MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
June 5, 2001 - 7:00 p.m.
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Mayor DeBoer called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilors Laws, Reid, Hartzell, Hanson, Morrison, and Fine were in attendance.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Councilors Hanson/Reid m/s to approve minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of May 15, 2001. Councilor Hartzell abstained. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
Accounting Supervisor Patrick Caldwell accepted the Award of Certificate for Financial Reporting.
1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.
2. Confirmation of Mayor's appointment of Harry Kannasto to the Band Board for a term to expire April 30, 2002.
3. Confirmation of Mayor's appointment of John Baxter to the Bicycle & Pedestrian Commission for a term to expire April 30, 2004.
4. Confirmation of Mayor's appointments and reappointments to the Ad Hoc Systems Development Charge Committee.
5. Annual Liquor License Blanket Approval.
6. Consider Granting the State of Oregon a Permanent Slope Easement.
Councilor Hartzell requested moving Item 4 to New & Misc. Business to allow for discussion.
Councilors Hartzell/Morrison m/s to approve Consent Agenda items 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
1. Public Hearing to consider adoption of the Fiscal Year 2001-2002 Budget.
PUBLIC HEARING OPEN: 7:07 p.m.
PUBLIC HEARING CLOSED: 7:07 p.m.
Dennis Donahue/54 Gresham/Spoke regarding proposed parking for the library. Vehicles will not be able to maneuver the parking spaces in the alleyway, as there is not enough space. Because there is no walking space, it is very unsafe. He questioned violations, as determined by the Planning Commission, regarding the submission to the county of a land survey map. No map has been submitted. Donahue suggested checking the facts before signing a contract.
Colin Swales/461 Allison/Voiced his support of the Independent Film Society. He questioned the expiration of the permit for the library project. Swales requested clarification regarding negotiations for the purchase of the property next to the library. DeBoer stated his interest in purchasing the property, and noted that the seller must be willing as well. It would take a formal action by the council before a decision could be made. Swales questioned related expenses for the purchase of the property and how taxpayers would react to the purchase. DeBoer stated that the public would be involved in the decision process.
Suzanne McQueen/2934 Grizzly/Spoke regarding the proposed Living Wage, and her opposition to the ordinance. She is a business owner and offered her business practices. She could not understand how the ordinance would benefit the community, and felt it would be detrimental to small business owners. Increased costs would be passed onto consumers. DeBoer noted that the committee finished its work recently and the ordinance should come to the council in July.
Councilors Hartzell/Reid m/s to place the library discussion on the agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS
1. Request for Co-Sponsorship of Ashland Independent Film Festival.
Scoles noted policy that allows banners on Main Street for City or City cosponsored activities. The festival is requesting co-sponsorship, and Staff recommends support. The festival would be responsible for the $125 banner installation fee.
Councilors Reid/Fine m/s to approve staff recommendation. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
2. Consideration of a Recommendation from the Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission to purchase property for Open Space/Park Land.
Laws spoke as liaison for the Parks Commission, and explained that negotiations have been underway since 1992. A purchase price has been negotiated for the property, located on Hersey near Oak Street and that this is an opportunity for development of the Open Space program.
Director of Parks & Recreation Ken Mickelsen clarified that the Park Commission feels strongly about securing property for Open Space. The property will be developed within the time frame necessary to meet the deed restriction, which would revert the property to the Vogel family should the property be no longer used for parks and public use.
City Attorney Paul Nolte explained that a reversionary clause is not uncommon. He assured the council that he would be involved in the final purchase contract, and would take strides to protect the property purchase for the City.
Mickelsen explained that the Parks Commission would determine the use of the property. He further clarified that sufficient revenue exists for the purchase of the property, but future acquisitions for the Open Space Plan would be hindered. The recommendation from the Park Commission is in full support of the purchase.
Councilors Reid/Laws m/s to join with the Parks Commission in purchasing the Vogel property.
