MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
October 1, 2013
1175 E. Main Street
CALL TO ORDER
Council Chair Mike Morris called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilor Voisin, Lemhouse, Slattery, Rosenthal, and Marsh were present. Mayor Stromberg was absent.
Council Chair Morris announced that applications were being accepted for the new Housing and Human Resource Commission along with vacancies on Tree, Transportation, and Firewise Commissions, and the Band Board.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Study Session of September 16, 2013 and Business Meeting of September 17, 2013 were approved as presented.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
Public Arts Commission Chair Margaret Garrington gave a presentation on current and upcoming projects.
Division Chief – Forest Resource Chris Chambers and Fire Chief John Karns gave a presentation on the Fire Adapted Communities program.
1. Approval of commission minutes
2. Approval of a contract amendment for Southern Oregon Transportation Engineering
Councilor Rosenthal pulled Consent Agenda item #2 for discussion. Public Works Director Mike Faught clarified that funding from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Bicycle and Pedestrian Fund associated with the Road Diet was approximately $150,000 in addition to the $26,000 ODOT was willing to pay for the grant. Mr. Faught explained traffic counters were placed on the side streets quarterly and the Traffic Engineer would present that data at the December 3, 2013 Council meeting. Councilor Rosenthal requested that the questions submitted by email to Mr. Faught be submitted into the record.
Councilor Voisin/Rosenthal m/s to approve Consent Agenda items. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
PUBLIC HEARINGS - None
PUBLIC FORUM - None
UNFINISHED BUSINESS - None
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS - None
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. Second reading by title only of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance creating a franchise agreement for solid waste management and collection within the City of Ashland and repealing Ordinances 2829, 2582 relating to previous solid waste franchise agreements and terms”
Management Analyst Adam Hanks noted minor changes to the ordinance that clarified definitions. Staff would change the franchise effective date to December 1, 2013 and the annual fee payment date to February 1, 2014.
Mark Weir/546 Scenic Drive/Did not believe the ordinance and franchise agreement would do much to reduce the solid waste the City produced and exported to other communities. The Franchise Agreement was a good first draft but should go back to the Committee to review best practices incorporated by other communities looking to reduce solid waste. With the increased trash fee and the 5% fee back to the City that customers were paying, the City should require more out of what they were allowing as Allowable Expenses to reduce solid waste.
Louise Shawkat/870 Cambridge Street/Wanted to live in a sustainable town that reused, reduced, recycled, and contributed to a healthy eco-system. She supported retaining the Recycle Center. People came from all over to recycle and contributed to the local economy in the process. The Recycle Center provided pet adoption, food collection, free fall leaf collection drop off days, Styrofoam peanut exchange, free clothing and shoes, and an open-air classroom on composting. The Recycle Center served the community with a valued function.
City Attorney Dave Lohman read aloud substantive changes to the ordinance in the following sections: Section 4: Definitions “Generator”; 5.3 Franchise Terms; 5.4(1) Franchise Annual Fee; 5.7 Transfer of Franchise; 7.2 Indemnification, Bond, and Insurance; 8.6 Service Interruption; 8.7 City’s Right to Perform Service; 8.8 Dispute Resolution with Customers and Section 10 Repeal of Ordinances.
Councilor Lemhouse/Slattery m/s to approve Ordinance #3090 as amended.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Rosenthal, Voisin, Slattery, Morris, Marsh, and Lemhouse, YES. Motion passed.
2. Approval of a resolution titled, “A resolution adopting administrative operations and rules and service rates for solid waste and recycling collections franchise”
Management Analyst Adam Hanks explained the resolution would provide details on the process for rate adjustments, required collection type, frequency of collection, roll carts, collection standards, customer service standards, reporting requirements, waste evaluation, education standards, billing requirements and collection vehicle standards. Recology proposed removing the costs associated with the Recycle Center currently imbedded in the rates creating a rate reduction in conjunction with a 3% rate adjustment that would generate the capital investment to distribute roll carts as well hitting the operating margin in the Franchise agreement.
The resolution would roll the Yellow Bag service into the Sticker Program as well as institute a recycling fee for customers without the monthly subscription service, and initiate a minor increase in medical waste rates. Waste reduction targets and goals would be a collaborated effort with Recology to understand the tools and options available.
Recology General Manager Steve DiFabion confirmed there was a required rate increase that consisted of the current base rate minus the $1.59 surcharge for the Recycle Center plus 3% that covered capital costs and the CPI (Consumer Price Index) estimate for April 2014. Starting January 1, 2014, an average customer currently paying $19.26 a month would pay $18.81 for service and the surcharge to cover the Recycle Center during the interim while the City decided how and if to fund the Center. Recology would not ask for a rate increase for 15 months following January 1, 2014.
