Agendas and Minutes

Citizens' Budget Committee (View All)

Budget Committee Grant Subcommittee Meeting

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Economic, Cultural, Tourism & Sustainability Grants
Citizens Budget Sub-Committee
April 15, 2015, 6:00 PM
Civic Center Council Chambers
1175 East Main Street
The meeting was called to order at 6.00pm


David Runkel   
John Stromberg           
Carol Voisin     
Pam Marsh                              
Rich Rosenthal                         
Stefani Seffinger                      
Other Attendees:
Lee Tuneberg                            Finance Director
Kristy Blackman                        Administrative Assistant
Moved/ Second
That David Runkel be appointed as the Chair of the Citizens Budget Sub-Committee.
All Ayes
Motion Passed
Runkel declared an interest and noted that he would not be participating in the allocations of the Economic, Cultural, Tourism & Sustainability Grants funds.
He pointed out that there are 33 applicants requesting over $600,000 in grants with $225,122 to allocate. Commended public’s participation in the program and thanked all the applicants. Money is derived from the Tourist Occupancy Tax.
As per Res 2015-04 the total appropriated funds available for the 2015-16 ECTS Grants is $225,122.


Ashland Art Center
Denise Baxter presented.
  • Voisin asked how much of the $25k would be given to other institutions. Baxter responded none.
  • Runkel asked how they measure where their customers come from. Baxter responded they keep track through sales.
Modern Roots Foundation
Dee Fretwell presented.
  • Marsh asked who scholarships are held by. Fretwell responded that they are on a need basis and that each child has an allotment of $125 annually and are reviewed throughout the year.
  • Seffinger asked what the $115.00 lesson fee covers. Fretwell responded this is the weekly lesson fee.
  • Rosenthal asked where the camps and workshops take place. Fretwell responded they partner with Creekside Strings and play in any space that will allow. She also noted that they have a formal partnership with the Britt Festival and that in 2016 they will have a weeklong fiddle camp at Southern Oregon University (SOU) (hopefully) as well three artist residency programs offering a master class session for adults, a free class at SOU in their music program and the kids will go to Hellman, Walker or Belleview and do classes there. All of this will be developed and funded by the Britt Festival.
  • Seffinger questioned why there are 50% of customers who reside outside the 50 mile radius? Fretwell responded that kids are located here, but events have the support system of Siskiyou County.
  • Voisin asked whether travel for the participants is in the profit/loss for the students.  Fretwell responded yes, some of the kids and chaperone get to travel to participate with Joe Craven at the Youth Academy.
Rogue Valley Symphony Association
Jane Kenworthy presented.
Science Works Hands-On Museum
R.L. “Chip” Lindsay presented.
  • Voisin asked of the 73,000 people, how many are coming from beyond 50 miles. Lindsay responded approx 20,000.
  • Voisin asked how many attendees were students.  Lindsay responded about 10,000.
Rogue Valley Peace Choir
Dale Gates & Julie Rayfield presented.
  • Marsh asked why they thought they needed the money now. Rayfield responded that they really need to develop an efficient consistent program and they also need a coordinator.
  • Seffinger asked about a youth outreach program? Rayfield noted that the choir director would like to take a music program to schools and then have them perform for the public.
  • Seffinger asked which schools. Gail replied that they have not been identified yet. Would like to develop a coordinated program.
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at SOU
Lorraine Vail presented.
  • Rosenthal asked when the last time the annual membership fee was adjusted.  Vail replied it was raised from $100 to $125 two years ago and they lost 10% membership. They receive income from dues and donations, and the Osher Grant which fluctuates year to year.
  • Voisin – how much is the Osher grant for the coming year? Vail replied $113,000.
Ashland New Plays Festival
James Pagliasotti & Michele Lansdowne presented.
  • Voisin asked for clarification of the $10,000 for the Annual Flagship Festival. Pagliasotti explained that this has been in effect traditionally for 20 years; it comes after Elizabethan theatre closes. Playwrights are invited and make use of accommodation.
  • Seffinger asked what percentage the increase of female play writes will be. Pagliasotti replied this is a complex issue and hard to answer however 42% of submissions are from women.
Mt Ashland Association
Hiram Towel & Michael Stringer presented.
