MINUTES of the CITY OF ASHLAND
CITY COUNCIL/PARKS COMMISSION JOINT MEETING
City Council Chambers 1175 E. Main St.
March 12, 2014, 7 p.m.
Meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chamber by Park Commissioner Stefani Seffinger.
Councilors Slattery, Voisin, Rosenthal, Marsh, Lemhouse and Morris were present. Park Commissioners Vanston, Lewis, Landt, Seffinger and Gardiner were present.
PUBLIC COMMENT -
REVIEW AND APPROVAL OF A MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL AND ASHLAND PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
Director of Parks & Recreation Don Robertson shared with the body how things have changed over the years and the changes of how business is conducted. He stated that the integrity of conducting business has not changed but the manner in which business is conducted has changed. In the past, business has been done by “hand-shakes” but this no longer works.
City Administrator Dave Kanner presented the proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which uses the textbook definition of management. He stated that the MOU had been presented to the Council/Parks Ad Hoc Committee and reflects current operations.
Concern was voiced regarding Section 4(6)(b) the language”without deviation” and Section 4(6)(i) language regarding use of new media. It was said that the Parks & Recreation Department could be marginalized by policy. That the Park Commission and staff should be given the right to provide social media platforms and that the authorization should lie with the Commission. It was noted that it is currently difficult to navigate through the city website. It was explained that the city website is layered and each department is responsible for its own section. Copyright law is important to keep in mind, maintaining consistency of format, and the ability to recognize the site as the official “City of Ashland” was noted. The ability to retain records and following compliance as it pertains to State Law was mentioned.
Comments supporting the ability of Parks & Recreation to conduct and maintain their own website but comply with public records, retention was voiced. They should be encouraged to create and reflect their department. Concern was voiced that there should be consistency in policy as it refers to employees, that new hires are currently required to sign off on all policies prior to their beginning work. This is helpful with any future litigation cases. It was understood that Parks would only be interested in policies that pertain directly to their expertise and department. Parks should have flexibility and it would be incumbent upon Parks to develop a policy that protects the identification of the City of Ashland. Park Commissioners felt it was important to explore other media sources and understood the need for consistency. It was suggested that Parks could have their own identification and use this for consistency which would include making clear to user that they are at an official website.
Mr. Robertson stated that current Park & Recreation website is consistent with city website other than the Senior Center site. This is due to the difficulty seniors have with accessing the web and is much simpler to use and access by our senior citizens.
The Medford Parks website was used as an example along with some of the roadblocks that they experienced. Comment was made that we need to find ways to overcome unique barriers, find ways to excite people about Parks & Recreation. City Attorney Dave Lohman suggested language change to “Parks can develop its own Facebook and Twitter pages and “will coordinate with the city its publications and will comply with city’s policies whenever possible and appropriate.”
It was stated that the use of the word “parks” was confusing as it is used in different ways throughout the document. Request was made to better identify the definition with the document and agreement to drop “without deviation” in Section (6)(b).
Consensus by body was to direct staff to provides language within the proposed MOU that the City agrees to provide Parks Commission with more latitude for development of their website, deletion of “without deviation” and better identification of when “parks” is used within the document and would be brought back individually to each body.
REVIEW AND DISCUSSION OF PARKS COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION FOR FUTURE USE OF UNAPPROPRIATED FUND BALANCE IN THE PARKS FUND
Commissioner Gardiner presented recommendation on use of “Un-appropriated Fund Balance.”
He reported that the Parks Commission and staff had identified two projects for best use of these funds.
- Sidewalks along Lithia Park
- Second Dog Park in lower Clay Street
City Administrator Dave Kanner explained that the proposal would be presented to the Citizen Budget Committee in next budget cycle. He clarified that this would be a transfer from general fund of un-appropriated funds and that the projects would need to be identified in the Parks Capital Improvement Plan. The next step would be to get the Citizen Budget Committee concurrence. He confirmed that the fund amount is $470,000 and staff clarified that the estimate for the projects is $496,000. If the amount changes, the projects would be re-evaluated. It was felt that there was value for the projects and worth discussing. The Park Commission spent a great deal of time and discussion when identifying these two projects which address safety and transportation issues.
It was confirmed that any changes would need to go through the full Citizen Budget Committee process. Comment was made that the Park Commission should have control over how they manage funds that are appropriated to them. It was also noted that the Ad Hoc Council/Park Committee supported use of the Un-appropriated Fund Balance which would give the Parks Commission the ability to take charge on the use of these funds. Consensus of support was voiced for proposed use of Un-appropriated Fund Balance.
Budget committee would be meeting May of 2015.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL OR COMMISSION MEMBERS
It was announced that a joint meeting of the Council with the Citizen Budget Committee would be taking place in the near future. The agenda for the joint meeting may be limited to one or two items and Park Commissioners will be notified of the topics in order to allow time for discussion. It was still be discussed how interaction with Parks Commissioners would take place.
It was reported that the City Council had recently conducted their goal setting session and were currently in the process of processing the substance of the session and setting a time for the Park Commission to be involved in the long-term Strategic Planning of the City.
Meeting was adjourned at 8:14 p.m.
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder