Agendas and Minutes

Citizens' Budget Committee (View All)

Economic, Cultural, Tourism and Sustainability Grant Meeting - Citizens Budget Sub-Committee #1

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Economic, Cultural, Tourism and Sustainability Grant Subcommittee
Draft Minutes
April 11, 2012, 6:00PM – Question and Answers with Applicants
Civic Center, Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street
Call to Order
The Citizen’s Budget Subcommittee meeting was called to order at 6:00pm on April 11, 2012 in the Council Chambers at 1175 East Main Street, Ashland, Oregon.
Roll Call
Committee members:
 Dave Chapman, Doug Gentry, William Heimann, Michael Morris, Russ Silbiger, Dennis Slattery,
 Roberta Stebbins, John Stromberg, and Carol Voisin were present.
Greg Lemhouse, Denise Daehler, Chuck Keil, David Runkel and Lynn Thompson were not
Staff Representative:  Lee Tuneberg, Adam Hanks, Mary McClary
Election of a Chair
 Stromberg motioned to elect Roberta Stebbins as Chair for the Budget Committee, Subcommittee for the Economic, Cultural, Tourism and Sustainability Grants, seconded by Heimann.
Voice Vote: All Ayes.  The motion passed with a unanimous vote.
Staff  Report
Lee Tuneberg welcomed the committee members and applicants in attendance.  He explained the next step of the grant process would consist of two meetings, first to review and ask questions if necessary of the applicants, and the next meeting would cover the allocation of funds.
The allocation of money was set by a new resolution 2012-04, A Resolution of the City Council of the City of Ashland Allocating Anticipated Revenues the Transient Occupancy Tax for the FY2012-2013 Budget and Repealing Resolution 2011-07, in the amount of  $199,501 for this year beginning July1.  The Committee received 26 applicants applying for $ 387,925.  
In addition, there were new guidelines to help identify the value and the weighting of the applicants with a scoring system. Then, as a group, they would discuss and allocate the funds available.  The applicants are listed on the agenda in order of application received to the city.
Committee member Stromber asked if there was past history available, and staff explained that information was on the web site, along with a 10 year history passed out that evening.
Chairperson Stebbins explained the members having previewed/read the applications would begin a question and answer session instead of hearing applicant presentations.
PRESENTATION: In order of receipt
Ashland Art Center
No questions from the committee.
Ashland’s Bed and Breakfast Network
Voisin asked since most of the money would be spent on creating videos, in what way would they utilize them.  They explained the videos would be donated and available for use by any business with web sites to help promote tourism, including the City and the Chamber of Commerce.  Also, they would be submitted to U-Tube and included on the Bed and Breakfast’s web sites. Voisin asked if there were other organizations to help with advertising and Travel Oregon was the only organization that helped them. 
Gentry asked if this was the first time they had made videos and since it was a new venture, how would they determine success. They had looked at other successful travel destination areas that included promotional videos. They believed people were using the internet to research vacations sites.   Gentry asked if the Chamber had videos they could utilize and their response was they did not have any videos.
Slattery remarked there were videos on the Chamber web site and on channel 9, and also believed bringing attention to the Bed and Breakfasts was a good idea. The representatives believed those videos were limited with information and explained their focus was “Ashland is more than just Shakespeare; Ashland was a four season playground.”  They were proposing these videos be diverse and available through many different sources including the 22 Bed & Breakfast network’s web sites.
Stromberg asked what they would do if they did not received the full amount asked for in their application and their response was they would reduce the number of video’s produced. Voisin asked how many beds the B & Bs provided, and their reply was 157.
Ashland New Plays Festival
No questions from the committee.
Ashland Woodland Trails Association
No one present from the Association to answer questions.  Stromberg wanted to still hear the other committee members’ questions.   Slattery asked staff if the representatives were instructed /encouraged to attend the meeting.  Lee explained they were encouraged, but not required.
Stromberg asked for clarification on the comprehensive plan for the trails included matching funds from the Forest Foundation. Chapman explained the Forest Foundation would pay half of $100,000, and the Association had already raised $30,000, asking this committee for $15,000, then raising another $5,000.  Gentry asked if this was a one-time request to meet their environmental study goal, and not an on-going request.  Chapman agreed.
SOPride, Inc
Although there were no representatives, Gentry wanted to understand if this requested amount was the only fund raiser for their annual festival. Heimann agreed.
Southern Oregon Sustainable Business Network
John Lamy, representative.
