MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
November 18, 2008
1175 E. Main Street
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Morrison called the meeting to order at 7:04 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilor Hardesty, Hartzell, Navickas, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present.
MAYOR'S ANNOUNCEMENT OF BOARD AND COMMISSION VACANCIES
City Administrator Martha Bennett provided an update on the City Council Position #5 race and explained the re-count process.
SHOULD THE COUNCIL APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THESE MEETINGS?
The minutes of the Executive Session of October 30, 2008, Joint Parks and Council Meeting of October 30, 2008, Study Session of November 3, 2008 and Regular Council of November 4, 2008 were approved with the following clarifications:
Study Session of November 3, 2008:
Second Page, 5th paragraph "…Jackson County Assessment Office…" it was noted that staff may have meant "Assessors Office"
Second Page, first paragraph after #3, the last sentence was clarified: "Concern was expressed that the Food and Beverage Tax might need to go to voters prior to Fire Station #2."
Second Page, third paragraph after #3, the third sentence was clarified: "It was decided to resolve the issues regarding Department location prior to redoing City Hall and have staff develop 2-3 scenarios after planning the Fire and Police department interim strategies."
Regular Council of November 4, 2008:
Page 2, second full paragraph, the last sentence was clarified: "…but rent had shown the need…" instead of the wording showing.
Page 2, paragraph eight, third sentence was clarified: "It was necessary for Council to make a Finding…" instead of: "Council needed to make a Finding…"
Page 3 under Jason Elzy's testimony, the third sentence was clarified: "Currently the Housing Authority offered only six units in Ashland…"
Joint Parks and Council Meeting of October 30, 2008:
Page 1, fourth paragraph, fourth sentence spelling was corrected from "Pars" to: "…Parks…."
Councilor Hartzell/Jackson m/s to approve all four meeting minutes with clarifications as noted. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS None
1. Does the Council accept the Minutes of Boards, Commissions, and Committees?
2. Should the Council make a final decision denying the Measure 49 claim for approximately 27.25 acres of W-R zoned land located at the end of Hitt Road and notify DLCD and the claimants of the final decision?
Councilor Hardesty/Chapman m/s to approve Consent Agenda items. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
1. Shall Council suspend the public hearing to consider the formation of a local improvement district (LID) to improve Beach Street based upon a remonstrance petition representing 76.9 percent of the proposed assessment?
Engineering Services Manager Jim Olson explained the City originally received a petition with almost 54% approval and later received another petition signed by 76% of the assessment district remonstrating against the LID. Ashland Municipal Code required the City to suspend further action on the LID for six months but the municipal code was not clear as to what would happen after the 6-month suspension. The LID would have to come back to Council through a new petition.
The remonstrance was possibly due to the current economy. Some of the upper lots contained four assessment units with over $20,000 in assessments.
Councilor Chapman/Hartzell m/s to suspend further action on the proposed Beach Street LID for a period of at least six (6) months. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hardesty, Navickas, Hartzell, Jackson, Chapman and Silbiger, YES. Motion passed.
1. Should the Council award up to $345,000 in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) funds to one or more of the respondents to the Request for Proposal (RFP) in compliance with eligibility criteria of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)?
Housing Program Specialist Linda Reid explained there was $345,000 in funds comprised of 2008 Federal Allocation Unexpended funds from 2007 and reprogram funds from previously funded projects that were not completed. Due to the large amount of carry-over and reprogram funds, the City was carrying more than 1.5 times its annual allocation which could be found untimely by HUD and HUD could recapture funds in excess of the 1.5 times the limit.
The City chose to reissue an RFP for the CDBG funds outside the regular funding cycle in order to expend the City's current balance and meet HUD's timeliness test. The City received three applications requesting a total of $736,000. Ashland Supportive Housing requested $345,000 to acquire and convert a single-family house into a group home to serve medically fragile, special needs individuals. The Housing Authority of Jackson County (HAJC) applied for $345,000 to assist with the development of public facilities and infrastructure improvements on Clay Street and interior streets to serve a 60 unit low income development. Pathway Enterprises, Inc. applied for $20,000 to hire a staff person to provide supportive living and employment services and promote the self-sufficiency of individuals with special needs. All three applicants met the goals identified in the City of Ashland's 2005-2009 Consolidated Plan. Staff recommended that Council award HAJC $345,000 in CDBG funds based on the projects readiness to proceed, its targeted use to benefit a substantial affordable housing project, its leverage of non-CDBG funds and overall community benefit.
The Housing Commission and staff also recommended a contingency award if HAJC was unable to spend a minimum of $95,000 prior to the July 1, 2009 HUD deadline, they would reallocate the $95,000 to Ashland Supportive Housing for their proposal.
