MINUTES FOR THE REGULAR MEETING
ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL
September 17, 2002 7:00 p.m.
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Mayor DeBoer called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilor Laws, Reid, Hartzell, Jackson, and Hearn were present. Councilor Morrison was absent.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of September 3, 2002 were approved, noting on page 4 that Mayor DeBoer was stepping down from the Hospital Board due to his appointment as representative for the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS & AWARDS
The Mayor's Proclamation of "Race Equality Week" was read aloud.
The Mayor announced that in memory of former Ashland City Councilor Ken Hagen, who passed away September 21, 1998, a bronze plaque would be mounted along the stretch of bike path by the Railroad Park. The plaque commemorates Ken's dedication and commitment to bike paths in the City of Ashland.
The Mayor reminded everyone that the bus is free in Ashland and informed the Council that initial reports from the Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD) indicate a 50% increase in ridership.
The Mayor announced that this would be City Administrator Greg Scoles last Council Meeting. He thanked Scoles for his time with the City and enumerated many of Scoles accomplishments.
Minutes of Boards, Commissions and Committees.
Liquor License Application from Christopher Ashenbrener dba Plaza Inn & Suites at Ashland Creek, 98 Central Avenue.
Liquor License Application from Thomas Kohler dba Tom's Golf Shop, Inc., at 3060 Highway 66.
Confirmation of Mayor's appointment of Brian Almquist as Interim City Administrator.
Consider Granting the State of Oregon a Permanent Slope Easement.
Councilors Hartzell/Reid m/s to approve the Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
1. Public Hearing on Grant Award for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Affordable Housing Project Proposal.
Community Development Assistant Planner Brandon Goldman and Associate Planner
Maria Harris reported that the Housing Commission is charged with forwarding
a recommendation to the Council for award of the 2003 CDBG funds. Three proposals
were received requesting a total of $274,750 in CDBG funds and approximately
$214,000 is available. Each of the proposals addressed the high priority
need for affordable housing identified in the 2000-2004 Consolidated Plan.
It was noted that Staff seeks to maximize returns on CDBG dollars and that
funding three projects would pull Staff time away from other projects. Staff
recommended the following awards:
Rogue Valley Community Development Corporation (RVCDC) proposal #1: $200,500
Rogue Valley Community Development Corporation (RVCDC) proposal #2: $13,500
Creative Alternatives Foundation (CAF) proposal #3: $0 in this program year
Ron Demele/165 Crocker/Executive Director of RVCDC, spoke in favor of the RVCDC proposal, and requested funding for the acquisition of a site with possible yields of 32 units of affordable housing.
Bill Brown/125 Lani Way, Talent/of the Creative Alternatives Foundation, spoke in favor of the CAF proposal.
Larry Medinger/115 Fork Street/Spoke in favor of the CAF proposal noting those CDBG funds are exactly characterized to do off-site expenses. He suggested re-characterizing their request as a property acquisition for $27,750.00. He noted that the City has already given a zone change and a waiver of SDC's.
PUBLIC HEARING OPEN: 7:45 p.m.
Goldman addressed the issue of land acquisition as an alternative for CAF, noting that as part of their CDBG application CAF submitted a document outlining the donation of the $300,000 property. He explained that this raises significant issues with getting funds to purchase lands that they already control because CDBG funds do not allow for the repayment of loans or to buy a property already acquired by the applicant.
Reid questioned if CDBG monies are the only way to fund the CAF project. Harris clarified that they were not, but Staff was not prepared to speak on alternative methods at this time. Reid suggested the Council explore alternative possibilities. Laws noted that this might be an excellent leverage of funds and favored approval pending the ability of Staff to find a way it can be done. Goldman noted that funds could be awarded upon completion of public improvement construction. Hartzell commented that that would still require a huge amount of Staff time and suggested, as an alternative, funding the project through sale of surplus City property. It was questioned if the two RVCDC projects could be counted as one. It was clarified that in terms of Staff time, and in the eyes of HUD, they were two separate projects. Harris suggested the Council consider funding the CAF project in the next cycle.
Andy Dungan/260 Meadow Drive/Vice Chair of the Housing Commission/Explained that the Commission supports funding the RVCDC and CAF projects. For the CAF project, he suggested the City waive the $27,000 for the project or extend payment time. He commended Staff for their work on the issue.
