Agendas and Minutes

Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission (View All)

Parks Commission Study Session Minutes

Monday, March 15, 2010

City of Ashland




March 15, 2010


Present:         Commissioners Eggers, Gardiner, Lewis, Noraas, Rosenthal; City Council Liaison Jackson; Director Robertson; Superintendent Dials

Absent:       Superintendent Gies


Gardiner called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at the Parks office, 340 S. Pioneer Street.


Robertson said a citizen requested a fee waiver for renting a Parks-managed facility during the February regular meeting. He said staff was directed to develop a draft fee waiver policy for the commission’s review and consideration. He reviewed the draft policy:

         The commission will consider fee reductions for facility rentals with the following conditions:

1.       Requesting organization must maintain a non-profit status

2.       Request must be made at least two months prior to the event

3.       If a reduction is approved it will be to $15 per hour to cover the costs of utilities and basic maintenance

4.       Refundable deposits will be reduced by 75%

Dials said the refundable deposit was currently set at $300 and the $150 alcohol deposit was non-refundable, as events involving alcohol often required additional cleanup. Robertson suggested changing the wording in #1 to state: “Requesting organizations must maintain a non-profit status with the Internal Revenue Service.” He suggested requiring tax exempt status paperwork from requestors to ensure adherence to the policy guidelines. Dials suggested requiring all facility renters to pay the reduced facility deposit at the time of booking. Dials said a form could be created, similar to the “Special Events Form,” to aid staff in processing such requests.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners discussed whether to implement the policy and then review it at the annual fees and charges review. Commissioners discussed not offering the fee waiver option to all renters but only those inquiring about discounts. Commissioners asked staff to change #2 to read, “Request must be made in writing at least two months prior to the event or at staff’s discretion.” Commissioners agreed that, once decided, there would be no appeals process for requestors.

Staff was directed to include the item on the March 22 regular meeting agenda.


Robertson distributed draft Parks budget documents. He reviewed the figures and notations reflecting the inclusion of a Volunteer Coordinator position, a Park Tech III position downgraded to the level of Park Tech I, and the transfer of the two Parks mechanics to the city fleet shop. He said the transfer of the mechanics would save Parks $4,000 in the next fiscal year and up to $20,000 the following year. He said $15,000 was budgeted for pesticide reductions in the upcoming year. He said the Forestry Division received a $40,000 fuels reduction grant and $10,000 would be spent in the current year, with the balance spent the following year. He said the budget figures did not account for any cost-of-living adjustments for Parks employees. He reported speaking with the City Attorney, who informed him that the recently formed employee association could aid employees in negotiating for COLAs. He said the Finance Director notified him that the current budget did not allow for any COLAs in FY 2010-2011. He said the commission could choose to provide COLAs for Parks staff but the funds would need to be drawn from the draft figures before them.

Discussion Among Commissioners

Commissioners discussed other potential funding sources such as a grant from the Ashland Parks Foundation, a visitor’s tax in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce, a ticket tax, or another source that could mitigate the impact of tourists on Lithia Park. Commissioners agreed that tourists benefited from the care given to the park by Parks maintenance crews.

In response to a question about the semi-annual contribution of $25,000 from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to the Ashland Parks Foundation, Robertson said the donation was not offered the two previous years but was provided to the foundation in early 2010 based on a profitable 2009 season. He suggested the Calle Guanajuato resurfacing project as an appropriate project for those funds. Gardiner said there was also a section of property between OSF and the park that could be improved utilizing those funds.

In terms of COLAs, Robertson said a 1% salary increase would cost Parks $21,000 for all employees while a 1% increase minus management positions would cost $19,000.

Dials presented her draft budget and reviewed categories ranging from salaries and benefits to office supplies. She said staff proposed adopting a 60/40 split with contracted instructors with the commission’s approval. She reported on the pool user meeting that was held in early February and said a full report would be presented to the commission at their March 22 regular meeting, including proposed changes to schedules and procedures.

Dials presented a draft Recreation Division organization chart and said it would be implemented as part of a divisional reorganization. She said all recreation positions were reviewed and reorganized to allow for more equitable workloads and she indicated her intention to rewrite all job descriptions over the next twelve months. She reported talking with individual staff members to seek their input and said she would make her final decisions and then schedule a meeting to present the changes to Recreation Division staff.

Robertson reviewed the Golf Division budget. He said two additional seasonal maintenance workers and one club house worker were needed for a period of six months each. He proposed hiring a three-quarter regular employee for the club house to assist in providing adequate coverage at that location.

Robertson said staff made their best efforts to stay within the budget preparation guidelines outlined by the Finance Department. He said the budget would be presented at the March 22 regular commission meeting for possible approval and he asked the commission to provide any additional feedback before March 22.

ADJOURNMENT– By consensus, Gardiner adjourned the meeting at 9:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted, Susan Dyssegard, Ashland Parks and Recreation

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