MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
June 16, 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.
Councilor Voisin, Navickas, Lemhouse, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present.
Mayor Stromberg gave a brief update on the 1/186th Infantry Battalion of the 41st Brigade Combat Team of the Oregon National Guard (1/186) currently training for deployment to Iraq.
Councilor Voisin congratulated the Jackson County Housing Authority on receiving an $11.2million grant for the Clay Street 60 unit affordable housing project.
Mayor Stromberg asked for a moment of silence in honor of Harry Skerry III, a past City Attorney who recently passed away.
Mayor Stromberg noted the Gas Tax would not be on the agenda. It was contingent on the possibility of receiving matching Federal funds that were not available.
SHOULD THE COUNCIL APPROVE THE MINUTES OF THESE MEETINGS?
The minutes of the Study Session of June 1, 2009, Regular Council meeting of June 2, 2009, Council Tour of June 5, 2009 and Council Tour of June 8, 2009 were approved as presented.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
Bill Gates, the President of Amigo Club introduced the Ashland High School Representatives to the City of Ashland's Sister City Guanajuato as Dahna Black, Layla Black and Natalie Edson who expressed their appreciation and gratitude.
1. Does Council accept the Minutes of Boards, Commissions, and Committees?
2. Does Council approve the appointments and reappointments as recommended by the Board of Directors for the Ashland Community Hospital?
3. Does Council wish to approve the Ambulance Operator's License renewal for Ashland Fire & Rescue?
4. Does Council approve the recommendation of the Public Art Commission on the designs chosen by the Selection Panel to be painted on seven designated utility boxes?
5. Will Council, acting as the local contract review board, consent to enter into a 48-month copier rental agreement for a Ricoh MP C2550 copier?
6. Will Council, acting as the local contract review board, accept a proposal and award of contract for engineering services to Reid Middleton, in an amount not to exceed $195,399.00 for development of AIP Project No. 3-4-002-008 at Ashland Municipal Airport?
7. Does Council want to authorize the City Administrator to execute a new 5-year Energy Conservation Agreement with Bonneville Power Administration?
8. Should Council approve changes to the standard Airport Master Hangar Lease to increase the insurance requirement to one million dollars and to clarify that termination by the City requires cause?
9. Should Council approve a resolution to adjust budget appropriations for changes in operational expenses to remain in compliance with Oregon Budget Law?
10. Should Council authorize signature of an Intergovernmental Agreement with the Counties of Jackson and Klamath to provide building inspection services?
11. Does Council wish to confirm the Mayor's appointment of Casey Roland to the Tree Commission with a term to expire April 30, 2012?
12. Does Council approve the proposed contract with the Chamber of Commerce for FY 2009-2010 in the amount of $275,000?
13. Should Council extend the Ashland Home Net Cable Television Agreement for three months to facilitate negotiation of a new agreement?
Councilor Jackson/Navickas m/s to approve Consent Agenda items as amended.
Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
1. Will Council approve increases to the Miscellaneous Fees & Charges listed below repealing Resolutions 2001-05, 2007-34, and 2008-29 and repealing the Hourly Service Charge section of Resolution 199-29?
Administrative Services and Finance Director Lee Tuneberg presented the staff report. City Recorder Barbara Christensen clarified the change in the Annual Taxi Certification was a correction as the amount set last year should have been $200 rather than the $100 annual fee. Currently there are four Taxi Cab companies certified at the City.
Public Hearing Open: 7:18 p.m.
Public Hearing Closed: 7:18 p.m.
Councilor Navickas/Lemhouse m/s to approve Resolution #2009-18. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Lemhouse, Chapman, Silbiger, Navickas and Jackson, YES. Motion passed.
Mayor Stromberg noted another change in the agenda that moved item #3. A & B under Unfinished Business to New and Miscellaneous Business after item #2.
2. Does Council want to adopt the City Goals for 2009-2010? Does Council wish to release the Draft Values Statement and Draft Vision for a two-month public comment period?
City Administrator Martha Bennett presented the staff report, noted adjustments and provided examples of public outreach to initiate community feedback.
Public Hearing Open: 7:27 p.m.
Public Hearing Closed: 7:27 p.m.