PUBLIC HEARING CLOSED: 8:15 p.m.
Councilors Hartzell/Hearn m/s to approve RVCDC proposals #1 for $193,000, and #2 for $21,000 contingent upon Staff determining that $7,500 is eligible for pre-development costs. If ineligible, that amount would be applied towards the balance of proposal #1. Motion withdrawn by Hartzell/Hearn.
Councilors Hartzell/Hearn m/s to approve RVCDC proposals #1 for $193,000, and #2 for $21,000 contingent upon Staff determining that $7,500 is eligible for pre-development costs. If ineligible, that amount would be applied towards the balance of proposal #1. DISCUSSION: Hartzell noted that we are capable of finding resources to allow the CAF project to move forward. Jackson did not favor this motion without assurance of support for the CAF request. Reid did not favor linking the CAF project to future funds. Laws suggested reducing proposal #1 by $27,500, and setting that amount aside, while Staff investigates the feasibility of applying that amount to the CAF project. It was noted that doing that would entail much extra staff time and produce project delays. Goldman clarified that Staff had already investigated possibilities and noted that alternative funding methods exist. Voice Vote: Laws, Hearn, Hartzell, and Reid - AYES. Jackson - NO. Motion passed 4 to 1.
Komac Tapp/1539 E Nevada/Appealed to the Council for compassion towards the homeless and read aloud Biblical text he felt applicable to the subject.
Michael Buckley/793 Wharton/Oregon Restaurant Association/Spoke in opposition to a suggested extension of the meals tax. He noted that the tax was enacted for a specific purpose and had a sunset clause. He contended that it is unfair that one section of the retail industry carries the burden for services used by all. He suggested taxing all retail industries.
Kirk Tierney/no address/Spoke regarding individual consideration and personal rights. He quoted excerpts from the United States Declaration of Independence and the Bible that he felt appropriate to the issue. He complained about police confiscation of his property without due process.
Kasey Acker/398 Bridge Street/Requested information on the status of the 4th of July issue and that the issue be placed on a Council agenda for discussion.
Laurel Holshouser/1320 Iowa Street/Requested that the 4th of July issue be placed on a Council agenda for discussion.
Larry Medinger/115 Fork Street/Requested Council authorization of a letter of support regarding alternative funding for the CAF project.
1. Consideration of an Ordinance to Add Chapter 2.17, Public Arts Commission, to the Ashland Municipal Code.
City Administrator Greg Scoles reported that in February of this year the Council adopted a public arts policy and that before the Council now is a proposal for an Ordinance establishing a Public Arts Commission. He recommended that if the Council wishes to move forward on this, to direct Staff to place the Ordinance on a future Council agenda for first reading.
Bruce Bayard/621 "A" Street/Chair of the Public Art Study Group/Spoke supporting creation of a Public Arts Commission. He enumerated advantages to the creation of an official entity to advise the City concerning artistic components of City projects.
Sharon DeVora/150 Clay Street/Ashland Middle School Art Teacher/Spoke in support of the creation of a Public Arts Commission. She felt such a Commission would improve the livability and longevity of Ashland.
Ordinance language changes and error corrections were discussed. It was suggested that Council send suggestions for changes and corrections to Staff for consideration in crafting the Ordinance for first reading. Bayard clarified that the Public Arts Commission would make recommendations to all other Commissions where public art issues may be concerned, and would serve in an advisory capacity to the Council. It was suggested that the scope of review be clarified in the ordinance. It was noted that the Commission would operate as a non-profit organization.
Abram Max/310 ½ Bridge Street/Offered his services to the City in an advisory capacity but said that without the proper incentive (monetary compensation) he would not participate on the Commission.
Councilors Jackson/Reid m/s to direct staff to prepare an ordinance to create a Public Arts Commission and to bring it back for first reading. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
2. Potential consolidation of the Ashland Police Department 911/Dispatch Center.
Police Chief Scott Flueter reported that Council had received documents regarding the potential 911/dispatch consolidation and highlighted some of the recent activity concerning this. He requested that Council decide where 911/dispach services will be provided and direct Staff to bring back a preferred consolidation alternative for Council consideration. He expressed confidence that consolidation would not degrade 911 service.
Laws stated that the Council had been over all basic conceptual arguments on this issue and already has the information needed to make a decision. He commented that consolidation would result in significant cost savings and that change in the level of service would not be significant.