Voisin stated their organization was staffed with volunteers and their grant would be used for paid staff and printing costs.  She asked if they had any other monies to be used for staffing and printing costs and if they did not get the grant what would they do instead. He responded they would cut back from doing 25 deliveries to what they could afford.  Voisin spoke to their sustainability efforts fitting in with Rick Holt’s economic sustainability plan for small communities.  They stated they need money for development and delivery.
Rogue Farm Corps
Stuart O’Neil, representative.
Gentry asked about the structure of staff and board members.  O’Neil replied they have two staff members and 3 Board members, consisting of volunteers that help with development and fundraising.  Stebbins asked about their internship program.
He explained their primary program was an On Farm Internship Program, and this year they had partnered with Rogue Community College to offer Oregon’s first legal on farm internship in sustainable agriculture.  They were receiving a lot of interest around the state.  This grant proposal would help staff their Educational Director position. 
Gentry asked about what type of person would be an intern, and O’Neil replied, post college or post high school, people looking at sustainable agriculture as a possible career. Heimann asked about the split of the funds between economic development and sustainability.  Heimann believed this program funding would be more economic development. Silbiger asked how many interns are from Ashland, and he answered none.
Stebbins asked how many interns they had trained, he replied up to 85 over the years.  There had not been any local Ashland residents, just a few from the Rogue Valley.  They had 10 member farms and each intern was placed on one farm for the entire season.  Slattery asked if they filed a 5013C, and they had. 
Chapman asked if RCC was giving accreditation and were they paying the Farm Corps or RCC fees.  The interns paid tuition fees to the college for credits they earned and the Corps received money from the classroom component. Voisin asked where the classes were located and Stuart replied on the farms, SOU extended campus and some local businesses.  She asked how many farmer interns a year, and Stuart explained this year they were expecting 15-20.
Voisin asked why the City of Ashland should give the Corps the grant.  Stuart believed this was a cutting edge program and followed with the City of Ashland’s sustainability goal.  In addition, they were a Ashland based organization and part of the community.  He felt this was an opportunity for the city to contribute to a long term vision of a sustainable food system in the community.
Stebbins asked if they had an office in Ashland, and currently they had a home office and would like to keep their roots in Ashland.
Heimann asked if the Standing Stone farm would host an intern this year, and he replied they would teach a class at their farm this year.  He wasn’t sure about an intern.
Ashland Gallery Association
Kim Olsen, representative.
Slattery stated there were more grant requests than money, and wanted to know how it would afect their programs if they received less money.  Olsen replied their priorities were to keep First Friday Art Walk, the community events, and educational programs.   Receiving less money would make it difficult to sustain the programs and they were hoping to expand educational programs.
Becky Brown, representative.
Stromberg remarked they had supported THRIVE consistently with high grants and this year THRIVE had increased their request.  He wanted to hear how the increase would affect their organization.  She explained one new program this year, was a Land Connection Workshop where they would bring land owners together with land seekers for utilizing land for agriculture. 
Stebbins asked if there was a program in place, and she explained they had the experience from the Food Connection Program and a number of contacts from other areas. Stebbins asked how this would benefit the City of Ashland economically.  Brown believed the mission for their organization was economic sustainability and believed strongly for using open space specifically for responsible use of agriculture.
Chapman asked what they would do with the money because their outline only described programs for $10,000.  What would the rest of the money go and she clarified the chart was asking for money for date specific events that added up to $10,000.  The also had a Buy Local Ad campaign and a Rogue Valley Business Program in place.
Southern Oregon Permaculture Institute
Chuck Burr, representative.
Burr explained about his proposal of a seed network, creating opportunities for local farmers to directly sell their seeds and then able to retain 70% of the sale.  His proposal would create an electronic network to tie all aspects of seed selling.  He believed Ashland would become the home to the high technical part of the program.
Slattery wondered if this grant was being used to start a business.  He explained his idea would be to move from wholesale to retail.  He explained this was a one- time application to hire an expert in computer networking to tie all the applications together.  Gentry asked if they would be doing the fulfillment also, and he explained the process of how jobs in all areas would be created, but mainly he would be facilitating the technical aspect.
Heimann asked how this would not be reinventing the wheel.  He explained this would connect the local farmers directly into the main stream and create more diversity, instead of just the major companies who were already in the market.
Dancing People Company
Robin Stiehm, representative.
Stromberg asked if their organization was affected by Culture Work’s departure.  She explained they were a separate businesses, separate spaces. Stebbins asked if the grant was the budget for the events and Gentry asked about the Rotary contribution to their company.  She explained the money was for a specific event.  Stebbins asked if they worked with Ashland HS students.  They did half hour presentations to elementary school children.