Councilor Lemhouse/Silbiger m/s to adopt the City Goals for 2009-2010. DISCUSSION: Councilor Navickas suggested changing the study title under Social Equity, "The Comprehensive Study of Ashland's Homeless" to "A Study of Homelessness in Ashland." Councilor Chapman thought the goals were too broad and required another meeting to make them more specific. Councilor Lemhouse agreed the goals could be more specific but were clearer then previous goals. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Jackson, Navickas, Lemhouse, Voisin and Silbiger, YES; Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Councilor Lemhouse/Navickas m/s to forward proposed value statements to the public for feedback as presented by staff. DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse suggested submitting the value statement staff had written to the public for feedback, including Councilor Voisin ideas. Councilor Chapman thought the process for establishing the values and vision statements should have included citizen input at an earlier stage and been condensed into more concise statements. Councilor Silbiger did not agree with every statement, felt it was part of being a diverse community and was impressed the Council did not spend $150,000 on a visioning process. Councilor Navickas thought the statement accurately reflected the values and welcomed public input. Councilor Voisin explained issues she had with descriptive words such as good government, thought it should be democratic government and felt strongly that nature needed to be included. Councilor Navickas responded the word changes were semantic differences and were similar. Councilor Lemhouse suggested releasing the original values list for public input. Councilor Jackson thought it was clearer to use the values statements versus the list and if the public was amenable substitute the word democratic government for good government. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Jackson, Navickas, Lemhouse, Voisin and Silbiger, YES; Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Councilor Jackson/Navickas m/s to circulate the proposed vision statement for public input. DISCUSSION: Councilor Voisin thought the vision statement was short-term and provided an example of a long-term vision statement. Councilor Navickas responded that Councilor Voisin's vision was powerful and probably similar to what the public would suggest. Councilor Lemhouse was open to all ideas and wanted to solicit public input. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Jackson, Navickas, Lemhouse, Voisin, and Silbiger, YES; Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Tom Giordano/2635 Takelma Way/Spoke regarding an incident involving his daughter and a City of Ashland police officer that made Mr. Giordano question the technique the officer used that upset and frightened his daughter. He requested the Council direct the Police Chief to investigate the incident and wanted a response prior to his daughter's court date. City Administrator Martha Bennett explained Mr. Giordano needed to file a formal complaint with the Police Department that would trigger the investigation.
Colin Swales/143 8th Street/ Voiced his concern regarding the language for public speaking on the agenda. He had issues with the wording, requested the Council look at the policy and questioned whether it was in line with their goals and visions of citizen participation. City Attorney Richard Appicello explained the language reflected the Council Rules AMC 2.04 and that the ordinance had been reviewed and approved by the Council.
Councilor Navickas/Voisin m/s to add this discussion regarding citizen participation to an agenda within two months. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
1. Should Council conduct and approve Second Reading of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Levying Taxes for the Period of July 1, 2009 to and Including June 30, 2009, Such Taxes in the Sum of $9,176,778 Upon All the Real and Personal Property Subject to Assessment and Levy Within the Corporate Limits of the City of Ashland, Jackson County, Oregon"?
City Attorney Richard Appicello read the title in full.
Councilor Jackson/Navickas m/s to approve Ordinance #2987. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Navickas, Jackson, Lemhouse, YES; Councilor Chapman and Voisin, NO. Motion passed 4-2.
2. Does Council approve the Sweatshop Free Procurement Policy as presented?
Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg presented the staff report and explained the fee to join the Sweat Free Purchase Consortium was approximately $1,000 for the first year, currently $500 annually but could change over time. Staff added a provision to cut the policy from the budget if the City lost funding.
Wes Brain/298 Garfield Street/Voiced strong support for the proposed Sweatshop Free Procurement Policy and thanked the Council for working with citizens on this matter. He explained joining the Consortium would bring up the standards for the garment industry globally.
Pam Vavra/457 C Street/Represented Peace House and urged the Council to adopt the proposed policy. Joining the Consortium would inform the City how to avoid sweatshops, provide incentives to improve working conditions and help bring manufacturing conditions to a higher level worldwide. It was wrong to support structures and institutions that uphold sweatshop policies and practices. She asked the Council to request an estimate on purchases anticipated under the Exclusion for Individual Purchases for Reimbursements section in the policy.
