Agendas and Minutes

Citizens' Budget Committee (View All)

Citizens' Budget Committee Meeting

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Budget Committee Meeting
May 22, 2013 6:00pm
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street
The Budget Committee was called to order at 6:01.
All committee members present.
3/20/2013 Social Service Grant Presentations
3/21/2013 Social Service Grant Proposed Allocations
4/17/2013 Economic and Cultural Grant Presentations
4/18/2013 Economic and Cultural Grant Proposed Allocations

Runkel stated there was a correction to page 2 of the minutes from March 21st. He voted no to the motion to “approve a 2% increase across the board for year 2”.
Everson/Keil m/s to approve minutes as corrected. All Ayes.
Regina Ayers, 199 Hillcrest Ashland. Chair of housing commission. Read a letter of support of the Code Compliance Officer.
Bryan Holley, 324 Liberty St. Ashland. He is dissatisfied with the Parks funding proposal. He doesn’t feel that the budget committee has the authority to make a decision to overturn a decades old agreement.
JoAnne Eggers, 221 Granite St. Ashland. Spoke of the importance of honoring the long term commitment of the ad hoc committee. She doesn’t feel like it’s a good idea to make a decision on the pretence that this decision will only last 2 years waiting for a long term solution
Abi Maghamfar, 451 N. Main St. Ashland. President of the Ashland Lodging Association. In support of the Code Compliance Officer.   Not only is it important for this position to enforce the illegal vacation rentals but also to enforce the Ashland Municipal Code. He feels that approximately 100K of TOT dollars are being lost per year. He also feels that there are several illegal rentals out there collecting TOT dollars but not paying their share.
Lija Appleberry, 704 Willow St. Ashland. In support of the previous Parks funding and feels they have managed their budget very well thus far. She is also against the transfer of money out of the reserve fund, as well as raising the permanent tax rates. She feels that the budget needs to be cut by 1-1.5 million to be more fiscally prudent.
Ellen Campbell, 120 Gresham Ashland. She is in support of the Code Compliance Officer due to the illegal vacation rentals in operation. She stated that the cumulative loss of revenue over the last 5 years is incredible. She feels that the City hasn’t been very good about collecting the TOT tax. She feels like once a Code Compliance officer is hired that it will send a strong message to those not in compliance.
Cyndi Dion, 897 Hillview Ashland . She has done an extensive amount of research on the Parks funding. Was recently informed by John Stromberg that the there was a resolution in 2011 that changed the Parks funding, went from a Special Revenue Fund to a General Parks Fund. She urges the Budget Committee to leave the $2.09 funding the way it has been.
Marilyn Briggs, 590 Glennview Dr. Ashland.  She feels that Parks is doing a good job with the money that they have been managing. She disagrees with the $100,000 study that is being proposed for the downtown plan.
Jean Crawford, 923 Harmony Ln. Ashland. She is in support of leaving the Parks funding alone. She feels that Parks Commission has been very successful with their decision making.
Lois Van Aken, 140 Central Ave. Ashland. In support of the Code Compliance Officer. Ashland Lodging Association. She offered on behalf of the association to mentor any illegal vacation rental owners which would like to come become compliant.  
Stef Seffinger spoke on behalf of the Ashland Parks & Recreation Commission. In 1919 the charter was formed to create an independent Parks Commission and protect the Parks. She spoke of how important the Ashland Parks and Recreation department is to the citizens of Ashland. She said they believe that the two elected bodies need to come together to determine a long term funding solution. She believes that there needs to be more citizen involvement in the process. They are requesting that the original $2.09 be restored for the 2013-2015 budget cycle and allow the Ad Hoc committee more time to come up with the proper solution.
Voisin/Rosenthal m/s to restore the $2.09 plus the 25% EFB and continue to encourage and support the ad hoc committee to come back in 2 years to revisit the Parks funding.
Rosenthal, Slattery, Voisin YES; Daehler, Keil, Runkel, Stromberg  Everson, Heimann, Lemhouse, Marsh, Morris, Thompson, Stebbins NO.
