MINUTES FOR THE STUDY SESSION
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
June 4, 2012
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way
Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 5:33 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room.
Councilor Voisin, Morris, Lemhouse, Slattery, and Chapman were present. Councilor Silbiger was absent.
1. Look Ahead review
City Administrator Dave Kanner reviewed items on the Look Ahead.
2. Goal setting session with the Ad Hoc Homelessness Steering Committee
The following ad hoc Homelessness Steering Committee (HSC) members were present for the discussion: Regina Ayars, Graham Lewis, Laura O’Bryon, Heidi Parker, Sarah Powell, Linda Reid, Connie Saldana, and Paula Sohl.
The HSC and Council determined the Committee would research facts, pros, cons, and choices regarding homelessness and near homelessness in the community and provide Council with information to help make decisions, find resources and determine needs. HSC expressed concern regarding the need for a day center or shelter, would research it further and respond to Council with results and viable alternatives. Additionally the Committee would research homeless prevention programs, outreach, and educating people on available resources.
They went on to discuss the Community Connect event June 22, 2012 at the Medford Armory and possibly hosting a similar event on a smaller scale in Ashland.
Council reaffirmed regular updates with the HSC who would provide quarterly reports. Council directed the HSC to determine the feasibility of establishing a Veteran’s Court within the Municipal Court.
Mayor Stromberg suggested a meeting with Linda Reid, Councilor Morris, and Commissioner Parker to create a statement for the HSC and forward to Council in the near future.
3. Continued discussion: Closing the feedback loop with the City Administrator
City Attorney Dave Lohman explained there was a provision where Council majority could add an item to the agenda during the meeting or a subsequent meeting in an emergency but that stipulation was not a firm limitation.
A single Councilor could request the City Administrator to add an agenda item as long as it did not require more than two hours of staff time. Placement on the agenda, which meeting and time needed, was at the discretion of the City Administrator. However, Council could override the City Administrator. A proposed agenda item that required more research needed to go to the City Administrator in a timely manner with a motion at the meeting to add it to the agenda.
If a single Councilor added an item to the agenda, another Councilor could make an objection to the consideration of the item. If the objection received a 2/3 majority vote to remove the item, it went off the agenda without discussion. This objection did not require a second. An opposing Councilor could also make a motion to postpone the item indefinitely to allow discussion. This would require a second.
Council agreed on a trial basis to maintain the right of a single Councilor to add an item to the Business Agenda by bringing it to a Study Session meeting prior for discussion. If Council disagreed on supporting the agenda item, the initiating Councilor could bring it to a regular meeting. If it was an urgent item, the City Administrator or Mayor would make the decision to add it or the initiating Councilor could propose it during the business meeting via a motion.
Mayor Stromberg addressed how Councilors interact with each other, the need for cooperation, and enforcing the Council rule against negative personal remarks.
Council agreed to discuss having Commission reports at the beginning of Council meetings and the possibility of televising Study Sessions at a future meeting.
4. Discussion of potential City Council support of Jackson County ordinance banning genetically modified crops (request of Councilor Slattery)
Councilor Slattery noted the negative impact genetically modified organisms (GMOs) had on organic farming and promoting organic farming throughout the valley. He wanted Council to contact Jackson County in support of a ban on GMO crops.
City Attorney Dave Lohman explained the City could pass a resolution urging Jackson County to ban GMOs. Citizens could also start an initiative petition and organic farmers could sue GMO farmers through toxic weed regulation or pesticide regulation that may or may not stand in court.
Jackson County Commissioner Don Skundrick explained the Board of Commissioners Work Session June 19, 2012 was a fact-gathering meeting that would decide whether to take action, and determine if it was legal to ban GMOs. A public meeting would follow and a resolution from the City of Ashland would have more impact at that time.
Council directed the City Administrator to add banning GMOs to a future agenda.
5. Other business from the Council
City Administrator Dave Kanner discussed options for salary adjustments for management and department head positions within the City.
Meeting adjourned at 7:34 p.m.
Assistant to the City Recorder