Agendas and Minutes

Conservation and Climate Outreach Committee (View All)

Conservation Commission Monthly Meeting 05/25/11

Wednesday, May 25, 2011



6-8 p.m. ĖMay 25, 2011

Community Development Building




Chairperson McGinnis called the meeting to order at 6:05 pm.


Thomas Beam, Risa Buck, Sheri Cellini, Stuart Corns, Jim McGinnis and David Runkel were present.  Jim Hartman was not present


City Council Liaison: Carol Voisin, Mayor Stromberg present

Staff Representative: Bill Molnar, Larry Giardina, and Mary McClary



Chairperson McGinnis welcomed the Mayor to the Conservation Commission.  The Mayor spoke to the Commission about the recent budget committee meeting where they voted against establishing a new position, Conservation Manager, for the City of Ashland.


He explained the City Council had established 3 Conservation/Sustainability goals this year and believes we are all working toward the same goals.  The budget committee was divided 7/7 when voting for this position. He believes it would be difficult to accomplish the City Council goals without a Conservation Manager.


The Mayor explained, June 7th, the City Council will adopt the budget, therefore that meeting would be an opportunity for the Commission members to speak to the Council directly about their thoughts in support of a Conservation Manager, if a motion was brought to address the position again.


 The arguments in favor of a Conservation Manager would consist of:


1)     We have City Council goals and Council should go ahead with implementation of their goals.


2)     Reasons why a Conservation Manager is important

a)     Three staff members in that division are implementing measures and programs in city conservation


b)    Manager could create a sustainability plan


3)     City should be acting as an example for other organizations, become a model in terms of conservation and


4)     Part of the Conservation Managerís job would be to acquire funding for the conservation programs in the city, and aggressively go after funds.


Commissioner Buck commented again on the lack of presence within the City of Ashland, when Dick Wanderscheid retired, and hiring a Conservation Manager would help the City reach levels they were operating with when Dick was responsible for the Conservation Division.  The City would be playing catch up in terms of what it has lost.


5)     Economical advantage. 

Keeping Tier II power consumption at a minimum. This creates a huge incentive to conserve and

provide the best possible rates for the citizens and businesses.  Tier I power rates continue to rise

and the more conservation of energy helps to create less expensive power for everyone. 


The Mayor relayed his experience with visiting Darex, who has installed a solar system that generates half of their power needs, with a payback of less than 1 year.  As a standard with the City of Ashland, if anyone or business generates more power than consumption, the City gives credit for the power at a retail rates.  Darex has now retained control over future increases in power rates.  We have local expertise in this area and should be concerned with aggressively helping other businesses and finding funding sources to accomplish more programs.


Commissioner Beam wondered if the Conservation Managerís job would help to pay for itself.  There was discussion about how to obtain that information and draw comparisons.


6)     Long Term Water Planning assumes a minimum of 5% conservation of water use and targeted 15% conservation water.  The building codes will now allow grey water systems on a voluntary basis.  Irrigation season is when conservation measures take place and during that part of the year, 10% conservation would actually be achieved.  This city has to take a significant step in its consciousness about water and its uses.


Questions to consider for discussion:

May be valuable to contact each City Councilor individually

Step by step plan for motion to introduce Conservation Manager position.

How will this be paid for in the City Budget?

What are the implications to the budget because of those changes to the budget?


The Commissioners discussed the effects on the Conservation Division and their limited ability

to cover all needed areas, without a Conservation Manager.  They also discussed the impact on the City budget

reducing the electric tax that goes to help fund the general fund.  Electrical hybrids and their necessity for electricity, funds/loans from other companies for conservation efforts, energy efficiency, pilot programs and other topics were discussed.  The Council meeting is June7th, 2011.


Larry Giardina commented on the electric contracts for power and Conservationís ability to have input because of the absent of a manager and an Electrical Director who use to manage both aspects of issues.  He stated Bonneville is now requiring the city to take more responsibility for their conservation programs in order to meet Tier II power, with offering a lesser financial return, reimbursement or incentive. 


Chairperson McGinnis remarked security is also an issue and the availability of electricity, reaffirming the need for a solid infrastructure. The Mayor stated in terms of cost to the citizens, the Conservation Manager should be making a difference where individual citizens would benefit with energy costs.


