Agendas and Minutes

Citizens' Budget Committee (View All)

Economic, Cultural, Tourism & Sustainability Grants Meeting

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Citizens Budget Sub-Committee
April 09, 2014, 6:00 PM
Civic Center Council Chambers
1175 East Main Street
The Citizens Budget Committee meeting was called to order at 6:03 pm.
Committee Members Bill Heimann,  Dennis Slattery, John Stromberg, Mary Cody, Rich Rosenthal and Roberta Stebbins were present as well as staff members Lee Tuneberg Finance Director & Kristy Blackman Administrative Assistant.
Stromberg /Heimann m/s to elect Stebbins as chair. All Ayes.
Tuneberg announced the number of applications totaled 25 and noted that there was $214,390 available for the 2014-15 Economic, Cultural, Tourism & Sustainability Grants and a total of $462,060 in requests from applicants. He went on to explain that the source for grant money as per Resolution 2013-05 is the Transient Occupancy Tax and of that funding, $57,178 is allocated to Tourism and $157,212 is allocated to general programs. An important aspect of the allocation process is ensuring that the tourism portion is allocated correctly.
67Tuneberg explained that applicants were notified they would be considered in the order that their application was received in the office and that they would have 3 minutes to give a verbal presentation. Tuneberg outlined that the first night would be dedicated to hearing the applicant’s presentations and the second night would be dedicated to allocation of funds. Tuneberg then questioned if there should be a public forum to which Stebbins declined noting that all of the applicants were present and they would be the ones talking.
Heard in order of receipt of application;
  Applicant Name  Request   Applicant Name  Request
1 Science Works $43,000 14 Thrive  $30,000
2 Ashland Art Center $25,000 15 Rogue Valley Symphony $14,000
3 Ashland New Plays Festival $18,000 16 Ashland’s’ Bed & Breakfast Network $19,900
4 SOPride Inc. $14,000 17 Modern Roots $7,000
5 St  Clair Productions $10,000 18 Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon $9,000
6 Lomakatsi $23,000 19 Klamath Bird Observatory $25,000
7 KSKQ 89.5 FM $12,280 20 Siskiyou Violins $10,000
8 Below Stairs Productions $10,000 21 Southern Oregon Film and Television $15,000
9 Dancing People Company $9,000 22 Schneider Museum of Art, SOU Foundation $30,000
10 Ashland Gallery Association $35,000 23 Siskiyou Singers $9,670
11 Sustainable Valley Technology Group $27,710 24 Rogue Valley Farm to School $10,300
12 Southern Oregon Repertory Singers, Inc. $5,000 25 Ashland Independent Film Festival $45,000
13 Stories Alive $5,200      
        Total Requests $462,060
Chip Lindsay Director of Science Works noted that thanks in large to funding from the 2013-14 ECTS grants, Science Works have had a good year and are currently holding the Dinosaur Exhibition. He noted that they have had over 22,000 people through their doors since January 21, 2014. Mr. Lindsay mentioned that Science Works has been advertising heavily. Science Works has also been focusing on number of cultural activities and have been partnering with Southern Oregon Head Start to encourage families that wouldn’t normally attend museums. Other partnerships include the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention & Innovation which is a part of the Smithsonian Institution. Mr. Lindsay noted that the Smithsonian has designated Southern Oregon as a hotspot for invention due in part to the work that Science Works is doing with the Southern Oregon Historical Society.
Stromberg asked where the grant money would be allocated. Mr. Lindsay noted that the grant money would be dedicated to several upcoming monthly events and that the funds would be spread out over marketing and promotions as well as operating expenses.
Rosenthal asked if Science Works’ operating budget was more this year than last year. Mr. Lindsay replied Science Work’s budget is up slightly this year and this was due to Science Works coming to the end of a capital campaign for money that would be used to purchase the building that houses them and for internal improvements. Mr. Lindsay stated that as a result of this their numbers looked skewed but believes that their budget was up approx 5% this year.
Denise Baxter Executive Director commented that Ashland Art Center’s application speaks for itself and they have taken a great deal of care to make sure that the application was complete. Ms. Baxter stated that she would like to leave it up to the committee to direct questions.
