Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


June 18, 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, Lemhouse, Slattery, Rosenthal, and Marsh were present.
Mayor Stromberg announced vacancies on the Firewise, Housing, Transportation, and Tree Commissions, and one vacancy on the Band Board. 
The minutes of the Study Session of June 3, 2013 and Business Meeting of June 4, 2013 were approved as presented.
1.   Approval of minutes from committees and commissions
2.   Amendment to the IGA between the City of Ashland and the Transportation Growth Management Program for the Normal Avenue neighborhood plan 
3.   Appointment of Alyssa Clark to the Public Arts Commission
4.   Extension of City Waiver of Rights to Terminate Lease Agreement with Ashland Community Hospital for failure to maintain working capital and debt service coverage ratios
5.   Approval of parking and marking options for the Plaza
6.   Approval of a resolution titled, “A resolution to close the Youth Activity Levy Fund in the Parks and Recreation Fund effective June 30, 2013”
Councilor Rosenthal pulled Consent Agenda item #5 and Councilor Voisin pulled item #4 for discussion.
Engineering Services Manager Scott Fleury confirmed striping plan 3 was the option recommended by the Transportation Commission for the Plaza and added the Commission did not receive direct feedback from adjacent businesses.  Staff did receive input from two business owners that prompted them to add the other options for the Transportation Commission’s consideration. 
Councilor Voisin motioned to direct the City Administrator to ask the new ACH Advisory Board Chair, who also sits on the Asante Board,  to share a “state of the hospital” report annually at the end of each fiscal year for the hospital which is September 30 and give that report at the first Council meeting in October.  Motion died for lack of a second.
Councilor Rosenthal/Marsh m/s to approve Consent Agenda items. Voice Vote: Councilor Morris, Lemhouse, Slattery, Rosenthal, and Marsh, YES; Councilor Voisin, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Sherrill Morgan/484 Euclid Street/Represented FORE (Friends of Research and Extension) and expressed concern Jackson County Commissioners voted to defund the Extension Service for Jackson County.  The Extension Service had a 100-year history and provided a variety of programs. The Extension’s charter stated in order for the service to exist it had to have substantial County support.
Recently the Commissioners reinstated funds for half a year but there was no indication they would reinstate the rest of the funding.  The County recently sent out a survey to determine support for a jail fee and the response was negative.  FORE was considering adding a request to create a service district to the May 2014 ballot.
City Attorney Dave Lohman requested to pull the Clarification of Mt. Ashland Association Agreement agenda item #3 under New and Miscellaneous Business and address it during an Executive Session.
1.   Annual budget approval of a resolution titled, “Resolution adopting the biennial budget and making appropriations”
City Administrator Dave Kanner explained Council needed to adopt the three resolutions and one ordinance for the 2013-15 budget.  The public hearing and first reading for the ordinance occurred during the June 4, 2013 meeting.  The public hearing for the resolutions would happen at this meeting. 
Public Hearing Open: 7:17 p.m.
Rick Landt/468 Helman Street/Shared his opposition regarding the change in the Parks and Recreation Department’s budget.  He hoped the Council-Parks ad hoc Committee would provide answers and looked forward to a transparent public forum to understand the necessity of the budget changes.
Public Hearing Closed 7:19 p.m.
Councilor Lemhouse/Marsh m/s to approve Resolution #2013-19 adopting the 2013-2015 Biennial Budget and making appropriations.  DISCUSSION: Councilor Rosenthal would not support the motion and would resist the overt and covert efforts to undermine the methodology that made the Parks system a vital element of the quality of life and commerce in the community.  Councilor Voisin would also vote against the budget and thought the Citizen’s Budget Committee decision to subsume the Parks and Recreation budget under the General Fund was an historic decision that had not involved looking at the City Charter or soliciting public input regarding the issue.
Mayor Stromberg asked Eric Navickas to leave the Council Chambers for disrupting the meeting after the Mayor asked him twice to stop his behavior.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Marsh, Slattery, Rosenthal, Morris, and Lemhouse, YES; Councilor Voisin, and Rosenthal, NO. Motion passed 3-2.
Councilor Slattery/Lemhouse m/s to approve Resolution #2013-20 certifying City provides sufficient municipal services to qualify for State Subventions.   Roll Call Vote: Councilor Rosenthal, Lemhouse, Marsh, Slattery, Morris, and Voisin, YES. Motion passed.
Councilor Voisin/Rosenthal m/s to approve Resolution #2013-21 declaring the City’s election to receive State Revenues.  Roll Call Vote: Councilor Morris, Marsh, Rosenthal, Lemhouse, Voisin and Slattery, YES. Motion passed.
Councilor Morris/Lemhouse m/s to approve Ordinance #3083. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Marsh, Lemhouse, Slattery, Morris, Voisin, and Rosenthal, YES. Motion passed.
1.   Report from the Homelessness Steering Committee on the Thursday night winter shelter and discussion of plans for future winter shelter
Regina Ayars/199 Hillcrest/ad hoc Ashland Homelessness Steering Committee (HSC)/Provided an overview of the three winter shelter nights in Ashland.  The year before the HSC invited 30 faith agencies to attend a meeting on what was currently happening and what they would do to support the homeless community.  Six agencies attended and resulted in two additional winter shelter nights.  The Monday night shelter at the Presbyterian Church hosted 27 nights with 362 guests.  The Wednesday night shelter at the Trinity Episcopal Church hosted 22 nights and received 283 guests.  The 16 Thursday night shelter nights at Pioneer Hall hosted by the Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (RVUUF) and Temple Emek Shalom had 208 guests. 
A debriefing at the end of the season revealed that guests were appreciative and polite, volunteering was easier than anticipated, and dogs were well behaved.  Suggestions included using the Police Department/Council Chambers parking lot for people sleeping in their cars, having three volunteers at the shelter, 2 to interact with guests and the third to manage food donations.  Other suggestions were earlier background checks, promoting training in the City’s Utility mailer and the website, and recruiting volunteers earlier.  Improvements consisted of shower and laundry services for the guests, the need for additional volunteers towards the end of the season, and clarifying costs and confusion regarding background checks.
The merged HSC and Housing Commission would continue to work with the faith community and the City to add additional shelter nights for winter 2013-2014.
John Wieczorek/165 Orange Street/Represented the RVUUF who hosted the Thursday night shelter with Temple Emek Shalom.  Of the 208 guests, the shelter housed an average of 13 people a night, 10 men, 3 women, with 40% repeat guests.  Two guests were now in permanent housing.  There were only two occasions where they asked individuals to leave and both complied peacefully.  None of the three shelters had to call law enforcement.  If the Pioneer Hall winter shelter continued, he was interested in streamlining background checks.
There were 75 volunteers with varying degrees of commitment on the volunteer list.  If temperatures dropped for several days and the City invoked the emergency shelter resolution, there were enough volunteers to cover the emergency shelter and the three weekly shelter nights.
City Administrator Dave Kanner further explained if the City saw a forecast of consecutive nights with temperatures below 20 degrees, they would identify city buildings for shelter.  Mr. Kanner or the CERT Coordinator would work directly with volunteer contacts to ensure there were enough volunteers to cover several nights.  If they did not have enough volunteers to run the shelter or could not provide a building, they would not have an emergency shelter.  If that happened, he thought the volunteer contacts would call churches to see if they could host an emergency shelter night instead.  The City was not the only option.
Fran Adams/292 Gresham Street/Spoke on the importance of continuing the winter shelter.  She spent a number of hours contacting large local faith agencies and services trying to get additional shelter accommodations this past winter without success.  It made her realize how important it was to have local government involved in providing shelter to keep people in desperate situations alive during the winter.  She shared the most common excuses from local faith agencies that could not provide a shelter night.    She was also on the board of OHRA (Options for Homeless Residents in Ashland). 
Councilor Lemhouse/Slattery m/s to direct staff to make plans for the Winter Shelter for the coming year, and provide Council with recommendations when to begin the shelter and overall costs for winter 2013-2014. DISCUSSION:  Councilor Lemhouse noted the shelter’s success, wanted to know changes in cost to start the shelter sooner and an appropriate date to open.  Councilor Marsh commented this was best kind of collaboration and the City should look for partners that could build and expand what the City had to offer.  Councilor Voisin thanked the HSC for their effort.  Councilor Lemhouse clarified the motion applied to the program the City used winter 2012-2013 along with the cost of starting the program earlier.  Mayor Stromberg added the intention was to engage more churches and similar organizations in the process and ideally have them find their own facilities so the City might repeat the process with other organizations interested in getting involved. 
