Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Monday, October 05, 2015

                                             MINUTES FOR THE STUDY SESSION
Monday, October 5, 2015
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way
Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 5:31p.m. in the Siskiyou Room. 
Councilor Seffinger, Morris, Voisin, Lemhouse, and Marsh were present.   Councilor Rosenthal arrived at 5:40 p.m.
Mayor Stromberg explained that item number 5.   Presentation by UPRR and DEQ regarding railroad property clean up was part of the Study Session but would take place the following night at 7:00 p.m. prior to the Council meeting.
  1. Public Input
Gregg Marchese/533 Fairview Street/Recently reviewed a City document from approximately 2009 regarding the Cityís position on climate change.  The top concerns all related to tourism.  Presently climate change exceeded vacation disruptions.  Ashland would encounter climate refugees from areas destroyed by severe storms.  He did not support the WISE project that would pipe TID.  The Talent Ashland Phoenix (TAP) project went 3.5 times over budget and the Ashland Water Advisory ad hoc Committee (AWAC) projected $12,000,000 for a new water treatment plant.  He wanted the City to consider treating gray water on each property for landscape irrigation and save that $12,000,000.  He needed to further research how the City had advanced on climate change.
Mayor Stromberg responded he was appointing a Climate and Energy Action Plan ad hoc Committee that would have a public process to develop a climate action plan for the community.  It would launch November 15, 2015.
Frances Dunham/807 Beach/Expressed thanks for the letter the Mayor and Council sent to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) regarding the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) clean up.  She agreed UPRR should clean up the entire site via rail.  Documents on the DEQ website explained how toxic the contaminants were.  She listed the chemicals in the soil, wanted community support for the people who lived on the truck route and a full clean up done all at once using rail during the rainy season.
Steven Maryanoff/654 Oak Street/Opposed any trucking out of the railroad yard for clean up.  The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) originally planned to use rail because they could not find any place in the state that would take the toxic soil.  He did not want it coming down his street in trucks.
2.   Look Ahead review
City Attorney Dave Lohman reviewed items on the Look Ahead.
3.   Discussion of glyphosate use in the City of Ashland (request of Councilor Voisin)
Councilor Voisin explained this was not a ban on the use of glyphosate products but looking at ways to educate the community regarding the chemicalís harmful effects.  City Attorney Dave Lohman added Council needed to consider whether the City should conduct a public outreach campaign to warn citizens about the possible health and safety impacts along with the costs of such a campaign.
Kristina Lefever/2359 Blue Sky Lane/Explained glyphosate, also known as Roundup and 2, 4-D known as Crossbow were ubiquitous and often used without people realizing what both were.  Advocates for Healthy Landscapes was a group of concerned citizens interested in educating the community on the dangers of glyphosate and 2, 4-D.   Many municipalities in the United States and countries were no longer using these products and some imposed bans.  Advocates for Healthy Landscapes was not interested in a ban and proposed a resolution that encouraged everyone to discontinue the use of these products and promote safe solutions.  They collected almost 800 signatures from Ashland residents supporting discontinuing the use of herbicides containing glyphosate and 2, 4-5 within city limits.
Ray Seidler/160 Pompadour Drive/Was a former educator and senior scientist with the US Environmental Protection Agency.  Glyphosate was the active ingredient in Roundup, 2, 4-D was an active ingredient in Crossbow.  Both were endocrine disruptive chemicals.  The US Environmental Protection Agency, the Committee on Environmental Health of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Academy of Scientists, and the 2010 Presidentís Cancer Panel all concluded that endocrine disrupting pesticides could lead to fertility and birth defects, skeletal development abnormalities, pregnancy issues, mutations, and could lead to cancers.  It could even affect the next generation.  2, 4-D was a hormone disruptor and a possible human carcinogen.  Many scientists worldwide agreed glyphosate should be banned from all unnecessary uses and he concurred.  Glyphosate was everywhere.  Most Americans excreted it in their urine and some women in their breast milk. He described the negative effects of glyphosate on pollinators.
Ross Pelton/994 Morton Street/Provided his background as a former pharmacist and explained how glyphosate severely disrupted the human micro-bio killing good bacteria.  He strongly encouraged the Council to pass the resolution proposed by the Advocates for Healthy Landscapes.  Most people were ingesting glyphosate daily.  Children and animals could track it into homes from grass.  He distributed documents submitted into the record and explained how the primary ingredient in Roundup increased glyphosateís ability to penetrate plants, making Roundup 125 times more toxic than glyphosate. 
Dr. Kristen Plunkett, ND/1200 NE 7th Street/Grants Pass/Glyphosate killed the good bacteria in the gut creating bad flora, Candida, and Ecoli directly associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, small intestinal bacteria overgrowth, and chronic digestive issue.  The bad flora produced toxins that were absorbed into the blood stream, poisoning the mitochondria, and could result in Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and chemical sensitivities.  It would also bind onto estrogen receptors causing hormone disruptions.  Glyphosate decreased detoxification activity.  She submitted a document into the record on the Dangers of Glyphosate and Roundup.
