MINUTES FOR THE STUDY SESSION
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
Monday, February 2, 2015
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way
Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room.
Councilor Morris, Marsh, Seffinger, Lemhouse, Rosenthal, and Voisin were present.
1. Public Input (15 minutes maximum)
Eric Sirotkin/2026 Ashland Mine Road/
Read from a document he submitted into the record supporting the Culture of Peace Commission. A culture of peace was primarily a way of life that solved problems through dialogue and worked to balance and expand respectful relations. The group wanted to institute a Culture of Peace Commission in Ashland and sought City support.
2. Look Ahead review
City Administrator Dave Kanner reviewed items on the Look Ahead.
3. Discussion of “Culture of Peace” Commission proposal
Eric Sirotkin explained the group wanted to go beyond a proclamation regarding peace and work with the Culture of Peace Initiative Ashland to establish a Culture of Peace Commission that would consist of members from all sectors in the community. The Commission would take a year as a pilot project to engage and make recommendations on conflict resolutions, coordinate city groups involved in peace making and conflict resolution, cosponsor a monthly peace event, and counsel residents on effective ways to interact with the City and Council. This would occur in a less formal manner, possibly through a Memo of Understanding (MOU) instead of the originally proposed ordinance. At the end of the pilot year, the Commission and City would assess success and decide to institutionalize the Commission further or maintain the status quo. An MOU would give the Culture of Peace Commission more flexibility than an ordinance.
Mayor Stromberg had reservations incorporating something ideological and almost spiritual into the City. However, it was very much in the spirit and creativity of the community to explore the possibilities. He suggested issuing a proclamation that supported and encouraged the yearlong pilot. Mr. Sirotkin explained the United States government had voted for a culture of peace through the United Nations. This was not spiritual. David Wick further clarified the Culture of Peace Commission was about quality of life and having the greatest wellbeing. It was a leading edge model for other cities and a possible draw for tourism.
Mr. Sirotkin addressed the MOU explaining the Commission would develop a comprehensive state of the culture of peace in Ashland report. The Commission would make recommendations, and using the skill set for conflict resolution, provide specific expansion of resources for citizens and government.
Council thought establishing an MOU at this time might be premature or could prejudge the pilot year and thought a proclamation with a Council liaison to the Commission would work better instead.
The Culture of Peace Commission did not expect any staff involvement or funding from the City during the pilot year. The Commission would focus on local projects without taking a political stance on issues and highlight established resources for the community.
Council noted critical public comment that thought the Commission was an attempt to set up a shadow government and referenced an article stating there were problems with incivility on the current Council, the Council struggled to devise policies for the homeless population and was intimidated almost at gunpoint to shelve considerations. The argumentation for the Commission did appear political. Council wanted the Commission to quantify the economic benefit to the community by having a Culture of Peace Commission, define peace, conflict, expectations and ultimate outcomes, and remove the politics from the Commission.
Mr. Sirotkin responded everyone worked from perceptions and misperceptions and used the loaded open carry gun issue as an example. The Commission would continually educate everyone involved with an issue in ways to communicate better. They would also include the economic benefits due to establishing the Culture of Peace Commission in their report to Council.
Council comment was interested in having an MOU, a Council Liaison and seeing what developed over the pilot year. Other comments wanted to review the possibility of an MOU at the end of the pilot year and show initial City support through a proclamation. Council also suggested the Commission reach out to the Ashland School District and Chamber of Commerce to solicit their participation.
Mayor Stromberg approved having a mayoral proclamation supporting the venture to demonstrate and explore possibilities of the concept on the local level in the community. Council could also express their support through an action by the Council, or jointly develop a set of expectations for the launch of the Commission with possible quarterly status meetings and an assessment at the end of the year. The Council and Culture of Peace Commission could set up expectations initially and let the MOU grow from the process.
Council would establish ground rules and expectations, and possibly appoint a Council liaison when the item came back to a Council meeting in the future.
