Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

June 2, 2009
Council Chambers
1175 E. Main Street

Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.

Councilor Voisin, Navickas, Lemhouse, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present.

Mayor Stromberg commented that the National Guard Troops deployed from Southern Oregon were currently training in Georgia. He went on to note vacancies on the Planning Commission, Public Arts Commission, Transportation Commission, Forest Lands Commission and Tree Commission.

The minutes of the Study Session meeting of May 18, 2009, Executive Session meeting of May 19, 2009 and Regular Council meeting of May 19, 2009 were approved as presented.

1. Does the Council have comments on the Ashland Forest Lands Restoration Project, Phase III for the City's Winburn Parcel?
Division Chief - Fire Marshal Margueritte Hickman introduced Tony Kerwin, the Chair of the Ashland Forest Lands Commission and Marty Main, Ashland City Consulting Forester. Mr. Main provided a brief history of the City's involvement in the project. Mr. Kerwin added the main objectives for the project are to preserve water quality, quantity, maintain and promote eco-system health, natural eco system processes and long-term self-sustaining functions. Mr. Main explained the circumstances that led to the formation of the Ashland Forest Lands Commission.

The Council requested they remained informed on the implementation plan, timber volume expected, haul routes and helicopter pads used for the restoration project.

Riparian widths were clarified as being measured on each side and depended on surrounding vegetation.

It was decided that future tours to forestlands would be emailed to the Council in addition to the regular public noticing.

2. Does the Council have comments on the SOU and Mountain Meadows committee on transportation presentation?
Arlene Rogers, a resident of Mountain Meadows provided history on how the Southern Oregon University (SOU) and Mountain Meadows Committee formed based on mutual issues, one regarding transportation. Danielle Mancuso, the SOU Interim Coordinator at the Commuter Resource Center explained the constituency represented 6,300 people and they were there to find a transportation system that would meet the needs of both populations.

The committee conducted a survey for one week and received a 40% response from Mountain Meadows residents and an 8% response from SOU students. Mountain Meadows residents required more accessibility to public transportation. The SOU community required transportation to the Higher Education Center in Medford for evening classes, to participate in Ashland nightlife, weekend travel and accessibility to the greater Rogue Valley. Projected frequency, daily usage and preferred destination information was provided.

The Council asked for the percentage of Mountain Meadows residents with vehicles of their own.

Mayor Stromberg's Proclamation of June 1-14 as Mayors United Helping Feed Our Communities and June 14 as Flag Day were read aloud.

1. Will Council approve the Internal Controls Policy?
2. Will Council adopt the Facilities Master Plan completed by Ogden Roemer Wilkerson Architecture?
3. Does Council have any questions about the final terms for the Full Faith & Credit financing agreement settled on May 15, 2009?
4. Will Council, acting as the Local Contract Review Board, consent to enter into a public contract for unlimited access and maintenance of all ESRI software for a term of three years and a cost of $75,000 ($25,000 per Fiscal Year)?
5. Will Council, acting as the Local Contracts Review Board, approve a change order and contract amendment for $4,500 to replace a pair of radios that provide communications between the Measurement Control Unit (MCU) at the Dam and the MCU at the Water Treatment Plant?
6. Does Council approve the expenditure of up to $48,000 to complete the required Site Design Review application for Fire Station #2 and of up to $5,000 for a grant writer with specific experience in FEMA grants for fire stations?
7. Should the Council execute the Ashland Home Net Cable Television System Franchise and the Cable Headend System Lease and Transfer Agreement?

Consent Agenda item #7 was postponed to a future agenda.

Councilor Silbiger requested that Consent Agenda item #2 be pulled for discussion.

Councilor Jackson/Silbiger m/s to approve Consent agenda items #1 and #3 through #6. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

Public Works Director Mike Faught presented a brief explanation of the Facilities Master Plan Committee Report. The report is a planning document identifying the need and options in terms of meeting growth and staffing. There was likely to be changes as it moved forward and adopting it would not constrain current or future City Councils. In addition, it would place the City in a better position for future grants.

Councilor Jackson/Navickas m/s to adopt Facilities Master Plan to reflect the work done documenting existing conditions, it contains a long-term needs assessment, has a discussion of a variety of options and reflects initial Council decision regarding Fire Station 2 and the Police Station.

Councilor Jackson withdrew the motion with Councilor Navickas' consent.

Councilor Jackson/Navickas m/s to adopt the Facilities Master Plan as a report on existing conditions, containing a long-term needs assessment with a discussion of a variety of options. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Navickas, Jackson, Silbiger, Chapman, Voisin and Lemhouse, YES. Motion passed.

