MINUTES FOR CITY COUNCIL STUDY SESSION
Monday, October 19, 2009
Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 5:31 p.m.
Councilor Navickas, Chapman, Silbiger and Voisin were present. Councilor Lemhouse arrived at 5:35 p.m. Councilor
1. Look Ahead Review
City Administrator Martha Bennett reviewed the items on the Council Look Ahead.
2. Discussion regarding will the Council review and discuss the possible grant of a Conservation Easement encompassing the Imperatrice property?
Public Works Director Mike Faught and Engineering Services Manager Jim Olson introduced Diane Garcia from the Southern Oregon Land Conservancy (SOLC). Director of Electric Utilities Dick Wanderscheid spoke on the possibility of using the property for renewable resources noting it would not be needed for 7-10 years and would have to be sold as a flat block of power based on the contract structure with Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). Currently renewable resources were not sold as a flat block of power.
Mr. Olson explained seven tax lots comprise the property with over 800 acres broken into north and south sections. The goal was to put as few restrictions as possible on the lower section. The conservation easement was a permanent document that would follow the land when sold. The lower three tax lots would have one restriction prohibiting subdividing or partitioning. The upper four lots would have additional restrictions to protect the view shed, grasslands, wild life preserve and other native plants. Tax lots 100, 600 and 700 would have full restrictions and tax lot 500 reserved for effluent spray if applicable. The effluent was part of the original purchase agreement and left in the conservation easement in case of need. The Water Master Plan and Wastewater Master Plan coming late 2009 will address the effluent and temperature issues and take approximately two years to complete. If effluent was not used, Council could make the easement more restrictive but not less.
Pros for the easement included that it would effectively protect the upper portion of the property and the easement could be written for whatever uses the City deems desirable including power type reserve. SOLC would be the grantee, have legal enforcements and act as a third party arbitrator. If there was an RFP process, SOLC would help administer the upper lots only. Cons included the difficulty to terminate the easement, the easement could reduce future value, sale ability, and not knowing the real market value on the easement until it was in place.
Miss Garcia clarified conservation easements rarely reduce the property value and conservation properties receive a special assessment. Staff added that exemption from property taxes was based on property use and the City could be liable for use that was inconsistent with the easement.
Council debated going through an RFP process, establishing the easement prior to the RFP or creating the master plan first. Concern that focusing on a master plan would be a significant shift in Council priorities was expressed. Council decided to complete the master plan first and directed staff to bring it back as an agenda item for the regular meeting in November.
3. Discussion regarding what direction the Council has for further development and eventual adoption of an intergovernmental relations plan and policy?
City Administrator Martha Bennett explained there were two parts to the intergovernmental relations plan and policy, the procedural part that would remain static and the agenda part that will require annual updates. The Guiding Principles drive the entire document. Council and staff discussed the importance of the Mayor and Council to represent the official position of the City when dealing with any other level of government. It was the responsibility of the Mayor and Council to notify the City Administrator and City Recorder when these types of interactions occur.
Ms. Bennett went on to explain the City would seek earmarks or specific funding requests if appropriate.
State agency contact should be a peer relationship between staff and agency and Council should go through staff to reach those agencies accordingly. Staff’s role in conjunction with the League of Oregon Cities and State Government was described. That the City may not always support the League’s stance on issues was explained as well. Council suggested deciding what was important statewide to the City prior to League meetings.
The need for Council to represent the City regarding regional relationships even when the City did not have an official position was iterated.
Staff asked for Council input for discussion during a future Study Session.
Meeting adjourned at 7:30 p.m.
Assistant to the City Recorder