MINUTES FOR THE STUDY SESSION
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
Monday, December 16, 2013
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way
Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 5:29 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room.
Councilor Morris, Voisin, Rosenthal, Slattery, and Marsh were present. Councilor Lemhouse arrived at 6:16 p.m.
Councilor Slattery and Councilor Marsh proposed deferring the discussion on the Cost of Service Study for the Electric Utility and having the Budget Committee review and provide input during the off year of the biennium budget. Council comments included one that did not support the suggestion, two comments that did and two that were neutral on the matter. City Administrator Dave Kanner noted implementation would occur 2015 and there was time for discussion 2014.
Mayor Stromberg moved Agenda Item #3 Discussion of request to donate fire pumper to Guanajuato to Agenda Item #2 with Council consent.
1. Look Ahead review
City Administrator Dave Kanner reviewed items on the Look Ahead.
2. Discussion of request to donate fire pumper to Guanajuato
Fire Chief John Karns explained the Ashland Fire and Rescue Department would purchase two new fire engines in March or April 2014. The purchases provided an opportunity to donate a fire engine to Guanajuato. Previously, the Fire department donated a 1991 fire engine to Guanajuato in 2005. The trading price for the older fire engine was $10,000 and $35,000 for the newer one. The older one fit Guanajuato’s needs better but required pump certification that would cost $2,500 to bring it up to standards. There were three ways to liquidate fire equipment, through trade, donation, or send out for bids. Details to move the vehicle from Ashland to El Paso TX were not in place at this time. The City funded shipping costs in 2005. Shipping would cost approximately $3,000. Driving the vehicle to El Paso would cost approximately the same.
Council was concerned donating a unit that was not reliable. Chief Karns clarified Guanajuato was skilled with engine work and the 1991 donation currently was their first line engine. Council suggested giving Guanajuato half the money received in trade for them to buy a truck that might work better.
Council supported donating the fire engine but thought Guanajuato should cover shipping costs. Chief Karns would contact Guanajuato with the proposal and provide a deadline for a response.
3. Presentation of cost of service and rate design study for electric utility
Electric/IT Director Mark Holden explained Electric Utilities used Cost of Service (COS) studies to establish need, fairness, and equity of cost for each customer class. COS studies also ensured rates and charges represented actual costs from customers. The COS established rates and charges and along with the Ten Year Capital Plan provided a master plan for the Electric Utility. If Council approved the COS model presented, staff would move forward on rate design.
President of Utility Financial Solutions (UFS) Mark Beauchamp explained Council needed to provide direction on three items, approval of the 5.3% rate increase and the subsequent four-year rate track, a 1%-2% leeway to move classes closer to COS, and raising the monthly customer charge overtime to match what the COS proposed.
He went on to give a presentation on COS results that included:
Mr. Beauchamp explained it was common to recover conservation charges through the monthly customer charges because it was a fixed source of funding. The City had $600,000 conservation costs to recover and UFS thought it was appropriate to add it to the monthly customer charge for an increase from $11.50 to $13.84 in monthly customer charges for Residential Single Phase.
The current basic charge for Residential Single Phase was $8.45 in monthly charges. The COS would increase that amount to $13.84. UFS recommended increasing the monthly customer charge $1.50 each year for minimum impact on customers. The increase in monthly customer charge would affect low use customers. Mr. Beauchamp clarified low use customers were not low-income customers who tended to consume higher amounts of energy than average customers did. The increase in the monthly customer charge actually benefited low-income users.
Mr. Beauchamp explained projections were close for years 2-3 and typically wrong but by year five because there were too many variables. Mr. Holden noted COS studies usually occurred every five years, this was the first for the City in 12 years.
Mr. Kanner and Management Analyst Adam Hanks would bring in a suggestion to the next Study Session that could remove Conservation Department from the Electric Department.
Council majority did not think the Budget Committee needed to review the COS study and supported moving forward with the model, projected rate adjustments, the 1%-2% leeway to move classes closer to COS and raising the monthly customer charges $1.50 each year to meet the increase.
4. Discussion of ordinance updates: City Council Rules (Chapter 2.04), Boards and Commissions Rules and Procedures (Chapter 2.10), and Miscellaneous Chapters (2.18 and 2.28) (continued from December 2 study session)
Delayed due to time constraints.
Meeting adjourned at 7:03 p.m.
Assistant to the City Recorder