Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Wednesday, November 17, 1999



November 17, 1999

Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street

Mayor Shaw called the meeting to order at 12:06 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.

Councilors Laws, Hauck, Hanson, and Fine were present. Councilor Reid arrived late. Staff present: City Administrator Mike Freeman, Assistant City Administrator Greg Scoles, Telecommunications/Marketing Manager Ann Seltzer, Director of Community Development John McLaughlin, Public Works Director Paula Brown, Administrative Services Director Dick Wanderscheid, Chief of Police Scott Fleuter, Parks Director Ken Mickelsen, Fire Chief Keith Woodley, and Finance Director Jill Turner.


Fire Chief Woodley introduced Rees Jones, who is handling the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training, gave a brief overview and introduced CERT program graduate Betty Camner. Woodley briefly explained the curriculum and budget information that had been provided to council, and noted that the goal of the program is to extend emergency services to all neighborhoods in the event that emergency response personnel are unavailable. Provided a map to council showing the various team locations in the city, and emphasized that there is a need for self-sustaining communities that are able to stand alone for up to 72 hours in emergencies.

Rees explained that the program began as a means to extend the emergency response capabilities, but suggested that it has deepened as it progressed.

Betty Camner/868 A St./Emphasized that the CERT program is very empowering. Noted that she is a single mother, the owner of a traveler's accommodation, and a business owner, and stated that she found the training to be an incredible education. Explained that she now knows how to turn off utilities and use a fire extinguisher; she carries a first aid kit on her person and in her car. Stated that, all in all, she is more prepared to take care of herself and her family, and the community if necessary. Emphasized that her feeling is that this training has made her someone who would be able to contribute in a disaster, and someone who would act from educated knowledge.

Jones noted that many participants speak of personal empowerment, and pointed out that two city councilors have completed the program. Suggested that this is good for the city and the citizens. Explained the handouts that were presented to council, which are samples of the ones used by the teams in canvassing neighborhoods. Also emphasized the commitment on the part of the program trainees, who are required to provide their own equipment for classes that may cost as much as $150-200.

Woodley noted that training costs to the city are $104 per citizen, and that 25 hours are required to train each participant. Woodley emphasized that there is a need to include CERT volunteers in future disaster drills, and stated that the money invested in this program gives a high return. Concluded that in two years, all of the teams will be up and running and the costs will decrease significantly.

Reid inquired about the possibility of involving high school students in the program to provide valuable training that would benefit the community and empower young people. Jones noted that all interested parties over 14 years of age are welcome, and pointed out that there are two high school students now in the program. Jones questioned spending tax dollars to train a high school team, when so much of the money invested could leave the community as these participants leave at graduation. However, he agreed that students could be included in other teams, and recognized that this might be looked at again in the future. Reid suggested that once the program is established, it would be valuable to have an ongoing class run by school faculty as trainers.

Jones emphasized that the existence of CERT teams provides a tremendous improvement in disaster response capabilities. In a weekend training, over half of the trainees showed up for a dry run of an assessment, and covered all of the ground in neighborhoods on foot within two hours. In contrast, city staff would take four hours and make guesses as they drive by in emergency response vehicles.

Woodley stated that graduates will train their families, and eventually graduates will train new trainees in classes. Jones suggested that this will reduce costs, and emphasized the level of professionalism present in the trainees.

Woodley thanked Paula Brown for providing a meeting place and for assistance in creating the maps used. Woodley also thanked Rees Jones for all of his efforts.


This item was postponed to a future meeting. (Freeman noted this had to do with policy issues around providing High Speed Data (HSD) service to customers outside the city.)


Freeman noted documents distributed as draft for review, and asked for council input on whether these are indeed priorities to move ahead with. Then, suggested looking at items by department projects.

Freeman noted concern with the amount of projects identified for Community Development, and stated that he would like council to look at the workload here in depth. Reid stated that her preference would be for Community Development to finish the items which are underway before moving on to other items.

Freeman suggested going through the 2000-2001 Strategic Plan Draft together to determine consensus. Laws stated that before moving ahead, he would need to have an idea of costs and staff priorities. Emphasized that he would need these details before giving final approval, but stated that he could give preliminary approval to the wording of the draft. Freeman stated that cost estimates would be brought to the next meeting, and asked the council to go over the draft wording as a group here.

On page 1, Laws asked that the document title be changed to Strategic Plan Priorities as this would help to clarify the purpose of the document.

On page 2, Laws suggested that he would like the Community Values Statement to be more comprehensive. Reid concurred, and suggested that the statement be made less cumbersome. Shaw stated that the Community Values Statement looked good to her, and asked that wording be kept as brief and concise as possible.

There were no comments on the Citizen Participation and Involvement section on page 2.