Councilor Voisin/Lemhouse m/s to approve Resolution #2013-32. DISCUSSION: Councilor Voisin supported the resolution. Councilor Lemhouse added the importance of people knowing monthly rates and appreciated hiring a consultant to review rates and services. Councilor Marsh noted the agreement emphasized cost equity with a rate structure that contained no incentive for waste reduction or increasing the recycling stream. It did not forward regional waste reduction goals or environmental values and countered rate structures for other utilities.
Councilor Marsh/Slattery m/s to amend the motion to require Recology to return to the City by April 1, 2014, with suggestions for restructuring rates to provide a financial incentive for waste reduction and an increase in recycling, including but not limited to an option for service of a less-than-32 gallon container. DISCUSSION: Councilor Marsh explained Recology were the experts in the field and it was prudent to take advantage of their expertise and learn about available options. Councilor Slattery supported the amendment. Councilor Lemhouse supported the motion and thought it would help build a long-term relationship with the franchisees. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Lemhouse, Rosenthal, Marsh, Voisin, Morris and Slattery, YES. Motion passed.
Roll Call Vote on amended Main Motion: Councilor Lemhouse, Rosenthal, Marsh, Voisin, Morris and Slattery, YES. Motion passed.
3. Franchise Agreement with Recology Ashland Sanitary Services, Inc. for solid waste management and collection
City Attorney Dave Lohman explained the resolution would formalize a contract with Recology for solid waste services. He noted a date change in paragraph 3 of the agreement changing the extended dates from September 1, 2013 through August 30, 2023 to December 1, 2013 through November 30, 2023. The effective date of September 1, 2013 in paragraph 7 would change to December 1, 2013 as well.
Councilor Lemhouse/Marsh m/s to approve the City Administrator to sign the Franchise Agreement with Recology Ashland Sanitary Service Inc. as amended. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Marsh, Lemhouse, Voisin, Rosenthal, Slattery, and Morris, YES. Motion passed.
4. Approval of a resolution titled, “A resolution adopting a surcharge fee for the operations of the Ashland Recycle Center”
City Administrator Dave Kanner explained there were three issues regarding the Recycle Center. The first issue was “big money.” Recycling was expensive and there was a pervasive myth that Recology made money on selling recyclables that was not true. It cost an excess of $130,000 annually to operate the Recycle Center that ended up costing every Ashland customer approximately $20 annually whether they used the Recycle Center or not.
The second issue was “low return.” The volume of material collected at the Recycle Center was equivalent to 9% of co-mingled recyclables and 7% of corrugated cardboard. Ashland was spending a lot of money to collect a low volume of materials that most likely came from non-Recology subscribers. He questioned if the goal was to increase recycling and waste diversion rates, was the Recycle Center the best way to do that and thought the Recycle Center was antiquated. The community should discuss waste diversion goals and how best to achieve them with the funding available.
The final issue was “who cares” or who would be impacted by the closure of the Recycle Center if the Council chose to close it. He thought the majority of Ashland Recology customers did not use the Recycle Center but paid for it. The rural and incorporated areas around Ashland did not have curbside recycling and would pay nothing under the surcharge scenarios. The surcharge would make it clear to Ashland Recology customers they were paying for this service whether they used it or not. He suggested people outside the city limit that used and valued the Recycle Center contact their elected representatives on the Jackson County Board of Commissioners and ask the County to impose a surcharge on their garbage bills to help offset the cost of the Recycle Center.
Management Analyst Adam Hanks explained the surcharge could go on the Recology or the City utility bill. If the surcharge went on the Recology bill, it would be a flat amount and apply to all subscription customers. Another option was using a percentage allocation of 4% instead. The other option was using the City utility bill by adding a $1.00 surcharge on electric meters or $1.40 surcharge on all accounts with a water meter. Mr. Kanner clarified the surcharge was designed to raise an annualized amount charged for a shorter period. Council noted a rate effective date error in the rate structure that showed an effective date of October 1, 2013.
Catherine Shaw/886 Oak Street/Explained the genesis of the Recycle Center was encouraging people to become more aware of their garbage in the waste stream. The City charged more when people consumed more water and electricity and that policy should apply to garbage. The City should charge double for a second can and triple for a third to encourage people to limit the amount they put in the waste stream. She talked about the inception of the Recycle Center in 1989 and clarified it was common knowledge that recycling did not pay for itself. It was expensive to recycle and never considered a goal that it made money. She listed the amenities Ashland citizens subsidized that did not make money. More people used the Recycle Center annually than played tennis, used the ball fields, the swimming pool, or played golf. Council needed to determine how to subsidize the Recycle Center.
