MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
January 6, 2009
1175 E. Main Street
CALL TO ORDER
Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilors Voisin, Navickas, Lemhouse, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present.
STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS BY MAYOR STROMBERG
Mayor Stromberg gave the State of the City address noting it would evolve into an ongoing communication with elected officials and the community via a newly created blog. He invited everyone to share his or her responses and comments by emailing the following address: StateOfTheCity@Ashland.or.us.
He explained the State of the City address contained three segments with the Mayor addressing External Factors, City Administrator Martha Bennett discussing the state of the City government, then the Mayor on Prospects and Response.
The world economic structure change and breakdown in the financial system have been caused by factors no one fully understands. It is not clear if the Government's efforts to solve the problem will stabilize the situation. The impact to the local economy is a general cut back on spending and last minute purchases that has hurt local retail and businesses with some undercapitalized businesses going under. Alternately, institutions of higher education are reporting uptakes in enrollment. The community is also seeing a shift from higher end to mid and low-end consumption. Because of the baby boom and real estate market, the community has also inherited a skewed demographic profile over time.
Mayor Stromberg discussed the climate change stating it was prudent to take it seriously. The pace of the climate change has been faster then predicted and it might be too late to reverse the damage. Recent global models concerning the Rogue Valley point to changes in precipitation patterns and shifts from snow to rain, increased variability and rising temperatures. The City's current water system may not match the new precipitation patterns and will change how the community stores water. The increase in temperature may create new problems for reservoirs. Managing fire in the forests will become more important because of the direct risk to property and tourism and the indirect risk of floods after deforestation by fire and sediment in the reservoir.
Mayor Stromberg expressed personal political views regarding post 911 damage to democracy, international political instability and terrorism draining resources for local purposes and the ability of Federal and State government to fulfill expectations. Regarding the local election, he noted discussions on sustainability, economic development, controlling government costs, effective government and the politics of division within City government.
State of the City government
Ms. Bennett explained that organizationally, the City is strong. The City has a great staff, a strong sense of mission, and clear organizational values. Like all cities in Oregon and most of the residents of Ashland, the City organization is very stressed by the economic downturn. Fiscal limitations will challenge departments to rethink what they do and how they do it. Ms. Bennett provided an overview of the upcoming year for each department.
Prospects and Response
Mayor Stromberg will work with staff and Council to provide policy guidance to the Budget Committee. Sample issues included whether the City should take a "core services" approach, what should be invested in, if anything at all, whether Parks and Recreation continue to maintain an independent budget, keeping money spent in the local economy and positioning the City to attract Federal and State monies to support the strategic vision.
There is a need to evolve how Ashland markets itself and broaden community offerings to include sustainability events, education, tours and possibly a technical training institute in film and editing to compliment the growing film festival. Develop the concept of Ashland as a refuge in hard times, a place of renewal and retooling. Recognize and engage Ashland's second population of long-time repeat visitors with a "Come home to Ashland and bring your friends" theme to help them remember they have an investment in Ashland as the community goes through this transition.
Sustainability is critical to Ashland's future. There needs to be a comprehensive study of all water sources to ensure viability of the main water source and redundancy in the overall system. Ashland resides on the edge of a watershed that contains fuel build up with some residents living in the wildfire zone. The Forest Service has a plan that has garnered both supportive and critical interest. The issues are complex and require a way of negotiating that could make Ashland a model of a community that works the issues and gets extraordinary results.
The community needs to work on the localization of agriculture. There are organizations like Farm to School, Thrive, and other sophisticated ways on how to start localization. Develop a Land Use plan built around a public and multi modal transportation system that has people living along a public transit corridor with services within walking distance. If that occurs, the City may be able to use Development Rights Transfers to protect agriculture land close to the City.
The money system that people use shapes and conditions the type of economy they conduct. The world is getting more interested in alternative currencies because it can unlock productive capacity.
The City is active in energy conservation. Southern Oregon University is getting more dynamic and moving in directions that will play into the City's sustainability strategy with possibly more interaction between the university and community. Sustainability ultimately depends on the quality of community.