Discussion: Thompson would like to know what impact the restoral of the $2.09 Parks funding would have on the proposed budget.
Voisin said that the Parks Commission said that they have done a great job of managing that money and that they ended last year with a 25% EFB balance. She also stated that the Council has a legal duty to uphold the laws and City Charter.
Don Robertson stated that the Parks budget is currently built on $1.98 due to the EFB buying down the expenditures.
Slattery reiterated that Parks is asking that the old $2.09 agreement be put back in place and this be revisited in 2 years with the use of the ad hoc committee’s recommendation.
Keil doesn’t believe that policy making can be handled by the budget committee. He feels this is an issue for Council to decide. He feels that it should be a 1 year stop gap and that it be revisited after a year.
Runkel mentioned that it was previously mentioned that there was a compromise.
Kanner stated that the motion only works if 600k is cut out of the budget to restore the Parks EFB. In order to approve the motion there would be a lot of necessary changes to the budget in order to approve the budget.
Stebbins feels that it won’t impede the operation of the Parks department. Feels the ad hoc committee can continue discussions and revisit this later.
Heimann believes that it is not a decision of the budget committee but needs to be decided upon by the Council.
Stromberg would recommend that the budget be passed with the proposed Parks budget & that the Parks Commission bring a proposal to the City Council for a policy change.
Marsh agrees that this is a policy issue that needs to be decided upon by the Council. The ad hoc committee will not change regardless of what funding is established.
Lemhouse agrees that it is a Policy decision that is needed and that it is too late to bring the proposal now.
Runkel is disappointed that the Parks Commission hasn’t had further discussion with the Council.
Morris doesn’t support the motion due to the late timing.
Heimann/Lemhouse m/s to call the question.
Voice Vote: All Ayes. Motion passed.
Stromberg/Keil m/s to table the motion.
Daehler, Keil, Runkel, Stromberg YES; Everson, Heimann, Lemhouse, Marsh, Morris, Rosenthal, Slattery, Thompson, Voisin, Stebbins NO. Motion Fails.
Kanner distributed a handout “Operating Taxes & Utilities Comparison to Household Income” and an ad package handout was distributed. The net fiscal impact is $1,700 per year for the Fire pump test pit.
Another handout was distributed titled “Current Property Taxes Ten Year History”
Kanner spoke to the ad packages that are included in the budget as changes from the current budget not necessarily “ad packages”. He stated that he is reluctant to distribute a handout that he has which lists potential cuts to fund AFR. He feels it is up to each individual to determine what is important to each of them. He stated that EFB is not a reserve fund. It is unappropriated money within the current year & the EFB likely won’t be known until August. A reserve fund isn’t required in the event of an emergency.
Discussion: Slattery stated that it isn’t about what departments to cut; it’s about whether Ashland can afford everything. He suggested that the money could come from this current year and flow into this budget.
Keil/Stromberg m/s that the permanent property tax rate be raised by the equivalent of $175,000 in order to fund AFR.
Keil, Stromberg, Voisin YES; Daehler, Everson, Heimann, Lemhouse, Marsh, Morris, Rosenthal, Runkel, Slattery, Thompson, Stebbins NO. Motion Fails.
Discussion: Lemhouse disagrees due to the utility increases approved during the 5/21/13 Council meeting. He feels that the money will be available from the current year’s budgets EFB especially since the $175,000 isn’t a known requirement.
Thompson believes the budget can be trimmed without actually cutting programs. She isn’t really comfortable in budgeting off of EFB. She also doesn’t support a tax increase unless it is the last resort.
Voisin doesn’t feel it is wise to budget AFR out of the EFB. She feels it is especially important to fund AFR and thinks it is essential that it be funded through the increase in property taxes.
Slattery feels it is important for Council to make the decision once the revised projections come out.
Marsh feels very sensitive to increasing the property tax rate after having increased utility rates.
