Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Monday, December 14, 2015

Monday, December 14, 2015
Council Chambers
1175 E Main Street
Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers. 
Councilor Rosenthal, Seffinger, Voisin, Lemhouse, and Marsh were present.  Councilor Morris arrived at 5:45 p.m. 
Mayor Stromberg moved agenda item 5.  Review of staffing options for Ashland Fire & Rescue after agenda item 2.  Look Ahead review.
1.   Public Input  
Huelz Gutcheon/2253 Hwy 99/Explained the four parts of energy were generation, efficiency, conservation, and ecology.  Energy generation included solar panels, gas, or thermal energy.  Energy efficiency pertained to items like cars or computers that did more using less energy.  Energy conservation covered behavior through teaching and learning.   Energy ecology related to efficiencies that used the least amount of poison.  Carbon fit into the ecology category.  A human being generated 100-kilowatt hours of energy.  The efficiency of the human body was 85%.  Ashland wasted $7,000,000 a year not learning about externalities.
John Chmelir/3743 Calle Vista/Gave the City Administrator a signed construction easementHe asked for an exception for fire lines on his property if nothing else.  The proposed connection went to an 8-inch line connected to the fire hydrants, not to the transmission line.  It was an internal distribution line.
2.         Look Ahead review
City Administrator Dave Kanner reviewed items on the Look Ahead.
3.   Review of staffing options for Ashland Fire & Rescue
Fire Chief John Karns recommended Council consider three options listed under the Conclusion of the Ashland Fire & Rescue Staffing Menu document. The first would implement the 8/10 staffing with a commitment to 9/10 staffing in the future.  The second eliminated non-emergent transfers.  The third was Administrative Options that included a residential sprinkler ordinance, supporting a WUI Fire Code, the Age-Friendly Housing Program, and Senior Fall Prevention and Fire Safety Training.
City Administrator Dave Kanner thought adding staff would increase the rate at which costs increased in the Fire Department.  Adding three firefighters immediately would offset overtime costs initially but every firefighter had overtime built into their positions that increased as they moved up the pay scale and wages increased.  The Fire Department needed a certain number of people on staff and often used overtime to maintain that level.  Another issue was the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) would go up in the next biennium to an amount equivalent of a full time firefighter or police officer.  He agreed with Chief Karns that an 8/9 staff level did not provide adequate coverage.  The option that made best sense was hiring one firefighter/paramedic per year for six years.  He also supported eliminating non-emergent medical transfers.
Chief Karns explained eliminating non-emergent transport would entail contacting Jackson County and putting out a request for proposal (RFP) for a third party that would contract with the Fire Department.  Currently, Mercy Flights thought assuming the non-emergent transports was viable.  The RFP process would take 4-6 months. 
Merging with Fire District 5 or creating a Special Fire District was typically a five-year process.  Several programs currently offered through the Fire Department would change.  Forming a new district or merging was political, and the community might not be receptive.  Establishing special districts was a new trend throughout the nation.  Mr. Kanner added they would have to amend the City Charter if the Fire Department merged or formed a special district.
Chief Karns was not opposed to a student program.  It would not solve the staffing problem and cost 25% of a career firefighterís salary to fund.  He was resistant to add a student program without adequate career staff.  
Council discussed options and directed staff to bring back information on the following:
  • Identify additional revenue sources, steps needed to attain an adequate staff level and a plan to get there
  • Eliminating the non-emergent medical transfers  
  • Residential fire sprinkler code
  • WUI code
  • Explore special districts, combined districts, and bring back a range of options
  • Implementing a Senior Fall Prevention and Fire Safety Training
  • Implementing an Age-Friendly Housing Program
4.   Hosler Dam Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Part 12 update
Engineering Services Manager Scott Fleury explained the City, as owner-operators of the Hosler Dam and power plant, followed certain guidelines and requirements mandated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).  Of the five subparts of Part 12, C-Emergency Action Plans and D-Inspection by Independent Consultant were the most important.  Subpart C-Emergency Action Plans detailed the development and continual updating of the Emergency Action Plan pertaining to potential failure, eminent failure, or flash flood issues associated with the dam.
For subpart D-Inspection by Independent Consultant, the City hired AECOM Senior Civil Engineer Steve Samuelson.  The reports detailed potential failure modes of the dam and hazard categories.  One item Mr. Samuelson was working on with FERC was the erosivity of the left abutment.  They were meeting with FERC the following day to determine how to protect the left abutment in the case of over topping, a situation where water came over the parapet walls and the dam face.  Hosler dam had never over topped.  The spillway was a 120-foot channel water came through naturally when it reached that level.  Senior Engineer Pieter Smeenk explained during the 1997 flood Hosler Dam came close to overtopping due to a lot of debris built up in the dam. 
Mr. Samuelson addressed the left abutment erosivity study, shared the history of prior studies, and explained FERC had concerns regarding the rock structure under the dam that could ultimately result in erosive failures to the foundation.  He described what they analyzed during the studies, frequency, and response from FERC.  He provided examples of what the City could do to reinforce the left abutment.
5.   Discussion and options: extension of City water services outside of City limits
City Administrator Dave Kanner explained Ashland Municipal Code 14.04.060 had criteria for requests from properties outside city limits to connect to City water.  John Chmelirís property could not meet those criteria.  Mr. Chmelir would present his case before Council at the January 5, 2016 meeting.  Mr. Kanner read six possible options for Council to consider that ranged from no changes to the code to annexing Highway 99 between the railroad trestle and Valley View Road into city limits.  Staff did not support option 2 that would amend the code to allow connections to City water or option 5 that would grant exceptions to the code on a case-by-case basis.
Public Works Director Mike Faught and RH2 Consultant Jeff Ballard explained the water line was a transmission line that pushed Talent Ashland Phoenix (TAP) water up to Granite Street.  The pressure from the line was too powerful for a residential connection.  When and if the area annexed into city limits, the Public Works Department would review needs and add a distribution line at that time.  They had not analyzed the TAP line for fire suppression utilization.  TAP moved water from one point to another in rapid succession during the summer.  Once it reached city limits, they installed the two fire hydrants for future use.  Mr. Ballard added until the City adequately planned for the long term, they should take care regarding any decisions they might make regarding connections to the TAP line.
Council expressed interest in amending the code for fire suppression only, and criteria for variances.  Council comment noted if connecting to TAP was not feasible or a good idea there was no reason to pursue the issue further and suggested staff research feasibility first.
Meeting adjourned at 7:24 p.m.
Dana Smith
Assistant to the City Recorder

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