It is important that Ashland become an easier place to do business by making the regulatory process less burdensome without weakening the protections it provides.
Mayor Stromberg is working with the City Administrator on creating a policy template that will provide a structure the Council will use to establish policy guidance for City operations and will replace the goal setting process used in the past. In addition, they are collaborating on the visioning process proposal for Council's approval.
Mayor Stromberg concluded that it is a different world people are heading into in January 2009. In many ways, no one knows what to expect but there are opportunities for communities that have the imagination and initiative to take advantage of them. He invited everyone to join the Council, himself and the entire City Staff in doing something extraordinary during the next four years.
1. Does the Council wish to approve a Liquor License Application for William Barchet dba Hana Sushi at 29 N Main Street?
2. Does the Council wish to approve a Liquor License Application for Jared Rennie dba Noble Coffee Roasting, LLC at 281 Fourth Street?
3. Will the Council approve the 2009 Council Liaison Appointments to City Boards and Commission, to be effective immediately?
4. Will Council approve using separate contribution rates for General Services and Public Safety employee Tier1/Tier 2 contributions to the Public Employee Retirement System?
5. Does the Council have questions regarding the funding status for sidewalk construction on North Laurel Street?
6. Will Council approve the third amendment to CMAQ Agreement No. 21139 establishing final costs for the street improvement project on 'C' and Eureka Streets?
7. Should Council acknowledge receipt of the Verde Village Annual Report and direct that an additional report be made in December 2009?
8. Will the City Council, acting as the Local Contract Review Board, consent to enter into a public contract for a comprehensive Classification and Compensation study with CPS Human Resource Services?
Consent item #3 was pulled in order to address the Council Liaison appointment to the Audit Committee separately.
Councilor Silbiger/Chapman m/s to approve Greg Lemhouse as liaison to the Audit Committee. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Councilor Jackson/Chapman m/s to approve Consent Agenda items #1 and #2 and items #4 through #8. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
1. Does Council have any questions of the Citizen's Library Advisory Committee about their final report? Will the Council formally dissolve the ad hoc Committee?
Pam Vavra/475 C Street/Spoke as Chair to the Ashland Citizen's Library Advisory Committee. She reviewed the original tasks and noted the majority of the Committee's effort was working in conjunction with regional and other municipal groups to identify long-term library funding options and library governance options. The Committee determined the only viable solution for augmenting and providing a full service library in Ashland was through a series of temporary levies that Council agreed with and passed. The Committee had completed their tasks. Ms. Vavra introduced Committee Members Chuck Kiel and Dave Churchman and Ashland Public Library Manager Amy Blossom.
Amy Blossom/140 Susan Lane/Explained that as the Library Manager she wanted to thank City staff, the Council and the citizens for the support they provided. The County will provide partial funding and leave it to the cities to expand services, Talent and Ashland had both stepped up to that plate. She handed out library applications, the annual report and information on Library activities.
Councilor Navickas/Chapman m/s to accept the final report of the Citizen Library Advisory ad Hoc Committee and dissolve the committee. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS
1. Does Council wish to provide any comments to Jackson County on the land use application for a Welcome Center/ Rest Area on I-5 Northbound adjacent to Exit 14?
A previous question, on whether the City could refuse to provide water and power to the Visitor's Center was discussed. It was clarified, that using the issue of the temperature of the effluent of the wastewater treatment plant, as a reason for not supplying sewer services would essentially declare a moratorium on future development and was not encouraged.
Allen Baker/1042 Oak Knoll/Explained he was the President of the Oak Knoll Home Owners Association and thought the land use was not logical because it was outside the City and Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) and the City was not obligated to supply water and sewer. Supplying water and sewer for this use is a violation of Goal 3 of the Statewide Goals, which state cities are not supposed to bring water and sewer outside city limits in order to prevent UGB. He noted an agreement from 1997, which addressed a project on the same site and of which had been withdrawn and no longer existed. In the March 6, 2001 City Council Minutes, the City Attorney stated the City had no obligation to supply water and sewer. The original agreement between the City and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) was contingent on ODOT not providing road connection between the Rest Area and any other service arterial and specifically mentioned Crowson Road. If the agreement was still in effect, because it is at the same project site, ODOT is in breach of this agreement.