Heimann doesn’t feel it is wise to fund AFR by raising the tax rate.
Morris would like to see some of the ad packages eliminated to fund AFR instead of raising the tax rate.
Slattery/Heimann m/s to recommend to that Council to fund AFR for $175,000 and to find a proper mechanism to do that before the budget is adopted.
Stromberg, Voisin, Daehler, Everson, Heimann, Lemhouse,  Morris, Rosenthal, Runkel, Slattery, Thompson, Stebbins YES; Keil, Marsh NO. Motion Passes.
Keil/Lemhouse m/s to amend the previous motion and that a line item be included for $1 and a reduction of $1 in the EFB. Voice Vote. Motion Fails.
Discussion: Lemhouse stated that this ensures the budget committee that something will be done by Council.
Stromberg stated that he doesn’t think it would suffice to take that to the State and Feds.
Tuneberg stated that we can recognize a larger carry forward and appropriate for them next year and that does not change the EFB.
Slattery/Lemhouse m/s to call to question.
Voice vote All AYES. Motion passes.
Recess 8:20
Called back to order at 8:27
Everson/Voisin m/s to approve the Economic, Cultural, Tourism and Sustainability grants and Social Service grants as proposed.
Keil, Stromberg, Voisin, Everson,  Marsh, Morris, Rosenthal, Slattery, Lemhouse, Stebbins YES; Daehler, Heimann, Runkel, Thompson NO. Motion Passes.
Thompson feels that the money to fund the homeless resource center be paid for out of the Social Service grant funds.
Keil/Everson m/s to transfer $35,000 yr 1/$55,000 yr 2 from the reserve fund to the Central Services fund for the IT department and $50,000 yr 1/$50,000 yr 2 from the reserve fund to the Admin. Services department for the help center.
Keil, Stromberg, Voisin, Everson, Lemhouse, Marsh, Morris, Rosenthal, Slattery YES; Daehler, Heimann, Runkel, Thompson, Stebbins NO. Motion Passes.
Heimann/Daehler m/s to amend the previous motion & the motion is divided.
Daehler, Heimann, Lemhouse, Runkel YES; Keil, Stromberg, Voisin, Everson, Marsh, Morris, Rosenthal, Slattery, Thompson, Stebbins NO. Motion Fails.
Everson/Slattery m/s to appropriate $287,725 committed to parking improvements, remove appropriations for the Conservation Vehicle ($18,000), recognize Self Insurance interfund Loan renewal if needed ($400,000) and recognize interfund loan repayment from the Water to the Equipment Fund ($100,000). Voice Vote. ALL AYES. Motion Passes.
Slattery/Lemhouse m/s to move that the City of Ashland budget committee approve and convey the budget (as revised) to council for adoption, approve property taxes for operating purposes of $4.1972 per $1000 of assessed value for 2013-2014 and $4.1972 per $1000 of assessed value for 2014-2015, approve property taxes for the Ashland Library Local Option Levy of $0.1921 per $1000 of assessed value for 2013-2014 and $0.1921 per $1000 of assessed value for 2014-2015, approve property taxes for the payment of the 2005 general obligation bond principal and interest of $299,790 for 2013-2014 and $296,730 for 2014-2015, approve property taxes for the payment of the 2011 fire station #2 general obligation bond principal and interest of $216,527 for 2013-2014 and $219,443 for 2014-2015. 
Daehler, Heimann, Lemhouse, Runkel, Keil, Stromberg, Everson, Marsh, Morris, Slattery, Thompson, Stebbins YES; Rosenthal, Voisin NO. Motion Passes.
Discussion: Stebbins and Heimann feel that the budget cannot be decided upon if the Parks $2.09 is restored since it would require so many changes. They feel that the budget should be voted upon and time be allowed for the Ad Hoc committee to pursue alternate funding methods for Parks funding for future budgets.
Lemhouse/Thompson m/s to amend the main motion & remove $50,000 for the one time water rate study.