Councilor Voisin/Navickas m/s to approve Sweatshop Free Procurement Policy as presented.
Councilor Silbiger/Jackson m/s to amend motion that the City will join the Sweat Free Purchasing Consortium and pay annual dues as required, if those dues exceed 1% of the clothing expenditures covered by this policy, staff will return to the Council for approval. DISCUSSION: Councilor Silbiger thought 1% was a reasonable amount to pay for the Consortium. Councilor Voisin requested staff inform the Council if the annual fee increased more than 1%. Councilor Navickas agreed with the original amendment and added larger cities were typically charged 1%. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Lemhouse, Jackson, Voisin, Chapman, Silbiger and Navickas, YES. Motion passed.
Continued discussion on amended motion: Councilor Navickas was proud the City had the opportunity to join the Consortium to help improve labor practices in the garment industry. Councilor Voisin explained how her students' papers regarding sweatshop practices had persuaded her strong support for the policy.
Roll Call Vote on amended motion: Councilor Lemhouse, Jackson, Voisin, Chapman, Silbiger and Navickas, YES. Motion passed.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Does Council want to expand the Food and Beverage Tax beyond 2010? Does Council want to place a measure on the November 2009 ballot to extend the Food and Beverage Tax? Does Council want to place a measure on the May 2010 ballot to extend the Food and Beverage Tax?
City Administrator Martha Bennett explained the recent history regarding the Food and Beverage (F&B) Tax and provided options the Council might use.
It was explained that the Parks Department is currently working with the City Engineering/GIS Department to create a map that displays parks and open space properties in existence prior to 1994 with an overlay of property purchased with F&B Tax funds. Ms. Seltzer noted the total park acreage is 705 acres with over 300 acres purchased with F&B Tax funds.
Staff explained the Wastewater and AFN debts were unrelated. The Wastewater Treatment Plant cost $34million. The City borrowed $24million from the State at a 3.4% interest rate with the remaining $10million coming from the F&B Tax. The AFN debt is $15.5million. The City borrowed that amount in 2005 to consolidate all of the AFN debt. The payment is made from a technology fee for all City departments including Wastewater. A family of four pays approximately $21 a month in sewer fees, of that amount .77cents is dedicated to technology.
Ms. Bennett recommended a rate study if the F&B Tax was not renewed.
Parks & Recreation Director Don Robertson noted highlights from the Parks Commission meeting that included a recommendation to renew the F&B Tax and continue having the Parks Department retain the 20% split. The Commission discussed various uses for the funds that ranged from retaining the current restricted use of property acquisition, facility and property maintenance and development of new parks, capital improvements and major rehabilitations. The Commission decided against using the funds for facility and property maintenance due to its lack of transparency. The Commission will meet soon to formalize a recommendation.
Councilor Silbiger added the language the Commission agreed to use included projects in the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). Mr. Robertson explained how CIP money moves in conjunction with the budget process.
Ava DaRosier/736 Normal Avenue/Explained she was the Food and Beverage Director at the Ashland Springs Hotel and noted the negative impact the 5% F&B Tax has had on local restaurants and provided examples. Some people were not willing to come to Ashland due to the tax. She agreed parks were important and recognized the need to pay for sewer but focusing on taxing food and beverage only was not the answer.
David Runkel/586 E Main Street/Introduced himself at the President of the Bed & Breakfast Network and discussed the allocation of revenues adding that tourism is down this year. The City should allocate more funds for tourism.
Ms. DaRosier stated she would support a 3-cent gas tax and that the Ashland Springs Hotel would be willing to pay 60% higher sewer fees instead of the F&B Tax. Mr. Runkel stated that he was not prepared to comment on a gas tax but would be willing to pay the higher sewer fees.
Gina DuQueane/2180 Birchwood Lane/Explained she was the Catering Sales Manager at the Ashland Springs Hotel. She stated dining out a few times during the month and paying the tax would meet the actual increase in her sewer bill. She remarked on the loss of catering business due to the additional 5% tax.