Councilor Hartzell noted the County Commission had appointed her to the board of HAJC and that her participation on the board did not serve as a conflict of interest per the Government Standards and Practices Board.
Senior Planner Brandon Goldman explained that when a city exceeded the 1.5 limit with HUD, the city would develop a work out plan to show HUD conclusive evidence they would come into compliance within a year.
Public Hearing Open 7:31 p.m.
Ron Roth/6950 Old Hwy 99 S/Thanked Council for going forward with the land swap to acquire the Clay Street property. He was in favor of the CDBG going to the Clay Street project and was hopeful and confident that Council would approve the CDBG funds for HAJC.
Becky Simpson/929 Buck Point, Central Point/Explained she was the CEO of Pathway Enterprises. Currently there were two group homes in Ashland, with five individuals in each one. It was vital to continue to deinstitutionalize, support group homes and provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Ms. Simpson clarified that the original amount requested was $51,000 and changed to $20,000 because under the RFP, they could not ask for more than $20,000 from Social Services.
The new staff person would coordinate assessments and ensure people received the services they needed to be successful. The position would offer a living wage and any benefits provided for full time staff at Pathway Enterprises.
Betty McRoberts/1011 Rustler Peak St, Central Point/Stated she was from the Housing Authority. The estimates for the infrastructure were initial estimates and there would be additional costs. She clarified the Unit Price sheet for On-Site Streets were actually public streets that would be created within the 10-acre site. The street estimate was $424 per lineal foot with a rough estimate of 788 feet for the length of both streets. The budget showed there was more than enough in the infrastructure improvements to Clay Street and the two public streets to use the entire $345,000 fund. The Housing Authority did not have the means to compensate the project without the CDBG funds.
Ms. McRoberts explained that every funding source had an affordability period. The Tax Credit entity would leave the project at 15 years; the Federal Low Income Tax Credits had a 30-year affordability period whereas the State of Oregon Lender Tax Credits had only a 20-year loan. When the lender partner stepped out at 15 years, the City would refinance for 20 years. Twenty years later the City would refinance again to rehabilitate the property. Lenders would not loan money to rehabilitate projects with affordability issues at 60 years because the rents were too restricted.
Sue Crader/693B Washinglo/Explained she was the Executive Director of Ashland's Supportive Housing Community (ASH). ASH provided homes and care for developmentally disabled adults. Most of their clients had been with ASH since 1982 and needed more assistance with daily living as they aged. ASH was requesting funds for a new home for medically fragile individuals. The home would meet the four-bed limit by the State of Oregon. The $345,000 would go to purchase and remodel a house they had selected. ASH would cover another $40,000 in conjunction with other State funds along with the initial start up costs that amounted to $68,000, for a total of $108,000 in matched funds for the project. The project would not require additional funding or further CDBG funds to complete the purchase and remodel.
Public Hearing Closed: 7:55 p.m.
Councilor Hardesty/Hartzell m/s move to award the HAJC $345,000 in CDBG funds for public facilities improvements, public right of way improvements on Clay street and interior streets. Public facilities improvements include; curb, gutter, sidewalk, storm drainage, sewer line, street lighting, fire hydrants and other eligible improvements. DISCUSSION: Councilor Chapman suggested taking $20,000 from the $345,000 and awarding it to Pathway Enterprises. He agreed that if the affordable housing went forward it should be the highest priority. Ashland Supportive Housing would be the second priority. Councilor Navickas agreed with allocating $20,000 to Pathway Enterprises commenting that it would not hurt the Clay Street project and would do a lot to help serve people with disabilities.
Councilor Navickas/Jackson m/s amend the motion to shift $20,000 of the $345,000 to Pathway Enterprises, Inc. DISCUSSION: Councilor Hartzell expressed concern that the $20,000 would not go far enough when paying a living wage and was not willing to risk the viability of the affordable housing project. Councilor Hardesty agreed regarding the uncertainty of providing a living wage and noted that there would be more CDBG money coming February 2009. She suggested Pathway Enterprises re-apply at that time. Councilor Navickas explained the $20,000 could lever more grants for Pathway Enterprises. Councilor Chapman noted the Housing Project would not spend the $300,000 by spring and could make up the $20,000 next year. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Navickas, Jackson and Chapman, YES, Councilor Hardesty, Hartzell and Silbiger, NO. Mayor Morrison, NO. Motion failed 4-3.