Reid asked how ambulance service related to 911 service. Fire Chief Keith Woodley noted that ambulance service is not an issue of size or configuration, but one of resources, and that given the appropriate level of resources any of the options could provide service. Police Officer Mike Bianca noted that technology allows the dispatch center to be located anywhere, and that an "in-house" center is not a requirement. He noted that there been no public outcry regarding the consolidation.
Flueter clarified that if Council chooses to outsource, two things might happen: 1.) The State might tell us where our money would go, which would help us make our decision, and 2.) If we chose to go with one entity or the other that may lend some weight to the ultimate decision for the State for this county. He noted that worst case scenario, if we chose to outsource, and we choose a center that ends up not having our 911 PSAP monies, we may be looking at an increase in costs, but not as much an increase as the savings realized in outsourcing.
Hearn commented that Ashland's current 911-dispatch center is understaffed, noting that if a dispatcher goes on a break a police officer must cover the position. He suggested that outsourcing would provide better coverage than what Ashland currently enjoys. Jackson noted the significant cost savings shown in the outsourcing options.
Councilors Hartzell/Jackson m/s to extend meeting until 10:30 p.m. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Andrew Bangsberg/925 Oak Street/Noted his dispatch experience through his past businesses. He commented that based on recent discussion with various Staff persons he feels the dispatch center should remain in Ashland. He noted various issues, including, 1.) Local knowledge of Ashland & Ashland residents, 2.) Personal service of a small town, and, 3.) Safety and communication issues.
Karol Williams/595 Wards Creek Rd, Rogue River/Dispatcher for the City of Ashland/Voiced opposition to outsourcing and felt that it would take away the personal aspect necessary when dealing with emergency situations.
DeBoer noted that of the seven employees in this department, five of them live outside of Ashland. He felt that consolidation would benefit all communities involved and urged Council to approve consolidation of dispatch services.
Flueter noted that the consolidation would move five dispatchers to the new center and the other two might find other open positions within the City or in the consolidation. Concern was noted regarding call transfer times. Flueter noted that he was comfortable with the transfer time, and noted that when investigating location options, 911 funds should not be a deciding factor, but rather the services offered. It was noted that the number of calls in all sectors is increasing.
Hartzell requested that negotiations on this issue establish governance that outlives the negotiators and current relationships. And, that the operations not move into a building not seismically equal to current conditions. Hearn emphasized that the City budget could be reduced nearly $400,000 a year by consolidation and that, earlier, Council spent nearly an hour discussing how $27,000 might be found for affordable housing.
Councilors Hearn/Jackson m/s to direct the Police Chief to outsource 911 Dispatch as recommended in the Staff communication dated September 17, 2002. DISCUSSION: Reid commented that she is making this decision not only to save money, but that she thinks the service will be as good, and maybe better in the long run, for our community. Voice Vote: Reid, Hearn, Laws, Jackson: AYES. Hartzell: NO. Motion passed 4 to 1.
Flueter noted that the Council would be kept posted about the status of the State's decision on who gets the 911 monies. He hoped to have an answer from the State within 3 months or so.
3. Update on City-owned property.
Councilors Laws/Reid m/s to defer the item to the second Council meeting in October. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS (None)
ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS AND CONTRACTS
1. First reading of an Ordinance Authorizing the Mayor to Add Student Liaison Members to Commissions and Committees.
Councilors Laws/Reid m/s to approve first reading of the Revised Version of the Ordinance and move to second reading. DISCUSSION: DeBoer noted changes in regards to appointment of liaisons at the school level. Hartzell did not favor this change, and suggested that the language of the ordinance specify that liaisons be young people. The Ordinance was read aloud in full. It was noted that the Southern Oregon University liaison was a "student" liaison to the University and not a "youth" liaison. Roll Call Vote: Jackson, Laws, Hearn, Reid: YES. Hartzell: NO. Motion passed 4 to 1.
OTHER BUSINESS FROM COUNCIL MEMBERS
DeBoer reminded everyone that there would be no Study Session tomorrow.
Hartzell questioned the timeline for a possible update on the cable franchise renegotiations. It was clarified that the agreement expires next year and Council could be updated on the status of negotiations.
Meeting as adjourned at 10:30 p.m.
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