Councilor Fine/Hartzell moved to amend the motion to include, "subject to satisfactory renegotiation of the reversionary clause so that the money is refunded with interest in the event that the clause is triggered." DISCUSSION: Laws was uncomfortable with adding the amendment to the motion. Nolte clarified that should the property be no longer used for public purposes, it would revert back to the grantor's heirs, at no cost to the heirs. Fine stated that, as written, the property must be used for Parks purposes, which is too limiting. He felt it should be written as "parks or public use," allowing for more options. Nolte felt the sellers would accept the wording of public or park purposes. Morrison agreed with Nolte's statement. Reid was concerned that altering the clause would stop the negotiations. Mickelsen clarified that the Vogel family wants the property to be used as a public park.
Councilor Fine withdrew his motion to amend. Councilors Fine/Hartzell m/s to amend motion to change "parks and public use" to "parks or public use." DISCUSSION: Hartzell explained that the amended motion would include a negotiation of the contract and alteration of the clause dealing with the reversion of property to include language regarding the purpose of the property. Reid stated that because Open Space money was being used, the land must remain a park property. Fine clarified that the purpose of the amendment allows for a shift in conditions should the City no longer be able to maintain the land as a park. Roll Call: Laws, Reid, and Hanson - No; Hartzell, Morrison, and Fine - Yes; Mayor DeBoer - No. Motion Failed 3-4.
Roll Call on Original Motion: Laws, Reid, Hartzell, Morrison, Hanson, and Fine - Yes. Motion Passed.
3. Presentation by Allan Sandler and Ed Bemis regarding potential purchase of air space over the Hargadine Parking Structure.
Ed Bemis/Allan Sandler 1260 Prospect/Requested consideration for the acquisition of air space above the Hargadine Parking Structure to build four, $1 million condominiums. Sandler explained that all designs would be worked out closely with the City and OSF before any final arrangements were completed.
Reid shared her perspective on the need for affordable housing. Luxurious condominiums were not what she had in mind. Sandler responded, stating that it was too expensive to produce low-income housing.
Fine agreed with Reid's thoughts, and added that he would not want staff to spend time pursuing negotiations for expensive housing. He felt it was premature to dismiss the possibility of affordable housing in this location. Sandler stated that he was not opposed to building affordable housing, but funding through federal or local agencies would be needed.
Hanson stated that he has never envisioned any type of living structure on top of the building. Hartzell noted that an overabundance of condominiums is for sale and that there is a need for rental properties, especially in the affordable housing range. She felt it was important for developers to understand where the need lies and noted that there is a possibility in the next few years for federal or state funds to build more affordable housing.
Morrison agreed with Fine and Reid and stated that more affordable housing and parking in the downtown area is needed. He did not feel that luxury condominiums were high on the list of priorities.
Sandler offered to enter into a discussion about rental properties. Hartzell encouraged him to speak to the Land Trust.
Nolte clarified that the "big box" concept measures the footprint of a structure, not the volume.
Lars Svendsgaard/183 Vista/Stated that he lives close to the proposed parking structure. He felt that the parking situation has only worsened over time, and urged the council to consider using the entire parking structure for parking purposes.
Erik Navickas/711 Faith/Voiced his concern with the proposed use of air space for luxury condos. He stated that parking structures in other cities are not used. Other things are needed, including affordable housing and a teen shelter.
Bradford and Ava Fish/ 3708 Hwy 99 S/Felt that the structure should be built before a discussion of airspace occurs. They urged the council to wait and see how the City utilizes available parking before making a decision.
Councilors Laws/Fine m/s to table discussion on this subject indefinitely. Voice vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
1. Library Discussion
City Administrator Greg Scoles gave a breakdown of the library construction budget. The original construction budget was $4,032,552, but added expenses ($139,397 cost escalation, $15,000 energy conservation incentive, $22,000 furniture/ equipment included with bid) brought the total to $4,223,949. Other expenses were subtracted, ($5,800 tree removal, $75,000 permits and fees) bringing the total to $4,143,149. The original contingency fee of $464,000, minus the adjusted contingency of 10%, is a difference of $49,851. This brings the revised construction total to $4,193,000. The low bid, by Adroit, was $4,160,373, which leaves a balance of $32,627.