Mayor Stromberg addressed earlier comment from Mr. Sirotkin that subtly threatened of going to initiative if the City did not comply with their request noting that type of communication was not part of peace building. Additionally, the article Councilor Rosenthal mentioned earlier that referenced the Council contained a highly politicized tone from a Commission requesting to work with the Council. He stressed the need for frankness. Staff would bring information to a future Council meeting clarifying the Council’s intention to initially support the Culture of Peace Commission through a proclamation or MOU and define expectations.
4. Discussion for the need of an aerial ladder truck for community of Ashland
Fire Chief John Karns described the aerial ladder truck, specifically the Quint, explaining it had a 75-foot aerial ladder, 10-35 foot ground ladder, rescue and extrication equipment, technical rescue equipment cache, elevated master stream and lighting, 1500 gallons per minute (GPM) water pump and a 500 plus gallon water tank. If purchased, the Quint would fit in Fire Station 1. The aerial ladder truck would allow the Fire Department roof access, something they currently could not do.
The Insurance Service Office (ISO) rated fire departments on fire suppression and had an effect on the fire insurance rates citizens and businesses paid. Ashland Fire Department had an overall Class 4 rating due to Ashland’s good water and dispatch systems. Insurance rates for commercial businesses with sprinklered systems would not be as impacted due to their sprinkler systems.
Ashland Fire Department had three deficiencies, no aerial ladder, staffing, and no training tower.
Addressing any of those would increase the Fire Department one grade to Class 3.
Chief Karns clarified the City of Medford had a bucket truck that could go to 100-feet that the Ashland Fire Department could access through a Mutual Aid Agreement but response time eliminated physical rescue and availability created significant impacts.
Sprinkler systems were very dependable. Currently state fire code did not require sprinkler systems in 3-4 story buildings depending on building use and fire department access. It was difficult to add fire code requirements at the local level.
Chief Karns went through Pierce Arrow for costs. A large block engine with basic options was $825,000. Equipment would cost $55,000 and vehicle life span was 25 years. Lease option ranges included $175,000 per year for five years, $135,000 per year for 7 years, or $98,000 per year for 10 years. Conventional purchase “replacement” funding would be $73,268 annually. The Fire Department would cross train all engineers and acting engineers to drive and operate the truck.
The Fire Department currently had one Fire Marshal and three part time inspectors that worked overtime and inspected target hazard or higher hazard buildings.
Council noted there were multiple strategies to use regarding the issues, an aerial truck, structured code compliance inspections and an ordinance regarding sprinkler systems.
Chief Karns confirmed he was looking into options for dealing with the aging population. The Quint would not replace a fire truck and serve as a reserve engine.
Council was not sure the purchase was realistic and wanted to see a plan over time to acquire a ladder truck. Councilor Lemhouse and Rosenthal would work with Chief Karns and the City Administrator to identify funding options once the strategic plan was completed. Chief Karns noted the Ashland Fire Department was working with the Medford Fire Department on a strategy to introduce a new ordinance requiring sprinkler systems.
5. Clarification of January 20, 2015, amendment concerning Council review of AFN decisions
City Attorney Dave Lohman clarified and confirmed with Council the intent of the amendment regarding AFN oversight would have the Mayor and Chair meet periodically with AFN and determine what needed to come before Council. It allowed AFN to make decisions outside the public sphere but have Council involved.
6. Update on Police Chief recruitment
City Administrator Dave Kanner updated the recruitment brochure and ideal candidate description based on feedback received. Staff identified several professional associations that furthered law enforcement executive careers for minorities and women.
Council reviewed the brochure draft and suggested replacing “non-traditional policing model” with “community based policing model,” add updated salary ranges and more information on the Police Department highlighting the You Have Options and other programs unique to the department. Council would email additional suggestions to staff.
Meeting adjourned at 7:30 p.m.
Assistant to the City Recorder