Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, May 07, 2013


May 7, 2013
Council Chambers
1175 E. Main Street

Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilor Voisin, Morris, Slattery, Rosenthal, and Marsh were present. Councilor Lemhouse arrived at 7:18 p.m.
Mayor Stromberg announced vacancies on the Housing, Planning, Transportation, and Tree Commissions and one vacancy on the Band Board.
The minutes of the Study Session of April 15, 2013, Executive Session of April 15, 2013 and Business Meeting of April 16, 2013 were approved as presented.
The Mayor’s proclamation of May as National Historic Preservation Month was read aloud.
Oregon Regional Business Manager Steve Vincent from Avista Utilities presented a $5,500 check for the energy conservation effort by the Fire Department with the installation of infrared heaters at Fire Station No. 2.
1.   Approval of minutes from committees, and commissions
2.   Authorization to proceed with a directly awarded contract for the rehabilitation of the Atkinson Bridge in Lithia Park
3.   Public contract award for Electric Cost of Service and Rate Study
4.   Public contract award for 4x4 backhoe loader with hydraulic thumb
5.   Public contract award for 4x4 backhoe loader with extendable dipper stick
6.   Liquor license application for Erik Brown dba Amuse Restaurant
7.   Liquor license application for Jamie North dba Mix Sweet Shop
8.   Liquor license application for Melissa McMillan dba Sammich
9.   Approval of a contract amendment for city forestlands prescribed burning
10. Special procurement request for approval for wildfire fuels reduction and education
Councilor Rosenthal, Slattery, and Morris pulled Consent Agenda items #2, 3, 4, and 5 for discussion.
Parks & Recreation Superintendent Bruce Dickens addressed the Atkinson Bridge rehabilitation in Lithia Park and explained the project would resurface the bridge and included the walking surface, outsides, and lampposts. 
Director of Electric/IT Mark Holden explained the Electric Department needed to review cost of service to determine classification of the customer and actual cost to serve customers.  Cost of service studies typically occurred in five-year cycles.  It was 10-12 years since the City conducted the last cost of service study.  The study required a level of expertise not found in-house.  Staff sent bids locally, statewide and throughout the northwest and received 12 responses with no response from the bids sent locally.  The Bonneville Power Administration set half of the cost for service through a fixed rate that changed yearly.  The study would focus on the cost of infrastructure to determine service costs.
Councilor Lemhouse arrived at 7:18 p.m.
Public Works Director Mike Faught explained all City equipment was on a replacement schedule.  Street Supervisor John Peterson and Wastewater Collections Supervisor Jason Robustelli described how old the backhoes were, frequency of use and how vital they were for to operations. 
Councilor Voisin/Slattery m/s to approve Consent Agenda items.  Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
1.   Appointment to Audit Committee of a citizen member, a Council liaison, and a Budget Committee liaison
City Recorder Barbara Christensen explained there were three vacancies.  One position would replace Guy Nutter and the others were Budget Committee Liaison and Council Liaison.  Roberta Stebbins expressed interest for the position that would expire April 30, 2016.  The Budget Committee selected Chuck Keil as the Budget Committee Liaison for a term that would expire April 30, 2014 and Council needed to select a Councilor or the Mayor as the Mayor/Council Liaison for a term that would expire April 30, 2014.
Councilor Lemhouse/Slattery m/s to appoint Councilor Voisin as Councilor/Mayor liaison to the Audit Committee with a term to end April 30, 2014. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Councilor Morris/Lemhouse m/s to appoint Roberta Stebbins to the Audit Committee with a term ending April 30, 2016. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Councilor Slattery/Lemhouse m/s to approve the appointment of Chuck Keil as Citizen Budget Committee Liaison to the Audit Committee with a term ending April 30, 2014. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
2.   Report on crime in Ashland, the enhanced law enforcement area, and use of force by the Ashland Police Department
Police Chief Terry Holderness explained part one crimes were reported annually to the FBI and included Homicide, Rape, Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Burglary, Auto Theft, and Larceny.  Ashland’s part one crime rate was down 8.9% for 2012.  Violent crimes, Homicide, Rape, Robbery, and Aggravated Assault slightly increased in Ashland due to the definition of rape changing by the federal government in 2012, and the Ashland Police Department’s new reporting policy that resulted in a higher percentage of rape and sexual assaults reported.