ST Clair Productions
Ariella St. Clair, representative.
Gentry asked if the money requested would bring in extra musicians for a specific event and wondered if any went toward personal fees.  She explained the money would be used to cover all parts of the event, although her costs were increased because of more experienced musicians.  Chapman asked how the JPR spots helped the events.  She explained they cover a large market area, and payments have to be made for each market area.
Ashland Historic Railroad Museum
 Victoria Law, representative.
Stromberg asked to hear about their expansion.  She explained they were applying for a grant with the Oregon Heritage Museum and were hoping the City of Ashland would match the $6,250 grant. She explained about the Chinese artifacts found, and training of students, and their accreditation.
Rogue Opera
Ginger Castro, representative.
Gentry wondered if they were  looking for a new general director, Castro replied not at this time.  Stebbins remarked that no one from Ashland was on their Board. 
Ashland Woodland Trails Association
Rob Cain, representative
Stromberg became interested in this application because of free riders building trails in the watershed.  He asked if the organization was doing fund raising to get the study accomplished. Cain replied they were not helping with fund raising but volunteered their time.  They have received one grant from one of the mountain bike manufactures.
Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon
No questions from the Committee
Gentry asked about declaring conflicts.
 Mr. Tuneberg stated he can declare a potential conflict and Silbiger explained there was no legal conflict as long as it was not paid, and also stating the nature of the relationship for transparency.  If it became a conflict, then the space in the allocation would remain blank.  Mr. Tuneberg added in addition to leaving it blank, they would not join in the allocation discussions.
Siskiyou Singers
Pricilla High, representative.
Committee member Gentry declared a potential conflict with the Siskiyou Singers.
Stromberg asked about the nature of the change within the organization. She replied Mark Reppert, the Artistic Director and Conductor, had taken on the mission of the Singers and in addition had brought in excellent singers from other venues.  Stebbins asked if the grant request was earmarked for a commissioned piece to be performed.  High explained it was and also for a 14 piece orchestra which would cost approx. 8,900.
Science Works Hands on Museum
Chip Lindsey, representative.
Stromberg asked Chip to explain about his background and how the organization was changing under his direction.  He explained his background had been in museums and science centers since he was 12.  He spoke about his past experiences/work for prior museums.  He believed Science Works does traveling shows and earned their operating income very well.  He believed they were really working hard to draw people to Ashland. 
Gentry wondered if this grant application was shifting to a more operational support.  He explained it was a matter of trying to be competitive with what the City was looking to support.  He explained last year their traveling shows earned $125,000 to help their operation expense.  Voisin asked if there was a way to count the tourist that attended and felt it would add value to their application.
Morris stated a potential conflict since he had worked on two exhibits at Science Works, but for no monetary gain.
Rogue Valley Symphony Associations
Cybele Abbett, representative
They hired a new Conductor, who was originally from Slovakia, and was now in his second year with them. Gentry asked if their fund raising had changed.  She explained the new Conductor had made a difference due to his reaching out to the community.  They changed their strategies, Board commitments and already met 94% of their budget through personal contributions. 
Rogue Valley Farm to School
 Tracy Harding, representative.
Stromberg asked about the Siskiyou challenge.  Tracy explained it would be in Lithia Park and they were doing excessive marketing.  He asked about the school gardens.  She explained the proposal would be to fund the school garden’s stipend, which was a volunteer position.  The stipend would be a minimal award to that position.  They were looking to increase their support to the school garden and opportunity to integrate more local produce. 
Stebbins wondered if they were Ashland specific, and although Ashland was the largest population they were serving Jackson/Josephine counties.  The grant they were requesting would be just for the Ashland school gardens.  Gentry asked about the Siskiyou Challenge and tying to the Farm to School.  The Siskiyou Challenge was their largest fund raiser.
Multicultural Association of SO (KSKQ Comm Radio)
Carson Bench, representative
Stromberg asked about the significance of the new antenna. Bench explained how they received a construction permit from the FCC to start broadcasting within 3 years.  He was able to accomplish that with a lot of volunteers and an agreement with US Cellular. The areas they reached were only a fraction of their potential, mostly in cars.
Stebbins asked about the requested grant monies being used for a salaried station manager and if this would be an on-going request.  Bench explained his expectation would be the manager would be able to build funds to propel the station in a way to pay for the salary and fulfill a requirement from the FCC to have full time staff.
