Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Council Business Meeting

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Held Electronically; View on Channel 9 or Channels 180 and 181 (for Charter Communications customers) or live stream via select RVTV Prime.
Note: As the July 7 Council meeting will be held electronically, written testimony will be accepted via email to both general public forum items and agenda items as long as they are submitted with the subject line: July 7 Council Meeting Testimony before Monday, July 6 at 10 a.m. Written testimonies submitted by the deadline will be available to the City Council before the meeting and will be included in the meetings minutes.
Note: Items on the Agenda not considered due to time constraints are automatically continued to the next regularly scheduled Council meeting [AMC 2.04.030.E.]
Mayor Stromberg called the Business Meeting to order at 6:00 PM
Councilors’ Slattery, Graham, Akins, Seffinger, Rosenthal and Jensen were present.
    1. Study Session of June 15, 2020
    2. Business Meeting of June 16, 2020
Rosenthal/Jensen moved to approve the Minutes.  Discussion:  None.  All Ayes.  Motion passed unanimously.
    1. COVID-19 Update
Interim City administrator gave an update. Items discussed were:
  • Changes with Porta-Potties and Parks.
  • Continuation of car camping.
  • Met with Representative Marsh and Senator Golden to work on how to maintain outreach efforts for the addiction moratorium legislation.
  • Housing specialist Linda Reid is working on local and regional homeless services.
  • City operations.
    • The City is in Phase 1.5.
    • Maintaining social distance.
    • Public is not allowed in the buildings.
    • If Staff has to meet with the public all rules are being followed.
    • Many of City Staff are still working remotely and it has been working well.  
Airport Budget Conservation
Historic Housing and Human Srvs. Parks & Recreation
Forest Lands Climate Policy Cost Review
Planning Public Arts Transportation
Tree Wildfire Mitigation  
  1. PUBLIC FORUM Business from the audience not included on the agenda.
(Total time allowed for Public Forum is 15 minutes. The Mayor will set time limits to enable all people wishing to speak to complete their testimony.) [15 minutes maximum] See note above for how to submit written testimony for Public Forum.
Submitted Public Testimony (see attached).
Hanks went over the City Administrator Newsletter (see attached).  
Items discussed were:
  • Fourth of July Plaza Events Recap.
  • Ashland Summer Celebration Series.
  • Downtown Parking Enforcement.  Akins questioned if it would be possible to use valet parking.  Hanks spoke that Staff could look into this.
  • Finance Director Recruitment.
  • Second Quarter Marijuana Tax.
  • Communications Update.
  • BPA Rate Temporary Reduction.
  • Grants:
    • Business Oregon Grant.
    • Tourism Grant.
  • Upcoming Business for the July 20th Study Session and the July 21st Business Meeting.
    1. Appointment of Jeff Wyatt to the Climate Policy Commission
    2. Approval of a Memorandum of Understanding with Addictions Recovery Center
    3. Approval of Two Contracts with Emergency Communications of Southern Oregon
Jensen pulled this Item.  Jensen questioned the 20% increase. Police Chief O’Meara gave a Staff report.  He explained the increase is due to property values going up.
  1. Approval of a Sole Source Procurement with Dry Creek Landfill
Graham pulled this Item.
Graham questioned the timing of the contracts and questions if it is possible for Council to see these sorts of contracts earlier.  Interim Public Works Director Scott Fleury explained it is easier to deliver sooner than later.  Certain things like this contract usually get routed through the Procurement Officer and Staff. He spoke that unfortunately the timing was off this year but Staff does like to get it to Council sooner.  
  1. Approval of Intergovernmental Transfer Agreement with Oregon Health Authority
Slattery/Graham moved to approve the Consent Agenda. Discussion: None. All Ayes. Motion passed unanimously.
