Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


May 16, 2017
Council Chambers
1175 E. Main Street

Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 7:04 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilor Slattery, Morris, Lemhouse, Seffinger, and Rosenthal were present.  Councilor Darrow was absent.
Mayor Stromberg announced vacancies on the Historic, Housing and Human Services, Tree, and Wildfire Mitigation Commissions.
The minutes of the Special Meeting of April 19, 2017, Special Meeting of April 20, 2017, Joint Meeting of May 1, 2017, Executive Session of May 1, 2017,   Business Meeting of May 2, 2017, and the Special Meeting of May 4, 2017 were approved as presented.
Annual presentation by the Wildfire Commission
Wildfire Mitigation Commission Chair Tim Bewley explained the Wildfire Mitigation Commission had evolved from the Ashland Firewise Commission established in 2011.  The Commission cosponsored an Era of Megafires presentation in 2016 with Southern Oregon University (SOU).  There was a Wildfire Summit with the Ashland Coalition.  The Ashland Emergency Food Bank allowed the Commission to include an announcement during a green bag distribution.  The Commission also staffed a resource table at the Growers Markets.  A subcommittee met monthly with the Chamber of Commerce targeting businesses and focusing on education and evacuation communication protocols.  Water Conservation Analyst Julie Smitherman attended Commission meetings regularly. The Commission was developing a new plant list for the WaterWise program.  The Commission was also working on an initiative for insurance companies to recognize Firewise certification in homeowner policies.  Fire Adapted Community Coordinator Alison Lerch provided a summary of her responsibilities.  There were now 25 Firewise communities with at least four more forming this year. 
The Mayor’s proclamations of May 22 – 28, 2017 as Rotary Club Week, and Ashland as a City of Peace in perpetuity were read aloud.
Ashland Police Department annual use of force report
Police Chief Tighe O’Meara explained 2016 had a 93% increase in uses of force for a total of 29 incidents.  There were six Taser deployments with one display of the Taser energy weapon.  There was one use of a  bean bag round from a shot gun, one deployment of pepper spray, six officer injuries, and fifteen complaints of injury from suspects, 13 were minor and two were complaints only.  The Police Department had 3,925 cases generated and used force on less than 1% of those cases.  A panel reviewed all use of force incidents and body cam videos with appropriate action taken if necessary.  In 2016, there was no need for coaching or corrective action on any inappropriate use of force.
Part 1 crimes included murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, auto theft, and larceny.  Ashland’s part one crime rate was up in 2016 to 849 reported.  Violent crime consisted of homicide, robbery, rape, and aggravated assault.  Violent crimes had increased 50% from 2015.  Clearance rates remained higher than the national average, 40% for all part one crimes, and 90% for violent crimes.
The Enhanced Law Enforcement Area (ELEA) continued to be a valuable tool to address negative behavior downtown.  In 2016, 150 ELEA violations resulted in convictions and 17 people were expelled from the downtown area.  Violation level offenses that contributed to expulsion were drinking in public and open container in public, smoking marijuana in public, out of control dog, unvaccinated dog, scattering rubbish, and unnecessary noise.  Assistant City Attorney Doug McGeary added crimes were also included in the ELEA as long as it made up three incidences or the defendant failed to appear three times within a six-month period.  Often the individual agreed with expulsion.  If someone was making efforts to resolve their issues, Mr. McGeary might not recommend expulsion.  Chief O’Meara went on to explain body camera recordings were public record unless the case was being adjudicated.  However, Oregon state law prohibited blanket requests.
Report on the jail bed rental program
Police Chief Tighe O’Meara explained in April 2016, Council authorized an intergovernmental agreement with Jackson County Sheriff’s Department to rent up to two beds as needed for $100 a day per bed.  It would cost $73,000 annually if the City used this fully.  To date, the Municipal Court Judge had sentenced six people to serve a total of 114 days for a cost of $11,400.  The jail beds were only used for post-conviction housing at the discretion of the Judge who received consultation from the Legal Department.  The Police Department was currently exploring the possibility of using the jail beds for pre-conviction housing.  It was a complicated issue with logistical, policy, and philosophical concerns.   
Sydnee Dreyer/823 Alder Creek Drive/Medford, OR/Represented First Place Partners, the owners of the condominium building at 175 Lithia Way.  They requested that Council expand the boundary in the Enhanced Law Enforcement Area (ELEA) map to extend the full width of the right of way and include the sidewalks at 175 Lithia Way.  She described the negative behavior condominium residents were encountering outside their building.  This was a current, active, behavorial problem area.