Also on page 2, under Environmental Resources, Reid pointed out that recent actions allowing homes to be built in an unpaved area is out of compliance with part of this item. Laws stated that goals are to be worked toward, but emphasized that this can be over a period of time. Also under Environmental Resources, Shaw suggested that the introductory paragraph be corrected to read Ashland seeks to retain its natural beauty as it continues to grow and further development. The City seeks to strike a balance between urbanization and protecting preventing air, water, and noise pollution as well as protection from soil erosion and loss of small creeks and wetlands.

On page 3, Housing, Hauck stated that the community land trust item has been implemented and can be removed from this list as it is in place and operational. Reid questioned the re-development/re-modeling changes to the City=s SDC charges, and asked how difficult this will be. Director of Community Development John McLaughlin stated that any time SDCs are discussed, it becomes involved and complex, and noted for Reid that this item also involves issues around the Historic District and the demolition ordinance.

On page 3, under Economic Strategy Fine suggested correcting the wording in the second item as follows: Review the City's land use ordinances to ensure they are meeting or will meet the community's needs/ and values as it they pertains to parking requirements, environmental constraints (i.e. trees), structure size, mixed use, landscaping and promoting alternative transportation. Under the next item in Economic Strategy Freeman stated that the living wage item could be made a directive from council to staff and could be removed from the strategic plan priorities. Council agreed, and this item was removed.

On page 4, Public Services item 2, it was suggested that the second sentence beginning Combine the grant program be changed to begin Coordinate the grant program

In Public Services item four, it was noted that the word for should not be capitalized.

In Public Services item five, Reid noted that the green power item will be coming up soon, and Freeman pointed out that it may be an on-going item that is addressed incrementally. Hanson suggested that this item be reworded as Develop a Green Power alternative green power alternatives for the community.

In the sixth item under Public Services dealing with regional partnerships, the word electrical was changed to electricity.

In the seventh item, Freeman clarified for Reid that the street improvement and financing plan referred to developing more of a long term plan to address this issue over time.

In the eighth item, the word need was changed to capacity.

Freeman noted that last item in Public Services will be presented to council soon, and can be removed from this list.

On page 4, items #1 and #3 under Transportation & Transit were combined. There was discussion of the jurisdictional exchange item, with Reid noting that there is a need here to keep the long-term maintenance costs in mind in the finance element of this matter.

On page 5, under Energy, Air, and Water Conservation Reid questioned the status of the solar power program. Administrative Services Director/Conservation Manager Dick Wanderscheid explained that implementation of the residential portion of the program (Phase II) will depend on the institutional phases (Phase I) success.

On page 5, under Parks, Open Space, and Aesthetics, Shaw questioned the status of the update of the open space map. Parks Director Ken Mickelsen confirmed that this update is underway. Freeman noted that he and Mickelsen had already met and discussed operational redundancies. Mickelsen stated that he was agreeable to continuing this dialog, and stated that information will be brought back to council after further discussions can take place.

There were no changes made to the Urbanization items on page 6.

On page 6, under Historical Sites & Structures, Fine questioned suggested that the second item be placed in Public Services and reworded to indicate the need to Ensure that all public buildings are properly maintained, with appropriate attention to the special needs of historic buildings.

Under Regional Strategies on page 6, Freeman noted that he has not pursued study sessions with other bodies due to workload. Asked for guidance from council as to the priority on this item. Hauck stated that he would prefer to delay joint sessions with other bodies in the region until specific issues arise. Cited the Urban Growth Boundary agreement as one possibility, and suggested that discussions over this agreement might make a meeting with the county's board of commissioners appropriate. McLaughlin noted that they will be updating this intergovernmental agreement this year, and also noted that the county is rewriting its land use code. Reid suggested sitting in on the county discussions. Freeman asked that council direct him as to the need for joint regional sessions. Fine noted that these sessions could be with less than the full council.

Under Financial Management on page 7, Freeman explained for Shaw that items 1 and 2 were to be more long range than the budget cycle. Freeman briefly explained background of item 2, and noted that there may be an RVTV show with the budget committee. Stated that he would also like a video of proposed capital projects. Council discussion that these items aim at continually increasing and improving the comprehensive information provided to the community on city budget and financial issues. Item 1 was changed to read: A The City will create long-term financial projections for all funds. Item 2 was changed to read: Promote a more thorough understanding of how the City receives and spends its funding. It was noted that item 4 had to do with new technologies and capabilities; briefly discussed the suggestion of looking at performance-based budgets.

Under Social Human Services on page 7, Fine suggested that the 200-2001 Goal begin as follows: After developing Based on the development of a health and human services plan for the City,

Freeman explained that the section on Organizational Effectiveness on page 8 was not ready to be finalized, and noted that this item developed from employee input.

Laws noted that council would need to know costs in both money and time before giving final approval to the draft priorities. Asked that department heads convey if they can do the projects listed, and stated that where there are reservations the priorities need to be looked at further. Freeman asked if there could be an evaluation of what might be dropped here, and explained that the primary areas of concern are the volume of work for the Electric Department and for Community Development.

