Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Monday, November 19, 2012


Monday, November 19, 2012
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way

Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 5:31 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room. 

Councilor Voisin, Slattery, Silbiger, and Morris were present.  Councilor Lemhouse was absent.  

1.      Look Ahead

City Administrator Dave Kanner reviewed items on the Look Ahead.

2.  Discussion of city grant application process

Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg explained staff was seeking agreement, consideration, and direction on the following:


  • Council intends to continue this grant process at similar funding levels as in previous years relative to the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenues
  • The tourism component is the only absolute funding category (State Law)
  • Members of the Citizen’s Budget Committee will continue to determine the allocations guided by Council approved policies and overall funding level approval
  • Grant awards will be based on the overall merit of the application and no distinction will be made based on “seed funding”, ongoing program funding requests, or number of years of grant funding awarded
  • The Chamber of Commerce and Oregon Shakespeare Festival will continue to be directly awarded funding with no formal application process (annual TOT allocation resolution)
  • The Fiscal Year 2012-13 grant process was an improvement in incorporating the Council’s Economic Development Strategy goals and actions
  • Applicants will continue to provide written applications and not orally present their request to the grant sub-committee

Mr. Tuneberg addressed the biennial budget and was doubtful the City could award grants for two years at one time.  However, the biennium would allow more time to evaluate the grant process.  He went on to explain the allocations OSF (Oregon Shakespeare Festival) and the Chamber of Commerce VCB (Visitor Convention Bureau) received complied with expenditure requirements from the state and TOT.  Councilor Slattery added in the past a specific percentage of the TOT collected went back into the industry to promote Ashland through tourism and conventions.  City Administrator Dave Kanner referenced the 2003 State law that required a certain percentage of TOT go towards tourism, facilities, and promotion.


{c   ·    Continue using the eligible activities and evaluation criteria from last year’s policy, with the scoring sheet available as a optional tool for each grant sub-committee member

{c  ·   Assign Staff with the task of conducting preliminary scoring/ranking/vetting for the sub-committee

{c   ·        Limit the sub-committee to five members of the Budget Committee, possibly with a defined Council/citizen ratio.

{c   ·         Maintain the $5,000 minimum grant award threshold.

Councilor Silbiger suggested an annual process for the Economic Development Grants, treat larger grantees similar to OSF and the Chamber, and have them occur every two years, and score smaller grants on the four categories only, not the sub-categories.  Additionally the sub-committee should do the preliminary application scoring.  Council supported using four categories to score smaller grants.  Council did not support pre-scoring by staff or limiting the sub-committee to five members. 

Council majority supported retaining the $5,000 award threshold, smaller grants created more staff time.  Opposing comments thought smaller grants would allow more sustainability recipients to apply and the emphasis should be providing smaller groups an opportunity instead of focusing on efficiency. 

Council discussed asking applicant’s questions versus having them do a presentation.  Councilor Voisin suggested three-minute presentations.  Council supported the suggestion, thought it could occur over two nights but did not want video presentations.  

Policy Issues

  • Should each grant category have a specific allocation of the overall grant funds available rather than having no minimum or maximum award per category? (other than required Tourism)
  • Should OSF and Chamber allocations be a fixed dollar amount or a percentage of available funds?
  • Should excess grant funds (those not directly awarded to OSF/Chamber) restricted and defined by Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) for tourism specific uses continue to be included in the Grants process or separated out in some manner?
  • Would the process function better with a different review process, possibly outside of the biennial budget process?

Council thought the previous scoring worked well.  Council did not support specific allocations for the available grant funds except for the required allocations for Tourism.  Council consensus that OSF should continue with a fixed dollar amount of $110,000 and the Chamber continue receiving a 56% fund percentage.  Staff would provide Councilor Voisin with a copy of the Chamber of Commerce contract.

Mr. Tuneberg clarified the City had the latitude of a biennium to make adjustments to grant allocations during the second year if needed.

Council agreed that excess grant funds restricted and defined by ORS for tourism remained in the Grants process.  Council did not support a review procedure outside of the budget process.

Project Manager Adam Hanks explained changes made to the application.  Council suggested replacing the Client Patron Age Percentage from the Client Demographic Profile with actual participant numbers.  In the Revenue table under the Grants Program Budget on the grant application, remove or spell out City of Ashland General Funds (E&C Grant) and overall, reduce the application to four pages.  Another suggestion was a short form for small grants.  Mayor Stromberg added staff should work with specific applicants for their input on paring down the application.  Mr. Kanner thought with the exception of question #8. What percentage of your total annual revenue would come from this grant if it were fully awarded?, staff could eliminate questions 6-7 and 9-11.  Council would forward their changes to staff.

Mayor Stromberg suggested taking $10,000 either this year or the next, divide it into four $2,500 grants as a test pilot, use the same criteria, and monitor the results.

3. Discussion of whether to schedule Council action on whether to waive penalties and delinquent taxes owed (Request of Councilor Voisin)

Mayor Stromberg read the memo, noted Mr. Roth’s previous requests in the past, and thought the Council was the only authority to make a decision regarding his settlement with the City.  One option was deciding whether to bring it to a Study Session to determine whether it went to a regular meeting and the second was adding it directly to a regular meeting for action.

Councilor Voisin wanted to discuss the history of Mr. Roth owing the City money and the process involved.  She proposed having Council authorize the City Administrator to make decisions regarding Mr. Roth’s payment plan.  City Administrator Dave Kanner added the settlement agreement was not clear on who in the City could waive anything within the agreement so it defaulted to Council.  Mr. Roth was requesting to lower the payments and extend the payment schedule, not waive the actual debt.

Council agreed the City Administrator should have the authority to modify the payment schedule regarding the settlement but would not support reducing the overall amount. 

Meeting adjourned at 6:45 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,                           

Dana Smith

Assistant to the City Recorder



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