During 2012 the police used force 40 times, 31 involved the lowest level control hold, or the subject was forced against a solid object usually a vehicle, wall, or the ground because they did not want to be handcuffed.  Nine other cases involved extensive struggles with one involving the use of a Taser.  There were 10 incidents where suspects received minor injuries with two suspects requiring medical attention.  Eight officers received minor injuries and two officers required medical treatment.  The majority of incidents requiring use of force involved alcohol. During 2012, officers received a minimum of 20 hours training related to use of force.  The Police Department arrested approximately 2,000 people a year.
The Enhanced Law Enforced Area ordinance that went into effect August 2012 resulted in nine people trespassed from the downtown.  Of the nine people who qualified, five left town without being served.  Of the four remaining, two left the area and the police arrested the other two six times each for violating the ordinance.  Both subjects had significant histories of having problems in the downtown area and prior to the Enhanced Law Enforced Area, officers were dealing with these individual 2-3 times a day.  To date there were 30 incidents less than the past but this did not include the summer months.  The major increase in calls regarding disorder during 2012 had diminished and was not happening this year. 
Assistant City Attorney Doug McGeary explained how one of the individuals who violated the enforcement area six times was actually showing up for court because he wanted to get back into the downtown area.  Part of his sentence was expulsion and going to the Talent Work Center (Community Justice Transition Center).  This particular individual had a drinking problem and several theft convictions.
Chief Holderness added the Jackson County Jail was too small and they were not keeping people for minor offenses.  If released, they received a ticket and had to find their own way back to Ashland.  This created a significant inconvenience for them and acted as a deterrent.
The 35 violent crimes that occurred during 2012 consisted of 12 rapes, 5 robberies, and 17 aggravated assaults.  Driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII) was a part two crime and not included in the report.  In hindsight, Chief Holderness thought the ordinance should include personal possession of marijuana of less than an ounce. 
When an officer used force, they wrote a Use of Force Report in addition to the Police Report.  The Sergeant on duty reviewed and approved the report.  If it was a significant use of force, the Sergeant initiated a use of force investigation at that time.  It then went to the Use of Force Committee that consisted of a firearms instructor, defensive tactics instructor, and Deputy Chief Falls.  Council suggested adding comparative data on use of force to future reports.
Chief Holderness thought renting jail beds at the Jackson County Jail would be useful and provide a consequence to repeat offender behavior.
3.   Public Works report on residential 1-inch water meters for fire systems
Public Works Director Mike Faught explained the building Code and National Fire Association Protection Agency required a minimum 1-inch meter for fire sprinkler system installations.  Currently there were 46 water utility customers with fire sprinkler systems that otherwise would have installed a ¾-inch water meter.  If Council decided this was an inequity, it would result in an approximate $9,000 revenue loss.  Customers using ¾-inch meters averaged 781 cubic feet or 5,800 gallons.  One-inch meters averaged 1,047 cubic feet of water or 7,800 gallons.
Senior Engineer Pieter Smeenk explained peak hour demand determined the size of pump stations and reservoirs. They based future demand on the number of 1-inch and ¾-inch meters.  Staff inspected two resident’s 1-inch meters and determined they were not necessary and would replace them with ¾-inch meters.  The goal was not to have a system with larger meters.  People with sprinkler systems had no choice regarding the 1-inch meters.  The other factor was the number of fixture units needed to be less than 39 to be eligible for ¾-inch meters.  Residences typically had 29 fixture units.  The Building Official provided the assessment and if the residence met the criteria, staff changed out the meter. 
Council thought the City should exempt 1-inch meters for fire sprinklers everywhere and directed staff to review the rate structure and tiers to recoup some of the revenue lost from exempting the 1-inch meter when they conducted the cost of service study.
Meeting adjourned at 8:10 p.m.
______________________________            ______________________________
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder                 John Stromberg, Mayor


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