department.

2. Public Hearing Regarding Conversion of Existing Rentals into For-Purchase Housing in Multi-Zoning.
Housing Program Specialist Brandon Goldman presented the staff report and background on the proposed ordinance. He explained staff drafted the ordinance based on direction from the Council and an ad-hoc committee made up of Planning and Housing Commissioners. He stated there was general consensus that the sliding scale method was a creative means of achieving both rental and affordable housing. Mr. Goldman stated the Housing Commission reviewed the proposed ordinance and made no motion, but provided clear consensus that the methodology proposed had merit and accomplished the intended goals. He explained the Planning Commission also reviewed the ordinance, however voted 5-2 to recommend that the Council not take action and not adopt the proposed ordinance.

Mr. Goldman commented on the ordinance and how it differs from the previously proposed and existing ordinances. He explained the existing ordinance has a flat requirement that if an owner converts condominiums into for purchase housing, at least 25% of those units need to be affordable; and the only limiter is that these units be occupied by households that earn 80% median income or less. Mr. Goldman noted the proposed ordinance states that such a conversion would be a permitted use within the zone and no longer a conditional use. Additionally, affordable housing units would no longer be required, but would rather be provided in trade for relief from non-conformities. If no relief for non-conformities is requested, the project could proceed if a percentage of the units are retained as market rate rentals.

Mr. Goldman stated it is staff's opinion that the ordinance as drafted serves the stated goal in providing an incentive base for the inclusion of affordable housing. He stated the ordinance creates more affordable housing than the existing ordinance and provides market rate rental housing, which the existing ordinance does not provide for. Mr. Goldman noted a conversion where all units go to ownership would still be allowed for complexes that are four units or less, and stated in the event a four unit complex sought relief from non-conformities, their 25% affordability would be met by providing one ownership unit targeted at 80% AMI.

Mr. Goldman addressed the concern of whether staff would be able to manage the eligibility criteria and stated that depending on the number of deed restricted affordable units; it may become prudent for the City to consider contracting out the income verification process.

Public Hearing Open: 8:11 p.m.

Devian Aguirre/2305 Ashland Street #C446/Stated the ordinance is a step in the right direction, but believes the lack of a comprehensive affordable housing policy will exacerbate the condition of the lack of focus of affordable housing. Ms. Aguirre expressed concern that including specific demands will further contribute to the micromanagement of an issue that has not yet been addressed in a bigger forum. She commented that conversion of apartments is one of the ways apartment complex owners generate revenues to conduct refurbishing of the property and also provides opportunity to first time homebuyers. She stated these conversions serve a purpose and cautioned the Council not to act too quickly and to look at this ordinance as one piece of the pie.

Bill Street/180 Meade Street/Thinks this is modest proposal and it tries to stop the loss of rental housing and affordable housing in Ashland. Mr. Street stated the proposed ordinance creates a methodology that is easy to apply, provides a sliding scale, and addresses the needs of those who own small rental complexes in town. He recommended the Council act now and voiced support for moving forward with this ordinance.

Public Hearing Closed: 8:15 p.m.

Mr. Goldman clarified he views the Housing Action Plan as the guiding document for affordable housing.

Councilor Hartzell/Navickas m/s to approve first reading and place on the next Council meeting's agenda for second reading. DISCUSSION: Councilor Chapman voiced concern that the ordinance did not receive approval from the Planning Commission. Councilor Navickas voiced his support for the motion. He stated this is something the community needs and stated the Council should support it. Councilor Jackson commented that this is a creative approach, but questioned if the ordinance would address the problem. Councilor Hartzell encouraged the Council to approve this ordinance tonight, and if necessary come back with modifications to alleviate any concerns. Councilor Navickas encouraged the Planning Commission to forward their concerns to the Council and stated it is in their best interest to allow the Mayor to participate in this discussion when he returns.

Councilor Navickas/Jackson m/s to continue this issue to the July 17, 2007 Council Meeting. DISCUSSION: City Administrator Martha Bennett voiced concern that the Council may not be able to get to this item at the July 17 meeting due to the land use hearing. Councilors Chapman and Hardesty indicated they would be not be present at the August meeting in the event this issue does not get resolved at the July meeting. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hartzell, Hardesty, Jackson, and Silbiger, YES. Councilor Chapman and Navickas, NO. Motion passed 3-2.

Council Chair Silbiger opened discussion of the Utility Rate resolutions. He commented that the rate increases were included in the 2006-07 adopted budget, and were also discussed and incorporated in the 2007-08 budget. He noted the possibility of postponing the transportation rate increase until the Street Task Force Committee completed their work, but voiced support for passing the remainder of the rate increases. He also suggested the Street Task Force report on whether their process was successful, and if so, Council could consider doing the same thing with the other rates.