The Commissioners discussed the cost of conservation programs, water rate increases, electric increases, and adding another staff position or cost to the city along with the overall savings to the city and citizens.




Chairperson McGinnis asked for approval of the minutes for April 27, 2011.


Commissioner Runkel remarked in the green business section, physical should be fiscal.


Commissioner Buck made a motion to approve the minutes as corrected and Commissioner Corns seconded the


Voice Vote: All Ayes.  The motion passed with a unanimous vote.



The next Commission meeting will be June 22, 2011.


Commissioner Cellini announced there is forum in Portland looking for Green Business speakers.  If anyone has anyone for referral or information, she can forward the email to them.


Commissioner Buck announced the Annual Association of Oregon Recyclers in Seaside will be June 15-18th and she will be in attendance.


Talent and Ashland police stations now have an unused prescription drug drop off box that would dispose of these drugs safely and responsibly.


Chairperson McGinnis announced the City of Central Point had a Master Recyclers event and hopes next year the Commission would be able to announce more like events.


Larry Giardina remarked, to be clear, Dick Wanderscheid works for the Bonneville Environmental Foundation.

Commissioner Buck asked if he could be a consultant for the City during this period of transition.



New Chair, Vice Chair

Commissioner Buck made a motion to nominated Commissioner Beam for Vice-Chair.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Corns.

Commissioner Beam explained since he conducts business with the city, he would only feel comfortable contributing to the Commission as a vice-chair.


Voice Vote: All Ayes.  The motion passed with a unanimous vote.


Commissioner Beam made a motion to nominate Commissioner Hartman for Chair, seconded by Commissioner Buck.

Voice Vote: All Ayes.  The motion passed with a unanimous vote.



Sustainability Planning Report Sub-Committee

The members planned to meet Friday in the Community Development, Siskiyou Room beginning

at 1:30pm.

The members decided they would discuss their attendance at the Council meeting, June 7th, 2011 and their appeal to the Councilors to listen to their concerns.


Earth Day Report

            Mary will check on the reimbursement checks for the Commissioners.

There was much discussion about the success of the Conservation Commission awards, recognizing

Commissioner Runkel and Lotz for really pulling this event together and what a great honor it was to

 recognize citizens, businesses, and non-profit organizations in this way.



Councilor Voisin suggested the Commission think about hosting a Town Hall every six months.  The Commission will review this for the fall.


Compost Class

Commission support for the classes is as follows:

June 25óTom Beam

July 30---Jim Hartman

August 27---Carol Voisin

September 24---Staff memberóConservation Division


Commissioner Buck remarked being there was an opportunity to explain about the Commission and the programs they support.  She asked also, if they would have citizens sign in so it could be tracked.




CRITERIA FOR Budget Spending (Grant Writing)

Community Development Director, Bill Molnar, reported back to the Commission it was possible to use part of their budget to hire a grant writer, with some possible conditions.  There is a procurement procedure, and possible Council approval based on the award of the grant.  The grant would need to justify that it is furthering the Commissionís goals.  Chairperson McGinnis thanked Bill for researching this option.



Commissioners discussed different projects that they could help fund with the remainder of their budget, including the Southern Oregon Business Network and the Helman School project.


Commissioner Beam presented an idea of Adopting a Storm Drain, and the Commissioners discussed several ideas.  This item will be placed on next monthís agenda.


Commissioner Beam made a motion to give the Helman School Project an additional $500.00.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Buck.  Commissioner Beam withdrew his motion and Commissioner Buck withdrew her second to the motion.


Commissioner Buck made a motion to award SOSBN $250.00 for their project.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Lotz.

The Commissioners discussed the motion.


Voice Vote: All Commissioners Ayes, except Chairperson McGinnis voted against the motion.  The motion passed with a majority vote.



Commissioner Cellini made a motion to give the Helman School Project an additional $1,038.52.  The motion was seconded by Commissioner Buck. 

Voice Vote: All Ayes.  The motion passed with a unanimous vote.




 Commissioner Runkel would like to look at the impact of the proposed North Main Diet project that reduces traffic

to one lane in both directions. What would be the energy implications?  Director Molnar will talk with the Public Works Director, Mike Faught, to see if he could attend the next meeting.



Chairperson Mcginnis adjourned the meeting at 8:05pm.






































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