Roll Call Vote on Original Motion: Councilor Silbiger, Jackson, Navickas, Hartzell and Hardesty, YES; Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
PUBLIC FORUM None
1. Will Council approve a resolution authorizing the issuance of Full Faith and Credit Bonds up to $2,500,000 to fund wastewater system improvements?
Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg explained the tendency to pay for capital improvements with restricted monies first, i.e., grants and systems development charges then fund the rest through borrowing. The borrowed amount would be paid over the life of the assets with rates adjusted accordingly to make the debt service payments on what was borrowed. Revenue bonds from Enterprises represented infrastructure that could be paid for through rates and fees as opposed to saving the money and charging people for services used in the future.
The proposed resolution would issue up to $2.7 million in Full Faith and Credit Bonds. The intent is to pay for the bonds from revenues generated from the wastewater system. The Treatment plant was primarily paid for through the Food and Beverage Tax and that kept rates and fees low. The Food and Beverage Tax generated about $1.5 million each year for the Wastewater Fund per debt service. The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) loan was the first priority to be paid and any borrowing done now would be second. If the City borrowed revenue bonds, the City would have to insure payment by setting aside one-year worth of cash, and then restrict it. The DEQ loan is similar.
The Wastewater Fund already had $1.7 million restricted to guarantee the DEQ annual debt service. The City would have to borrow an additional $250,000 for cash reserves they currently do not have and then pay interest. Due to changes in the Municipal Bond Market, insurance is no longer available. The cash reserve of $250,000 would guarantee one year of payment and the City would have to show long-term there was enough coverage on the revenue bonds. Revenue bonds would require 125% whereas the DEQ loan was 105%. If the City issued Revenue Bonds, the covenant would require 125% coverage that the City could not afford at this time. The 125% would affect the DEQ loan by raising its coverage requirement unless the DEQ took a second position on revenues to pay the debt service but there was no assurance that would happen. The DEQ loan was primarily paid for through the Food and Beverage Tax that would sunset in December 2008. Without an extension, it would be very difficult to issue revenue bonds at a palatable interest rate and would require significant rate increases. Full Faith and Credit bonds were easier to sell, lowered costs and had less stringent requirements that would give the City latitude.
The average estimated impact on the utility bill is 1-2% annually. When rates favored the City in the market, staff refunded revenue bonds. Staff avoided going Full Faith and Credit on every issue because some enterprises could pay through their enterprise. The flexibility that Full Faith and Credit bonds would provide outweighed the small amount of vulnerability they presented.
The Food and Beverage Tax generated $1.5 million with the City needing to pay $1.7-$1.8 million on debt services. If the Food and Beverage Tax were not renewed, the rate increase would be approximately 60% to replace the lost revenue stream.
Mr. Tuneberg recommended Council approve the Resolution with the 60-day notice. During the 60-days, staff would research and pursue funding through State programs or other alternative funding options. At the end of the notification period, staff would come back to Council for authority to obtain Full Faith and Credit bonds or other funding alternatives.
Councilor Chapman/Hardesty m/s to approve Resolution #2008-40 to issue bonds and give sixty-day notice. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hardesty, Hartzell, Navickas, Silbiger and Chapman: YES. Councilor Jackson was not in the room during the vote. Motion passes 5-0.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Should the Council accept the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) as recommended by the Ashland Audit Committee?
Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg provided the staff report. Other than the Audit Committee's two comments that related to the aging of receivables in the Community Development area and a review of the software used for Utility billing it was a very clean report. In addition to the clean opinion letter from the Auditors, the City was awarded a certificate for reporting ending 6/30/2007.
Mr. Tuneberg explained the Auditors follows up on any prior comments until they are cleared. The Accounting group is currently working on documentation of internal controls and had targeted February or March to present what they had at that time to the Council.
Councilor Silbiger/Jackson m/s to accept the Annual Financial Report as recommended by the Ashland Audit Committee. DISCUSSION: Councilor Navickas noted the reclamation costs for the Mt. Ashland Ski area were $305,000 and emphasized the liability the City held. Concern was expressed that the Mt. Ashland Ski area might not have the liquid assets to cover the amount and the expansion could increase restoration costs significantly.
Mr. Tuneberg explained what the City presented was closely controlled by Governmental Accounting Requirements and followed what was in the contract. Per the lease obligation, the amount calculated for the terms of the lease was $305,000. If the City challenged it, they would have to agree on someone to go through the appraisal and if it was not at 110% of that amount, Mt. Ashland would pay and if it was at 110%, the City would pay.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hardesty, Hartzell, Navickas, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman, YES. Motion passed.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Should the City Council conduct and approve the Second Reading of an ordinance titled "An Ordinance Amending Chapter 2, Administration, Adding Section 2.13 Transportation Commission; Repealing Section 2.22 Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission and Repealing Section 2.26 Traffic Safety Commission"?