City Attorney Richard Appicello explained the County would be conducting a series of Public Hearings starting January 7, 2009 on the Land Use Application that would include a Goal exception to extend service outside the UGB. City Administrator Martha Bennett added it was considered a Type III and the County Planning Commission recommended the County Board of Commissioners act as the decision makers. Mr. Appicello further explained that discussions regarding the extension of sewer needed to occur at the County because the County owned the process for extending sewer service to land outside the UGB. Ms. Bennett commented that the City had provided information and data to the County about relative capacity and that Resolution 97-27 gave the City the right not to extend sewer outside city limits.
Councilor Lemhouse inquired on the impact of crime and livability in the neighborhoods of Oak Knoll and Crowson Road due to the Rest Area. He declared a potential conflict of interest because he resides on the edge of the proposed Welcome Center.
Councilor Chapman voiced concern that the building structure would be on an important piece of Exclusive Farm Use (EFU) property and the focus for long-term planning, including participation in the Regional Problem Solving (RPS) process, had been to preserve farmland and to contain urban growth. The application would need at least three exceptions to Statewide Planning Goals and City laws to proceed. He sited four exceptions. The first was building on EFU land, the second was the City having to provide service to that land; the third was building a service road and the fourth how the City's comprehensive plans and local ordinances would be altered in order to provide for those exceptions.
Allen Baker/1042 Oak Knoll/Reiterated that breaching city limits and going into farmland was the main issue. The Welcome Center had an impact on the City, the farmland, the community and was a safety hazard. He proposed the City purchase the Windmill Inn property and in addition to the Rest Center, have space for meetings and conventions or have the Welcome Center within City limits for police protection. The project did not represent Ashland well and was the wrong way to go.
Dan Folliard/1032 Oak Knoll/Commented that ODOT's application requested a Rest Area, not a Welcome Center. ODOT would only install toilets and tarmac, the Welcome Center was not addressed or funded. The Rest Area would introduce into the community, more noise, exhaust, pollution, transients, and crime to the neighborhoods that reside near the structure. In July 1997, ODOT presented this project to Council explaining the service would be equivalent to a single-family residence in terms of peak flow and the area would be accessed only from the freeway and not a private road. In March 2001, ODOT returned with an application and discussed water and sewer. The current City Attorney clarified the City was not bound to provide water and sewer to the new site. ODOT is expecting 1.5 million visitors this year that will result in approximately one million flushes and that number is not equivalent to a single-family house. The temperature issue also needs to be addressed. ODOT would also tap into Ashland's only source of water. He asked that the application be denied. Mr. Folliard explained that the first page of ODOT's application to the County provided an estimate of 4,000 people using the Rest Area per day.
Sharon Miranda/488 Crowson/Stated the financial devaluation of her property was estimated at $60,000-$70,000. The right to peaceful living in her own home has and is being destroyed ever since the project started because people are wandering around her home. She will not be able to continue living there and will most likely be unable to rent it due to construction. Ms. Miranda commented ODOT had turned her and her neighbors into enemies of the State when she was only trying to protect her retirement and right to live peacefully. ODOT is missing principles the City needs to address.
Brent Thompson/582 Allison/Explained he was President of The Friends of Jackson County and noted the consistent stand cities have had in not extending services outside of city limits, this project would violate that principle. It would require an exception statewide and exceptions that continue to erode the land use system need to end. The Exclusive Farm Use land ties into the master plan for the valley and Regional Problem Solving. The projects current form would cost 9,000 acres of open area. He urged the City to retain the EFU status on this property.
