Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Monday, July 01, 2013

Monday, July 1, 2013 
Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street

Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 7 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Roll Call: Councilor Voisin, Morris, Slattery, Rosenthal and Marsh were present. Councilor Lemhouse was absent.
1.     Look Ahead review
City Administrator Dave Kanner reviewed Look Ahead.

  • Debrief on budget process will be moved to September
  • Review of financial management policy will be moved to September
  • Study Session discussion on Urban Renewal and report on the Normal Avenue Plan will be moved to July 15
  • Public Hearing or ordinance and resolution approving the Recology Franchise Agreement may be postponed in order to allow the Conservation Commission and public to review agreement

2.     Discussion of Economic Development Strategy Phase II Projects Update
Project Manager Adam Hanks presented himself for questions regarding the Economic Development Strategy Phase II Projects.

  • Data obtained will be determined on how it is prioritized and how easily and timely it is made accessible to the Chamber of Commerce who is working in partnership with the City.  The City has a desire to participate in promoting economic health in our community.
  • The City allocation of $50,000 (estimated) is meant to assist the project in obtaining occupancy inventory; video pieces highlighting and emphasizing the Ashland business culture, climate, assets, successes and partnerships across business sectors; and assist with content development, organization and display.
  • Data will assist with determine future needs and development.
  • Staff was not able to explain how an additional $14,000 would be spent, if made available and stated that the $14,000 which has been historically been spent to assist with the community Festival of Lights.  There was concern that this should remain within the boundaries of tourism and not economic development. Arguments to the contrary were made that economic development is tourism and determining logic on where to place this was discussed and examples provided.  Finding the proper place to budget this expense was discussed and historical background over the years from the Electric Departments role and the Chambers role was provided.

3.     Discussion regarding improving and follow through on Council Goal Setting session (request of Councilors Slattery and Marsh) 
Councilor Marsh shared discussion she had with Councilor Slattery regarding the follow-through process for presenting annual goals and how these are integrated into the budget process.  She gave examples of certain large dollar programs that were presented before the Budget Committee and felt concern that the objectives discussed by the council at goal setting justified these budget expenditures.
It was suggested that the council be allowed to go into the next budget process with a process that has been clearly defined by January.  City departments should know what is expected of them when building their budgets.  The desire would be to have an overarching vision or values that would sustain these goals over time and allow the city to move forward.  The process would also include a realistic timeline that would allow goals to be achieved.
The council is being asked if they would be open to discussing a change in the process that would allow these values and offer a process that drives the goal setting.  Concern was voiced that the current process seems to happen too quickly and that council should take the time for a goal setting process.  Suggestion was made that commissions and department heads should be included in the process.  It was noted that there is a difference between Community Visioning and Council Goal Setting and that if a process is determined there should be clear process that outlines the goal setting.
The importance of goal setting and the process that is set to accomplish this goal setting was made.  Examples of past processes were shared.  The Mayor, Councilor Slattery and Marsh agreed to bring a process back for the council to consider.
4.     Discussion of Plaza enhancements
City Administrator Dave Kanner presented staff report and it was noted that there are now beautiful flower baskets in the plaza.  The individuals who donated the baskets and staff were acknowledged and appreciated.
Background and implications were noted on the following:

  • Tables and Chairs – if are movable there is a question on who would move the furniture and where it would be stored; options varied from paying a private company, contracting with a security firm, securing volunteers or just leave the furniture there to its own demise.  Effect on function of plaza if this furniture were to be placed may inhibit adequate pedestrian access.  Determining the number of items to place on the plaza would need to be established.

Police Chief Terry Holderness provided work hour information for the downtown patrol officers and explained that it would be problematic to provide this service due to varying schedules.  It was suggested that Park Patrol be approached to provide this service. Observation was made that there does not seem to be any current department that oversees the plaza area and that Park Patrol may be a reasonable suggestion.
Reality of having tables and chairs was voiced due to theft, vandalism and additional workload for staff. Suggestion was made for the City to purchase a few tables and chairs and use it as an experiment to see what happens.

  • Flower Pots – Staff strongly recommends that flowerpots be “non-movable.”   Flowerpots need to be irrigated and the cost to extend irrigation would be expensive.  The other concern is that any additional flowerpots may obstruct the perimeter of the plaza.  It was explained that there is a small percentage of the occupancy tax for downtown improvements that could be used for the plaza. It was explained that other communities have groups that provide support to city areas through private funding. 

It was suggested that adding flowerpots would establish the “space” and offer a beginning and an end to the plaza, offer safety from accessing the street directly and provide a significant change.

  • Painting the Information Booth – Staff suggested and council agreed that Sue Springer, as the artist of the ceramic frieze; Margaret Garrington, an artist who has expertise in identifying appropriate paint colors and Sandra Slattery who manages the information booth be the individuals who select the paint colors for the booth.

Meeting was adjourned at 8:26 p.m.
Respectfully submitted,
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder

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