Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Special Meeting

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

June 27, 2007
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.
Councilor Navickas, Hardesty, Hartzell, Silbiger and Chapman were present. Councilor Jackson arrived at 7:06 p.m.
1. Public Hearing on a Resolution Adopting a Supplemental Budget Establishing Appropriations within the 2006-2007 Budget.
Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg presented the staff report on the proposed budget supplemental.

Public Hearing Open: 7:04 p.m.
Public Hearing Closed: 7:04 p.m.

Councilor Hartzell/Navickas m/s to approve Resolution #2007-27. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hardesty, Navickas, Hartzell, Silbiger and Chapman, YES. Councilor Jackson was absent during the motion. Motion passed 5-0.

1. Reading of a Resolution titled, "A Resolution Transferring Appropriations Within the 2006-2007 Budget."
Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg presented the staff report on the proposed transfer of appropriations. He explained that the transfer of appropriations are being done to avoid any budget violations and is erring on the safe side. He noted the different departments where the transfers are needed and made clarifications on the transfer from contingency for the City Recorders Office and the Fire Department.

Councilor Navickas/Chapman m/s to approve Resolution #2007-28. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Navickas, Silbiger, Hardesty, Hartzell, Jackson and Chapman, YES. Motion passed 6-0.

1. Reading of a Resolution titled, "A Resolution of the City of Ashland, Jackson County, Oregon, Calling a Special Election to Submit to the Voters a Funding Initiative to Levy up to $.58 per $1000 Assessed Property Value for the Purpose of Operating the Ashland Public Library for a Period of Two Years."
City Administrator Martha Bennett presented revised language for the proposed library levy. She explained that under this proposal, the levy would be up to $0.58 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value and highlighted the minimum proposed library services. Ms. Bennett explained the City would negotiate a base contract with the County through an intergovernmental agreement and expects a Request for Proposal by the end of July for contract services.

Ms. Bennett continued to clarify the proposed library services and base contract for the facilities. She explained the decision for who is going to maintain the building needs to be resolved, and that this could be done through a negotiated contract.

It was suggested that the Summary be changed to replace the language "receives federal funding for the library" with "reopens the Ashland library".

Council briefly discussed whether to include firm numbers and if the hours of operation should be specified in the language.

Bronson Fitzgerald/248 N 2nd Street/Expressed his appreciation for the City proposing to keep the libraries open.

Amy Blossom/140 Susan Lane/Spoke on behalf of a large number of people who want to express their appreciation to the City for proposing to keep the libraries open by placing this before the voters. She noted appreciation on the cooperative effort with the school districts, and agreed that the word "federal" should be removed from the ballot language. Ms. Blossom invited the community to attend Monday night meetings beginning in July to discuss library issues.

Josh Gordon/945 Cedar Way/Presented suggested language for the proposed ballot measure, raised concern with reducing services too far, and urged the Council to be forward looking when considering services.

Council discussed the proposed language change "reopens the Ashland Library." Ms. Bennett stated the problem of turning the library back over to the County cannot be dealt with by this measure and would need to be dealt with through an intergovernmental contract. She noted her concern is that because the County is supporting the opening of the libraries by the local jurisdictions, they and are not feeling the pressure to open the libraries themselves.

It was suggested that more information be presented in the explanatory statement that is clear on when the tax would be levied. Assistant City Attorney Richard Appicello stated that he understood what needed to be in the explanatory statement. Ms. Bennett noted her concern that the County may shift future dollars from Ashland to other jurisdictions if this levy passes. She stated that this needs to be controlled through the Intergovernmental Agreement rather than through the explanatory statement. She also clarified the City would not levy this assessment if the County approves an assessment.

Council reached consensus to deal with the concerns raised through the Intergovernmental Agreement. Ms. Bennett offered to add more clarity to the explanatory statement, but noted that there is no more room in the summary of the ballot measure to elaborate. Staff was directed to work with the summary statement to reflect the concerns raised while keeping within the word limitations.

Councilor Silbiger/Jackson m/s to approve Resolution #2007-29. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Jackson, Navickas, Hardesty, Hartzell and Silbiger, YES. Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

Councilor Hartzell requested that before negotiations are entered into with the County that a cost benefit analysis be completed on the City assuming ownership of the library. Council raised concern with privatization issues and Mayor Morrison suggested that Councilor Hartzell discuss her issues further with staff.

2. Selection of Facilitator for Council Goal Setting.
City Administrator Martha Bennett presented the facilitators and recommended Caryn Tilton. Council discussed what they wanted to accomplish through this process and concern was raised that Ms. Tilton's proposed process was too involved.

Council reached consensus to secure Jon Lange to facilitate their goal setting session.

3. Mt. Ashland QA/QC Team.
Councilor Hartzell/Navickas m/s to take this topic into Executive Session to discuss potential litigation pursuant to ORS 192.660(2)(h). Motion was withdrawn.

Council discussed how to proceed and what could be discussed in Executive Session.

Councilor Hartzell/Navickas m/s to hear from the public and then move into Executive Session pursuant to ORS 192.660(2)(h). Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hartzell, Hardesty, Navickas and Chapman, YES. Councilor Silbiger and Jackson, NO. Motion passed 4-2.

Suzanne Frey/1042 Oak Knoll Drive/Asked Council to not take actions that would be an interference with the expansion or a violation of the lease agreement. She also requested the Council not spend public funds and tax dollars on unnecessary lawsuits and legal fees. Ms. Frey stated the substantive issues are environmental and will be decided by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She asked the Council to act in a responsible way and reminded them that there is considerable community support for the expansion.