Sandra Slattery/Commented she had not been aware that this was an item for public input and would have had people there to speak regarding the project. She has worked on the Welcome Center for the past 12 years and the Chamber of Commerce supported the project. Ms. Slattery did not dispute the issues regarding crime and safety; they were things the State needed to address. This was a County function and that is where the appropriate comments belong. There is a need for a Welcome Center and it is important for the public to have an opportunity to stop and get information on the State of Oregon. She clarified the project had been cast as an Ashland Welcome Center and a Rest Stop but was really an Oregon State Welcome Center and Rest Area. It would be staffed during the day. All entry points to the State of Oregon have State provided gateway centers to provide information about Oregon. The Welcome Center is an important economic activity for the State of Oregon and many individuals had worked diligently over twelve years on this project.
Councilor Jackson supported the movement to re-localize the economy. This was about tourism and the City had partners throughout the region. She expressed concern that Council was revisiting issues on decisions and commitments made by previously elected bodies and staff.
Ms. Slattery added numerous alternative sites had been researched and discussed.
Councilor Lemhouse/Jackson m/s to request that the County and State address concerns of offsite livability and crime impacts as a result from the construction of the Welcome Center and advise Council what they plan to do to mitigate those potential problems.
DISCUSSION: Councilor Navickas reiterated points made by Councilor Jackson but was disturbed by the process used and how items on the agenda had been moved. In the past, requests to move items up on the agenda were not given this much priority. When ODOT presented the Welcome Center to Council previously, they had maps and aerial photographs showing the actual location of the Center in relation to neighboring homes. What was being presented currently was emotional testimony from neighbors and Councilor Navickas did not think it was appropriate at this point for the Council to make a decision. It was not the Council's job to micro manage or obstruct projects coming from a State level. The Welcome Center could bring economic stimulus not only to Ashland but also to the State and he supported the project. Councilor Lemhouse explained his main purpose was to ensure continued communication with the State, Commission and County and receive clarification on the impact of crime and livability to the offsite areas of the Rest Stop.
Mr. Appicello interpreted the motion as staff contacting ODOT and requesting they provide this information to the City. Staff would also talk to the County Planner about what information was already available on these issues.
Councilor Jackson supported the motion because a previous request for similar information in March had not been received from ODOT. Councilor Silbiger supported the Welcome Center but recognized the importance of having more information. Councilor Chapman referenced a prior meeting with neighbors, the former Mayor, Senator Bates and several members from ODOT, where the questions of crime and livability were asked but ODOT never responded.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Lemhouse, Chapman, Silbiger and Jackson, YES; Councilor Navickas, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Councilor Chapman/Voisin m/s that Council send comments to Jackson County asking for denial or postponement of the application because there is new information suggesting there is a better location inside the UGB that does not require an exception to site a transportation facility on Exclusive Farm Use (EFU) land. DISCUSSION: Councilor Chapman supported the Welcome Center but opposed the location. Building the Center within the UGB would allow access to police, medical, fire and sewer and water services. It was not necessary to combine a Rest Area with a Welcome Facility. If the Welcome Facility were placed within city limits at an exit, the Rest Stop could be moved up the valley and not encroach on valuable land. Councilor Lemhouse responded that a request for denial was not prudent at this point; there should be a full presentation prior to making a decision. Councilor Jackson felt hampered by not having the applicants present and agreed the denial was not an appropriate statement at this time. Other sites may be possibilities but there was no way of knowing whether they were realistic or not. Councilor Silbiger thought if other sites were available they should be considered, this was not the right time or venue to request a denial when there were not enough facts, evidence or public input.
Councilor Voisin noted her conversation with merchants around Exit 14 and how a Welcome Center located at Exit 14 could hurt their businesses. Council needed to reflect the communities concerns to the County. Councilor Lemhouse motioned to call for question but was denied due to lack of a second. He then suggested adding a Public Hearing to the next City Council meeting.
Motion was withdrawn by Councilor Chapman and Voisin.
