Ashland Conservation Commission
6:00-8:00pm – November 20, 2013
Community Development Building, Siskiyou Room
51 Winburn Way
1. Call to Order
The meeting was called to order by Chair Weir at 6:00 PM. In attendance were Commissioners Weir, Gould, Hartman, Beigel-Coryell, Buck, Beam, McGinnis, Silberberg and Koopman. Councilor liaison Rosenthal and City Staff Hanks were also in attendance.
2. Consent Agenda / Reports
Minutes of the October 23, 2013
The meeting minutes were approved by motion/second from Buck/Gould with an amendment to include that Commissioner Gould has made several attempts to reach Schools Superintendant with no response regarding the anti-idling project. The motion was approved unanimously.
3.1 Next Regular Meeting: 18th December 2013
3.2 Upcoming Sub-committee meetings for Dec
Sustainability Sub-Committee Dec 4th
@ 2:00 PM
3.3 Other Announcements from Commissioners
Commissioner Buck mentioned the free leaf date of December 15th
. Commissioner Beam reminded Chair Weir about the Mayor brown bag lunch that he is now invited to as Chair. Commissioner Silverberg thanked the group that spoke at the Council study session on the Bring Your Own Bag (BYOB) project and noted he felt it was a success and good for the Commission.
Chair Weir requested and received Commission approval to move the City Recorder presentation up in the agenda immediately following public forum.
4. Public Forum
1. Misty Munoz introduced herself to the Commission and noted that she was a past recipient of the Commission’s Conservationist of the Year in 2012 for her work on the SOU recycling center. She noted that she is beginning work on an upcoming project for local composting using the “hot rot” process/system, which can convert pre/post-consumer food waste into usable compost in eleven days.
2. Winston Friedman spoke representing SOCAN in continued support of the potential for the City to support/implement a divestment policy for its financial investments. He thanked the Commission for their interest and also noted a recent meeting with City Recorder/Treasurer Barbara Christensen that was helpful in understanding the issue at a local level.
5. Reports / Presentations
City Investment Policy Presentation
City Recorder Barbra Christensen presented a background of the City’s investment policy and her role as the City Treasurer. The City has a responsible banking policy and an investment policy, both updated and approved annually by the City Council. These policies set guidelines and protect the public funds invested. The investment portfolio is between 18-20 million and all but $250,000 are invested through the Local Government Investment Pool (LGIP) which is a state agency overseen by the Oregon Short Term Investment Board.
Ms. Christensen explained the requirements for local government investment, such as the term (max 18 months),the liquidity, diversification and yield of the investment.
Ms. Christensen stated she wasn’t familiar with any divestment policy approved by the City of Eugene that was referenced by a member of the public. Hanks added that the City of Eugene has not adopted any divestment policy. The Mayor has pledged to bring the matter to their Council and Eugene City staff stated that it was scheduled for some time in the spring of 2014.
Commissioner McGinnis asked about the ability to affect the short term board. Christensen stated that the Board is public and their information is available online.
Commissioner Silverberg asked for clarification that all City investments are short term and not individual common stock. Christensen affirmed. Commissioner Buck commented that she felt that any Commission support of divestment would be symbolic.
Chair Weir thanked Ms. Christensen for attending and presenting the investment information and suggested that unless a Commissioner was interested in a formal motion that the interested citizens could work directly with Ms. Christensen on moving a policy forward.
Council - Councilor Rosenthal
Councilor Rosenthal congratulated the Commission on their work at the recent study session on the BYOB ordinance discussion and noted that the project is now at the policy development stage. He also noted that the decision on the North Main St Road Diet project would be in front of Council at their December 3rd
meeting for interested Commissioners. He also noted an upcoming study session topic of how best to integrate commissions into the Council goal setting process as well as developing or formalizing a process for Council to assign or refer tasks or projects to Commissions.
Commissioner Beam noted that the Commission at some point in the recent past had considered and recommended that the Conservation Commission be re-chartered as the Sustainability Commission and that maybe this process would be a good time to see if that change is feasible.
City Staff – Hanks
Hanks gave a brief update on the ad hoc Recycle Center Committee, noting that the Mayor had yet to make the needed appointments and the group would begin meetings in January. Hanks also noted that the Conservation Division is working through some program changes to the appliance rebate program as well as the solar electric system program to be effective in the spring of 2014.