Cara Cruickshank/1193 North Mine Road/The City and community had already reduced the use of these chemicals but still used them on meridians, ball fields and the golf course.  Glyphosate was found in carpets.  She submitted a document into the record on Healthy & Safe Toxic-free Weed Management in Southern Oregon and shared non-toxic weeding options. She encouraged the City to use a safe alternative on the playing fields.  The Conservation Commission supported moving forward with the resolution as well.
Ms. Cruickshank had forwarded the overview to the Conservation Commission and those that read the information approved but were not sure it fell under their purview or the Parks Commission. 
Council wanted more information and the legal ramifications of the City advocating this educational effort, and the best way to educate the public.  They supported the Conservation Commission looking at an educational campaign and involving Southern Oregon University (SOU), the Parks Commission, and the Parks and Recreation Department and suggested the Commission determine a reasonable budget.  This was not a city centric issue but something the City could make a statement on then hand off to community groups.  One comment thought some of the language in the resolution was ambiguous, requested clarifying and more information regarding 2, 4-D.  Council majority preferred having the Council Liaison/Councilor Rosenthal manage the process and timeline instead of setting target dates. 
The Mayor wanted to know of any liability issues to publicly taking a position on a commercially available product.
Mr. Lohman explained there was a state preemption on banning pesticides.  The Conservation Commission could look into changing that law. 
Councilor Voisin suggested Council consider an educational outreach commission and wanted it added to a Study Session in 2016.
4.   Discussion of social service grant funding (request of Councilor Voisin)
City Attorney Dave Lohman explained Councilor Voisin was requesting the Housing and Human Services Commission (HHSC) have to ability to make a budget recommendation.  The Commission was attending the October 20, 2015 Council meeting for their annual presentation and if it was ready, would discuss the Social Services Grant Plan they revised.  Council may also want to consider having all Commissions recommend a budget.  If Council supported having the HHSC or all Commissions have that ability, they could have them meet with the Budget Officer for training and to understand the process.
Housing and Human Services Commissioner Regina Ayars clarified the Commission was not ready to present the Social Services Grant Plan.  Currently, the HHSC was working on the Housing Trust Fund that entailed meeting with the Finance Department for some budget training.
Councilor Voisin explained Resolution 86-35 was 30 years old, nebulous, and vague.  She wanted it updated, have the basic principles of the Housing and Human Services Commissionís strategic plan added, and metrics to measure how recipients spent the money.  She also wanted a specific percentage noted since the money was already coming from the General Fund and have it increase according to the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for inflation.  Currently, 18.2% of the Ashlandís population was living in poverty.  She wanted to increase the grant amount that went to Social Services.
Councilor Marsh served as the Council Liaison for the HHSC and had not had a chance to discuss Councilor Voisinís proposal with the Commission.  The Commissionís Strategic Plan described HHSC as the first level of decision making for grant distribution.  It also contained a general requirement for grant recipients to provide some form of evaluation.  The plan was also attached to the grant process.  Although the resolution was 30 years old there was current information regarding social services grants.  If Council decided to update the resolution she suggested keeping it as general as possible for flexibility.  Language could read, ďMonies are allocated in the biennial budget and the decisions are predicated on the Strategic Plan that is maintained and updated on a regular basis by the Housing and Human Services Commission.Ē  Councilor Marsh did not support having the Commission recommend a budget allotment.  The goal was keeping the General Fund flexible and not tying up specific parts for uses the City could not access if needed.
Council majority did not support restricting the use of the General Fund.  Determining a percentage of the General Fund was a policy decision the Council should retain.  They supported metrics or some form of evaluation process for recipient reporting and accountability and noted that was in progress.  Some supported revising the resolution, removing specific dollar amounts but keep the resolution construct and not detailed.  Other comments preferred HHSC continuing to develop the Strategic Plan and not update the resolution.  Mayor Stromberg wanted a report from HHSC on the Ashland Resource Center, its financial viability and service delivery. 
If the HHSC wanted to recommend an increase in grants for social services, Council would listen to their request.  Currently the Commissionís priority was finding ongoing support for the Housing Trust Fund.  Alternately, the City could change the timing of grant funding.  Presently, allocation was parallel to the budgeting process.  Allocating July 1 would allow arguments on adjusting the funding. 
Ashland was the only small City that provided funding for social services.
5.   Presentation by UPRR and DEQ regarding railroad property clean-up
Delayed to the October 6, 2015 Council meeting.
Meeting adjourned at 7:05 p.m.
Dana Smith
Assistant to the City Recorder

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