Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Wednesday, August 08, 2001

August 8, 2001 - 12:00 p.m.
Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street

Mayor DeBoer called the meeting to order at 12:35 p.m.

Councilors present: Laws, Hartzell, Hanson, and Hearn. Reid and Morrison were absent.
Staff present: City Administrator Greg Scoles, City Attorney Paul Nolte, and Public Works Director Paula Brown.

1. Discussion regarding smoking ordinance.
Nolte gave a brief background on the ordinance. The State has pre-empted local government from regulating smoking indoors and has prohibited smoking in most indoor establishments, except bars, taverns, and other places where minors are not allowed. DeBoer noted a proposal suggesting a $10 fee and a set of rules for those who sell tobacco.

Kaaren Borsting/602 Glenwood/Represented Citizens for a Healthy Ashland and the Chair for Tobacco-Free Jackson County/Noted the ease with which to purchase tobacco in Ashland. She reviewed items within a packet that was handed out, including the State Bill protecting employees in the workplace. Council was asked to consider a smoking ban in playgrounds, parks, and other areas where children would be exposed to second-hand smoke.

Laws stated his support to discourage tobacco use and noted his interest in a proposal including outdoor restrictions.

Hartzell questioned outdoor use and the rate of dilution. Borsting stated that she was not aware of many studies, as it is difficult to prove due to many factors. The rule of thumb is, if you can smell smoke, carcinogens are present. However, this is very unscientific. The issue with playgrounds and parks is the evidence that is left behind after a cigarette is finished.

Hanson did not think the council should regulate outdoor smoking.

DeBoer questioned whether the State was already regulating those who sell tobacco products. Borsting clarified that should an establishment be caught selling to minors, they do not lose their license, but the clerk is fined. DeBoer stated that a law, passed by the State requiring licenses to sell tobacco, might be better than a city by city ordinance. Borsting noted that many efforts are underway to assist in this issue.

Hartzell questioned using incentives to encourage bars or taverns to prohibit smoking. Borsting stated that because of the State pre-emption, there is little that can be done other than modeling.

Hannah Fisher/77 Mallard/Spoke of her experience with drug addicts. She supports educational and treatment programs for youth.

Jane Stevenson/2800 Delta Water, Medford/
Stated nicotine is a legal drug and approximately 90% of adults who smoke started as a youth. She wants to see a limit to access for youth.

DeBoer stated he was opposed to a $10 licensing fee and was surprised that businesses who sell to minors are not penalized. Nolte clarified that clerks who sell to minors are fined, but no punitive charges are given to businesses. It is not illegal to smoke cigarettes. It is illegal to possess tobacco. DeBoer supports education.

Laws was interested reviewing the proposal and the rest of council agreed. Scoles was asked to add the issue to a future agenda.

2. Update on Wastewater Treatment Biosolids Options and Direction.
Brown outlined options for handling biosolids. The wastewater treatment plant project is in its final phase and it is important to more forward to the point of completion.

Bob Eimstad, Carollo Engineers, explained the biosolid process and its impact on the plant. He gave a brief background explaining biosolid composition. Ashland produces 34,000 gallons or two dry tons per day. Historically, the city has spread treated biosolids on local farmland as fertilizer. Biosolids are currently being de-watered in a temporary facility and sent to a landfill. There are two classes of treated biosolids (Class A for public distribution and Class B for agricultural land application), and both are equally protective of pubic health. Dewatering project goals include: long-term flexibility; reuse as an agricultural product; low capital and operating costs; utilizing existing site and integrate with existing processes; and minimizing odor and noise nuisance.

Eimstad explained treatment alternatives: belt filter press/gravity belt thickener; centrifuge thickening and de-watering; and vacuum filtration/gravity belt thickening. Examples of similar facilities were presented. The advantages/disadvantages were presented along with capitol cost and operation/maintenance costs associated with each alternative. Eimstad confirmed that Clearwater Technology was investigated and it was determined the unit had more disadvantages than advantages for the type of treatment process needed by the City.

Eimstad recommended a centrifuge de-watering facility as it has the smallest footprint, fewer odor issues, produces the driest cake, requires less operator attention, and can be adjusted for water content. The plan was presented and council engaged in a brief discussion on how containment would be handled. Cost estimates for centrifuge units include: construction costs of $3.3-3.7 million; operation & maintenance costs of $350,000 per year (including electrical power, chemicals, equipment maintenance, lab expenses, labor, hauling, and disposal -- assuming landfill disposal is $142,000 per year). The end product would be Class B, which is acceptable for agricultural land application. Council engaged in a brief discussion on the availability agricultural land for the distribution of biosolids. Eimstad explained that he does not know of any municipality that has been able to recoup costs of treatment through the sale of this product.

Eimstad noted construction issues. A change order for Slayden Construction would be need or the job may be opened for bids. A change order takes advantage of the existing contractorís knowledge, which lowers expenses. Bidding creates the risk of a new contractor, but assures competitive prices.

Council voiced a general consensus to allow staff to pursue final design and construction of a de-watering facility with centrifuge units. Council and staff discussed and agreed to the change order for the completion of the project.

3. Update on Highway 66/Ashland Street Options
Brown briefly explained the studies conducted for the completion of Hwy66 and Ashland Street from the intersection at Siskiyou Blvd, south to the city limits. Currently, this section of the road falls under ODOT as a district-level highway. The section between Siskiyou Blvd and the beginning of the railroad bridge has been discussed for inclusion as a part of ODOTís access management grant program. Staff requested assistance in determining grant eligibility. ODOT is willing to fund some median islands, to adjust current accesses, and to provide pedestrian crossings.

Brown explained that ODOT is offering $875,000 if the City agrees to take over jurisdiction and all future maintenance of this 3/4-mile section of Ashland Street (Hwy 66). ODOT will not provide access management project funds without the city agreeing to take over jurisdiction.

Laws voiced his concern for maximizing aesthetics, creating park rows, and the placement of sidewalks, and asked staff to address some of these issues during the planning process. Hartzell felt that North Main was a more pressing issue. Brown agreed to produce a brief update on the North Main and Wimer Street projects.

DeBoer expressed his desire to receive the funds before the project is begun instead after it is completed. Brown explained that receiving jurisdictional power over the road is not financially beneficial, but is community beneficial.

Meeting was adjourned at 2:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder/Treasurer

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