Councilor Chapman/Voisin m/s to place a Public Hearing on the next agenda. DISCUSSION: Ms. Bennett explained the question to ODOT would be if other sites that equaled or exceeded what were currently proposed were being considered. Council could make a decision regarding their position on the issue afterwards. Councilor Silbiger supported the motion adding there should be a response to the concerns and questions expressed by the Council and citizens. Councilor Jackson was not supportive of the Public Hearing. The business of governance was complex and it was not necessarily appropriate for the City to try to reinvent the process. Funding could be tenuous, it was important to continue discussions about alternative sites and participate in the County Land Use process by attending the County Public Hearings.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Lemhouse, Chapman, Silbiger, YES; Councilor Navickas and Jackson, NO. Motion passed 4-2.
Colin Swales/461 Allison/Spoke regarding his confusion on the order of the agenda items. An item he wanted to speak on was now at the bottom of the agenda and he would was unable to stay that late. Instead, other business was moved to the top of the agenda and not posted on the website. The Welcome Center was a quasi-judicial land use matter that was in the County's jurisdiction and not the City's. The Planning Commission was tasked with looking at land use issues within both the city and six miles of the city boundary that would cover this project. The proper place and venue for expressing opinions regarding the Welcome Center was in front of the Planning Commission or at the County Land Use Hearing. Mr. Swales expressed disappointment that the discussion regarding the Welcome Center went on for 45 minutes when it should not have been discussed at all.
Mayor Stromberg explained he was responsible for moving the agenda items and would be experimenting in the future with moving policy issues and complex discussions to the front of the agenda.
Art Bullock/791 Glendower/Spoke on the issue of transparency regarding the Oaths of Office for newly elected officials and that this was not televised or noticed on the front page of the city website. He commented on the importance of the meeting that followed the ceremony and that this should have been televised. Mr. Bullock complimented Parks Director Don Robertson's on his presentation and regretted it was not held in the Council Chambers. He felt it was important for these meetings to be viewed by the public especially in regards to current budget issues. He suggested that staff post the audio tapes and presentations of the meeting on the city website. He also recommended that the council adopt a policy where all meetings are televised in the council chambers.
Jim McGinnis/629 Altamont Street/Stated he was a member of the Conservation Commission and a member on the Sub-Committee for the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). The Sub Committee is currently developing a sustainability plan around climate change. He explained that an application, due January 9, 2009, was brought forward about a program that was similar to what the Conservation Commission had been doing.
"Plan NYC" is a plan from New York City that Mayor Bloomberg established in 2007 with the International Cities for Climate Change Initiative. It set a 10-point plan on what New York City would do by 2030. New York City partnered with ICLEI to provide 5 cities across the nation an opportunity to train on the 5 Milestone Methodology that includes, an in-depth briefing on the internal and external processes New York used in their plan, strategic guidance for developing the planning process, a template to facilitate the process, training and outreach and public participation strategies. Applicants must belong to ICLEI which Ashland has been a member of for a couple of years, and get the commitment from the highest ranking official to develop a sustainability plan and provide existing staff to develop a sustainability plan.
Mr. McGinnis suggested the City create the core baseline then involve citizens in the development. The commitment of existing staff as resources could be extended into the community.
Councilor Jackson stated she was the Council representative to ICLEI and was excited about the opportunity but expressed concern that the City had a strategic plan in place that was broader than the sustainability plan and the application needed to fit into this context. She suggests that the City of Portland had a Sustainability office that might work better for Ashland and the City's schedule. The Council did not have enough time to provide feedback on the application and it would most likely take one full time staff person to manage the process.
City Administrator Martha Bennett was concerned on how the Council saw it fitting in with the overall objectives.
Mr. McGinnis thought there was a dual process occurring, one was the ICLEI process underway with the Conservation Commission Sub-Committee and the Planning Commission looking for some form of public outreach. The second was a citizen-based initiative called Transition Towns where the goal was to bridge the gap and the application would help facilitate that. He suggested the City submit the application then determine whether it would meet community needs later.
Ms. Bennett requested staff time for input on whether the goal was achievable for the City if Council intended to move forward with the application.