Abi Maghamfar/451 N Main Street/Questioned why he had to pay for a service he was not using. The Recycle Center no longer made sense and was a technology that no longer existed. He was a resident who paid Recology to pick up his recyclables and he did not want to pay the $2.00 for the Recycle Center and did not think any Ashland resident should either. If the service did not make sense, get rid of it or charge the people who will use it.
Mr. Kanner explained staff recommended a flat fee surcharge of a $1.60 on all Recology subscription customers. It seemed unfair to pass a higher percentage on to business customers. Mr. Hanks added Council needed to determine an end date for the surcharge.
Councilor Lemhouse/Rosenthal m/s to approve a Resolution titled “A resolution adopting a surcharge fee for the operations of the Ashland Recycle Center for a $1.00 monthly surcharge fee on all utility accounts with an electric meter with a sunset date of June 30, 2014.”
DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse considered the surcharge a band-aid to provide time to decide what to do. He wanted an analysis of the best plan going forward. The $1.00 monthly surcharge was fair since everyone created garbage and recyclables. Councilor Rosenthal thought best approach was including the Recycle Center as an Allowable Expense through June 30, 2014. This motion was the next best alternative.
Councilor Slattery explained having a date to close the Recycle Center was misguided. He was uncomfortable with the staff recommendation and thought there was an additional issue to the three Mr. Kanner shared and that was “what is right?” This was a deep-seated value in the community and it seemed like the conversation occurring was not “how” but “if.” He asked what if the citizenry did not object to the surcharge. He appreciated the motion but thought the tone went in the wrong direction and preferred a discussion on how to maintain the Recycle Center instead. He did not care who used the Recycle Center, Ashland had always been a leader in some of these issues. He supported a motion without a sunset date and would not support this one. Councilor Rosenthal did not believe the discussion was a value judgment of the Recycle Center rather a discussion to extend the Recycle Center beyond December 31, 2013. He was open to removing the sunset date.
Councilor Marsh thought the Recycle Center was a beloved institution. Right now, the conversation was how to fund the Recycle Center while Council analyzed maintaining it long-term or in another form. She was a little uncomfortable with the $1.00, adding a surcharge on an electric bill raised unnecessary questions and might be a better long-term solution. It made better sense to have the surcharge on the Recology bill instead.
Councilor Voisin did not like the surcharge on the electric bill and thought it should go on the Recology bill. She supported a deadline explaining it would be an incentive to work on the issue. She also wanted Council to work with the Conservation Commission over the next six-seven months and come up with a solution that engaged the public. The public also needed to know when the surcharge would end. Councilor Lemhouse agreed with Councilor Voisin on having a deadline. Councilor Morris supported the six-month deadline. The Recycle Center served a purpose when curbside recycling was not available and thought that purpose may be changing. Councilor Slattery agreed with the basic direction but was unclear if the deadline was for the Council or the Recycle Center and wanted clarification on whether the Recycle Center was an allowable expense in other communities.
Mr. Kanner clarified that many years ago a portion of the Recycle Center was imbedded in the rates in Talent and Jackson County. Assuming the portion of the rates still contributed to the cost of the Recycle Center, the amount was approximately 25% of the cost.
Councilor Lemhouse/Slattery m/s to suspend Council rules in order to allow Recology to speak. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed. Recology General Manager Steve DiFabion explained to his knowledge a discussion of costs associated with the Recycle Center had never happened. Recology had three franchise agreements with approved rates and no discussion of pulling out medical costs or recycling. He thought if the City of Talent wanted to help fund the Recycle Center, the costs to facilitate those changes would increase rates. Councilor Lemhouse/Slattery m/s to return to Council rules. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Rosenthal, Morris and Lemhouse, YES; Councilor Slattery, Voisin and Marsh, NO. Motion failed 3-3.
Councilor Marsh/Voisin m/s to approve Resolution #2013-33 adopting a $1.60 surcharge fee on Recology subscription customers for the operation of the Ashland Recycle Center with surcharge effective January 1, 2014 and a sunset date of July 1, 2014. DISCUSSION: Councilor Marsh thought the motion was the most logical solution for a short-term period. Councilor Voisin was interested in what the citizens of Ashland wanted to do and the motion allowed that. Councilor Rosenthal would not support the resolution explaining fewer people would be paying for the service. The previous motion was the fairest. Councilor Lemhouse commented although he agreed with Councilor Rosenthal he would support the motion.
Councilor Lemhouse/Marsh m/s to amend the motion that the current Council working group that had been studying the Franchise Agreement for the next six months work to provide a recommendation to the Council on the future of the Recycle Center. DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse wanted the group to work with Recology and the Conservation Commission, hold public meetings for input, and study best practices. Mr. Kanner noted that Councilor Voisin, Slattery, and Morris worked with Conservation Commissioner Tom Beam in the original work group. Councilor Marsh wanted more Conservation Commission representation in the working group and possibly a member of the public.