Scoles clarified that a letter was sent from the Community Development Director to Colin Swales regarding the final effective date for the approval for construction. The date Swales used was contingent on the effective date of final zoning for the project. Standards were changed on August 18, 2000, meaning that the one-year period has not been reached.
Nolte stated that he planned to follow through on the issue of the survey with Dennis Donahue, and would bring the information back to the council.
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Reading by title only of "A Resolution Modifying Section 4 of Resolution 96-47 to Change the Composition of the SDC Review Committee."
Mayor clarified that this existing ad-hoc committee meets as needed to make changes to the System Development Charges. Carole Wheeldon, the previous council liaison, has been appointed as a citizen. Reid explained that state laws govern the methodology and ensure fairness for System Development Charges.
Laws voiced his concern for the proposed modifications to appointments. He suggested eliminating the multi-family housing representative, including the position as one of the pro-development representatives, or leaving it as ex-officio.
Fine suggested changing the one-member multi-family housing position to one-member affordable housing representative. Morrison wanted to see a balanced group representing the community. He felt having a member from the Planning Commission was a good idea. Hartzell suggested going back to two representatives from the public at large. The problem is not that there is room for two people from the community, but that recruiting methods did not bring in someone with a commitment and understanding.
Laws noted that affordable housing representatives have the same interests as builders, keeping SDCs low, which passes the costs onto the community.
DeBoer summarized councils’ suggestions: Elimination of the member representing multi-family housing, changing to two representatives from the public at large, one, of which could be a member of the Planning Commission or Budget Committee (neither of whom is a builder).
Councilors Morrison/Fine m/s to approve Resolution #2000-17 as amended. Roll Call Vote: Laws, Reid, Hartzell, Hanson, Morrison, and Fine, YES. Motion passed.
Consent Agenda Item #4: Confirmation of Mayor’s appointments and reappointments to the Ad Hoc Systems Development Charge Committee. DISCUSSION: DeBoer noted the appointments of Darrell Boldt and Larry Medinger represent the home builders; Dennis Sweet represents the Chamber of Commerce; Carole Wheeldon represents the citizens-at-large; he represents the council; Kerry KenCairn represents the Planning Commission; which leaves one citizen-at-large position. Councilors Hartzell/Reid m/s to approve Consent Agenda item #4. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
2. Reading by title only of "A Resolution Adjusting Electrical Rates for bills prepared on or after July 1, 2001."
Laws voiced his concern with the proposed reduction to the General Fund. He requested councils’ consideration for changes to the budget, which was based on a 20% increase for electric service customers. He felt adequate steps have not been taken to help customers who cannot pay the increase. Retaining the tax on the entire 20% increase and shifting the money into a line item where it could be stored (for up to three months) would allow for research of better alternatives. Two possibilities include targeting specific consumers who cannot afford to pay electric bills and finding options for decreased usage.
Wanderschied explained the differences for the average consumer based on the proposed taxed 10% increase and untaxed 10% surcharge versus a taxed 20% increase and no surcharge. If the City provided a program for conservation, it would need to do installations and provide equipment. Another option is the RFP process, which would take 4 to 6 months to implement, and would provide creditable installers. Reid noted that the council would have to consider whether this program would be beneficial to all citizens, given that many have already changed to gas consumption.
DeBoer suggested moving the discussion to a study session. He voiced his concern with changing the recommendations of the Budget Committee. He would like to explore the ideas brought forward by Laws. Morrison stated that the Budget Committee felt the 10 and 10-proposal was the best for the community. He does not support an overturning of the committee's recommendation. Hartzell noted that the Budget Committee was not given the opportunity to evaluate the recommendations that were proposed. State law allows for reconsideration and allows for integration of concerns.
Fine suggested requiring the removal of electric space heating units in rentals and replacing them with more efficient heating systems. By removing these outdated, expensively run units, it would relieve the expenses of those who are usually the poorer people of the community.