Councilor Hardesty voiced support for a task force to look at the other rates. She stated the task force could look into promoting conversation and fairness, as well as reviewing the low income program and making it more effective.

1. Reading of a Resolution titled, "A Resolution adopting a transportation utility rate schedule pursuant to Ashland Municipal Code Section 4.26.020 and repealing Resolution 1999-31."

Councilor Hartzell/Jackson m/s to approve Resolution #2007-21. DISCUSSION: Councilor Jackson noted there are two versions of the resolution in the meeting materials. Mr. Tuneberg clarified staff's recommendation is for the 15% increase, which is included in the resolution motioned for adoption. Councilor Navickas stated he would like to see some rate restructuring or at least some discussion of this before he is willing to approve the resolution. Councilor Hartzell noted that if this resolution does not pass, they will be faced with the challenge of making cuts to the budget. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hartzell, Chapman, Jackson, Hardesty, and Silbiger, YES. Councilor Navickas, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

2. Reading of a Resolution titled, "A Resolution adopting a storm drain utility rate schedule pursuant to Ashland Municipal Code Section 4.27.050 and repealing Resolution 1999-32."

Councilor Hartzell/Chapman m/s to approve Resolution #2007-22. DISCUSSION: Mr. Tuneberg clarified there were two versions of this resolution as well. Councilor Hartzell clarified her intention is to approve the 50% rate increase. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Jackson, Silbiger, Chapman, Hardesty and Hartzell, YES. Councilor Navickas, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

Council discussed the possibilities of forming a task force and conducting a rate study. Councilor Hartzell voiced support for adopting the remainder of the proposed resolutions. She stated conducting a rate study would cost the City money and has not been budgeted for, and recommended this be placed in next year's budget. Councilor Jackson voiced support for adopting the remainder of the resolutions, but would also like staff to look into the formation of a task force. Councilor Hartzell encouraged staff to come back in the next few months with some scenarios on how to accomplish the goals expressed by Councilor Hardesty in a cost effective way and some strategies on how to get there, but not necessarily tied to a task force. Councilor Hardesty stated a small task force to meet with staff may be a good way to begin. Mr. Tuneberg voiced support for Councilor Hartzell's suggestion for staff to bring back some strategies.

Councilor Hardesty/Jackson m/s to direct staff to bring back a strategy to the Council within the next three months on rate restructuring, including recommendations for citizen involvement. DISCUSSION: Councilor Chapman stated he does not want to specifically state they are going to do a rate restructuring.

Councilor Silbiger/Hartzell m/s to amend motion to read "possible rate restructuring". DISCUSSION: Councilor Hardesty commented that the amendment is not necessary since they were only asking staff to bring back a strategy. Councilor Hartzell noted the amendment makes their intent clear. Councilor Navickas requested that any councilor who does not support a possible rate restructure vote 'no' on the motion so that staff does not have to perform any unnecessary work. Voice Vote: Councilor Hartzell, Silbiger, Chapman, Navickas and Jackson, YES. Councilor Hardesty, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

Voice Vote on Amended Motion: all AYES. Motion passed 6-0.

3. Reading of a Resolution titled, "A Resolution revising rates for water service pursuant to Ashland Municipal Code Section 14.04.030 and repealing Resolution 2005-23."

Councilor Hartzell/Jackson m/s to approve Resolution #2007-23. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hartzell, Jackson, Chapman, Navickas, Silbiger and Hardesty, YES. Motion passed 6-0.

4. Reading of a Resolution titled, "A Resolution revising rates for wastewater service pursuant to Ashland Municipal Code Section 14.08.035 and repealing Resolution 2005-24."

Councilor Jackson/Hartzell m/s to approve Resolution #2007-24. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hartzell, Jackson, Chapman, Navickas, Silbiger and Hardesty, YES. Motion passed 6-0.

5. Second Reading of an Ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Levying Taxes for the Period of July 1, 2007 to and Including June 30, 2008, Such Taxes in the Sum of $11,314,046 Upon All the Real and Personal Property Subject to Assessment and Levy Within the Corporate Limits of the City of Ashland, Jackson County, Oregon."

Councilor Hartzell/Navickas m/s to approve Ordinance #2940. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Jackson, Hardesty, Silbiger, Navickas, Hartzell and Chapman, YES. Motion passed 6-0.

6. Reading of a Resolution titled, "A Resolution Repealing Resolution 2007-18 and Adopting the Annual Budget and Making Appropriations."

