Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Monday, March 04, 2013

Monday, March 4, 2013
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way

Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. in the Community Development Siskiyou Room.
Councilors Marsh, Voisin, Lemhouse, Morris, Slattery, and Rosenthal were present.

1.   Look Ahead Review


City Administrator Dave Kanner reviewed the Look Ahead with the Council, made the following additions; review policies in preparation for drought years; update/report on City Sustainability; role of Citizen Budget Committee during off years during the biennial process for budgeting, and provided further discussion and clarity on the move of the City toward self-insurance.
2.   Council evaluation and prioritization of goals and objectives for the 2013-2015 biennial budget
City Administrator Dave Kanner presented the staff report that summarized the goal-setting session of February 2, 2013 where a set of draft goals and objectives were developed for the coming biennium.  He stated that the department heads had reviewed the draft and developed actions and tactics to achieve the objectives and that an additional objective had been added to the list; increase security in downtown. It was understood that many of these actions would require new resources to be budgeted and need to be prioritized in advance of budget development. 
Council held discussion on the additional objective of “increase security in the downtown” as it identified only the “downtown area” and it was suggested that this be broadened to include more areas.  Mr. Kanner explained that the City was comprised of five areas and that the downtown area covered more area than was considered.
Mr. Kanner moved forward with an exercise he had used in the past to help the Council prioritize the Goals and Objectives.  Council requested that cost figures be associated with the objectives and that it would be difficult to prioritize these without this information.  Council voiced confusion on the process being requested of them and that they felt they were being rushed into making priority decisions on the objectives.  Staff was asked to separate out what was already being done by staff, and costs associated with the goals and objectives.  It was stated that it was difficult to prioritize without being able to make comparisons.
Mr. Kanner was asking the Council to prioritize objectives.  These objectives were as follows:


  • Review the Emergency Preparedness Plan to include food security and other shortages of necessities – estimated cost $15,000 - $16,000
  • Mitigate fire hazards in urban interface – estimated cost $175,000 and is connected to Ashland Fire Resiliency; funding would be different from Federal Government funding.  Chief Karns will be making a presentation to the Council in an upcoming Study Session.
  • Reduce risk of fire via weed abatement and Firewise landscaping and building practices – estimated cost $15,000 for weed abatement and $63,000 for a Fire Inspector; review of municipal code is recommended.
  • Provide modern, fully equipped facilities and vehicles for public safety functions – brought forward by Fire Department – estimated cost $300,000 - $600,000 – determined on the cost of purchasing one or two vehicles at a time.
  • Deliver timely life-cycle capital improvement projects – this item is connected with the previous objective, noted that replacement schedule for Fire vehicles had not been followed, important to consider savings when purchasing special equipped vehicles, life of vehicles are considered to be 25-years, should not provide a “sinking fund” but have a maintenance fee schedule.


Council was unable to continue on the remainder of the objectives due to time constraints and directed staff to provide a list of “big ticket” items along with specifics in order for them to complete the prioritization.


  1. Discussion of a revised proposal for a help center in Ashland


City Administrator Dave Kanner presented the staff report that summarized a concept paper by Councilor Marsh.  Councilor Marsh explained that the concept included input by Mayor Stromberg and Mr. Kanner and outlined how a help/resource center for those in need in Ashland might be structured.  The “conceptual RFP” included language from the original RFP as proposed by the Homeless Steering Committee.  She explained there were three different ways to look at this: 1) Coordinating for large body rather than large agency and use more collaborative entities; 2) $50,000 would not be predicated on physical but be more flexible and able to be used for operations; and 3) Options for non-facility as finding space is difficult.  Concept did not require designated space but required ideas from the community.
The solicitation would offer $50,000 a year for two years to a qualified grant recipient.  It would be required that the grantee would provide information and referral to existing assistance available in the community and on-site case management; mental health and substance abuse counseling/assessments; housing assistance; credit counseling; and job skills assessments/employment preparation.
The following topics were discussed in regards to the conceptual RFP:


  • Importance of a facilitator/coordinator to facilitate
  • Additional input from Homeless Steering Committee and agencies
  • Need this to more than a referral service
  • Need a place for people to meet


It was stated that a lot would depend on the model used, leverage from community and assistance from other agencies on whether $50,000 would be adequate to provide the requested services.  Suggestion that the Request for Proposal (RFP) be changed to a Request for Quote (RFQ), in order to better determine costs.  It was also noted that the $50,000 could be used for operations, which may make the proposal more suitable.
Council discussed the need for a physical facility and the possibility of obtaining a facilitator in order to make connections with other agencies.  Several examples were provided including a comparison of costs with the local Food Bank.
It was agreed that more discussion and creative thinking was needed, to consider all cost variables, looking outside normal patterns, moving forward, and a review with other agencies on their effective programs.  Staff was directed to distribute the concept for input to identify specific services and agencies that could make resources available.
It was stated that failure was not an option and that the City needed to invest in order to accomplish what needed to happen in order to have a successful program.  The RFQ would outline the services to be provided and give more options to choose.  The Homeless Steering Committee, staff and identified agencies would be asked to review and provide concrete options and be clear with the services that are being asked to be provided.  In addition, this group will be asked to identify problems and identify "who" will be served.
It was agreed that moving forward was important and appreciation to Councilor Marsh was made on her work associated with the concept paper and her willingness to present the concept to the Homeless Steering Committee, staff, and agencies.  Input from this group would be helpful to the Council when clarifying the RFQ.
Request was made that under “Target Audience,” “involuntary economic displacement” would be better defined and that “desired” rather than “required” be used in the RFQ.
Meeting was adjourned at 7:43 p.m.
Respectfully submitted,
Barbara Christensen
City Recorder

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