Stromberg noted that the request was more than double the request from last year. Ms Baxter responded that Ashland Art Center had received $10,000 for 3 years in a row and that each year they had requested $25,000.
Stebbins asked if there were 2 separate entities as there are 2 names mentioned. Ms Baxter explained that the company is Ashland Artisan Gallery and Art Center dba Ashland Art Center.
James Pagliasotti, President of Ashland New Plays Festival noted that they were in the 22nd season and receiving plays from all over the world. Mr. Pagliasotti noted that the organization has a national gravity now and are able to expand. Grant money if awarded will be a multiplier helping them do things bigger and better than previously.
Gina DuQuenne, Founder and President of Southern Oregon Pride thanked the Committee for last year’s grant. Ms. DuQuenne noted that the grant had helped SOPride to move forward and complete their mission statement. She stated that the event is promoted all year long throughout the region teaching people about acceptance. Ms. DuQuenne pointed out that this is SOPride’s 5th year and a very important one and explained that the grant if awarded would go toward payments to city of Ashland for permits and fees. She pointed out also that people come from a variety of places to celebrate this event and she believes that business for hotel and retail is generated through this event.
Stebbins noted that for 2013 project expenses were $31,450 and the actual were $13,728, asked for clarification on this and if the request for the grant is now 14k which is for the total expenses. Gina clarified that yes the grant requested this year was for more this year than last year and that their request is usually for more because throughout the year there are usually additional expenses and that the funds are not always just used solely for the event.
Ariella St. Clair Director and President noted that St. Clair Productions are nearing the end of their 18th annual eclectic music and more seasons and are planning their 19th. Ariella pointed out that they have 14 concerts in the works and that the grant if awarded would help with their bottom line and musician fees. She noted that while sometimes the concerts are a success they sometimes are not and the grant assists in covering that. While maintaining a folk theme Ariella explained that they do hire musicians from all over the world.
Slattery asked why, if last year the request was for $10,000 and they were granted $5,000, they are again this year asking for $10,000, what justifies the increase?
Ariella responded that if there is more money from the city, they are able to predict how much is available for musician guarantees and can afford a higher level of musician.
Marko Bey Executive Director handed out a single page flier to the committee and thanked them for supporting the Ashland Water Shed Youth Training and Employment Program last year. Mr. Bey noted that the pilot program was successful and employed 20 youth out of 57 applicants from Ashland Phoenix & Medford, reducing the risk of fire in the watershed, learning a natural resource based career and pathways in eco system management. Mr. Bey noted that during the program the 2013 Grants Pass fire occurred and this was a good lesson in the importance of protecting the municipal watershed and engaging the youth to do that work. He then invited 2 participants of the program to speak briefly.
  • Geraldo Rodriguez – North Medford High School stated that he was very grateful to be able to take part in this internship. He noted that one of the best parts was the hands on approach and how every other day speakers came and taught a variety of subjects. Mr. Rodriquez believes that for each student this was a growth experience and it reached across the next generation teaching them to look after the life of the land where they live.
  • Alisha Murphy – Ashland High School expressed her gratitude and noted that the program gave her the experience to work hands on in her environment. Ms. Murphy believes the way we treat our local surroundings is a reflection of how we treat ourselves and if we didn’t have what we have here we wouldn’t exist and that is an important thing for teenagers to learn.
Stebbins queried the 990 and the fact that Lomakatsi’s revenue went up from $805,000 to $2,000,606 and noted from their budget that their income for the current year is set to be over $3,000,000 in federal grants and asked if that was set to continue and whether that would actually be happening this year. Mr. Bey responded that they had received $6,000,000 in stimulus funding and the $3,000,000 was the tail end of that funding. They also received a fusion of stimulus funding that doesn’t reflect the youth program but is passed down to the on the ground workforce i.e. contractors. Stebbins asked Mr. Bey to clarify that this year’s request would be used for the youth program to which he responded it was.
KSKQ 89.5FM (6:30PM)
Mike Niemann Chair of the management committee reported that it had been an exciting year for the station. They are in the process of upgrading to a stronger further reaching transmitter and should have this completed in the next month and that they are already streaming on the internet.
Evan Archerd and Bob Burton presented collectively for Below Stairs. Mr. Archerd outlined their experience and the project that they are requesting funds for being a biography of Producer Henry Lewy and noted that the funds would be used primarily for post production work here in Ashland.  Noted that Movie Maker Magazine named Ashland as the number 2 town for making films and would like to help to increase that reputation.