Allen Baker/1042 Oak Knoll Drive/Voiced concern with the amount of money the City is spending on lawyers to fight Mt. Ashland and commented on other needs this money could be used for. Mr. Baker urged the Council to allow the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to make the decision and to stop spending money on this.

Steve Pierce/700 Butler Creek Road/Stated the City is spending too much money on this and suggested they treat Mt. Ashland Association as they would the Oregon Shakespeare Festival or the Ashland Community Hospital. Mr. Butler asked the Council to allow the professionals at Mt. Ashland to "run the show" and to allow them to proceed without further interference.

Paul Copeland/462 Jennifer Street/Recommended the City resolve its relationship with Mt. Ashland Association before they rush ahead with expediting a timber contract. He reminded the Council that the ski area only plans to cut timber this year and do not plan to take further action until next year. Mr. Copeland asked the Council to not rush into things with a false sense of urgency and asked that they allow the Courts to make the decision.

Council moved into Executive Session at 8:23 p.m.

Council returned from Executive Session at 9:33 p.m. and continued the Special Meeting.

Councilor Navickas/Hartzell m/s to direct staff to draft two letters, one to the Forest Service and one to the Mt. Ashland Association which expresses clearly that no authority is given to Mt. Ashland Association at this point to take over the timber sale contract; and, pending further discussion regarding the 2005 resolution, their intent is to allow Mt. Ashland Association to be the timber sale contractor.

Councilor Hartzell motioned to amend motion to remove the word "pending" and replace with "including".
Both motions were withdrawn.

Councilor Hartzell/Hardesty m/s to send a letter to the Forest Service stating that it is our intent to assign Mt. Ashland Association as the purchaser of the settlement timber sale, that we are still working with Mt. Ashland Association on the 2005 resolution and it is our intent to put their name on the contract. We will send a second letter to Mt. Ashland Association expressing our interest in continuing to dialogue with them about the terms of the 2005 resolution. DISCUSSION: Councilor Hartzell stated she believes the motion reflects what was discussed during the Executive Session. Councilor Jackson expressed concern with adding the discussion of the resolution into the letter to the Forest Service. City Administrator Martha Bennett commented on the letters to be sent to the Forest Service and Mt. Ashland Association and stated she understands that Council wants more explanation in their letter to Mt. Ashland Association than they do in the letter to the Forest Service. She also clarified both letters would be circulated to the City's legal counsel for review. Councilor Navickas commented that the letter needs to be clear that they are giving no authority at this point. Councilor Hartzell, Silbiger, Navickas, Jackson, Hardesty and Chapman, YES. Motion passed 6-0.

4. Discussion Requested by Councilor Chapman on Next Steps for Mt. Ashland Matters.
Councilor Chapman voiced frustration because they have not been able to identify a clear direction on this matter. He noted that the 2005 Resolution was a request and Mt. Ashland Association was never required to comply. He also commented that the two main concerns are protection of the watershed and financial liability and stated if they were truly concerned about cutting off the City's financial liability, giving up the Special Use Permit (SUP) would be the way to go. He added if the SUP is released, there should be a contractual agreement with Mt. Ashland Association (MAA) in place to protect the watershed.

Councilor Hartzell voiced her interest in focusing on the QA/QC Team and speaking with Mt. Ashland Association about the 2005 resolution. She added that she is not interested in discussing the SUP and is not convinced relinquishing it would remove the City's liability.

Councilor Silbiger commented that the City would only give up the SUP if they were ensured zero liability in return. He suggested their immediate next step is solidifying the QA/QC Team and then they should begin working towards an agreement on the restoration value and obtaining the business plan.

Mayor Morrison requested the remaining councilors also voice their ideas for future strategies.

Councilor Hardesty noted her skepticism about releasing the SUP unless they had firm commitments in place and voiced support for continuing to work toward the formation of a QA/QC Team and obtaining the business plan.

Councilor Navickas/Chapman m/s to extend meeting until 10:30 p.m. Voice Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Hardesty, Navickas, Chapman and Jackson, YES. Councilor Hartzell, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

Councilor Navickas voiced his opposition to giving up the SUP and pointed out problems at the waste treatment facility. He stated Mt. Ashland Association is not doing a good job of mitigation and suggested the City take action on these problems.

Councilor Jackson stated she is willing to discuss the transfer of the SUP and commented on the need to establish a working relationship with the Mt. Ashland Association Board in order to move forward. She also voiced support for the QA/QC Team RFP to go forward.

Mayor Morrison voiced concern that the strategy they have been using is leading them into more court cases instead of developing a coherent plan to move things ahead. He voiced support for developing a strategy based on the best leverage the City has, and stated the SUP is far stronger leverage than the timber sale contract. He recommended they discuss exchanging the SUP for a better document that helps the City gain the protections they are seeking and stated that a legal document is far better than a resolution. Mayor Morrison commented on the need to have a publicity campaign that carefully states what it is they want and provides direction to staff so that they can develop strategies.

Councilor Hartzell commented that she struggles with the lease and sees flaws in it that were not anticipated. She cautioned them that in whatever steps they take, it is difficult to anticipate what the future will bring.

Councilor Hartzell/Navickas m/s to adjourn meeting. DISCUSSION: City Administrator Martha Bennett questioned if the Council was going to provide direction on the QA/QC Team. Councilor Hartzell indicated she was not prepared to have this discussion. Councilor Hardesty expressed her desire to discuss this issue, but noted that her comments may take longer than the time available. Ms. Bennett noted that the Council could decide to discuss this at their July 17, 2007 meeting. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hartzell, Silbiger, Hardesty, Navickas, YES. Councilor Chapman and Jackson, NO. Motion passed 4-2.

Meeting adjourned at 10:13 p.m.

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John W. Morrison, Mayor

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