Agendas and Minutes

Citizens' Budget Committee (View All)

Budget Committee Meeting

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Budget Committee Meeting

Draft Minutes

May 18, 2006 7:00pm

Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street





The Citizenís Budget Committee meeting was called to order at 7:10 pm on May 18, 2006 in Council Chambers at 1175 East Main Street, Ashland Oregon.



Mayor Morrison was absent.  Councilor Amarotico, Jackson, Silbiger, Hardesty, Hartzell, and Chapman were present.  Budget Committee members Bond, Mackris, Stebbins, Levine, and Gregorio were present. Committee Members Everson and Thompson were absent.




                                    CINDY HANKS, PROJECT MANAGER

                                    BRYN MORRISON, ACCOUNT REPRESENTATIVE



Approval of minutes from previous Citizenís Budget Committee meeting dated:


April 27th, 2006        


Councilor Silbiger asked that the spelling of his name be corrected.


Jackson/Bond ms to approve minutes as amended.  All Ayes.








Joe Franell presented the Information Technology (IT) department budget. He spoke to the preparation of the budget and the divisions located within the department. He spoke to the organizational chart for the department and that he is reviewing the current structure for the needs of the divisions. There is one position open currently for an AFN Network Administrator. The Committee asked when Cable Television (CATV) is eliminated, which positions are directly related to that and will they be eliminated. Mr. Franell responded that the Head End Technician is the only one that is directly related and will only be a 1.0 FTE for half of the year and it is represented in the position profile as .50 FTE showing the need for only half the year.  The CATV Manager position will not be eliminated and the duties and responsibilities may change for that position. The goal is to look at operations and efficiencies in the next year and develop an IT plan. They will start this process by reviewing the old plan.


The Committee questioned the computer technician that is located in the Police department and why it is not located in the IT department. It was discussed that the current position is .50 FTE and one of the parking lot items is to increase it to 1.0 FTE.  Mr. Franell responded that the position is funded currently through DEA funds. In the agreement with the DEA, the position had to be directly managed by the Police department. Mr. Franell believes IT can work with the Police department to accomplish the computer technician needs. He will be looking into how Computer Services can provide support for the Police department.


Mr. Franell spoke to the possibility of the City becoming an ISP and will adjust staff according. They may possibly transition internal help desk employees to help with external customer service.


Mr. Franell spoke to the computer services division and their goals. He spoke to the salaries and wages change from 2004 to 2007, now included is the in house help desk which was previously outsourced.  2006 includes the increase for the director and restructuring of the division. Rental, Repair and Maintenance includes a new vehicle in the department. He spoke to the Communications line item and that funds are budgeted in Capital Outlay for equipment but if the items are not able to be capitalized, then they are shown in the Communications actual figures. Contractual Services is budgeted for NT and Netware services which Mr. Franell will look into more specifically and get back to the Committee on. Miscellaneous Charges and Fees are software and facilities charges. Prior to 2006, the department did not pay facilities charges. The Committee asked if the division does software support and training. Mr. Franell responded that they do software support, and will be working on training in the future. He has asked the division to start basic level Microsoft training for City staff. He would like to offer classes for the internet side to the public, possibly an internet safety class. Other Purchased Services is  training and travel, that they plan on utilizing in the future.


Mr. Franell spoke to the high speed internet division. He explained that the change in Fringe Benefits is that the City budgets for any unfilled position, full family coverage. The Committee questioned why the Salaries decreased while the Fringe Benefits increased. Lee Tuneberg, Administrative Services Director responded that staff will look into it. Mr. Franell explained that Materials and Services is bandwidth. He explained the need for the City to have redundant pathways in bandwidth from here to Medford.  The City did not get enough bandwidth originally to cover incase of a problem, so they have had to budget to get more. The Committee questioned which vendor they will use. Mr. Franell explained that he will be looking at the Cityís current providers and others to determine which fulfills the needs of the City. He explained that Capital Outlay is the equipment that is running the data network. The equipment is near the end of itís life and needs to be replaced. He estimated the City will need to spend $500,000 to bring the network up to speed, but will not ask for it all in the first year.  They will only buy a few pieces for now. Mr. Franell stated he would like to demonstrate some success before he asks to increase the budget.


Mr. Franell spoke to the CATV budget. He stated that by the end of the calendar year, the City expects to be done with CATV. They are looking at alternatives for customers. Customer relations and promotions will be transitioned for communicating to customers on the elimination of CATV.  His intent is to gear up the internet product. The Committee asked if Other Purchased Services was advertising costs. Mr. Franell responded it is. Councilor Hartzell asked if Mr. Franell evaluated decreasing the budget. Mr. Franell responded that there are additional product offerings that they are looking into currently department wide. The Committee asked if this budget included them becoming an ISP. Mr. Franell responded it is one option. He is hoping the ISP owners and the City can collaborate and does not want to steal their customers. He would like to look at niches to fill to get more of the market share. He added the City will become an ISP if they can fill a niche, but they are not sure if they can do that yet. It was mentioned that Mr. Franell is in his eighth week of employment.


It has been less than a month since the City decided not to continue with CATV. The Committee asked about the barriers to expanding outside the City limits. Mr. Franell explained the importance of the need to focus on unserviceables within the city first. It is important to recognize people that live outside the city limits that need service. Mr. Levine added that originally when AFN was presented; it was presented with a policy to not extend beyond the limits of the city. Mr. Franell added that they need to revisit goals and have a clear purpose as well. Mr. Levine asked if there were any problems with the relationship with Hunter Communications. Mr. Franell responded that there is not and nothing in the agreement that says they cannot compete with Hunter.   


Mr. Franell spoke to the high speed division. High speed is the direct fiber connection to businesses that use more bandwidth than residential.  He explained that with the elimination of CATV they will be shifting the focus to high speed products. It was confirmed that the directorís wages are split between the divisions of IT.


Mr. Franell spoke to the long term plan on page 4-46.  2005 shows the $15.5 million bond offering and the $898,000 ending fund balance was supposed to be available to make the first payment this year. They have pulled debt service out in the 2006 amended budget. 2006 estimate charges for services are flat as CATV revenue goes away, charges for services will decrease. Promotions personal services as well as materials and services reduce as CATV goes away. Internet and high speed will increase. 2008 into the future shows conservative revenue growth. He added that they are behind on preventative maintenance for the power supply and the Capital is shown for maintenance and new product lines.


Roberta Stebbins offered reasoning to why she would not approve the department budget.  See attached.


Bond/Hartzell ms approval of the budget as presented. 10 Yes, Roberta Stebbins opposed.


Mr. Tuneberg reminded the Committee that the next two meetings are on Monday, May 22 and Wednesday May 24. Staff will present the items that have been requested by the Committee at that time.




The meeting was adjourned at 8:15 p.m.



Respectively Submitted,


Bryn Morrison

Account Representative



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