  • Rosenthal asked if they had received their land use permits. Towel replied the process is underway. Stringer noted that they had essentially been given the green light. He pointed out that he believes that other organizations have received help from the city for similar projects e.g. Ashland Watershed & Trails.
  • Seffinger asked if they had investigated environmental impacts. Towel responded they will be studied after the public comment period.
  • Runkel asked where their audience would be coming from. Towel answered local and other destinations.
  • Marsh asked if they had considered forming another organization or introducing other partners to help. Towel responded they had not, they are trying to keep current staff employed and that the undertaking is fairly modest/low impact and would be fairly low cost to get off the ground. Marsh noted that while it’s good to keep staff they should contemplate knowledge staff.
  • Marsh asked what they would do if they got less than what they were asking and if they would still use it. Towel responded that they would accept and still use the money. Stringer noted that they have applied for other grants but have yet to hear and that they are looking for a lead grantor. He pointed out that this is beginning phase of a large campaign and that they had a commitment from a major donor, but those funds had to be redirected to a more urgent need. This project wouldn’t start until April or May of 2016.
  • Voisin expressed concern about a 3 million dollar debt and questioned if the money would not be used to pay that instead. Towel explained that they have consolidated that debt down to $742,000 and that this was a result of last year’s inability to open.
  • Voisin expressed concern about the review process taking longer than expected. Towel reassured he believes this will not be the case.
  • Seffinger asked what the increase in employment would be.  Towel responded 8 full time employees.
So Pride
Marjory Trueblood presented.
  • Stromberg asked how the event is marketed outside of Ashland. Trueblood responded they use social media.
Southern Oregon Repertory Singers
Nancy Lynn presented.
  • Rosenthal noted that the organization has just over $55,000 in unrestricted funds and asked why they are asking for a grant from the city. Lynn responded the organization needs to have reserves as security incase a current donor could no longer fund them.
  • Marsh asked for clarification on payment to singers. Lynn pointed out that they need semi professional singers and need to pay them. They pay 10-12 singers at the required minimum wage as well as an outreach director and an administrative assistant.
Ashland School Foundation & Willow Wind Community Association
No speaker
Southern Oregon Film Society (aka Ashland Independent Film Festival)
Cathy Dombi presented.
  • Runkel asked how the film festival keeps track of visitors from out of town. Dombi responded with zip codes entered at purchase and via auto email.
  • Voisin asked why there is such a low percentage of 0-17 age group.  Dombi noted that they are working on getting more family friendly age groups
  • Runkel noted that he was disappointed previously with the way the city’s grant has been under recognized by the film festival.
Ashland Bed & Breakfast Network
Vicki Capp & Paul West presented.
  • Rosenthal asked when was the last time the annual dues where increased and by how much. Capp responded 2 years ago and they were increased from 325 to 375. Average 100 rooms combined among members.
  • Marsh pointed out that with their large income from a variety of rooms, why should the city support Ashland B&B’s marketing efforts when other businesses fund their own marketing. We attract business which supplies TOT tax. Believes that promoting on attracts visitors who contribute to TOT. West pointed out that they do a lot more than just promote the bed & breakfasts and rarely do they promote them individually. Marsh noted the phone app only allowed her to book rooms in at the inns and gave little other directive. West responded that there are several other areas to navigate.
  • Voisin asked how they arrived at the request for $26,965 and how are you using it? Vicki referred to page 10 in packet and noted that the breakdown is listed there.
  • Stromberg noted that previously marketing was difficult but not so much now and asked for clarification.  Capp explained that it is better now because you can track through social media. Decisions made using the websites. Using stay Ashland to stay ahead of the customer and tracking their choices.
  • Seffinger asked if this is an important activity for the survival of the B&B. Capp replied it is about adapting.
Dancing People Company
Robin Stiehm presented.
  • Rosenthal asked what the return to the community might be. Stiehm responded a rewarding performance, educating children, performance opportunities, interaction with professional dancers, and value in uniqueness.
  • Voisin asked what the money will be used for. Stiehm replied half will go to ‘Dance in the Park’ and half to ‘Call Back the Sun’ and that the vast majority is for salaries.
  • Seffinger asked for clarification about salaries. Stiehm explained that dancers are paid for the project time.  
