Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

November 19, 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 was absent.
Mayor Stromberg noted the recent passing of former Budget Committee member and Ashland Community Hospital Board Chair Doug Gentry and honored him with a moment of silence.  Councilor Slattery noted Ashland Community Hospital would plant a tree on the hospital grounds to honor Mr. Gentry for his efforts and contributions to the Hospital and community.   
Mayor Stromberg went on to announce vacancies on the Tree, Transportation, Public Arts, and Firewise Commissions and the Band Board.
The minutes of the Joint Meeting of October 29, 2013, the Study Session of November 4, 2013, and the Business Meeting of November 5, 2013 were approved as presented.
Mayor Stromberg added an agenda item from the previous night’s Study Session, Discussion of Housing and Human Services Commission involvement in social service grant screening to agenda item #1 under OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS/REPORTS FROM COUNCIL LIAISONS.
Mayor Stromberg’s proclamation regarding fallen Police Reserve Officer Robert Libke of Oregon City, Oregon was read aloud.
1.   Acceptance of Commission minutes
2.   Award of a professional services contract in excess of $75,000 for engineering and construction administration of the Bear Creek Parallel Trunk Sewer project
3.   Economic Development Strategy Quarterly Update
4.   Approval of special procurement for Construction phase of Calle Guanajuato project
Councilor Morris/Voisin m/s to approve Consent Agenda items. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
  1. Infrastructure Financing Authority, Water Fund Financing Alternatives
Senior Engineer Pieter Smeenk explained the Public Works Department met with the state for alternatives to finance Water Capital Improvement projects.  The state had five scenarios for the City to consider, two options were private financing done through the League of Oregon Cities.  He referenced the scenario table in the Council Communication.  The first two options consolidated three large projects into one loan that consisted of the TAP (Talent Ashland Phoenix) project, the Crowson II Reservoir project, and the Backup Water Treatment Plant.  Together the projects totaled approximately $20,000,000 resulting in a monthly increase of $12.60 per household to the water bill if the City used private financing.
Another option was public financing that significantly reduced the cost resulting in the TAP project costing $0.42 per month per household.  The Crowson II Reservoir project would cost $1.93 per household monthly, and the Backup Water Treatment Plant costing $3.63 a month per household for a total monthly increase of $5.98 per household.  Mr. Smeenk clarified this was the additional cost the state anticipated the City would incur because of the debt service and did not include the rest of the Water Fund.
These projects were the largest on the Capital Improvement Plan project list.  Many of the remaining projects listed were smaller and financed through a bond issued in 2012.   Once completed what would remain was $5,000,000 to $6,000,000 of pipe improvement over the remaining years of the 10-year program.  Staff was confident grant funding would be available and there was almost a guarantee of the first $250,000.  The remaining $500,000 depended on whether the City could meet the green infrastructure project criteria by incorporating either a water use or energy use efficiency or green infrastructure into each of the projects.  If the grant fell through public financing offered a 1% interest on the loan ensuring the monthly increase per household would not be as high as the private financing.  Private financing offered 4.5%-5% interest on the loan. 
Public financing required the water rate was at least 1.25% of the median household income in order to be eligible for the 1% financing. Public Works Director Mike Faught added if the City adhered to the current rate structure in the Master Plan, it would meet the 1% criteria.  Projects included in the rate structure estimated at 5%.  If staff secured the 1% loan along with the grant, they would reevaluate the rate impact.  Staff recommended staying with the current rate structure proposed in the Water Master Plan until they knew if the City would get the loan, and the Medford Water Commission decided the SDC (System Development Charges).  Once both of those issues were resolved, staff would return to Council.
Mr. Faught addressed the $4,000,000 the City forecasted was needed to generate revenue for the debt service and explained it would help keep the rates level.  Mr. Smeenk clarified the City would apply for each loan individually there was a one loan per year limit that allowed several projects to be consolidated.   
The City had a significant chance to receive a loan but there was no guarantee.  Once the City hit the $6,000,000 threshold, it would be harder to get the next loan.  Three separate loans provided the opportunity to secure more funds.  If the TAP project went through, staff could reduce the size of the Crowson II Reservoir project, and if the Crowson II Reservoir was in place, it was part of the new Water Treatment Plant.  The loans also followed planning for construction in the Water Master Plan.
Councilor Voisin/Marsh m/s that Public Works apply for financing through the SDWRLF program for upcoming projects identified in the 2012 Water Master Plan. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
2.   Annual Review of Investment Policy for the City of Ashland
City Recorder Barbara Christensen explained the state completed the process that allowed cities to invest in credit unions April 2013.  At that time, the City approved Resolution 2013-07 Responsible Banking Policies.  Ms. Christensen integrated language from Resolution 2013-07 into the investment policy.  For securities, she incorporated the ability for the City to invest in credit unions if appropriate.  She provided a list of approved qualified depositories for the state of Oregon that included credit unions.  Unfortunately, none of the local credit unions chose to participate with the State of Oregon at this time.  She noted the delegation of authority that designated the City Recorder/Treasurer and the Administrative Services Director as investment officers in the Investment Policy was not consistent throughout the document.  She would make corrections accordingly.
Ms. Christensen addressed inquiries from the Conservation Commission interested in having the City not invest in funds that were not sustainable.  She planned to meet with the Conservation Commission the following night.  They wanted to know if the City invested in companies with green or sustainable practices.  If not, they wanted to know the process to add that to the City’s investment policy.  Other queries pertained to PERS (Public Employee Retirement System).  The City followed strict state guidelines, Oregon Revised Statutes, and rules set by the Oregon Short Term Board.  The City’s investments went into the Local Government Pool and those monies followed the same rules the state set.  PERS was under a different board.  Additionally, City and investment monies did not go into PERS.  The Investment Policy dealt with excess funds, how the City invested those funds on a short-term basis, 18-months or less, and how safe and available they were to the City.  Changes to investment rules and practices could not occur at the local level.  There were CDs (Certificate of Deposit) and certain securities the City could purchase that had specific parameters.  Currently all investment monies were in the Local Government Investment Pool due to the market.  The Local Government Investment Pool had the ability to invest further out than a City Investment Officer buying securities. The City did not invest in Corporate Debt.  The Oregon Short Term Board approved all investment policies.
Councilor Morris/Slattery m/s to approve revised Investment Policy for the City of Ashland. 
Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
3.   Discussion of regular reporting by boards and commissions or Council liaison
City Administrator Dave Kanner explained the Uniform Policies for Boards and Commissions stated boards and commissions would submit reports from time to time as may be requested by the Mayor or Council.  The Rules of the City Council addressed council liaisons and a regular agenda item for council liaison reports.  Council could decide whether they wanted every board and commission to report. Another item Council could review at some point was the appropriate role boards, commissions, and Council goal setting. 
Mayor Stromberg wanted to liberate Council from unnecessary attendance in their roles as Council Liaisons and suggested some form of rotation for commissions and the band board to report periodically at the Brown Bag meetings possibly at different time intervals.
Council wanted commissions to provide a 5-10 minute report once a year at regular council meetings.  The presentation could occur at the start of the agenda with the liaison scheduling the time.  Additional comments wanted each commission to provide goals so Council was aware of them when council goal setting began.  Council comment noted commissions had goals based on the direction of Council as well as their own goals. 
Council directed staff to bring back an amendment to the ordinance that encompassed the suggestions.
Councilor Voisin/Rosenthal m/s that Council give direction to the Commissions and Committees to submit goals for 2014-15 and present prior to the date of the Council Goal Setting February 2014. DISCUSSION: Councilor Rosenthal commented Council met with the Parks and Recreation Commission about a joint or integration of goals and thought it was appropriate to extend that to the other commissions.  Councilor Voisin clarified she wanted the commissions to submit both goals driven by Council and their own goals.  Roll Call Vote: Councilor Morris, Rosenthal, Slattery, Voisin, and Marsh, YES.  Motion passed.
1.   Approval of a resolution titled, “A resolution accepting changes to the financial management policies and accounting methodologies”
Item delayed until the December 3, 2013 Council meeting.
  1. Discussion of Housing and Human Services Commission involvement in social service grant screening.