  1. PUBLIC HEARINGS (Persons wishing to speak are to submit a “speaker request form” prior to the commencement of the public hearing.  Public hearings shall conclude at 8:00 p.m. and be continued to a future date to be set by the Council, unless the Council, by a two-thirds vote of those present, extends the hearing(s) until up to 9:30 p.m. at which time the Council shall set a date for continuance and shall proceed with the balance of the agenda.)
    1. Oregon Clean Fuels Program Update
Hanks gave a brief Staff report. He introduced Climate and Energy Analyst Stu Green to discuss the Program.
Green discussed:
  • Timelines.
  • Awarded Credits.
  • How the credits are awarded.
  • Clean Fuel Products.
Graham spoke that to the importance of this law to have these credits still in timeline of 10 years to invest in the future to provide for our children. Hanks explained that this has been brought up.  He spoke that Electric Utility will bring this back for a Supplemental Budget and Appropriations request. Slattery questioned when the money will come in.  Hanks spoke that it depends on the buyer.
Green encouraged the Council to turn the credits into useful money and to reinvest them in such a way that we will get more credits next year.
Graham/Rosenthal moved to authorize the City Administrator to utilize the Oregon Clean Fuels credit exchange to monetize the clean fuels credits acquired by the City of Ashland Electric Utility in 2018 and 2019. Discussion: Graham spoke that this is the time to cash these credits in and to start looking in on how to invest those monies. She thanked Green for his work. Rosenthal agreed with Graham and spoke to the value of the position and the services that Green’s provides to the City. Seffinger spoke in agreement with Graham and Rosenthal and spoke to the importance of this for the future. She spoke to the importance of public education and outreach.  Akins questioned how much the City will be getting and where it will go. Hanks explained there will be another step in the process and that this will come back to Council for discussion and a proposal. Roll Call Vote:  Jensen, Slattery, Graham, Akins, Seffinger and Rosenthal: YES.  Motion passed unanimously.
  1. Construction Completion Report for Hersey Street Reconstruction and Laurel and Hersey Street Railroad Crossings Improvements
Interim Public Works Director Scott Fleury gave a Staff report. He gave recognition to E.I.T Associate Engineer Karl Johnson.   Council thanked Staff and acknowledged the Staff’s acceptance that construction is substantially complete and the five-year street cut moratorium has begun effective April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2025
    1. First Reading of Ordinance 3188 an Ordinance Relating to the Food and Beverage Tax; Amending AMC 4.34.020
Hanks gave a Staff report.
Hanks spoke regarding the projections. He spoke that if there is a shortfall from Food and Beverage than the Ordinance would allow the Wastewater Ending Fund Balance to cover the shortfall of the Debt Service.
He spoke that Interim Public Works Director, Assistant Attorney Katrina Brown and Interim Finance Director Bryn Morrison were present to discuss any questions that Council may have.
Akins questioned the mechanism.  She questioned if this came about from the vote of the people.  Hanks spoke that it did go to the vote of the people but was not required to.
Akins questioned since this did go to the vote of the people are we compelled to go back to the vote of the people. Brown spoke that there is no legal requirement to do so for this amendment.
Council discussed Dept Services payments and the cost to extend the term of the loan.
Graham questioned if there would be a risk by delaying road projects and if so would there be higher construction costs.
Hanks spoke that Staff could look at a variety of different ways to refinance.  He spoke it would cost more on the total note. He spoke if Council would like to do this they can bring this back to Council.  He spoke that the Ordinance will need to be changed regardless. 
Akins questioned if anything is preventing City from lowering the contribution to Parks and what savings could be achieved. Hanks spoke that this would be a Council option to pursue. He spoke that Staff could look into this.
Slattery spoke that he thinks this needs to be reworked and brought back to Council in order to not undermine the vote of the Citizens. 
Hanks explained that the only way to not change the Ordinance is if the F&B Revenues are sufficient to pay the Debt Service.
Council discussed the possibility of borrowing from a different revenue stream.
Council discussed being consistant of what the voters passed.    