Daehler, Heimann, Lemhouse, Runkel, Morris, Thompson, Stebbins YES; Keil, Stromberg, Everson, Marsh, Rosenthal, Slattery, Voisin NO. Motion Fails.
Lemhouse/Thompson m/s to remove the $10,000 Trails Master plan.
Lemhouse, Runkel, Thompson YES; Daehler, Heimann, Keil, Stromberg, Everson, Marsh, Morris, Rosenthal, Slattery, Stebbins, Voisin NO. Motion Fails.
Lemhouse/Thompson m/s to remove the $160,000 for the CCTV system replacement. Lemhouse YES; Daehler, Heimann, Runkel, Keil, Stromberg, Everson, Marsh, Morris, Rosenthal, Slattery, Thompson, Stebbins, Voisin NO. Motion Fails.
Discussion: Lemhouse stated that he made the 3 motions in order to free up funds for more pressing issues such as AFR.
Keil stated that he feels like cutting the CCTV system replacement is a public health issue.
Heimann stated that he feels like the motions are commendable and that different things are important to different people.
Faught stated that the chassis is in the equipment schedule and the camera is obsolete. The camera is reaching the end of its useful life. Without the camera they wouldn’t know the condition of the system.
Morris/Heimann m/s to remove the Code Compliance Officer position.
Heimann, Morris YES; Lemhouse, Daehler, Runkel, Keil, Stromberg, Everson, Marsh, Rosenthal, Slattery, Thompson, Stebbins, Voisin NO. Motion Fails.
Discussion: Morris stated that in previous years Community Development has managed to accomplish the job. He thinks the Code Compliance officer position is important but he isn’t sure it justifies adding another FTE. He thinks they should utilize current employees to do the code compliance work.
Daehler feels that the taxes collected would compensate for the additional position. She also feels like it shows good intentions to the business that are compliant and that this is potentially a public health issue.
Keil thinks that with the amount of demand of our TOT funds this could be an opportunity over time to add more money to the TOT funds.
Marsh she is willing to give it a 2 year trial but would want to see the outcomes to continue to fund it in future bienniums.
Stromberg thinks it is getting out of control and that we may want to consider doing it on a contractual basis without adding an additional staff member for 2 years.
Runkel stated that last year he asked Bill Molnar if they needed an additional person and his answer was no. He asked him this year and his answer was yes. He stated that VRBO compliance is very time consuming and  the repercussions need to be more severe. 
Lemhouse stated that there is much more to code compliance officer than monitoring VRBO’s.
Marsh/Slattery m/s to limit any expenditures on the downtown study to those expenditures that can be permissible with the downtown parking revenues.
Daehler, Heimann, Runkel, Stromberg, Marsh, Morris, Slattery, Thompson, Stebbins, Lemhouse YES; Everson, Keil, Rosenthal, Voisin NO. Motion Passes.
Discussion: Marsh thinks that this needs to be handled with the use of the restricted revenues.
Slattery & Lemhouse agree with Marsh. They both feel like the study should be done but they don’t feel like the money should come from the general fund.
Discussion: Question was asked regarding the outcome of the Ashland Library if the County ceases funding. Kanner stated that Commissioner Skundrick is scheduled to attend an upcoming Study session. It wouldn’t have any impact on the tax rate but would affect the EFB.
Stromberg/Morris m/s to call the question.
Daehler, Heimann, Keil, Stromberg, Everson, Marsh, Morris, Slattery, Thompson, Stebbins YES; Rosenthal, Runkel, Voisin NO. Motion Passes.
Everson wanted everyone to remember Doug Gentry’s service to the committee. She liked the more direct presentation. Did not like the add packages being included in the budget. She would have liked to have had staff present potential cuts.
Slattery suggested that Council review the budget process at a future study session. Staff will follow up to set a date.
Lemhouse thanks Stebbins as Chair and Everson’s willingness to serve on the committee.
Stebbins thanks the committee for their willingness to share their discussions.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:51 p.m.
Respectfully submitted,
Tami De Mille-Campos
Administrative Assistant

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