Laws stated that the Budget Committee did not have a realistic, developed plan to review when making their decision. He felt that if it were not done now, no money would be available to do something later. He suggested making it a "holding action" for three months to allow for conservation options and comments from the Budget Committee. Hanson supported Laws' ideas, but suggested holding the decision for two weeks to allow for councils’ review.
Scoles suggested approving the 10-10 increase with the proposed resolution and then adjusting the budget to allow for the program later. Wanderschied noted that negotiations are being made with BPA for them to pay some of the City's conservation. If BPA pays a portion of the program, $200,000 could be used for other programs. He warned that there may be more than a 30% increase from BPA in October. A decision on Green Power has also proved to be unclear.
Councilors Reid/Morrison m/s to amend Section 1 to change the word "adjusted" to "increased" and approving Resolution #2001-18 with the amendment. DISCUSSION: Scoles clarified that the next rate increase discussion would take place in September. Roll Call Vote: Fine, Morrison, Hanson, Hartzell, Reid, and Laws, YES. Motion passed.
3. Reading by title only of "A Resolution Certifying City Qualifies for State Subventions."
Councilors Hartzell/Fine m/s to approve Resolution #2001-16. Roll Call Vote: Reid, Hanson, Laws, Hartzell, Fine and Morrison, YES. Motion passed.
4. Reading by title only of "A Resolution Declaring the City's Election to receive State Revenue."
Councilors Hartzell/Fine m/s to approve Resolution #2001-15. Roll Call Vote: Hanson, Hartzell, Fine, Laws, Morrison and Reid, YES. Motion passed.
5. Reading by title only of "A Resolution Adopting the Annual Budget and Making Appropriations."
Scoles gave the council a handout and noted an adjustment of $250,000 regarding the electric operation cost. He noted that approximately $100,000 of property tax revenue would be carried forward as unallocated funds. This money could be used, in addition to the $250,000, to increase the amount for a program. The repercussion is the lowering of unallocated funds.
Hartzell spoke with the police chief regarding a grant to purchase mobile data computers, which prompted a meeting with the city attorney regarding the development of a resolution, similar to the State's, where grants over a certain amount written by departments would be brought to the council for the purpose of examining financial obligation over a five-year period.
Councilors Laws/Reid m/s to approve Resolution #2001-14, as amended. Roll Call Vote: Hartzell, Morrison, Fine, Laws, Reid, and Hanson, YES. Motion passed.
6. First reading by title only of "An Ordinance Levying Taxes for the Period of July 1, 2001 to and including June 30, 2002, such taxes in the sum of $7,078,000.00 upon all the Real and Personal Property subject to Assessment and Levy within the Corporate Limits of the City of Ashland, Jackson County, Oregon."
Councilors Hanson/Reid m/s to approve the first reading of the ordinance and to place it on the agenda for second reading. DISCUSSION: Laws referenced the Federal Government's tax cut and the State of Oregon's tax refunds, both of which will create problems in the future. He felt it was a mistake to decrease the property taxes, because the money will be needed in the future. Roll Call Vote: Laws, Reid, Hanson, Morrison, and Fine - Yes. Hartzell - No. Motion passed 5-1.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS
Hartzell noted that proposals are expected for various committees regarding AFN and the budget. Morrison noted that the budget carries a strong commitment to support AFN, but not without an equally strong commitment to monitor AFN from a standpoint of responsibility to the citizens.
Wanderschied clarified that an electric reduction plan is underway. The plan must be submitted to BPA by June 22. The City must curtail the use of 13-17 million kilowatt hours per year to meet the 10% target. Options for reduction include reducing city facility use, turning off streetlights, and conservation augmentation. BPA allows a credit of 10% for price-induced conservation. Approximately 6-10 million kilowatt hours need to be reduced by citizens.
DeBoer clarified that the Transportation, Transit, and Parking Plan was presented to the council, but they did not act upon it. He intends to examine the ad hoc committee, as it has not met recently. Hartzell requested further updates on this issue.
Councilor Fine left the meeting at 9:45 p.m.
Meeting was adjourned at 9:50 p.m.
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder/Treasurer