Randy Jones/815 Alder Creek Drive/Medford, OR/Was part of the First Place Partners.  During a recent Home Owners Association meeting at 175 Lithia Way, tenants expressed concern about the behavior occurring in the parking lot and outside their building.  Law enforcement had been helpful and tenants were encouraged to call the police as needed.  Residents did not feel safe.  They supported the new ordinances and wanted the Enhanced Law Enforcement Area (ELEA) map expanded to include 175 Lithia Way.
Huelz Gutcheon/2253 Hwy 99/Society could not solve the climate problem by obeying the same rules that created the problems in the first place.  The City needed 20 climate solution organizers and could achieve that by releasing the salaries of the problem causers. 
Brent Thompson/582 Allison/Submitted a document into the record regarding charges in residential and commercial zones.  He suggested changing the accessory residential units (ARU) ordinance so it allowed two small units no larger than 360 square feet each.  Plumbing would back up to each other and each unit would have a parking place.  Another issue was a substandard in size lot partition ordinance regarding little lots in town.
1.   Approval of minutes of boards, commissions, and committees
2.   Appointment of Daniel S. Palomino to the Airport Commission
3.   Appointment of Bernard “Barney” Spera to the Airport Commission
4.   Approval of a contract with Emergency Communications of Southern Oregon
5.   Verde Village Trust Deed subordination
Councilor Lemhouse/Rosenthal m/s to approve the Consent Agenda.  Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
1.   2017 Council Liaisons to Boards, Commissions, and Committees
Mayor John Stromberg explained there were three liaison assignments not yet filled.  Councilor Seffinger added it was difficult for some councilors to attend commission meetings due to meeting times and the amount of commissions and committees.  She suggested discussing alternatives during the summer.  Currently, the Wildfire Mitigation, Tree, Transportation, and Airport Commissions needed council liaisons. 
Councilor Seffinger volunteered for the Wildfire Mitigation Commission.  Councilor Lemhouse and Slattery volunteered for the Airport Commission as co-liaisons.  Councilor Morris and Rosenthal would serve as co-liaisons for the Transportation Commission.
2.   Discussion of disbursement of Social Service Grants Funds
Interim City Administrator John Karns prepared two options for Council.  Option A used the schedule approved April 18, 2017 and blended in the funds that changed for Options for Homeless Residents in Ashland (OHRA).  Schedule A maintained a zero commitment to Rose Circle.  Option B took what the Housing and Human Services Commission (HHSC) had approved and added the funds removed from OHRA.
Assistant City Attorney Doug McGeary discussed the motion made during the May 2, 2017 meeting allocating $25,000 to OHRA with Council.  Council would have to rescind the motion if they wanted to change the allocation to OHRA.  If they did not change the $25,000, they could make a motion to adjust the allocations for the remaining agencies.   
Councilor Seffinger/Slattery m/s to adopt Schedule B of the recommendation provided by staff for the disbursements of the City’s social service grants taking $2,000 from the RVCOG Meals on Wheels allocation and adding it to the Rose Circle allocation.  DISCUSSION:  Councilor Morris declared a potential conflict of interest that he was the liaison to the RVCOG Meals on Wheels program.  Councilor Seffinger wanted to give more funds to Rose Circle because they were starting a Wellness Program that was important to Ashland Youth.  Councilor Lemhouse noted the allocation would give Rose Circle more than what they asked for.  He was uncomfortable with the dramatic cut to St. Vincent de Paul and preferred allocating the $2,000 to that agency instead of Rose Circle.
Councilor Lemhouse/Rosenthal m/s to amend the motion instead of allocating an additional $2,000 to Rose Circle that the $2,000 be reallocated to St. Vincent de Paul.  DISCUSSION:  Councilor Lemhouse thought it was more equitable and restored some funding back to St. Vincent de Paul.
Roll Call Vote:  Councilor Lemhouse, Morris, Rosenthal, and Slattery, YES; Councilor Seffinger NO.  Motion passed 4-1.