Lomakatsi Restoration Project
Alicia Fitzgerald & Don Busch presented.
  • Seffinger asked if it is a particular goal to have more female participants. Alicia pointed out that they are just trying to have an even balance.
  • Seffinger asked how many students that use the program wanted to be in that industry. Alicia responded several former participants have gone on to work in the industry.
  • Voisin asked how they recruit. Alicia responded they have a lot of contact with local teachers in Ashland and Medford as well as contact with the school district to provide information. They contact school counselors and work with Hearts with a Mission for homeless.
  • Voisin asked how it is they manage to get more people from Ashland. Alicia responded they naturally get more being that the program is titled “Ashland” and they work with a lot of teachers from Ashland.
St. Clair Productions
Ariella St. Clair presented.
  • Rosenthal requested clarification on which categories they were applying in. Ariella responded cultural only.
Ashland Gallery Association
Kimberlee Olson & Susan Springer presented.
  • Rosenthal asked what percentage of galleries in Ashland are represented in the membership numbers. Springer responded we have associated, working and individual artists and a lot of galleries are closing so they are hoping to encourage more artists to open in Ashland.
  • Rosenthal noted they are $8,400 in debt. Olson explained they have an ongoing issue and have been working at resolving this.
  • Seffinger asked about the open studio tour. Olson responded it started in October 2014; studio is open to public and allows people to view inside a studio. It’s free of charge for public and individual artists are charged $50.
  • Voisin noted that the advertising is quite expensive. Olson replied she and Springer are looking more into social media and cut print costs. Olson also noted while they have done away with a lot of advertising, this has shown a decline in income.
Wendy Siporen & Tom Doolittle presented.
  • Marsh asked if some of the grant goes to the guide. Siporen responded it goes toward the production of the guide and that revenue doesn’t quiet cover all of it so the City of Ashland makes up the difference.
  • Marsh then asked if they had looked at a more efficient cost way to provide the guide. Siporen said they had and that they were looking at printing fewer (currently at 13,000) in the future.
  • Seffinger asked if they engage in educational activities. Siporen answered they do work with business doing presentations to local groups about staying local. Educating public about whole foods eating. In store demonstrations.
  • Stromberg asked if it is fair to say their attempts at building infrastructure for the localization of food is picking up slowly. Siporen responded it is and they are excited by the interest at the state and governor level to invest in food infrastructure across the state and are collaborating with Fry Family Farm and hopefully building a food hub which is a consolidation and distribution center. She noted that they rely heavily on the SOU Small Farm Program and the Rogue Valley Food Network?
Rogue Valley Farm to School
Tracy Harding presented.
  • Rosenthal asked how many participants are in the Siskiyou challenge. Harding responded that in this, the organization’s 6th year there were 300 participants. Event has been broadened and is based at Science Works Hands-On Museum.
Schneider Museum
Erika Leppmann presented.
  • Voisin asked if they could obtain funding from SOU if they aren’t successful from the city. Leppmann responded they would have to scale back because the University is still in retrenchment and Schneider runs through endowment and match and grants and a small membership program.
Sustainable Valley
Rosetta Shaw & Jessica Gomez presented.
  • Voisin asked what and accelerator is. Gomez responded this is a 12 week training program for startup companies.
  • Voisin asked if they are required to pay for that. Gomez replied yes $2,500.
  • Voisin asked how many companies they had last year. Shaw responded 5 or 6.
  • Runkel asked if they were getting money from other sources and if the IMB money is committed. . Gomez responded the money is committed and they are working with the high schools on the IBM program toolset. She noted that they are in the first phase of fundraising and will go to city of Medford and Jackson County.
  • Marsh asked where they get their statistics on their customer base. Gomez answered from companies served and tech talks but mostly from the companies.
  • Voisin asked if they have a new director. Jessica responded they are currently looking for a new director.
  • Seffinger asked if they are following up with success of their companies. Gomez replied they do follow up with them and give ongoing support in an informal setting.
  • Voisin asked if they have a mentoring program. Gomez responded yes, one person facilitates but there are 2 teams of mentors per company.
Chamber Music Concerts
Karen Clark presented.
  • Seffinger asked what the artist fees were for. Clark responded they are paid across the concert year for the artist performances.