Michael Gibbs/536 Ashland Street/Explained he was a co-owner of the Winchester Inn and employed 15-30 individuals seasonally. The tax was driving away business because people do not want to pay the F&B tax. The tax was also taking lodging business away from community. He suggested the Council create a task force to examine ways in which the tourist industry could work with the City to raise needed funding.
Ron Roth/6950 Old 99 South/Distributed a handout and compared the cost efficiencies of dishwashing at a restaurant to dishwashing at home adding it would be much more efficient to raise the sewer rates. He addressed the money diverted to AFN from the Wastewater and wanted to see the line item showing money was borrowed and refinanced for the Wastewater Fund. He encouraged the Council to ask the Finance Department specific questions relating to AFN and the Wastewater funds.
Don Anway/212 E Main Street/Explained he was the General Manager for the Ashland Springs Hotel and the Chair of the Visitors Convention Bureau. Over the last two weeks, he surveyed restaurant owners and noted the majority were against the F&B Tax. It was cheaper for the hotel to pay higher sewer rates because the hotel absorbed a lot of the tax when competing for conventions and overnight stays. Ashland is the only place in the State with a food tax and it was an obstacle for promoting and competing.
Drew Bailey/455 N Laurel Street/Spoke on behalf of many restaurant owners unable to attend the meeting and believed that Ashland restaurants are the main socio economic driver for Ashland. There are over 100 food establishments providing living wage jobs for people who in turn support the community. The majority of the restaurants are struggling with recession, low profit margin and the lost revenue due to the tax. Restaurant owners were opposed to an industry specific tax and thought a broader based tax would be fairer and offered alternatives.
Denise Daehler/310 N Mountain Avenue/Introduced herself as an owner of Liquid Assets and commented the sales tax affects all local businesses and creates an economic disadvantage to the entire community. She questioned continuing the F&B Tax for another 18 years when the tax should pay for the wastewater plant by 2010. As a citizen, she would rather pay a higher sewer bill at home and at her business than the F&B Tax. She urged the Council not to renew the tax.
Ms. Daehler stated she would not support a 3-cent gas tax because she felt it was just as disadvantageous to the community as the F&B Tax was. She was willing to pay higher sewer rates and noted the increase for her home and business would be $10-$12 a month for each.
Mr. Bailey would not support a 3-cent gas tax but would pay the monthly sewer rate increase.
Brandon Kirkland/180 E Main Street/Explained he was the owner of the Enchanted Florist and shared a personal experience he recently had regarding a family member not willing to pay the tax. He would not support a gas tax but would pay higher sewer rates.
John Wallace/795 Park Street/Introduced himself as the owner of Giseppi's Pizzeria and thought the method of collection should be broader and everyone in the community should participate. The revenue stream generated by the tax should only be used to pay off debt. When the debt is paid, the City should end the F&B Tax and move on.
Ms. Bennett explained the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) debt extends to 2024 and discussed with the Council the advantages of an election in November and May.
Councilor Navickas/Jackson m/s to put extending the Food & Beverage Tax before the voters. DISCUSSION: Councilor Jackson explained the tax on meals brought tourists into the equation and was a voluntary expenditure where raising sewer rates were more regressive. She questioned how much the restaurant industry is dependent on local business compared to visiting tourists. Councilor Navickas commented the City had avoided revenue shortfalls because it had diversified revenue sources. The Food & Beverage Tax has some regressive elements but in many ways was a luxury tax on high-end restaurants and tourists. He understood the impacts to local businesses and thought the tax was an opportunity to diversify tax revenues. Councilor Lemhouse acknowledged how hard it was to survive in the restaurant industry and the tax should go to the voters to decide. Councilor Silbiger shared his experience as a restaurant owner dealing with F&B Tax complaints and noted revenues from the tax had grown steadily until this past year. The money generated provided parks and a steady source of income to reduce the Wastewater Treatment Plant debt. The voters should hear both sides of the argument and make a decision. Councilor Voisin agreed it should go to the voters. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Jackson, Chapman, Navickas, Silbiger, Voisin and Lemhouse, YES. Motion passed.