Robin Stiehm, Artistic Director thanked the committee for past funding and noted that money goes to local musicians, dancers, renting performance venues. Ms. Stiehm noted that in terms of professional dance performers they are the only ones in the Rogue Valley.
Stebbins asked about the Ashland High School Partnership Movement Program and if this was a new program or if it was active last year.
Ms. Stiehm answered that it happened last year during funding but that it wasn’t funded by city grants last year. Funding last year was used for Winter Solstice and Dance in the Park.
Stebbins went on to ask what the grant money requested this year was for. Ms. Stiehm broke down the following use of the fund if awarded;
  • $4,000 for Winter Solstice
  • $2,000 for Dance in the Park
  • $2,000 for the High School project
  • $1,000 for the Spring Salon Series
Heimann asked what percentage the $2,000 is of the Ashland high school project to which Ms. Stiehm responded it would cost approximately $7,000.
Kim Olsen, Administrator for the Ashland Gallery Association noted that for over 20 years they have been promoting visual arts in Ashland and have grown to represent 17 art galleries, 16 associate business members 4 working studios as well at 36 individual artist’s members. Ms. Olsen expressed that they promote visual arts in Ashland and that they contribute to the community year round with events such as First Friday Art Walk, the publication of nearly 1200 gallery maps per year nationwide, as well as brochures etc. Ms. Olsen talked about the Taste of Ashland which runs the last week of April each year and that it promotes tourism. She talked about a new event coming called the Ashland Open Studio Tour which will take place the second week in October where the public will have the opportunity to meet artist and watch them work. She noted that the Gallery is always trying to expand on public education. She also outlined other projects that the Gallery sponsors and noted that they have 8 unpaid volunteers who assist with those projects.
Rosenthal asked how many people participate in the First Friday Walk and what the economic impact might be of these events on the community of Ashland. Ms. Springer answered that while they have used clickers and people counters in the past that it is hard to give an accurate answer to that question. One effect of First Friday although sponsored by the Gallery, is that other businesses obtain business from the event and it’s hard to tally direct impact. Ms. Springer noted that 40% of the 800 tickets sold to Taste of Ashland are tourists from out of town.
Stromberg asked Ms. Springer to justify the increase from 10k to 30k.
Ms. Springer responded that each year’s needs vary. Some years they cut back. The grant is always spent and usually the program that it’s for is underfunded.
Heather Stafford Executive Director Sustainable Valley Technology Group (SVTG) accompanied by Jim Fong Executive Director of the Job Council Medford, distributed a hand out. Spoke regarding last year’s funding and how that grant was used.  Ms. Stafford talked about their vision for using entrepreneurialism to create family wage jobs in the region of Jackson and Josephine counties. She went on to explain their reason for wanting to work with Ashland being that Ashland is a hotbed for innovation and how they would be focusing on computer science due to the large amount of E-science industry in Ashland. One of the major projects this year will be a pilot program with Ashland High School using a student accelerator. Ms. Stafford noted that more than 50% of SVTG’s entrepreneurs are from Ashland.
Stebbins declared a conflict of interest and chose not to participate.
Bill Bartlett, Business Manager for Repertory Singers accompanied by Ms. Luna Bitzer and Ms. Nancy Lynn thanked the committee and explained that their pool of 75 singers, while unpaid, are trained musicians including educators and professional performers. Each singer devotes hundreds of hours each year and the company has been performing for 28 years. Paid music director is Dr Paul French. SORS Produces 4 concerts with 6 performances. All concerts are in Ashland and all money stays in Ashland.
In reference to the 200 tickets that would be set aside as a result of the funding, Rosenthal asked what SORS methodology in distributing the tickets that they set aside for the performances. Mr. Bartlett responded that this is the first time they have done this and that part of what they need to do now is to learn how to do that.
Stromberg asked are there similar organizations in our region or state. Mr. Bartlett responded that he wasn’t 100% certain of this fact.
Ms. Lynn interjected wishing to explain further regarding the outreach tickets. She stated that there would be a volunteer coordinator who would approach groups of people with a leader, for example a high school music teacher, and would network through those groups to identify ticket needs.