Councilor Hartzell/Hardesty m/s to approve Resolution #2007-25. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hardesty, Hartzell, Silbiger, Jackson, Navickas and Chapman, YES. Motion passed 6-0.

7. Reading 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 May 15, 2007."

Councilor Hartzell/Jackson m/s to approve Resolution #2007-26. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hartzell, Jackson, Navickas, Chapman, Hardesty and Silbiger, YES. Motion passed 6-0.

8. Proclamation regarding the Special Election held in the City of Ashland, Oregon, on the 15th of May 2007.

Councilor Jackson/Harztell m/s to approve Proclamation. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Navickas, Hartzell, Chapman, Silbiger, Jackson and Hardesty, YES. Motion passed 6-0.


Councilor Hardesty/Navickas m/s to reconsider the Council's vote from the June 5, 2007 Council Meeting to extend sewer service to 2995 Hwy 66. DISCUSSION: Councilor Hardesty commented on the property owner's plans to develop the site with several new building and noted the sewer service could be extended to those new buildings. She stated when Council voted on this issue at their last meeting, it was her understanding that service would only be extended to the existing buildings.

City Recorder Barbara Christensen restated the motion from the June 5, 2007 Council Meeting:
"Approve the request for sewer connection so long as the owner agrees to meet the site design criteria prior to annexation; and to stipulate that the tanks either be removed or filled, but in someway stabilized so to not pollute and that the number of toilets be held to nine."

DISCUSSION (Cont.): Assistant City Attorney Richard Appicello noted the property owner's proposed plan to build five new buildings, which was referenced in the Council Communication, and commented on the provision in the Ashland Municipal Code regarding replacement buildings. He clarified if the property owner wishes to connect the new buildings to the City's sewer system, the Public Works Director would have to determine whether the replacement buildings generate any greater impact to the system. Mr. Appicello added the Council could clarify that if and when there are new buildings, that this determination be made by the Council instead of staff. Councilor Jackson questioned why they needed to reconsider since the first motion limited the number of toilets that can be connected to the City' system. Councilor Navickas voiced his concern that this is not the right way to go about development of properties within the Urban Growth Boundary. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hardesty, Hartzell, and Navickas, YES. Councilor Jackson, Chapman, and Silbiger, NO. Motion fails 3-3.

Councilor Hartzell/Hardesty m/s to direct the Public Works Director to inform the Council when the property owner moves forward with additional buildings on site. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hardesty, Hartzell, Silbiger, and Navickas, YES. Councilor Jackson and Chapman, NO. Motion passed 4-2.

2. Discussion of RVTD Funding and Priorities.
Management Analyst Ann Seltzer noted the Study Session that was held on this issue and the nine different options that were presented. She stated staff's recommendations are to: 1) Stay with the current RVTD fare subsidy, and 2) Place a cap on the amount used to subsidize the fare and use the remaining amount of budgeted funds to hire a transit planning consultant. She requested Council provide direction to staff so that a new contract with RVTD can be prepared and brought back for Council approval.

Councilor Chapman voiced support for placing a cap and doing the same as they did last year, however he voiced his opposition to hiring a consultant until it is clear what the consultant would do.

Councilor Hartzell commented on increasing the ridership levels and suggested they look into putting some money aside for high school students in need of fare assistance.

RVTD General Manager Julie Brown addressed the Council and briefly commented on their limitations under ADA. She also suggested the City consider doing a survey instead of hiring a consultant.

Councilor Navickas voiced his support for the hiring of a consultant and stated there are a lot of different options that the consultant could evaluate.

Councilor Hartzell/Navickas m/s to approve staff recommendation Option 4, Option 9 and the pursuit of Options 6, 7, and 8 as outlined, with the addition of $2,000 for youth passes and $1,000 for senior passes to be administrated through the Ashland High School and the Ashland Senior Program. DISCUSSION: Councilor Hartzell commented that this would be a way to get people back on the bus who need it. Councilor Chapman stated that without knowing the need, this may be a "shot in the dark". Voice Vote: Councilors Jackson, Hartzell, Silbiger, Navickas and Hardesty, YES. Councilor Chapman, No. Motion passed 5-1.

3. Reconsideration of Vote regarding Adoption of findings for Planning Action 2006-02354, Kistler.
Assistant City Attorney Richard Appicello advised the Council to take this item off the agenda and not take action on it tonight. He explained he would file a motion at LUBA and return to Council for reconsideration; and asked that the Council not engage in any ex parte communications during the interim.

Councilor Jackson/Hartzell m/s to differ this item to a future agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

Councilor Hartzell/Hardesty m/s to extend meeting until 10:30 p.m. Voice Vote: Councilors Jackson, Silbiger, Hartzell, Hardesty and Navickas, YES. Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
4. Re-Affirmation of Resolution No. 2007-17 Adopting Findings for the Nevada Street LID.
Assistant City Attorney Richard Appicello noted that staff had asked that the effective date for the Nevada Street resolution be delayed until the Findings could be revised. He stated the Findings are now complete and before Council for approval and requested Council reaffirm the resolution and adopt the findings.

Councilor Jackson/Hardesty m/s to reaffirm Resolution #2007-17 and adopt the Findings. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hardesty, Silbiger, Jackson, Navickas, Chapman, YES. Councilor Hartzell, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

5. Mt Ashland - Timber Settlement Sale Purchaser Decision and Related Items.
City Administrator Martha Bennett explained there are two issues before Council tonight. The first is a decision regarding a draft letter to be sent to the United States Forest Service (USFS) authorizing the USFS Timber Settlement Sale Contract be authorized with Mt. Ashland Association as the "Name of Purchaser". Ms. Bennett explained this would be a departure from what has been done before, but noted the letter is drafted to express the concerns that were expressed in the 2005 Resolution and asks that the Forest Service continue to support the activities the Council set forth in the resolution.

Ms. Bennett stated the second issue before Council is regarding the Quality Assurance Quality Control (QA/QC) Team. She noted Council's previous motion to appoint an advisory committee that included two members of the City Council, two members of the Mt. Ashland Association Board, and two citizen members. She noted the function identified for this group and requested Council's input as to whether this is still the direction in which they would like to proceed. Ms. Bennett also questioned if they would like to appoint this committee prior to or during the RFP process.

Paul Copeland/462 Jennifer Street/Voiced concern with how much time the Council has worked on this in Executive Session and in mediation session. He stated the public has not been involved in this and has not been made aware of where the Council is on this matter. Mr. Copeland voiced concern with the lack of public input and stated there are qualified experts in this region who could comment and provide input that would improve the RFP. He also voiced concern with Mt. Ashland Association being responsible for the selection of the QA/QC Team. Mr. Copeland recommended the Council: 1) postpone the timber settlement sale contract until they have the restoration fund reset, 2) reaffirm their commitment to the principles of the 2005 resolution, including the business plan and restoration fund, and 3) have the RFP postponed until public input has been provided.

Councilor Jackson clarified the Council has had to discuss this issue during Executive Session due to the pending litigation. She also commented that if they delay the settlement sale, they will have breached the lease agreement with Mt. Ashland Association and will be taken to court, and voiced support for sending the letter to the Forest Service.

Councilor Hartzell noted she had submitted suggested changes to the draft letter and briefly reviewed her proposed modifications.

Councilor Navickas commented that action does not need to be taken at this time and stated the Council needs to make a firm stand that until the resolution is met, they will not release the timber sale. He recommended the Council submit a letter to the Forest Service stating they will maintain the directive through the City, and also send a letter to Mt. Ashland Association indicating they will not move forward with this until they have an agreement on the 2005 resolution. He added that this is not about stopping the expansion, it is about protecting the City from liability.

Councilor Jackson noted that the letter clearly states the City is not convinced the $200,000 amount is sufficient to cover restoration costs. She stated this letter to the Forest Service would keep the City moving forward in reaching an agreement on the restoration value and the QA/QC Team.

Councilor Jackson/Silbiger m/s to approve the letter as drafted with the revision to paragraph two, sentence one; the spelling correction; and changing the word "two-hundred thousand dollar bond" to "surety bond". DISCUSSION: Councilor Hardesty expressed concern that if they send this letter it gives Mt. Ashland Association permission to cut the timber. Roll Call Vote: Councilors Silbiger, Chapman and Jackson, YES. Councilors Hartzell, Hardesty and Navickas, NO. Motion fails 3-3.

1. Draft Ballot Measure Interim Funding for Ashland Public Library.
Item delayed due to time constraints.
2. AFN Retailer (ISP) Agreement.
Item pulled for future Council Meeting.
9. First Reading by title only of an Ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Amending the Ashland Municipal Code, Chapter 2.12, City Planning Commission."
Item delayed due to time constraints.
10. Second Reading by title only of an Ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Amending AMC 3.08.020 To Apply Ethics Provisions to Employees, Appointed Officials and Elected Officials."
Item postponed to the July 17, 2007 Council Meeting.
1. First Reading of a Resolution titled, "A Resolution Supporting the Employee Free Choice Act."
Item delayed due to time constraints.
Meeting adjourned at 10:30 p.m.

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John W. Morrison, Mayor

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