Councilor Jackson/Navickas m/s that Council state our top priorities for funding out of the Facilities Master Plan are Fire Station 2 and an expansion of the Police Station. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Navickas, Jackson, Silbiger, Chapman, Voisin and Lemhouse, YES. Motion passed.

1. Will Council adopt the Fiscal Year 2009-2010 Annual Budget as presented or with modifications?
      a. Resolution adopting the FY 2009-2010 Annual Budget and making appropriations
      b. Resolution certifying that they City qualifies for State Subventions
      c. Resolution declaring that the City receives state revenues
      d. Ordinance levying the taxes for the Period of July 1, 2009, to and including June 30, 2010, as presented

Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg presented the staff report. He noted the City received an $18,600 federal grant for the Forest Interface Fund not reflected in the budget. Staff was proposing the Council increase the budget $18,600 for a total of $82,638,562 and approve a resolution setting appropriations at $67,075,635. The adjustment for the grant did not change the ending fund balance in the Water fund only increased the total budget and amount of appropriations.

Public Hearing Open: 8:09 p.m.
Public Hearing Closed: 8:09 p.m.

Councilor Jackson/Navickas m/s to approve Resolution #2009-15. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Lemhouse, Navickas, Jackson and Silbiger, YES; Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

Councilor Silbiger/Lemhouse m/s to approve Resolution #2009-17. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Chapman, Silbiger, Navickas, Voisin, Lemhouse and Jackson, YES. Motion passed.

Councilor Silbiger/Voisin m/s to approve Resolution #2009-16. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Lemhouse, Jackson, Silbiger, Chapman, Voisin and Navickas, YES. Motion passed.

City Attorney Richard Appicello read the ordinance title in full.

Councilor Navickas/Silbiger m/s to approve first reading of the ordinance levying the taxes for the period of July 1, 2009 to and including June 30, 2010 and move to second reading. DISCUSSION: Councilor Jackson remarked on how difficult the budget was this year and thanked everyone for his or her participation. Councilor Voisin did not support the ordinance, disagreed with the utility fees and property tax increases and thought the citizenry were over taxed. Councilor Navickas responded the City had made significant cuts that included employees being laid off. He commented on the need to review the overall tax structure and take the burden off the ratepayers. Unfortunately, it was increasing property taxes. Councilor Chapman did not support the budget and felt strongly it was not necessary to increase the tax burden on residents. The budget contained a transfer into a new reserve fund and placing funds in an unidentified reserve fund was unwarranted, and subsequently he could not support the budget.

Councilor Voisin stated the reserve fund was .025% of the total budget and should be used to fund the Fire Fighter positions, the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and the Police Receptionist instead of using property tax monies. Councilor Lemhouse noted the budget was $14million less than the previous year and the City had done what it could to reduce spending. He did not want to risk losing CERT. Ashland was in a unique situation that made the community more susceptible to emergencies, having CERT would help the community respond and survive potential wild fire and flooding. It was equally important to fund the Fire Fighter positions for the same reason.

Councilor Silbiger commented this was the most difficult budget he had worked on and the City had brought forward a manageable budget. The rates raised on utilities were necessary to run services properly and the solution to retaining the Fire Fighter and other important positions was raising property taxes. It was important to remember real people's jobs were lost and saved.

Roll Call Vote: Councilor Lemhouse, Jackson, Navickas and Silbiger, YES; Councilor Voisin and Chapman, NO. Motion passed 4-2.

Mayor Stromberg announced it was Interim Fire Chief Larry Langston's last day and appreciation for his services to the City was voiced.

2. a. Should Council conduct and approve First Reading of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Establishing Fees and Charges for Municipal Court Administration" and move the ordinance on to second reading?
b. Should Council approve a resolution entitled, "A Resolution Establishing Fees and Charges for the Administration of the Ashland        Municipal Court"?

Mayor Stromberg requested postponing this item due to the complexity of the matter. He suggested the Municipal Judge and City Attorney discuss the minimum fee issue, various other components of the proposed ordinance and fee Resolution. He requested that the City Attorney work with city departments and Municipal Judge to develop a bail schedule that may or may not tie to the way the State categorizes offenses for municipal code violations and then bring it back to the Council for action.

3. Should the Council award up to $50,060 in Community Development Block Grant - Recovery Act funds to one or more of the proposals in compliance with eligibility criteria of the Department of Housing and Urban Development?
Housing Program Specialist Linda Reid presented the staff report that included guidelines for Community Development Block Grant-Recovery Act (CDBG-R) funds and goal objectives. Three projects eligible to receive funds were:

1. Conservation Program: A weatherization and energy efficiency program that would utilize $50,060 in CDBG-R funds to help replace inefficient heat systems in rental and ownership units that also receive weatherization measures through the City's conservation program.