Stromberg diverted back to the question regarding similarity’s to SORS. Ms. Lynn compared SORS to the Community Arts Music Association from Santa Barbara for whom Ms. Lynn used to work.
Jeanne Renaux & Regina Lindsey presented for Stories Alive. Jeanne explained that the program allows children to tell stories and those stories are made into professional shows with hired professional actors. The program goes to school libraries where the children are able to write their stories and submit them. Regina noted that her two children had participated and that she was also involved as an actor and believes that this honors the children who are writing the stories and play writes and story tellers.
Wendy Siporen, Chair & Kevin Talbot Vice Chair thanked the committee and spoke about the publication that they produce and emphasized how important the city grant is as it helps Thrive to leverage both federal and private funding and has been important in expanding the work they do and growing staff base.
Stebbins noted that ½ of the expenses for Thrive are salaries and asked what the structure is that allows that. Ms. Siporen answered that besides salary expenses they incur printing and consulting expenses. Most of the work involves staff efficiency. She explained that she has 2 part time employees and herself who works ¾ of the time.
Stromberg asked what the biggest obstacle is to this program taking off in the Valley.
Ms. Siporen answered that one of the most noticeable is trying to grow supply and demand at the same time. In order to help this problem they are trying to grow the demand in more conventional area and are well supported by OSU small farms. She went on to explain that to really reach that level where they are available to supply consistently, larger “small” farms are needed.
Heimann asked what the most significant impact has been on the localization of food supply and use. Ms Siporen explained that Thrive acts as the convener for all groups working in this area and helps to bring everyone together and learn from each other.
Kevin interjected that Thrive has made a difference in the growth of localization in terms of foods in restaurants.
Cybele Abbett, Director of Rogue Valley Symphony (RVS) explained that they are in their 47th season and thanked the city on behalf of everyone involved. She clarified that they asked for $14,000 last year and were given $5,500, amount has gone down progressively while their budget has increased and are hopeful that they will get more this year. 2 new programs have increase the budget along with increases in wages for staff and orchestra. Classical coaches in the classroom is a new program directed at middle and high school classes in Jackson and Josephine counties which has musicians in the classrooms weekly preparing students for a number of performances and competitions.
Vicki Capp & Ellen Campbell from the Marketing Committee of Ashland’s Bed & Breakfast Network (ABBN) thanked the committee for their past support and explained last year’s funding expenditures noting that they have rebranded and changed the name from ABBN to Stay Ashland.
Rosenthal asked how the rebranding has gone in terms of objective measures for example has there been more interest in the website and how do you measure this? Vicki answered that the change only just occurred and at this point it was hard to measure, however they are monitoring through Google analytics and there have been good spikes in response to ads placed through various avenues. They hired a local based web developer and have made the website more user friendly for staff.
Stromberg asked if these results reflect the demographic of the people staying at the B&B’s. Vicki noted that 99% of bookings now are internet based and that most of the Inns rely on the web for bookings.
Dee Fretwell Executive Director of Modern Roots explained that this is a new project based around funding for disadvantaged children which gives them access to music lessons, musical instrument rentals, workshops and camps. This year’s funding would be for the West Coast Country Music Festival which is a fundraiser for the Modern Roots Foundation and will be held in August. Last year was the first year, and was very successful with over 650 attendees 45% of who were from outside of Ashland ranging from Los Angeles California to Olympia Washington. This year is set to be even bigger with almost 7% of tickets already sold without advertising and over 80 band submissions.
Sharon Wilson Executive Director Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon (YSSO) thanked the city for its support in their 26th season and for the special proclamation in honor of their silver jubilee.
This year’s unique endeavor is with Brava Opera and will showcase two youth opera singers in their May 17 concert. Ms. Wilson pointed out that they also have two musicians who have been chosen for the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (NYOUSA). Esther Aviana Platt a violinist and Gabe Young an Oboist, who was selected for the inaugural group last year and toured extensively, will also play this year for the NYOUSA as well.
