Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Special Meeting

Monday, January 14, 2008

Monday, January 14, 2008 at 7:00 p.m.
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way

Mayor Morrison called the meeting to order at 7:25 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way.
Councilors Hardesty, Silbiger, Chapman, Jackson, Navickas and Hartzell were present.
1. Does the City Council wish to direct staff to draft a resolution supporting the formation of the Rogue Valley Heritage District?

Tam Moore/Our Heritage Political Action Committee/2 North Oakdale, Medford/Commented on the creation of the Rogue Valley Heritage District and explained the Political Action Committee is required to gain the City Council's approval before they can circulate petitions in Ashland. Mr. Moore stated this would be a county-wide district and they have already received approval from 7 of the 11 cities in Jackson County. He added he expects to hear from the remaining cities this week.

Mr. Moore explained the process to create the Rogue Valley Heritage District includes the following:

1) Gaining approval from the city councils, allowing their citizens to be part of the district should the formation be successful,
2) Petitioning the voters and collecting signatures from at least 15% of the registered voters living within the proposed district, and
3) Placing the creation of the Rogue Valley Heritage District before the voters as part of the November 2008 general election.

Mr. Moore clarified the tax rate would be capped at $0.07 per $1,000 assessed value, which would create roughly $1 million for district distribution when levied in 2009. He requested the Council approve the draft resolution provided, which will enable them to place the formation of this district before the Ashland voters.

Mr. Moore clarified if the District is approved and they later decide they need more funding, this would have to come back to the voters for approval. He also clarified in the past the County provided the County's historical societies with funding; however this has ceased.

John Enders/Southern Oregon Historical Society/Voiced his support for the Rogue Valley Heritage District. He commented on the County levy that provided funds to the historical societies and clarified the County is still collecting this money, but they are no longer giving it to the intended use and the funding is going to the County's general fund instead. He stated that Ashland is the largest town in Jackson County without a museum and this is something he would like to change. He added there is a great desire, but a lack of resources.

Councilor Navickas/Hartzell m/s to approve attached resolution. DISUCSSION:

Councilor Hartzell/Jackson m/s to amend motion to add the text "... and agrees that Ashland will be a jurisdictional member if the Heritage District is passed by voters" to the last statement in the resolution. Voice Vote: All AYES. Motion passed 6-0.

DISCUSSION on Amended Motion: Councilor Hardesty expressed concern with the impact the tax levy would have on citizens and noted they will be needing the community's support for other upcoming items. Support was voiced for the resolution and it was noted that this motion does not approve the levy, but rather places this issue before the voters so that they can decide. Roll Call Vote on Amended Motion: Councilors Jackson, Hartzell, Navickas, Silbiger and Chapman, YES. Councilor Hardesty, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

Councilor Hardesty clarified that despite her vote, she will be supporting the Heritage District.

2. Should the Council waive the second penalty and related interest on the delinquent Food and Beverage (Meals Tax) for Geppetto's Restaurant's activity for the month of April 2007?

Ron Roth/Owner of Geppetto's/Provided some personal history about himself and his involvement in the community. He also provided information on his wife's physical condition, and stated her medical issues have made it difficult for her to work. Mr. Roth commented on the Meals Tax and noted it is scheduled to sunset in 2010. He requested the Council drop the penalties provision completely and stated that doing so would help gain voter support for the re-adoption of the tax.

Councilor Navickas voiced support for waiving the penalty fees owed by Mr. Roth and stated it is important to realize the struggle of small businesses in this community.

Comment was made acknowledging Mr. Roth's contributions to the community, but noting that it would be illegal and unethical for the Council to apply the law differently to one person.

Council briefly discussed the settlement agreement that was reached with Mr. Roth in 2005. Mayor Morrison commented that the City modified its policy and forgave a certain amount when they went through this with Mr. Roth last time. He stated the Council is sworn to uphold the laws of the City and to waive the penalty would be special treatment.

Mr. Roth clarified he is requesting the penalties be waived due to a medical hardship.

Comment was made questioning how the City would get restaurants to pay on a timely basis if they took the penalty away.

Councilor Hartzell/Silbiger m/s to accept the staff recommendation and require immediate payment of $865.67. DISCUSSION: City Attorney Richard Appicello noted the City will need to adopt findings.

Councilor Hartzell/Silbiger amended motion to authorize the Mayor to sign findings.

Roll Call Vote on Amended Motion: Councilors Navickas, Jackson, Hartzell, Silbiger, Chapman and Hardesty, YES. Motion passed 6-0.

Meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.

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

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