MINUTES FOR THE STUDY SESSION
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
Monday, June 6, 2011
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way
Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room.
Councilor Silbiger, Morris, Chapman, and Voisin were present. Councilor Slattery arrived at 5:40 pm.
Councilor Lemhouse was not present.
The Look Ahead agenda item was moved to number 2. on the agenda.
1. Does Council have questions about and/or comments on the first phase of the Feasibility Study?
Jeff Tashman of Tashman Johnson LLC and Nancy Guitteau from Urban Land Economics presented on the following elements of the feasibility study:
Boundaries of Urban Renewal Study Areas
Mr. Tashman confirmed the Urban Renewal District for the Croman Mill Site could produce $11,000,000 in tax increment revenue that was time adjusted, and could be borrowed against over a 20-year period. He went on to explain the boundary areas selected were for the Feasibility Study only and not recommended boundaries for an urban renewal plan. They combined the Downtown and Railroad properties into one area because they functionally related and had important connections between them that would benefit from urban renewal improvements. The Croman Mill Site area included the entire district, related employment lands north of Croman and the commercial land around the intersection of Ashland Boulevard and Tolman Creek Road.
Real Estate Market Assessment
Ms. Guitteau explained the model used to determine Demand contained population and climate forecasts to establish the real estate market assessment and evaluated employment projections. The employment projections started with the Oregon Employment Forecast for Jackson and Josephine Counties to determine new employment for Ashland over the next 20 years and commercial and industrial development. Historical data of total employment in Jackson County was consistently 76%-78% for several years. There was not a city level forecast so they used information from the Economic Opportunity Analysis to estimate percentages the County anticipated for Ashland. Additionally they factored the economic downturn and housing market into the short term as well as changes in underwriting and lending standards.
They translated Ashland’s share of new employment-by-employment sector into new development to house employees that included commercial retail, land use, office, and industrial development and non-land use employment. The allocated share of employment in each employment sector, types of real estate and square foot for employee determined how much commercial and industrial space was required over the next 20 years to accommodate new employment.
For Supply, they looked at opportunity parcels within the two proposed districts. The Downtown/Railroad properties had 43 parcels with 38 acres considered opportunity parcels. The Croman Mill Site area contained 33 parcels with over 80 acres for opportunity parcels. They used the supply of opportunity parcels to determine full development based on zoning, Comprehensive Plans, floor area ratios, and potential for parking. The final step will be a development schedule in 5-year increments over the 20-year period.
Ms. Guitteau noted the current population projection discrepancy between Jackson County and the City of Ashland would not have a significant impact on the development program since there was very little housing involved.
She added it was important to build over the 20-year period and not fully build out in these areas. Alternately, they left sufficient land out of the urban renewal district for other future developments.
Tax Increment Revenue Projections
Mr. Tashman took the projections from the real estate market assessment and narrowed them down annually. The projections were in real market value and the assessed value was less than its real market value. He converted adjustments and gave them an annual number for the assessed value of new growth in each of the areas. They did not assume 3% growth across the board because some areas would not increase at that rate and adjusted factors that were less than 3% in both areas.
The tax rate was also used to calculate annual revenues and was lower than the actual tax rate because the statutes exclude taxes from Urban Renewal. They calculated the tax at $12 per $1,000 to arrive at annual revenues. The Downtown/Railroad projected higher revenues than the Croman Mill Site area because it had twice as much assessed value.
Mr. Tashman confirmed urban renewal had no direct impact to the Ashland School District and they were exempt.
Annual revenues ranged from a $1,500,000 for the Croman Mill Site and $3,000,000 for the Downtown/Railroad. They used a combination of long-term and short-term financing building to determine funding capacity numbers of $24,000,000 for the Downtown/Railroad and $11,000,000 for Croman Mill Site. Typically, with urban renewal districts, additional funding resources were used to complete funding for projects.
They also looked at critical infrastructure needs, costs, and listed various projects for the Croman Mill Site and the Downtown/Railroad areas and noted a need for public parking downtown. The Central Boulevard project for the Croman Mill Site property would be expensive.
List and Evaluation of Financing Alternatives
Mr. Tashman shared financing alternatives that included Utility and Street funds, System Development Charges (SDCs) for relevant transportation and utility needs. Other possibilities included grants, immediate opportunity funds for Central Boulevard in Croman Mill Site and General Obligation bonds to help fund public facilities. There were street and intersection improvements for the Downtown/Railroad as well as street furniture and plantings that would benefit the entire city that tax increment financing combined with a Local Improvement Districts (LID) could help fund.
Although projections for the Croman Mill Site area were out of scope, they anticipated public costs for Central Boulevard, the park, parking structure and multi-use paths would exceed more than private property development could support. Council expressed concern over these costs exceeding private development and overall project feasibility for the Croman Mill Site area.
Councilor Silbiger declared a potential conflict of interest regarding Plexis Healthcare Systems possibly moving to the Croman Mill Site.
2. Look Ahead Review
City Administrator Martha Bennett reviewed items on the Look Ahead.
Meeting adjourned at 6:50 p.m.
Assistant to the City Recorder