John Alexander, Executive Director, joined by Shannon Rio, Vice President of the Board, and Brandon Breen, outreach and science communications specialist, thanked the city for significant matching dollars and the community for their contribution to the Mountain Bird Festival which is ready to go with the majority of registered attendees being from out of town.  John is currently serving on a team that writes the State of the Birds Reports. He outlined the purpose of the Mountain Bird Festival and noted that they are hopeful the festival meets the guidelines of the grant requirements and that if funded in full, the 2nd year the festival will become Ashland’s premier nature event and that they will achieve independence from city funding. Sharon noted that the festival is a clean event and draws people from as far as Kentucky and Maryland and connects all ages through nature.
Stebbins asked when the festival will be and if it would be in Ashland. Mr. Alexander explained that the funding from last year was going toward this year’s festival to be held in Ashland on May 30th, May 31st, and June 1st in collaboration with Science Works and the Chamber of Commerce and so far has 73 member registrations.
Ms. Rio pointed out that the event will be complimented by the Shakespeare Festival.
Roy Sutton Board President of Siskiyou Violins outlined the structure of Siskiyou Violins and discussed events from throughout the year mentioning that a member of the group would be performing this year for Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He also noted that they not only focus on violins but have utilized cellist, guitarist and a soprano. Mr. Sutton talked about 3 members of the Siskiyou Violins who graduated and are now in prominent graduate schools and are receiving their master’s degrees.  Mr. Sutton spoke about the curtailment of music lessons at the elementary school and discussed the need for funding for scholarships.
Gary Kout Ex Director of Southern Oregon Film and Television (SOFAT) noted that this is their first time applying for this grant. Mr. Kout noted that Ashland has been ranked the number 2 top town to live and work as a film maker for 2014. He went on to discuss various forms of marketing including a brochure that they publish.
Stromberg encouraged Mr. Kout to talk more about what SOFATs plans were for the coming year.
Mr. Kout briefly thanked the volunteer board of SOFAT and grant preparation staff before moving on to outline the year’s upcoming events including a film insider series in partnership with Coming Attraction Theatres. SOFAT would also continue with local film making, advertising, sponsoring seminars and brining people in from outside to not only share their knowledge of film making but also to expose them to Ashland.
Stebbins asked about the grant request and specifically asked about the $2,500 requested for lodging and whether this was for someone in particular and what they may be doing. Mr. Kout responded that part of the request was for an administrative support person and that at this time this was a volunteer position. He then clarified that the request for lodging would be for people from outside of Ashland, speakers etc.
Slattery asked what other form of fundraising SOFAT derives funds from. Mr. Kout explained that SOFAT currently relies totally on membership fees and currently has over 170 paying members. He pointed out that SOFAT would approach several other county offices as well as some local fundraising including sales of branded items.
Erika Leppmann Director of Schneider Museum of Art (SMOA) noted that this was the museum’s first time requesting a grant from the city. She explained that the museum opened in September of 1986 as a result of a community campaign and was completed by Bill and Florence Schneider. Since then the museum has functioned as community and university museum for the visual arts and educational programming for the visual arts. The museum holds between 5 and 12 exhibitions per year for both internationally recognized and local renowned artists. This year there were 2 new programs; The Artist in Residence program and Southern Oregon SITE project whose first round is on display at the museum currently. SMOA is the only art museum between Eugene and Sacramento and subsequently hosts a number of High School tours. Ms. Leppmann also noted that SMOA supports a lot of local organizations by allowing them to use the facilities. Ms. Leppmann explained that SMOA has 1.5 paid employees as well as a group of volunteers who help with a variety of jobs and it has been receiving funding from other sources also. Ms. Leppmann ended by thanking the committee for their time.
Rosenthal asked for clarification regarding the university support of the museum and if it was for full time staff and maintenance for the building and does everything else that goes on rely on external resources?
Ms. Leppmann explained that they have a small amount of funding from endowment which the state matches.
Stromberg asked if there was a significant thing that SMOA was asking for with this grant application. Ms. Leppmann answered that due to severe funding cuts at the university they have been forced to request extra external assistance for general matters.
Mark Reppert, Director of Siskiyou Singers pointed out that they are an organization that is growing musically and have come to a point where they are ready to perform the first and second parts of the  Christmas oratorio by Bach in December. Use of the grant would be to pay for the professional musicians for that performance.