Morrison explained that the revenue has increased in the last 5 years. 5 Years ago it would have been $120,000 and last year it would have been $155,000.
Council discussed how funds could be adjusted.
Council suggested to see what the refinance options would be.  
Council discussed what would happen when the Wastewater Treament is paid off.
Council discussed for Staff to bring this item back to Council and also the process to bring this back to the people to vote on.
Graham/Jensen moved to direct Staff to investigate alternatives for refinancing the remaining wastewater debt and assess what delays in street projects might result in terms of financial and budget impacts. Discussion:  Jensen spoke that it is clear that Council would like more information. Roll Call Vote: Slattery, Akins, Graham, Seffinger, Jensen and Rosenthal: YES.  Motion passed unanimously.
Brown suggested to have a motion to postpone and bring back at a certain date.  
Rosenthal/Slattery moved to postpone discussion of Ordinance 3188 until the September 1, 2020 Business Meeting.  Discusssion: None.  Roll Call Vote: Jensen, Slattery, Graham, Akins, Seffinger and Rosenthal: YES.  Motion passed unanimously.
  1. Resolution 2020-15 Social Equity and Racial Justice Statement
Graham gave a Staff report.  She spoke that Rosenthal, Slattery and herself came together to draft this Resolution.
She spoke to the background of how this Resolution came about and the conversations that she had with other organizations. Slattery was also a lead on this document.
She spoke that in the conversations had there were two questions asked; how can the City support the advocates now and what needs to be on the long term agenda for the work that the City and Community does.
Slattery spoke that this document is for what the City is able to contribute to help matters improve now but it is not a perfect document.  He spoke that there will be mistakes along the way and they will be corrected. He explained this is just a start.
Rosenthal spoke in appreciation of the efforts of Graham and Slattery. He spoke this is a way for the City to look forward to the evolution of thinking. He explained Resolutions and Ordinances can be changed.
Graham identified 4 elements that Council will commit to:
  • Designate Social Equity in Racial Justice and the value service in the strategic planning process.
  • Making Juneteenth a Community Celebration.
  • Advocate at State and Federal levels for policy reform.
  • Work in the new term as a committee as a whole to move efforts forward.
Graham discussed items the City will do as a whole:
  • APD take active role of conversations happening at SOU.
  • Strengthen our cultural competency and have bias training programs.
  • Display Black Live Matter Signs at City owned locations.
  • Continue to support the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Birthday.
  • Connect with SOU students to better understand the experiences of all college students particularly BIPOC students and what it is like to live here.
  • Work with Community Partners to develop training incident response and community acknowledgment programs that help residents and business owners address the long term causes of inequality and racial injustice.
  • Work with Jackson County and neighboring cities to provide mental health professionals.
  • Mural Projects.
  • Proactive review of policies where deadly forces were used in Jackson County.
  • Review hiring practices within the City.
  • Renew the effort with the indigenous leaders to find a solution to rename Dead Indian Road.
Akins spoke to the process is important and how we engage our Community.  She spoke to a request from the Truth and Conciliation Commission.  Akins read a letter into the record from Truth and Conciliation Commission asking that Council to bring this item back to Council once the Truth and Conciliation can be involved in the process and bring in their recommendations.
Akins requests to delay this until we have better involvement with our black indigenous people of color in forming the Resolution.
Graham questioned if there was anything specific that the Commission objects.  Akins answered the objection is the process and the Commission would like to be a part of the writing of the Resolution.  
Slattery spoke in appreciation as well as in disagreement with parts of the statements made. He spoke that there has been support received by many.
Akins spoke that she is not a spokesperson for black indigenous people of color.  She spoke she is just speaking for the Truth and Conciliation Commission.  She is suggesting to slow the process down and include the Commission. 
Slattery spoke that this Council should receive credit for being willing to step up and make things happen.  This Resolution can be adjusted down the road to incorporate other suggestions.