Councilor Silbiger/Lemhouse m/s to place on November ballot. DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse explained funding decisions regarding the Parks Department needed to occur prior to May. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Jackson, Chapman, Navickas, Silbiger, Voisin and Lemhouse, YES. Motion passed.
Ms. Bennett would research how long to extend the tax along with proposals on the Council terminating the tax. The Council suggested the City allocate 1-2% of the tax as an administrative fee, place a possible cap on large catering for certain events and cap the amount allocated for the Parks Department CIP projects to ensure parkland acquisitions. Staff would look into monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly tax payment feasibility and provide options for dividing the 20% allocated to the Parks Department for CIP projects and new parklands.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Should Council conduct and approve Second Reading of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Concerning Code Enforcement, Amending Chapter 1.08 of the Ashland Municipal Code and Repealing AMC 11.48"?
City Attorney Richard Appicello read the title in full. City Administrator Martha Bennett explained the ordinance would give the City the ability to designate staff other than the Ashland Police Department to conduct code enforcement activities.
Councilor Chapman/Silbiger m/s to approve Ordinance #2985. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Navickas, Chapman, Jackson, Voisin and Lemhouse, YES. Motion passed.
2. Should Council conduct and approve Second Reading of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Amending AMC 11.52.030.E to be Consistent with the Oregon Vehicle Code"?
City Attorney Richard Appicello read the title in full.
Councilor Jackson/Lemhouse m/s to approve Ordinance #2986. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Lemhouse, Jackson, Silbiger, Chapman, Navickas and Voisin, YES. Motion passed.
3. Should Council conduct and approve First Reading of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Related to Abandoned Vehicles and Repealing Chapter 11.32" and move the ordinance on to second reading?
City Attorney Richard Appicello read the title in full. He explained the ordinance related to the Law Enforcement Data Systems (LEDS) audit and would initiate the State process for Tow prior to running the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) check. Police Chief Terry Holderness further explained the ordinance would give the Police Department a greater ability to contact the owner first and ask them to move their vehicle prior to towing.
Councilor Jackson/Voisin m/s to approve first reading of ordinance and place on agenda for second reading. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Silbiger, Jackson, Navickas, Lemhouse and Chapman, YES. Motion passed.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS-continued
2. Does Council approve the Mayor's appointment of a Croman Advisory Committee (CAC) to advise the Planning Commission with regards to the implementation strategy (Comprehensive Plan and Land Use Code Amendments) for the Croman Mill Redevelopment Plan?
Councilor Jackson/Chapman m/s to allow Councilor Silbiger to be recused due to potential conflict of interest. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Councilor Silbiger left the room at 10:07 p.m.
Community Development Director Bill Molnar provided background on the selection process. Councilor Jackson requested that the committee include residents from the Tolman Creek and Siskiyou Boulevard neighborhoods. She asked that Bill Bellison be allowed to participate on this committee. Mr. Molnar explained that staff could accommodate another individual but had already declined requests for additional members. Committee meetings would be public and staff could reserve time for public input. It was explained the Committee was advisory only, would meet for 3-4 months and provide comment to the Council and the Planning Commission.
Councilor Chapman/Jackson m/s to approve the Mayor's appointments of the Croman Advisory Committee, with the additional appointment of Bill Bellison and to appoint Councilor Navickas as the Council liaison. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Chapman, Voisin, Navickas, Lemhouse and Jackson, YES. Motion passed.
Councilor Silbiger returned to meeting at 10:18 p.m.
3. a. Should Council approve First Reading of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Amending AMC Chapter 13 to Establish Standards Forms for Right-of-Way Regulation and Providing for Donation or Loan of Functional Items" and move the ordinance on to Second Reading
b. Should Council approve First Reading of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Amending the AMC Chapter 13 Adding Uniform Sidewalk Regulations and Repealing AMC 6.44" and move the ordinance on to Second Reading?
Councilor Jackson/Chapman m/s to continue items until Special Meeting June 25, 2009 at 5:00p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS
2. Forest Lands Commission
Delayed due to time constraints.
SUMMARY OF MEETING
City Administrator Martha Bennett provided a brief summary of the meeting.
Meeting was adjourned at 10:24 p.m.
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John Stromberg, Mayor