Tracy Harding the Director of Rogue Valley Farm to School (RVFS) explained that the funding requested would be for programs that the city has helped with in the past, in particular a program originally piloted in the Ashland School District being the School Garden Coordinator Program which is now active in five school districts. This program pays a stipend to a school coordinator at $450 per year in exchange the coordinators monitor the garden beds and offers opportunities to teachers, students and community members to train with members of RVFS. Part of the funding will be for the stipends and also some for materials for the gardens. Another thing we would like to do would be to purchase 7 books for the 7 gardens that would be interchangeable amongst the schools. The other portion of the funds requested would be for fees payable to the city for the Siskiyou Challenge hosted by RVFS. Overall these programs have shown positive improvement in the children involved.
Rosenthal asked how many participants in Siskiyou challenge?
Close to 400 in the main challenge and another 200 for a smaller race and has raised around $15,000 for the organization.
Stromberg complimented Ms. Harding on her explanation of the program and wanted to reiterate how important it is for the children involved in these programs and how it is adding another dimension to their lives that isn’t just about food.
Anne Ashby, Executive Director joined by Board Member Jerry Kenefick, handed out copies of their brochure and thanked the City of Ashland as well as giving a brief report on the results of the 2014 Film Festival. She outlined some of the highlights of that report being;  
  • AIFF distributed over 18,000 tickets
  • 65% of 142 screenings were sold out
  • Two parties show cased food and wine of the valley and were sold out
  • Three free film maker talk back panels were filled to capacity
  • The film festival was named as one of the top 25 “coolest” film festivals by the readers of Movie Maker Magazine
  • The film festival was listed as one of the top 50 festivals worth the entry fee
  • Nearly 1000 films entered and record number of guests presented work
  • Ty Burrell appeared to a sold out audience.
Last year the board identified a new vision for the film festival which was to be the premier destination film festival in the Pacific North West and as a result of that focus they identified that growing and diversifying the audience was the number one priority and as a result of that they were able to secure a 2 year grant from the Paul Allen family foundation. They also received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and a second year of funding from Oregon Community Foundation and for the very first year Jim Collier has joined AIFF as a premier sponsor. Mr. Kenefick noted that the festival brings in an approximate $3 million dollars in revenues to Ashland through other business. He also noted that on a local level there were film submissions from K through 5th grade students and that they were recognized with awards.
Stebbins noted that she was pleased to see AIFF obtaining other grant money in addition to their request from the City of Ashland.
Mr. Kenefick responded that the goal of AIFF was to have a contingency fund and that sustainability was important to the festival. Ms. Ashby noted that AIFF has just started a crowd funding campaign and that this was seeded by an anonymous donor in the amount of $8,500. Ms. Ashby stated that while unsure if they will be successful this would be a venture that AIFF are hoping could raise $30,000 by the end of this fiscal year. Stromberg complemented the AIFF on how well they are doing.
Stebbins concluded that all presentations were complete and asked the committee if there were any items of discussion or if they were ready to adjourn for the evening.
Slattery suggested adjourning and giving the committee time to consider the applications.
Rosenthal thanked the applicants for their efforts, particularly the past recipients who went out of their way to update their applications. He also showed his appreciation for those recipients including details of how the grants have helped their organizations.
Heimann reiterated that they do in fact take the time to read all of the applications and thanked the applicants for taking the time to fill those applications out.
Stebbins requested that Tuneberg provide further direction.
Tuneberg outlined the next steps of the application deliberations. Tuneberg also asked that scoring be submitted by noon the following day. He pointed out that the following evening would be devoted to allocations and that this would need to be finalized that evening. The information would then be prepared for the full budget committee on the 14th of May and once this was ratified we would notify the recipients of their award. He pointed out that the difference this year was that the amount available for grants was decided the previous year and as it stands now, a decision needed to be made as to whether the allocations made by the subcommittee needed to go through the full council or just the budget committee.
Stebbins requested that all members please allocate the total amount available.
Meeting was adjourned at 8:12pm.


Online City Services

Pay Your Utility Bill
Connect to
Ashland Fiber Network
Request Conservation
Proposals, Bids
& Notifications
Request Building
Building Permit
Apply for Other
Permits & Licenses
Register for
Recreation Programs

©2023 City of Ashland, OR | Site Handcrafted in Ashland, Oregon by Project A




twitter facebook Email Share
back to top