Looking at the Departmental Goals handout, McLaughlin questioned Develop a program that will encourage the paving of unpaved driveways and parking lots. Explained that paving is already required as a condition of planning actions, and questioned whether the department should pursue requiring paving at existing houses. Shaw suggested developing a program to encourage the paving of unpaved driveways and parking lots on publicly owned lands. McLaughlin questioned the intent of the goal, and asked what incentives are to be offered and what outreach would need to be involved. Emphasized that this is not a land use issue. Shaw stated that the item could simply be worded as, Encourage the paving of unpaved driveways and parking lots on publicly held lands. After discussion, this item was moved to the bottom of the priority list to be looked at in the future. Reid questioned the program for using recycled blacktop. Public Works Director Paula Brown noted that this program does not apply to parking lots. Finance Director Jill Turner stated that the possibility exists to create an LID to pave a publicly-owned lot. Reid suggested continuing with existing practices for streets, and encourage paving of public lots where possible.

Relative to the item stating Update the Public Services element of the Comprehensive Plan, McLaughlin noted that various master plans which have been implemented address the item. Explained that the City has met the review requirements for the State of Oregon, and questioned whether the current workload would make it feasible to get into internal housekeeping. Council expressed their consensus for removing this item.

McLaughlin also questioned the design standards for public buildings item, noting that some committee meetings have already occurred. Explained the committee has had some difficulty in determining their purpose and direction. McLaughlin emphasized that all current projects are at a high standard, and suggested that if there are to be more projects, the staff can be directed to beef up the review process. Suggested that a new design process may not be necessary.

Reid noted her concerns over the metal building at the golf course on Highway 66 and the situation at the Senior Center at Hunter Park. Reid explained that she wants a code that applies to public buildings in the same way it does to private buildings. Laws concurred, and noted that there had been a failure to follow procedures in the Hunter Park building. Laws emphasized that there is a need to follow existing procedures rather than making new ones. Reid suggested that there might be a need for some review above the Planning Division to prevent any interdepartmental tensions.

McLaughlin noted that the golf course building was simply poorly located, and emphasized that it meets the standard that other buildings are held to in that section of town. Reid stated that public buildings are publicly owned, and the concern is not just with their use but with their public status. Reid suggested that publicly owned buildings need more review, not necessarily by Planning, but perhaps by a committee to hold them to a standard.

Laws emphasized that there should not be a council review of every building, and emphasized that errors do not occur often. Suggested that there is a need to remain aware of the need to keep to a high standard without a formal procedure.

McLaughlin noted that planning does review public buildings, and looks both at their long-term viability and how they fit in the neighborhood. Confirmed that there needs to be increased scrutiny for public buildings under the current standard, rather than developing new standards. Council consensus that a new standard will not be developed, and that the committee may be deactivated.

Shaw questioned the B Street lot, and asked that Public Works Director Paula Brown look at putting lights over the walkway behind the lot. Also noted that the star-thistle growing in the park-rows needs to be addressed. Asked that it be mowed. Brown confirmed that Public Works is working with the Parks Department on improving the landscaping here.

Freeman explained that the staff feels that this list is very do-able, other than the Community Development portion that has already been discussed.

Brown asked for some clarification relative to the Public Works department list as well. Emphasized that many of these projects are massive capital projects, and will be on-going. Stated that the department's workload is significant. Brown added that the list does not include day-to-day work of the department. Asked that council recognize that many items (such as the TAP project and dealings with TID) are dependent on outside agencies and are somewhat outside the city's control. Stated that these projects are priorities, but that they will be ongoing.

Laws noted that the wording in the list distinguishes between continuing and completing projects.

Reid questioned the bridge extending Nevada Street, noting the importance of this project as the area develops. Brown noted that the Surface Transportation Improvements Project (STIP) update is beginning for 2002-2005, and stated that the City may want to look at STIP project recommendations, including the Nevada Street bridge. Brown confirmed that the bridge is in the Transportation System Plan (TSP) and the beyond-five-year plan, but Laws suggested moving it into Capital Improvement Projects list. Freeman noted that the recently increased transportation SDCs address this bridge. Reid emphasized that it may be a need sooner that had been previously believed.

Freeman asked if the council would be comfortable with the proposed priority list as revised. Hauck stated that this would be acceptable, as long as anything distributed makes it clear that the list is not final. Freeman suggested that a public hearing be held in January.

Freeman noted that there is a need to change the date for the January 25th joint meeting, and stated that he would let councilors know when a date was chosen. Also discussed rescheduling of the December 8th meeting. It was decided that this meeting would be held at noon on December 9th at a location to be announced, to allow for the December 8th Rogue Valley Public Service Academy training session.


ADJOURNMENTThe meeting was adjourned at 1:40 p.m.

Submitted by Derek Severson, Assistant to the City Recorder

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