Council shared support and respect for the project but the majority were unable to make a decision due to lack of information and the application deadline. There was concern regarding making decisions on items not on the agenda.
MAYOR'S ANNOUNCEMENT OF BOARD AND COMMISSION VACANCIES
Mayor Stromberg announced vacancies on the Tree Commission, Airport Commission, Audit Committee, Housing Commission and Planning Commission. He also noted that the process begins this month for recruitment of volunteers for the annual appointments to various Commissions and Committees with terms to begin May 1, 2009.
SHOULD THE COUNCIL APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THESE MEETINGS?
The minutes of the Regular Council of December 16, 2008 were approved as presented.
ELECTION OF COUNCIL PRESIDENT
Councilor Chapman/Lemhouse m/s to elect Council Jackson as this year's Council President. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Should the City Council conduct and approve Second Reading of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Relating to the Review of Public Art Proposals, Establishing Criteria and Selection Processes for the Acquisition, Acceptance, or Removal from the Ashland Public Art Collection"?
City Attorney Richard Appicello read the title in full noting changes.
Councilor Navickas/Silbiger m/s to approve Ordinance #2977. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Voisin, Jackson, Lemhouse, Chapman and Navickas, YES. Motion passed.
2. Should the Council conduct and approve Second Reading of an ordinance titled "An Ordinance Amending Chapter 13.20, Local Improvement and Special Assessment, Amending Sections 13.20.010 thru 13.20.050 and Section 13.20.210, Relating to Definitions, Initiation of Improvements, Resolution Notice and Content, Waivers of Remonstrance and Remedies; and Amending AMC Section 13.20"?
City Attorney Richard Appicello read the title in full noting changes.
Art Bullock/791 Glendower/Sited issues on the proposed ordinance. LID's were for Capital Improvements for major projects and under the law, a repair was not an improvement. The ordinance was inconsistent in that it defined Capital Improvements under the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) code and included repairs and alterations. Under this ordinance, property owners cannot be charged for a major or minor repair that is not a Capital Improvement. The second point was the ordinance had changes in the assessment. The amounts charged to homeowners will increase dramatically. The third point was the sentence in 13.20.010 B. was grammatically incorrect with two verbs and did not make sense. It was also inconsistent in that it defined the Capital Improvement based on the code and then gave a definition. ORS chapter 34 gives the right to citizens in Oregon to judicial review of government decisions and this section was re-written to only allow those who received the assessment. The "not withstanding" sentence at the end that defines the curative provisions is overly restrictive and will lead to court challenges because it takes away the rights to judicial review that are granted by ORS 34.
City Administrator Martha Bennett noted that most of Mr. Bullock's comments had been addressed in previous meetings.
Councilor Jackson/Silbiger m/s to approve Ordinance #2976. DISCUSSION: Mr. Appicello clarified that the grammatical error referenced in section 13.20.010 B. was the exact language taken from the ORS code. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Chapman, Navickas, Lemhouse, Voisin, Jackson and Silbiger, YES. Motion passed.
3. Should Council approve the resolution titled, "A Resolution Relating to Local Improvement Districts (LIDS) and Establishing: The City's Participation in LIDS; the Potential Unit Method to Determine Assessments; and Required Process to Include Neighborhoods in LID Planning"?
Public Works Director Mike Faught presented a brief review and explained the new resolution expanded categories for sidewalks, storm drains, street surfaces and engineering services as subsidies for LIDs and eliminated the cap. Cost to property owners would depend on the type of improvement made. Currently there were two LIDs scheduled under the old rules and the Laurel Street LID under the new ordinance.
Councilor Jackson summarized that in the past year, three LIDs had come before the council for approval but only one was approved. She noted the current cap on what could be charged to property owners resulted in the City paying close to two thirds instead of 50% of the cost and those funds were competing with the City's Street Maintenance. Mr. Faught further explained there were limited funds for street activities and the existing Pavement Management Program covered over a hundred miles of roads that cost a tremendous amount of money to maintain. Every dollar shifted to other projects takes away from long-term road maintenance.