City Attorney Richard Appicello read the title in full with the following changes. Section C under Planning, the following language was added: "…will review and reserve as a primary body the City's long range transportation plans…" Section 2.1.3.050 Traffic Sub Committee, the following language was added: "The Public Works Director shall determine what matters warrant Sub-Committee involvement and meetings shall be convened on an as needed basis." Mr. Appicello noted that the ordinance in the agenda packet was a clean copy and the ordinance the Mayor would sign showed the changes underlined.
Suggestion to strike the word "only" from Section C. Powers and Duties, Generally, 2. Planning, second bullet, first sentence and that Section 2.13.020 Established - Membership did not contain language requiring members to live with City limits. In 2.13.010 Established - Generally, A. Role, it was suggested to delete sentence, "Members are responsible for reviews, studies, analysis and reports as required for the City's transportation network, or as requested by the City Council."
Councilor Hartzell/Jackson m/s to amend motion and remove the sentence: "Members are responsible for reviews, studies, analysis and reports as required for the City's transportation network, or as requested by the City Council." From 2.13.010 Established - Generally, A. Role, last sentence, from the second reading. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hardesty, Hartzell, Navickas, Jackson, Silbiger, YES; Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Suggestion to remove the word "while" from 2.13.070 Compensation and have the sentence read: "Voting members of the commission shall receive no compensation for service on the Transportation Commission or Traffic Sub-Committee."
Councilor Jackson/Hardesty m/s to approve Ordinance #2975 with noted amendments. DISCUSSION: Councilor Navickas could not support the Transportation Commission because it lacked specific advocacy for bike use and the focus should be on healthier modes of transportation. Mayor Morrison pointed out the mission stated in several ways the purpose of the Commission was to promote and advocate modal equity. Putting the advocacy role in the same room promoted dialogue that would implement multi-modality. It would be the responsibility of the Mayor and Council to appoint people that would reflect the broader view and understand the mission.
Councilor Chapman expressed concern that the Transportation Commission did not address the relationship between long-range transportation planning and land use planning.
Councilor Navickas would support the Commission based on what Mayor Morrison had brought forward commenting that the Transportation Commission could be powerful if a conscious effort was made on appointments.
Councilor Jackson explained the Commission should be independent from land use planning in order to be separate from the comprehensive plan and the land use code. The Commission would have influence on the long-term plans the City needed to revise and represented broad policy.
Councilor Navickas/Hartzell m/s amend motion to remove the second sentence in the second bullet under two. Planning in 2.13.010 Established - Generally, C. Powers and Duties, Generally. DISCUSSION: City Administrator Martha Bennett explained a record would not exist until there was an application and pre-application was not part of the process. The difficulty was Council wanted to include the Transportation Commission in the hearing process and that required amending Chapter 18 - Land Use Process of the Ashland Municipal Code. City Attorney Richard Appicello noted the Transportation Commission would make recommendations whether to change the code and how to achieve goals similar on how the Housing Commission functioned. The focus was long-range planning not individual development applications.
Councilor Hardesty agreed with striking the second sentence and suggested removing the word "only" from the first sentence under the same bullet.
Mr. Appicello read the changes to Section C. Powers and Duties, Generally, 2. Planning, second bullet, first sentence, removing the word "only," and striking the second sentence "The meetings of the Transportation Commission are not to be considered part of any land use hearings process."
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hardesty, Hartzell, Navickas, Jackson and Silbiger: YES. Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Roll Call Vote on amended original motion: Councilor Hardesty, Hartzell, Navickas, Jackson and Silbiger: YES. Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS CONT'D.
2. Does the City Council have questions about the progress and next steps for the Community Strategic Planning and Economic Development Strategy City Council Goals?
City Administrator Martha Bennett explained staff received sixty applicants for the project manager position with a start date after the first of year. The new position would initially have Council identify the Steering Committee that will consist of approximately 30 members. Next, they will start work on a value survey to get a picture of the community's vision of itself. Following that, they will put data together and determine what consultants to use if any.
3. Does Council wish to change the resolution, amount granted, or the granting process for Social Services?
Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg provided the staff report. Council discussed their preferences on whether to form a Commission to address Safety Net Services, extend the grant cycle to 4-5 years and/or make minor changes and modifications this year and stay with the two-year plan. Due to time constraints, the decision was made to move the topic to a future agenda for continued discussion.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS
Meeting was adjourned at 10:30 p.m.
Dana Smith, Assistant to the City Recorder
John W. Morrison, Mayor