Councilor Marsh/Lemhouse m/s to amend the amendment that the working group have two members of the Conservation Commission, two members of the public with the three Councilors from the original work group on the Franchise. DISCUSSION: Councilor Rosenthal thought the best path forward was referring it to the Conservation Commission. Councilor Marsh responded the Recycle Center was a much broader issue than to place it with the Commission only. The group needed to analyze best practices, evaluate the Recycle Center’s effectiveness and answer questions whether the Center was the only option. City Recorder Barbara Christensen clarified the work group was an ad hoc Committee that would come back to Council for the Mayor to create the ad hoc.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Morris, Slattery, Voisin, Lemhouse, and Marsh, YES; Councilor Rosenthal, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Roll Call Vote on the amended amendment to the main motion: Councilor Morris, Slattery, Voisin, Lemhouse, and Marsh, YES; Councilor Rosenthal, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
CONT’D DISCUSSION ON MAIN MOTION: Councilor Slattery understood the sunset date but wanted to know what would happen on July 2, 2014. The motion was not addressing the Recycle Center and he would not support it. Councilor Rosenthal wanted clarification on the methodology and billing for Recology customers.
Councilor Rosenthal/Marsh m/s to suspend rules to allow Recology to speak. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed. Mr. DiFabion explained all residential customers were billed quarterly and commercial customers billed monthly. Recology could shut off the surcharge easily as long as it coincided with a quarter and July 1, 2014 would work well. Councilor Rosenthal/Lemhouse m/s to return to Council rules. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Councilor Slattery reiterated his issue was the sunset date on the funding mechanism. Mr. Kanner clarified what the work group could do was evaluate the functioning of the Recycle Center, to keep it as it, change it or shut it down completely. In addition, the group would research resources and other recycling programs.
Councilor Marsh/Slattery m/s to amend the motion and eliminate the July 1 ending date of the surcharge fee and to insert into the ad hoc committee a requirement the group report back to the Council by June 1, 2014. DISCUSSION: Councilor Marsh explained the amendment removed tension regarding the end of the surcharge, allowed the group to work and Council to take action on any of the recommendations that came forward. Councilor Lemhouse thought an end date to the funding was a stronger impetus to get something done but was willing to compromise. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Rosenthal, Morris, Slattery, Voisin, Lemhouse, and Marsh, YES. Motion passed.
Roll Call Vote on Main Motion as amended: Councilor Morris, Slattery, Voisin, Lemhouse, and Marsh, YES; Councilor Rosenthal, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
5. Second reading by title only of three an ordinance titled, “An ordinance amending Chapters 18.08, 18.24.030, 18.28.030 and 18.112 of the Ashland Land Use Ordinance relating to definitions, traveler’s accommodations in multi-family residential districts and enforcement associated with transient lodging”
City Attorney Dave Lohman read aloud changes to the ordinance in the following sections: 18.08.795 Traveler’s Accommodations; 18.24.030(2) R-2 Low Density Multifamily Residential District; 18.24.030(J) Conditional Uses Traveler’s accommodations, subject to the following (1); 18.28.030(3) R-3 High Density Multifamily Residential District, 18.28.030 Conditional Uses I Traveler’s accommodations, subject to the following (1); Section 18.112.080(A)(3) Violations-nuisance.
Councilor Lemhouse/Rosenthal m/s to approve Ordinance #3088 as amended.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Slattery, Marsh, Lemhouse, Voisin, Rosenthal and Morris, YES. Motion passed.
6. Second reading by title only of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance amending AMC Chapter 6.04 Business Licenses”
City Attorney Dave Lohman noted the only change was removing the phrase “short-term home rental” from 6.04.020 Definitions.
Councilor Slattery/Lemhouse m/s to approve Ordinance #3087 as amended.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Morris, Marsh, Rosenthal, Lemhouse, and Slattery, YES. Motion passed.
7. Second reading by title only of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance amending AMC Chapter 4.24 Transient Occupancy Tax”
Councilor Marsh/Slattery m/s to approve Ordinance #3089. Roll Call: Councilor Marsh, Voisin, Rosenthal, Slattery, Lemhouse, and Morris, YES. Motion passed.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS
Councilor Lemhouse announced the upcoming Southern Oregon University (SOU) home football game Saturday October 5, 2013. The second announcement was the Ashland Food Bank purchased a building for $475,000 by raising funds and receiving a grant. Councilor Voisin announced SOU would host political analyst Cornel West as a speaker October 17, 2013.
Meeting adjourned at 9:47 p.m.
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder John Stromberg, Mayor