2. Iowa Street Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Requirements: The Public Works department would utilize approximately $16,500 in CDBG-R funds to replace 11 wheelchair ramps along five blocks of Iowa Street to meet ADA requirements.

3. Parks Department - Garfield Park Improvements: The Parks Department had three proposed projects for Garfield Park:
Project 1: Resurface the basketball pad using $20,000 in CDBG-R funds.
Project 2: Resurface the skateboard area with cement using $10,000 in CDBG-R funds.
Project 3: Replace the playground at the park using approximately $35,000 in CDBG-R funds.

In addition, the Housing Commission met on May 28, 2009, reviewed the CDBG-R proposal and recommended Pathway Enterprises, Inc. (PEI) apply for the CDBG-R funds.

Public Hearing Open: 8:50 p.m.
Public Hearing Closed: 8:50 p.m.

Councilor Voisin motion to award $50,060 to the Conservation Division for the Affordable Housing Weatherization and Energy Efficiency Project. Motion died due to lack of second.

Councilor Lemhouse/Navickas m/s the City award Public Works Department $16,500 toward the Iowa Street ADA Accessibility Project, and award $33,560 to the Conservation Division for the Affordable Housing Weatherization and Energy Efficiency Project. DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse asked City Attorney Richard Appicello if the City would be liable for passing on an opportunity to improve wheel chair ramps. Mr. Appicello responded a plan was in place and as long as it was followed, the City was not in jeopardy.

Councilor Voisin noted her role as Council Liaison to the Housing Commission and explained that generally CDBG funds were used for housing projects and the entire amount should go to weatherization. Councilor Silbiger clarified CDBG grant funds serve a much wider range of projects in addition to housing. The Iowa Street project was timely, met the criteria of the grant and had the majority of monies going toward weatherization; it was a fair allocation of resources. Councilor Navickas agreed it was a good opportunity and met the criteria of the grant.

Councilor Voisin thought plans were already in place for the wheel chair ramps. This was a rare opportunity where the City could focus on weatherizing. It was explained that replacing the ramps on Iowa Street was an identified project in the City Plan but currently not funded.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Navickas, Silbiger, Chapman, Lemhouse and Jackson, YES; Councilor Voisin, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

John Semple/185 Almeda Drive/Asked the Council for retention of a swath of blackberry bushes adjoining his property. The Parks Department had sent notification the bushes would be removed as a fire hazard and noxious weed. He explained he has lived in that location for eleven years and has trimmed the bushes along the property line noting they have not spread past their original location. The bushes provide fresh berries in summer, act as a barrier to traffic in the wetlands, abate blowing dust into his home and yard and small animals and birds live there. Last year they were not removed per his request and hand trimmed back by the Work Release Center through the Parks Department. He thought heavy equipment could damage the wetlands and expressed concern that herbicide used on the bushes would drain into the wetlands and Bear Creek. He asked the City to let the blackberry swath remain.

Parks Director Don Robertson explained the Fire Department had notified the Parks Department that the swath was a fire hazard. The Parks Department reduced a significant amount of the bushes the year before with the understanding if the Fire Department requested removal the Parks Department would comply. Mr. Robertson explained the process used for removing the bushes and that spot removal with herbicide would occur eventually. He confirmed the location of the swath was less than 20-30 feet from the wetlands.

Councilor Chapman asked if it were possible to have the Parks Commission plant another screen in place of the blackberries. Mr. Robertson responded the property did not have irrigation and would be labor intensive for the Parks Department.

City Attorney Richard Appicello discussed the Nuisance Ordinance 9.04 Weed Abatement, the 9.08 General Nuisance Abatement and how the Parks Department was following a process with a deadline.

City Administrator Martha Bennett suggested staff look at the options available but comply with the Fire Department's request if needed.



1. Should Council conduct and approve First Reading of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Amending Chapter 1.08 of the Ashland Municipal Code Establishing Classes of Offenses, Establishing Minimum Fines and Repealing AMC 10.104.010" and move the ordinance on to second reading?
Item postponed.

2. Should Council conduct and approve First Reading of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Concerning Code Enforcement, Amending AMC 1.08 of the Ashland Municipal Code and Repealing AMC 11.48" and move the ordinance on to second reading?
City Attorney Richard Appicello read the title in full. City Administrator Martha Bennett explained the ordinance was necessary because the Code Compliance Specialist had been laid off and currently only Police Officers could issue code enforcement citations. The ordinance would give the City the ability to designate staff in various departments to conduct code compliance.