Voisin asked about their specific broadcasts for the City of Ashland and Bench explained the radio supports all of Ashland.  Stebbins asked about increasing their coverage to allow service to people’s homes.  They had plans to start a campaign for a higher watt antenna.
Slattery wondered if their business model included selling air time and Bench explained their license was a non-commercial educational license with severe restrictions for advertising.  It would take 40 underwriters to keep them sustained and currently they have 6 underwriters.  They explained their business plan was sustainable, they had different ways to raise funds including memberships, grants, sell services, underwriting, donations, remote broadcast, and recordings of events.
Ashland-American Assoc of University Women
Miriam Pippel, representative
Stebbins asked if the money would be used for a computer, and Pippel explained they wanted to set up a central data base to track people that attend their garden tours and to use with the annual community forums to enhance education.  Gentry restated they were asking the city to help improve their operations for their fund raiser.
SO Film Society/Ashland Independent Film Festival
Ed McNaulty, representative.
Stromberg asked how the grant would expand the film festival.  He explained they would like to increase the festival to 5 days, a year round presence and add additional locations while expanding educational opportunities for the university and other schools in film.
Gentry asked if prior grants were used mainly for operational support and he agreed. Gentry stated his personal preference was to support and invest in growth, and not so much operational costs.
Southern Oregon Repertory Singers Inc.
Jeff Ridden, representative
Gentry stated a potential conflict.
There were no questions from the Committee.  
Chamber of Commons
Suzia Aufderheide, representative.
Andrew Mount, representative.
Stromberg asked about their conception and they explained their background came from the Center For Creative Change.  Stromberg asked how their change in venue was reflected in their grant application.   They were attempting to become a 501C6 membership organization, and they have co-sponsored a number of events.  They did not actually have a formal location.  Slattery asked about their political advocacy, and they explained they did not currently have an agenda to support candidates.  Their mission was to bring the commons back to people’s attention. Most of the grant was for a directory, dictionary of the commons and producing a world renowned performance by a Buck Minster Fuller play.
Southern Oregon Land Conservancy
Michael Stringer, representative.
He explained they were able to put together 10 hikes from last year’s grant.  They had 180 new people to the organization, 35 new household members, and they were an Ashland based organization. 
Slattery disclosed he donates to this organization. 
Stromberg asked if the IRS required them to make the properties not disrupted to the environment.  Stringer explained about their hike program with private owners and public land and there were no specific requirements from the IRS.
Lithia Arts Guild of Oregon
Jim Young, representative.
Carol Hoyt, representative.
Stebbins asked if the majority of the grant would be for the Midsummer Festival.  She asked them to explain about the Festival and why the City should contribute.  They explained they collect fees and 10% of the gross, wherein part of those funds goes to the Ashland School District.  They wanted to extend the fund raising portion that would go to the School District due to their multiple connections with the district.
Stebbins wondered if they did not receive annual funds, would they put on the event and they replied the event would be smaller. Gentry stated the grant was a supplemental funding to produce the event.
Stebbins asked staff to be clear about their expectation in the next process.  Lee Tuneberg explained the scoring sheets and dollar allocation were provided as a tool in helping to evaluate the different categories. Staff would like to have all the information back by noon on April 12, 2012 in preparation for the next day’s meeting.  The Committee discussed utilizing the score sheets as a guideline, but felt the allocations were the most important.
Silbiger felt they were going to a criteria basis and the scoring would determine a basic ranking.  Those that ranked the highest would be discussed first and funded more.  He believed that would be the criteria in which grants were awarded, based on their request to the City Council for grant criteria.
Stebbins asked about a sustainability criteria and Silbiger explained hopefully the program or idea would be used and recreated, by other communities or organization. He cited the Ashland Food Project as an example.
Stromberg believed the intention was to look collectively at the scores of the applications and come to a consensus, although he would not like to fully base all decisions on the scores.  The members discussed the scoring method in terms of determining a top to bottom ranking.  They also felt it was important to be able to discuss each application regardless of the ranking.  There could be a lot of variables to consider, expansive visions, no track record, inflated advantages, higher scoring not competing with lower scoring, credibility, subjective decisions and value judgments.
The Committee discussed the allocation of dollars by category, and Tuneberg explained the State requirement for allocation dollars the City Resolution 2012-04.  Adam Hanks would put together different spreadsheets for the Committee to review on Thursday night.
The meeting adjourned at 8:36pm.
Respectfully submitted by:
Mary McClary
Administrative Assistant for Electric, Telecommunication
and the Conservation Department.

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