Art Bullock/791 Glendower/Stated that In the 1990's, the cost of LIDs was getting so high it lead to the formation of a group specifically to look at LIDs and the cap was one of the main solutions. Without the cap, costs could escalate to $10,000, $20,000 etc. as liens on people's homes. Taking off the cap will incur a backlash from the people when they see how much money is involved. He noted the proposed resolution did not repeal Resolution 1999-09 and concluded the proposed resolution was a major step backward and would lead to significant side effects that would not make property owners happy.
Councilor Jackson responded the 1999 assessment change went from per lineal feet to per dwelling and worked better. The City would be not be forcing LIDs for the reconstruction of the water lines, they were planned Capital Improvement Projects in the Capital Improvement Plan and would be budgeted for otherwise.
City Administrator Martha Bennett explained the reason the individual property owner was assessed was that the owner benefited from the improvement. The notion in terms of the split was an effort to articulate general public benefit that the City would pay versus the individual property owner.
Councilor Navickas pointed out that there were also public uses that benefit the entire community even within a local district. There was interest in maintaining the cap because of the type of disparities that can occur in neighborhoods. He encouraged Council not to remove the cap and to continue the subsidy in the interest of equity.
Councilor Chapman/Lemhouse m/s to continue item to the first meeting in February. DISCUSSION: Councilor Chapman asked staff to bring information from the Study Session regarding the cap to the meeting in February. He asked Council to consider not having a distinction between Safe Routes to School and General for the Sidewalk category. To encourage people to put in sidewalks and establish equal subsidies for both categories and requested clarification on the decision to increase the subsidy for Storm Drain Water Conveyance System - General from 0% to a 40%. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Does Council want to delegate limited authority to staff to waive penalties and/or interest on deliquent Food & Beverage or Transient Occupancy Tax remittances?
Delayed due to time constraints.
2. Would the Council consider repealing the Ashland Municipal Code Chapter 2.41, "Voluntary Contribution & Spending Limits for Candidates for City Offices" and place on agenda for first reading of the ordinance?
City Recorder Barbara Christensen explained this was a request to determine Council's interest in repealing the ordinance. The ordinance was written by former Councilor Steve Hauck and adopted in 1995 that was based on the current State Election law. Mr. Hauck had previously sent a memo to Council outlining his support of the repeal and was present to answer questions. Ms. Christensen suggested if Council were interested in continuing with a voluntary contribution and expenditure policy to tie it to the current State Election Law on Limited Contribution and Expenditures (PC7).
Steve Hauck/453 Wightman/Explained that in the last few elections people were not following the ordinance and it was no longer doing the purpose it was adopted to do. He did not believe there should be laws that were unenforceable. There were other alternatives. He recommended Council look at Portland's Campaign Finance Reform System that has worked well for that community.
Pam Vavra/475 C Street/Explained she was a strong proponent for campaign finance limits and Portland's system of voter owned elections. If Council moved forward, she suggested clarification regarding what items were included in the tabulation of campaign contributions and expenditures. She shared her recent experience on determining what was considered campaign expenditures and stated further clarification is needed.
Councilor Navickas requested staff to come up with three options for Council to review. Councilor Silbiger strongly opposed repealing the voluntary campaign limitations, he agreed that what constituted as an expense should be in line with the State Guidelines. He suggested working with the League of Women Voters because they are involved with the State Guidelines language. Removing the system would make it more difficult for those trying to enter into the political process.
Councilor Chapman/Jackson m/s to have the City Recorder form a committee to look at options for finance reform. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS (continued)
4. Should Council approve First Reading of an Ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Amending the Ashland Municipal Code Chapter 2.36.030, Initiatives and Referendums - Deposit Required" and move the ordinance on to Second Reading?
Councilor Silbiger/Chapman m/s to move first reading of Ordinance to the Agenda for the next meeting. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Meeting was adjourned at 10:30 pm.
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John Stromberg, Mayor