Voice Vote:  all AYES.  Motion passed.
2.   Grant award for Help Center services in Ashland
John Wieczorek, a board member of Options for Homeless Residents of Ashland (OHRA) addressed other site options OHRA had reviewed that were in commercial zoned areas.   The parsonage was ideal and OHRA recognized they might encounter opposition when they applied for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP). Referrals and counseling would be the heart of what OHRA provided in addition to showers, laundry services, and baggage storage.
Access Executive Director Jackie Schad confirmed the mobile unit Access proposed would not be available two partial days when it went to Medford and Eagle Point for food distribution.  They would schedule around those events.
Councilor Voisin motion to award the grant to OHRA. Motion died for lack of a second.
Councilor Marsh/Slattery m/s to request OHRA and Access talk together for the next six weeks to a specified date and return to Council with their concepts on collaboration for this project.
DISCUSSION:  Councilor Marsh explained both agencies had strengths that complimented each other and were what the City needed for a successful project.  Councilor Voisin expressed concerned regarding the RFP process and how it seemed Council was diverting it to something different.  Councilor Slattery was in favor of both agencies discussing how to coordinate services.  Councilor Lemhouse thought the grant should go to Access with the expectation Access worked with OHRA as a network based in Ashland.  Councilor Morris commented either organization would be a win for what the City wanted to do.  His concern was long-term viability.  Councilor Rosenthal understood both organizations were willing to work together and thought it was worth waiting.  Councilor Voisin was concerned with the lack of shower and laundry services in the proposal from Access.  The second issue was the time component for OHRA.  She wanted the two representatives to speak to the feasibility of collaborating.
Councilor Voisin/Rosenthal m/s to suspend the rules to hear from the two applicants.  Roll Call Vote: Councilor Marsh, Lemhouse, Morris, Rosenthal, Voisin, and Slattery, YES. Motion passed.
Mr. Wieczorek could not make a decision without OHRA Board discussion.  OHRA’s proposal was different from Access, but he thought the Board would support working towards a site-based center with Access.  Ms. Schad added Access would be very interested to work with OHRA on a site-based proposal. 
Councilor Marsh clarified the six weeks was arbitrary.  Councilor Voisin wanted clear parameters on how the applicants would work together. 
Councilor Slattery/Lemhouse m/s to call for the question.  Roll Call Vote: Councilor Marsh, Lemhouse, Morris, Rosenthal, Voisin, and Slattery, YES. Motion passed.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Marsh, Morris, Rosenthal, Voisin, and Slattery, YES; Councilor Lemhouse, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
3.   Clarification of Mt. Ashland Association Agreement
Item removed for future Executive Session.
1.   Approval of a resolution titled, “A resolution authorizing the establishment and governance of a self-insured health benefit program”
City Administrator Dave Kanner explained if the City stayed with the current provider, benefits would increase 10% and self-insurance would keep costs flat.  The plans and benefits would remain the same other than the City would administer the plan instead of Pacific Source who would actually be the Third Party Administrator.
Claims experience was unpredictable and there was always the possibility for catastrophic occurrences. Mr. Kanner could not guarantee rates would not increase the following year.  The City had reserves set aside for the Health Benefit Fund and there was the Stop Loss Insurance. He provided examples of other entities that switched over to self-insurance. 
The change would go into effect July 1, 2013 with Pacific Source mailing new insurance cards soon.  The downsides were the same for self-insurance and being fully insured.  A bad claims year would affect premium costs the following year. However, through self-insurance the City had the ability to keep administrative and long-term costs lower.  Employees paid 5% of their premium.
Councilor Marsh/Lemhouse m/s to approve Resolution #2013-22.  DISCUSSION: Councilor Marsh commented on the potential self-insurance could have for empowering staff and influencing healthy decisions.  Councilor Lemhouse added self-insurance was a big benefit and savings to the City.
Roll Call Vote:  Councilor Morris, Marsh, Voisin, Lemhouse, Slattery, and Rosenthal, YES. Motion passed.
Councilor Lemhouse noted the Ashland Little League was hosting the District All Star Tournament June 28-July 4 at North Mountain Park playfields. 
Councilor Marsh added the Council-Parks ad hoc Committee requested a joint meeting with Council and the Parks and Recreation Commission.
Meeting adjourned at 8:22 p.m.
________________________________                    _______________________________
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder                             John Stromberg, Mayor

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