  • Stromberg commended the high quality of performers.
SOU Foundation
Rachel Jones presented.
  • Voisin asked if SOU would be doing any recruiting of the participants while these programs are ongoing. Jones indicated that this is a potential and it is a way to attract students to the area.
  • Runkel asked what the fee was for this program. Jones explained that it was $990 for room and board and various trips and activities.
  • Voisin asked if there were scholarships for low income and how many there were. Jones answered they do and that is dependent on grant funding.
  • Stromberg asked how they do their marketing. Jones responded they use a data base and they track kids through that as well as reach out to those with common interests. They also contact teachers, high schools, private schools etc and use social media.
  • Rosenthal noted that this is the third SOU asks out of the 33 applicants and asked why SOU wasn’t asking for funds as a whole. Jones pointed out that SOU is still in retrenchment and that they are not dependent on SOU entirely; they are self funding and simply rely on SOU for 501c status.
Youth Symphony
Sharon Wilson presented.
Siskiyou Singers
Jim Martin & Scott Nelson presented.
Jane Upquist & Cynthia Salbato presented.
  • Marsh pointed out that she was struggling to understand what happens with the kids and asked for clarification. Upquist responded these days are used for setting up the process for the journey using various media tools.
  • Voisin asked how many people participate between 0-17 years. Upquist responded they are tracking by store visitors and online but we doing some estimation.
Geos Institute
Marni Koopman & Hannah Soule presented.
  • Marsh asked if they thought their request was undercutting the council process. Graham noted the project that was laid out for the conservation commission was due to start and they would like some of those steps happen now. She noted that they see it as a positive way to get this moving faster.
  • Voisin asked who their competitors are. Koopman responded they don’t really have any given the sharing common interests of their organizations.
  • Stromberg asked if they would continue if they received 50% of request. Koopman answered the organization would continue although scaled back slightly maybe less time on outreach however this would leave more for the city to pick up at the end if they worked with us.
Southern Oregon Film and Media (SOFaM)
Gary Kout presented.
  • Runkel asked what this year’s money would be used for. Kout responded he would like to increase admin hours as well as pay to bring location scouts here as well as bring a film expo weekend.
Southern Oregon Bookkeepers Association
Audrey Isbell & Ingrid Edstrom presented.
  • Marsh asked how many members they have and what the dues are. Different levels of memberships;
    • 10 Bookkeeper @ $200 per year
      • Application process including ref and background checks.
    • 12 Affiliate @ $50 per year
      • Members of other non bookkeeping professions looking to network.
    • Intern membership @ $50 per year
      • People interested in getting involved in the industry.
  • Marsh asked how many bookkeepers are there in Jackson County. Edstrom responded there was no way to track this number as there are no regulations and this was the basis for their idea of wanting to keep people informed.
  • Voisin noted their profit loss shows a loss for 2014. Edstrom replied they are aware of this and are working on it.
Klamath Bird Observatory
John Alexander presented.
  • Stromberg asked how they will use the money. Alexander replied that activities are directly associated with the festival and that if they weren’t to get the full grant they would have to cut one of the surveys they had designed and they would not be able to operationalize properly.
  • Rosenthal pointed out and praised the organization for how well return on investment is presented and asked what their vision of how big the event could be. Alexander answered they are aiming for 200 this year and possibly 250 in the next 2 years. Prefer to sustain quality not quantity.
Ashland Supportive Housing
Sue Crader & Brooke Eckert
  • Runkel asked if they had applied for a social service grant as well. Crader responded they had not, this activity is tourism/cultural based.
Pollinator Project Rogue Valley
No speaker
Stories Alive
Jeanne Renaux presented.
  • Marsh asked what they might do if they don’t get all the money. Renaux responded that she would be able to do something with it.
  • Rosenthal noted that last year’s funding was seed money and asked how much external support they received in year one and how much were they anticipating receiving in grants this year. Renaux answered they are working with the library on other grants etc and are seeking out help for the grant side.
Tuneberg explained tomorrow’s process and noted that the committee has the leverage to recommend more money to the full committee if needed.
That the meeting be adjourned to the following evening.
All Ayes
Motion Passed
Meeting adjourned at 9:51pm
Respectfully Submitted
Kristy Blackman
​Administrative Assistant

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