Councilor Silbiger/Voisin m/s to approve first reading of the ordinance and place on agenda for second reading. DISCUSSION: Mayor Stromberg and Mr. Appicello provided further clarification that the ordinance would allow designated non-police staff to have the enforcement capabilities previously held by the Code Compliance Specialist and would clarify citation authority. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Lemhouse, Chapman, Silbiger, Jackson, Navickas and Voisin, YES. Motion passed.

3. Should Council conduct and approve First Reading of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Relating to Bicyclists Taking the Lane and Amending AMC 11.52.030.E" and move the ordinance on to second reading?
City Attorney Richard Appicello read the alternative ordinance title: "An Ordinance Amending AMC 11.52.030 G to be Consistent with the Oregon State Vehicle Code," in full.

Community Development Director Bill Molnar explained the ordinance required an amendment to Chapter 11 of the Ashland Municipal Code and added both the now disbanded Bike and Pedestrian Commission and the recently formed Transportation Commissions supported it as well.

Community Development Director Bill Molnar explained the ordinance required an amendment to Chapter 11 of the Ashland Municipal Code and added the disbanded Bicycle and Pedestrian Commission had supported the ordinance as well as the recently formed Transportation Commission.

Matt Warshansky/821 Indian Street/Discussed the liability issue, shared a personal experience, and provided examples. The ordinance did not allow cyclists to block traffic; the cyclist would need a reason to be in the lane.

Councilor Chapman/Lemhouse m/s to approve first reading of ordinance and place on agenda for second reading. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Jackson, Lemhouse, Navickas, Silbiger and Chapman, YES. Motion passed.

1. Planning Commission
Councilor Navickas explained the Walking Distance Table created by Southern Oregon University depicting walking paths and requested the table go on the City website and possibly posted at bus stops. He also reported on changes staff made for the Croman Mill site that would allow residential in a buffer area long Hamilton Creek and redistributed office and industrial so light industry would have access to the railroad line.

Councilor Jackson was supportive of the changes but had concerns regarding mixed use of the site and did not want a decrease in the potential job density.

2. Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development, Inc. (SOREDI)
Councilor Voisin reported on the SOREDI membership drive to increase membership from 100 to 250. SOREDI issued a questionnaire asking cities what municipality in the Rogue Valley they would want to establish their business in and provided a sample of questions. There was one business interested in coming to Ashland that required 40,000 square feet and would bring 50 jobs to the area. SOREDI was also sending out a nationwide news release promoting Brammo Motorsports.

3. Jackson County Public Safety Coordinating Council (JCPSCC)
Mayor Stromberg recently joined the JCPSCC and explained it was a countywide body of the public safety coordinating council and he would be representing all elected officials in the County. He noted an update on the 9/11 Center and how the County was going to enact a truancy ordinance to compliment the States laws on truancy to encourage kids to stay in school.

Mayor Stromberg explained having a summary of the meeting was helpful because it allowed the public to have a better understanding of what occurred and provided closure for the Council.

Councilor Lemhouse mentioned an ad hoc meeting he and Councilor Navickas attended with the Ashland Daily Tidings and congratulated Eric on winning the dart competition.

Councilor Jackson asked the Council's interest in pursuing a County gas tax explaining the State Transportation Package will impose a moratorium on local taxes and if the Council was interested in finding out whether Jackson County would act on it prior to the moratorium going into effect.

The Council was hesitant to pursue a gas tax when other factions like the Rogue Valley Council of Government (RVCOG) had not shown enough interest to generate momentum and questioned in general the appropriateness of adding an item that required a decision at the end of the agenda. However, it might be worthwhile investigating because a gas tax would remove the Street Fee from current bills.

Councilor Jackson/Chapman m/s that Council work with staff to write a letter to send to the County regarding the regional gas tax. DISCUSSION: Councilor Silbiger thought the letter was a waste of staff time because the State was implementing a gas tax. Councilor Navickas procedurally was not comfortable bringing items to the Council agenda at the end of the meeting and making decisions but supported the gas tax in concept and was willing to ask staff to write a letter. Councilor Lemhouse was not prepared for the discussion and did not have enough information to direct staff to write a letter. Councilor Voisin agreed with what the other Councilors had stated and did not support the motion.

Councilor Jackson withdrew the motion with Councilor Chapman's consent but wanted to reserve the right to bring up items of interest to the Council for query.

City Administrator Martha Bennett provided a brief summary of the meeting.

Meeting was adjourned at 9:50 p.m.

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder

John Stromberg, Mayor


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