Hanks mentioned that the Electric Department cost of service study is to be presented to the Council on December 16th
and that Electric rate increases take effect in December as well, which usually brings an increase of call to the Conservation Division. Changes are also underway for the Earth Advantage/Energy Star new residential construction program which will also be rolled out in the spring of 2014
SOU Quarterly Report – Beigel-Coryell
SOU Sustainability Center approved by President Cullinan this spring is currently in development phase. Fill has been removed from the 5 acres adjacent to ScienceWorks and it is being prepped for cover crops to be planted this winter.
Solar installation on the student union was completed this summer. Just under 32kw with 117 panels. A kiosk is located in the student union next to the info desk with a live feed on energy generation.
SOU is completing LEED certification submissions for the new residence halls (North Campus Village or NCV). There is also a RFP being drafted and released for solar on both the north hall and south hall. We are hoping to complete installation during winter break.
SOU completed and released a greenhouse gas inventory for Fiscal Year 2012. It is available for viewing via SOU's sustainability site http://sou.edu/sustainable/action.html
SOU Recycling continues to recycle hard and soft plastics with SOASPIRE.
The Science building will be renovated June 2013-fall 2015. Currently the plans include a LEED Silver minimum for the renovation. Science classes will be relocated to the old residence hall complex (Cascade) during construction.
Sustainability Council has subcommittees working on:
· Tree Campus USA
· Bottled Water Reduction Campaign
· Carbon Offsets for Air Travel
· Alternative Transportation
SOU is also updating their green cleaning policy to be more robust
Commissioner McGinnis asked about the affect of retrenchment on sustainability programs. Beigel-Coryell noted that retrenchment relates to academic programs and doesn’t immediately affect Facilities/Sustainability.
6. Old Business
6.1 Sustainability Sub-Committee – McGinnis
Commissioner McGinnis gave an overview of the progress on the development of a framework for the Community Sustainability Plan that the sub-committee has been working on and provided several handouts notably the Star Community Index overview table. McGinnis explained that the goal is to develop a framework document similar to that of the Operational Sustainability Plan from 2012 to present to Council for their review and approval to continue moving forward with process planning.
McGinnis noted that he and Councilor Rosenthal will be meeting with Mayor Stromberg in the coming weeks to discuss the Star Communities Index as a planning tool for the Community Plan and invited other interested Commissioners to attend.
Commissioner Beam inquired about who would be leading this process. McGinnis noted that it could be done a variety of ways and that those types of discussions and recommendations would come after the framework is developed, understood and accepted.
McGinnis stated that the documents from the sub-committee are intended to be approved by the Commission for inclusion in the Council goal setting packet for February.
6.2 BYOB Update - Weir
Commissioner Buck gave a short overview of the status of the project stating that she felt the Commission did a good job in the recommendation presentation at the recent Council study session. The Council accepted the recommendation and directed staff to begin work on the development of the ordinance and the plan for the education/outreach/roll-out of the program to the public. Commissioner Silverberg noted that the project has generated some buzz and the Commission should keep that going somehow.
Buck noted that the sub-committee will continue to meet to assist staff in the next steps and scheduled meetings for the 2nd
of December at 3:30 at Recology.
7. New Business
Conservation Awards sub-committee establishment – Koopman
Commissioner Koopman stated that she felt it was important to get the sub-committee started and asked for the Commissions input into the existing process, what could be done better, what changes might be suggested. Commission Chair Weir noted that he felt that more applicant submittals were needed for the awards to be more impactful in the community and suggested using groups like SOCAN and SOU to illicit more interest in applications.
Commissioner Buck noted that the four years of the awards have been a great start for overall exposure and has been well received in the community. Commissioner Beam suggested some brainstorming about the location for the awards and wondered if Earth Day is the best place or if other opportunities are better for bigger exposure.
Commissioner Hartman suggested that the award scope and criteria be expanded and that an emphasis be placed on nominations that indicate how the work involves others in the community.
Commissioners Buck, Gould and Koopman volunteered to form the Awards sub-committee and decided to meet on November 25th
at 3:15 at Recology.
8. Wrap Up
8.1 Review of goal assignments
8.2 Items to be added to next agenda
Chair Weir announced his tentative schedule for the December agenda. Buck requested time for a BYOB update and the awards sub-committee. Beam was interested in a Road Diet update as well.
Weir adjourned the meeting at 8:00