Councilor Rosenthal spoke to the process and stated this was not the way this type of business should be done.  He would vote against the motion.  The process needed to be fixed. He had been an elected volunteer for fifteen years and this was one of the most embarrassing things he had been associated with in the process.  Roll Call vote on amended motion:  Councilor Seffinger, Slattery, and Lemhouse, YES; Councilor Rosenthal and Morris, NO.  Motion passed 3-2.
1.   7th Quarter Financial Report of the 2015-17 Biennium
Administrative Services/Finance Director Mark Welch explained the 7th Quarter Financial report covered July 1, 2015 to March 31, 2017.  The revenue during the period was at 85.3% of the budget with expenditures slightly below at 81.1%.  The financial position was stable for the period reflected.
Councilor Slattery wanted the timing of the report addressed, and wanted Mr. Welch prepared to answer questions from the Budget Committee on the Ending Fund Balance (EFB) decreasing $28 million over the quarter. He also wanted to know if Council could use any of the $2.4 million in contingency.   Councilor Slattery requested a report on staff overtime that showed if overtime was budgeted and if not, he wanted to know how much overtime had been utilized.  Mr. Welch explained staff was working on overtime reports and breaking down personnel and benefits by department for the Budget Committee.  He was also open to changes that helped Council understand the financial quarterly reports better.
Councilor Rosenthal noted intergovernmental revenues under the Street Fund were at 30%.  Mr. Welch explained it was based on receiving grant money with a portion going towards the Nevada Street bridge project.  He would research the request and come back with more information.
Councilor Seffinger addressed the overtime report and wanted to know if unexpected overtime was a result of lost positions or safety reasons.
Councilor Lemhouse commented on Budget Committee members not feeling entitled to specific information like overtime and asked Mr. Welch’s view on that type of information.  Mr. Welch supported transparency and would want to know why an individual was requesting specific information.  It would take staff a lot of time to prepare the overtime reports to the detail the Budget Committee requested.  He would want to know what the end goal was in a request or if it was due to staff not appearing transparent because they could not produce the request.  Mr. Welch confirmed Budget Committee requests should be a group consensus instead of an individual request.
Mayor Stromberg wanted to know the limitations of bargaining contract negotiations regarding the overtime report.
Councilor Rosenthal/Lemhouse m/s to accept the seventh quarter financial report.  Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
1.   Approval of second reading by title only of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance amending AMC Chapter 1.08 General Penalties, Section 1.08.005F(2) to reflect prior amendment to AMC 10.120.020 persistent violation”
Assistant City Attorney Doug McGeary explained there were no changes to the ordinance.  Council directed staff to look into expanding the Enhanced Law Enforcement Area (ELEA) map.
Councilor Slattery/Lemhouse m/s to approve Ordinance #3143.  Roll Call Vote:  Councilor Rosenthal, Morris, Lemhouse, Seffinger, and Slattery, YES.  Motion passed.
2.   Approval of second reading by title only of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance amending AMC 14.04.060 Water Connections outside the city limits” [with the correction of one word in Section “direction” to “discretion”]
Assistant City Attorney Doug McGeary confirmed the only change was replacing the word “direction” with “discretion” in Section
Councilor Morris/Slattery m/s to approve Ordinance #3144.  Roll Call Vote:  Councilor Morris, Lemhouse, Seffinger, Slattery, and Rosenthal, YES.  Motion passed.
Councilor Slattery announced the 10th annual Southern Oregon University Arts & Research (SOAR) conference May 16-19, 2017.
Councilor Lemhouse noted the Public Arts Commission met the artist hired for the Theater Corridor public art project.  The artist, Gordon Huether, brought a couple mock ups of ideas and would return with models to scale for the public.  He would also attend a Council meeting.  Councilor Lemhouse went on to thank Mayor Stromberg and his wife, and Councilor Rosenthal for their participation in the Pacific Rim Bowl Fund Raiser.  As part of fund raising efforts to send the High School football team to Japan, Butler Ford would make a donation for anyone that test drove one of their vehicles Saturday May 20, 2017 up to a certain amount.
Councilor Seffinger announced a second art installation in the watershed.  The piece, “Water in Life” would be ready in June.  The installation would occur on Bandersnatch trail just up from the first art piece, “The Pacific Fisher.”
Councilor Rosenthal congratulated the Historic Commission on their Annual Historic Preservation awards ceremony earlier that day at the community center. 
Meeting adjourned at 9:00 p.m.
__________________________________                _______________________________
Dana Smith, Assistant to the City Recorder                 John Stromberg, Mayor

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