City Administrator Dave Kanner explained the ordinance creating the Housing and Human Services Commission initially had a provision the commission would be responsible for reviewing social services grant applications and making a recommendation to the City Council.  Historically, the Budget Committee was responsible for this duty.  Prior to adopting the ordinance, Council amended it to remove that provision with the intention to discuss the commission’s role with the social service grants later.
Council suggested several scenarios.  One the Housing and Human Services Commission could review social service grants, vet and hold presentation hearings and make a recommendation to the Budget Committee who would retain their traditional role regarding grants.  The second option did not support a two-tier review and would support a second less detailed review by the Budget Committee.  Another option suggested having the new Commission make recommendations directly to Council who ultimately voted on the deliberations of the Budget Committee. A fourth option noted the Budget Committee did a good job at allocating grants and thought Council should look at the Commission’s role in the grant process next year.  The fifth option suggested Council direct the Commission to conduct an analysis of the Human Service funding program. Council could schedule a meeting with the Budget Committee to look at grants then schedule another meeting to simplify the process.  Councilor Voisin wanted Budget Committee input on the grant process. 
Council comment noted the agenda item was a discussion item only and the public needed the opportunity to provide input prior to Council making a decision.  Council moved the item to the December 17, 2013 Council meeting agenda.
Councilor Voisin announced Tuesday November 26, 2013 Uncle Foods Diner would serve a complete Thanksgiving dinner at the United Methodist Church starting at 4:30.
Councilor Rosenthal noted a news release issued by the City November 18, 2013 regarding a phone scam from people claiming to be from the City of Ashland or a collection agency.  The caller indicates the utility bill is past due and threatens to disconnect service unless they pay immediately with a credit card. 
Meeting adjourned at 8:22 p.m.
_________________________________                   ________________________________
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder                             John Stromberg, Mayor

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