Jensen spoke in support to move this Resolution forward.
Seffinger spoke to the importance of having input from the BIPOC Citizens and for BIPOC feel safe to live here. Seffinger spoke in support of the Resolution.
Graham explained this is just the beginning and changes can be made.
Akins spoke in appreciation of the work that has gone into the document but explained that when creating a policy that affects a specific group of people it is important to get them involved in the process.
Slattery spoke that this is a Resolution not a Policy.
Slattery/Seffinger moved to approve Resolution 2020-15 Titled “A Resolution Declaring the City of Ashland’s Commitment to Social Equity and Racial Justice” Discussion: Seffinger spoke to the importance of Resolution.  Jensen questioned Graham if there were any corrections other than a typo that need to be made. Graham answered no and that this Resolution is an invitation for others in the Community to bring their ideas to Council.  Jensen spoke that this is a wonder and robust starting point and will support the motion.  Rosenthal spoke to those who oppose the Resolution that this is an invitation to help the City improve the Resolution and that this is just a first step.  He spoke that this may be imperfect in the eyes of some but Council is open for suggestions regardless of the color of our skin. Akins spoke that she wishes she could vote yes but cannot because of the process.  She spoke that to the importance of the process. She spoke that process begins at the beginning to have strength based modeling that includes everybody and this one piece of work process actually is the most important way that we make these changes.  She spoke that as much as she supports equity and all the hard work that went into this document she just cannot vote for it because of the process.  Graham spoke that this document comes from conversation comes from people in this community that are wanting to see the City take action.  She spoke that in drafting this she careful to go back to notes to capture not only the goal of what the community has asked but also the goal of taking action. She spoke that she recognizes Akins concerns as well as the BIPOC people that Akins works with on the Commission and hopes that we can focus the work that we will do with the larger community on issues that are not just City issues. She spoke that understands the concerns but also has heard from others in the community that they would like Council to start doing some of the heavy lifting. Mayor Stromberg spoke regarding all races and spoke that there are many components of our society and questioned Akins if all members of the community going to be part of this discussion. Akins spoke that she appreciates the care of how the Resolution and how it included unhoused. She answered yes, this needs to be for everybody. She spoke equity for everybody or not equitable for anybody.   Slattery spoke that he appreciates all of what Akins is saying.  He spoke what is missing in our community is a conversation about all of these issues and the importance to make a more welcoming place for everybody here. He spoke that he is mindful of the issues brought forward.  He spoke that it is important work together and to not worry if you don’t get it quite right at first just continue to get things better. Seffinger spoke that this Resolution means we are making a commitment to look at our involvement in how to change the situation that we are in for the whole community.
Roll Call Vote: Jensen, Rosenthal, Seffinger, Slattery and Graham: YES. Akins was not in attendance at this time so a vote was not cast.  
Council discussed rules of abstaining from a vote.  Brown went over the rules of voting.  Mayor Stromberg discussed that the connection may have been lost.  It was noted that during deliberation she did state she could not vote on this motion.
  • Note on July 8th Akins sent an email to Council stating “The fact is the city has engaged technology by using Zoom. Sometimes technology fails. I am in a place with no internet. I tether to my cell phone. After several hours, the connection can be dropped and cause the screen to freeze. I attempted to leave and come back but missed my window”.
Graham requested to place the assignment and tasks for the Social Equity and Racial Justice Resolution on the next Agenda and future Agendas for a period of time. Council gave consensus to add this to future Agendas.
The Business Meeting Adjourned at 9:10 PM.
Respectfully submitted by:
City Recorder Melissa Huhtala
Mayor Stromberg
In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, if you need special assistance to participate in this meeting, please contact the City Administrator's office at (541) 488-6002 (TTY phone number 1-800-735-2900).  Notification 72 hours prior to the meeting will enable the City to make reasonable arrangements to ensure accessibility to the meeting (28 CFR 35.102-35.104 ADA Title I).

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