Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Monday, October 06, 2008

Monday, October 6, 2008
Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street

Mayor Morrison called the meeting to order at 6:05 p.m.

Councilors Hardesty, Hartzell, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present. Councilor Navickas was absent.

1. Look Ahead Review
City Administrator Martha Bennett reviewed the items on the Council Look Ahead.

2. Review of regular meeting agenda for October 7, 2008
City Administrator Martha Bennett reviewed the upcoming Regular meeting agenda with Council.

3. Discussion on Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) Distribution
City Administrator Martha Bennett provided an overview of where Council was in the process and clarified that the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) Distribution applies to fiscal year 2010 and beyond. The TOT Allocation table was explained.

Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg provided the Council Communication. Dollars were matched to the percentages in the Resolution anticipating a drop in the revenue streams. Staff identified, prioritized and allocated tourism and non-tourism dollars, the General Fund and other programs by percentage. The new resolution is starting to have the same problem as the prior resolution with multiple components that increase or decease at a different rate. A significant drop in TOT revenues would quickly cut into the monies used to fund the General Fund or core services.

It was explained that the grant application would define and assure that monies granted to businesses are used for marketing tourism only.

Suggestion was made to shift money from Small Grants under Economic and Cultural Development to Tourism in order to protect the General Fund. Ms. Bennett explained that the General Fund would be protected because the resolution was structured with specific percentages as opposed to giving percentages for the unrestricted money. The remaining Economic Development Grants, the Grant to the Chamber of Commerce and Unrestricted Small Grants would be allocated through the budget process.

Council discussed cutting small grant dollars and moving that money to the unrestricted category, to review restricted money and then determine how to divide it while leaving 20% assigned for City qualified projects.

Concern expressed that the City holds its previous promise to businesses to cap what it collected at 70%. Clarification that the 70% would come from unrestricted money was made and that it was actually 52% of the total. Request for information on what criteria was used in order to determine medium size groups and whether funding was sufficiently was made

Further discussion on this item will continue at the Regular meeting of the Council on October 7, 2008.

4. Will Council review the draft Transportation System Plan Update as presented by HDR Engineering, Inc. and provide direction for final adoption?
Public Works Director Mike Faught introduced Evan Dust, Senior Transportation Planner with HDR, Scott Chapman, Senior Associate with Nelson/Nygaard, and Julie Brown, the Executive Director of the Rogue Valley Transit District (RVTD) and presented the staff report.

Mr. Dust provided the Phase I overview that included:

  • Scope Overview of Phase I and II

  • Existing Conditions

  • Amended Plan: There are 37 projects, 29 originated from the 1998 plan and are complete and the remaining eight are outstanding projects added since 1998.

  • Street Projects

  • Pedestrian Projects: All pedestrian projects originated from the 1998 plan. They are considered sidewalk projects and are not related to master trails.

  • Bicycle System Projects

  • Traffic Signal Projects

  • Public Comment: The public wants a higher emphasis on pedestrian projects but grant funding tends to favor street projects more.

  • System Development Charge: The reimbursement component of $2.83 is based on completed projects since 1997. The SDC improvement component of $376.82 comes from the capitol cost divided by the Equivalent Length New Daily Trips (ELNDT).

Mr. Chapman provided the Phase II overview that included:

  • Phase II Transit

  • Existing Conditions

  • Needs Assessment

  • Transit Goals

  • Coverage

  • Productivity

  • Where should Ashland be along the Continuum?

  • Other Potential Trade Offs

  • Alternate Service Scenarios: Could include additional service on weekends and evenings as well as provide service to neighborhoods that currently lack service.

  • Current Funding-Productivity

  • Breaking Route 10: Depending on ridership, use a van or bus to serve the Route 10 loop. Have riders transfer at the plaza although transfers can break the system because it is not as convenient. Ridership is higher at the college versus the plaza. RVTD may be able to bring in an additional bus to make the loop at no additional cost if the City decides to use the plaza as a turning point.

  • Current Funding-Productivity: Establish 15-minute frequencies weekdays only, that would run until early evening.

  • Current-Coverage

  • Current Funding-Coverage

  • Alternate Coverage Route: Shrinking the deviation area allows for more service. Shortening service on East Main would provide service to a different part of the community. Flex service is a fixed route with time built in that allows pick-ups to occur at the rider's door for citizens requiring additional assistance.

  • Current Funding Options: With current funding options, the service will be either productivity oriented serving Siskiyou Route 5 or a circulator bus serving the neighborhoods. Costs are conceptual, actual costs per hour are based on labor rules. There may be sensitivity to fare increases.

  • Moderate Funding Scenario: Route 5 serves the core area where Route 8 serves non-core areas.

  • Moderate Funding Option: RVTD accrues $70,000 annually for advertising and receives 40% with the remainder going to marketing.

  • Aggressive Funding Scenario

  • Operating Cost & Fleet Requirement Summary: Tier One priorities are determined by the Payroll Tax, which is 5/10 of a cent and covers everything except the local circulator and express service. Tier Two includes the express and circulator service.

  • Moderate & Aggressive Funding Summary

  • Next Steps

They stated that the Payroll Tax would be on the ballot for spring of 2009 and currently is at 5/10 of a cent per $1.00 but may be reduced or changed. The Payroll Tax would apply to any company located within the district boundary and would be paid by the employer; some exemptions to the tax do apply. If it passes, it would take a quarter before the revenue flow started and would be a percentage distributed over a 3-year period. Legislators would determine how the percentage is broken down and who would collect it.

A request was made for more information on funding options.

Meeting was adjourned at 8:26 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Dana Smith
Assistant to the City Recorder

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