Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

March 6, 2007
Civic Center Council Chambers
1175 E. Main Street

Mayor Morrison called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilors Hardesty, Hartzell, Navickas, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present.
Mayor Morrison made the following announcements: 1) the deadline for submitting recommendations for the James M. Ragland Award is Friday, March 9, 2) the deadline for applications for the annual commission and committee appointment process is Friday, March 16, and 3) the Mayor and City Council will be hosting a public open house and reception in honor of City volunteers on Monday, March 12.
The minutes of the Executive Session Council Meeting of February 20, 2007 and the Regular Council Meeting of February 20, 2007 were approved as presented.
1. Minutes of Boards, Commissions, and Committees.
2. Liquor License Application - Billy Harto dba Thai Pepper.
3. Request for Approval of YAL Intergovernmental Agreement Amendment.
Councilor Jackson/Hardesty m/s to approve Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
1. Capital Improvement Plan Program (CIP) and Long Range Financing.
Public Works Director Paula Brown presented the staff report and noted the information contained in the packet materials. She stated her presentation would focus on FY08 projects, unless the Council has specific questions about FY07 projects.

Ms. Brown provided a presentation on the FY08 proposed CIP, which covered the following topics:

• Preliminary process for the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP)
• CIP Planning Factors
• CIP Impacts for FY07 and Goals
• CIP Highlights for FY07
• FY08 Proposed CIP
• CIP Highlights for FY08

Ms. Brown also presented project descriptions and costs for the FY08-13 Capital Improvement Plans for Transportation, LIDs, Storm Drains, Airport, Water, Wastewater, Electric, AFN/Telecommunications, Technology & City Facilities and Parks.

Ms. Brown clarified the purpose of the Street Financing Task Force is to find ways to sustain long term funding and financing. She stated it is not specific to any fiscal year and will help to bring a recommendation to Council on the levels of improvement, alternative financing options, and ways to increase the amount of funding for transportation projects.

Ms. Brown noted the Council has scheduled a meeting in April to discuss the LID process and stated staff is looking for policy direction from Council in order to determine priority on the proposed LID projects.

Councilor Hartzell requested North Main Street in regards to bicycle and pedestrian safety be placed on the list for consideration for future projects.

Ms. Brown commented that distribution reservoirs allow the system to balance itself. She stated the reservoirs will allow every sector of the system to have the pressure, flow, and turnover that is needed. Ms. Brown clarified staff does not anticipate spending the $925,000 allocated for Loop Road Reservoir and Crowson II in FY08 and noted staff is looking into better options to provide water at the higher elevations.

Electric Director Dick Wanderscheid commented on the Electric CIP projects and clarified the three undergrounding projects are Oak Knoll, Greenmeadows, and Quiet Village subdivisions. He stated all three projects involve moving the direct buried underground lines into conduit. Mr. Wanderscheid explained this is necessary because some of the wire is 40 years old, and it is starting to fail and could cause extended outages. He noted it is more cost effective to fix the lines now before the entire system fails.

Ms. Brown clarified the AFN/Telecommunication CIP follows the AFN Business Plan. IT Director Joe Franell explained the underground machine in this CIP is different from equipment used by the Public Works Department. He stated this equipment would allow his staff to hook up to two ends of a piece of fiber, either underground or aerially, and identify where a break or fault in the fiber is.

Ms. Brown noted the significant increase in the cost of construction, particularly in metal products. She stated construction costs itself has gone up anywhere from 25%-40% and these significant cost increases in the past 2-3 years has pushed up the cost of construction. She also noted it is difficult for staff to accurately project construction costs each year due to these fluctuations.

Councilor Hardesty questioned if these projects would increase utility fees. Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg stated there would be an impact utility rates, but the amount is not yet known. He estimated the increase would be approximately 1%.

Public Hearing Open: 8:41 p.m.
Public Hearing Closed: 8:41 p.m.

Councilors Chapman and Jackson voiced support for the CIP as presented.

Councilor Hardesty offered the following suggestions: 1) move the Laurel Street sidewalk project up, especially if the City is able to obtain grant funding, 2) prioritize the Miscellaneous Sidewalk Improvement Projects in such a way that sidewalks used by children walking to school are moved up the schedule, 3) move the Sheridan/Schofield, Plaza, and Beach Street LIDs back to FY09, and 4) include Fire Station #2 in the facility planning for space needs for the police parking lot and the police station remodel. Councilor Hardesty suggested is may be possible for the police station and fire station to share some common facilities.

Councilor Navickas noted the library funding issue and suggested they consider deferring some of the projects in order to keep fees from increasing. He proposed deferring the repaving of B Street, consolidating the STP/MPO funds, and funding the A Street project. He also requested staff come up with a better plan for use of the CMAQ funds. Councilor Navickas stated he does not support purchasing water rights from another drainage and suggested the City implement stronger conservation methods instead.

Ms. Brown commented on the suggestions offered by Council. She stated the Council would need to make a policy decision regarding the use of the CMAQ funds, and in regards to deferring the B Street project, staff will need to do analysis and make sure the A and B Street funds from the MPO can be combined. She also stated she could move the Laurel Street project into the FY08 budget.

Councilor Hartzell suggested deferring any significant building changes or improvements that are budgeted for this year until a space needs plan has been completed. She also suggested staff re-examine the computer replacement schedule. She voiced her support for moving the Laurel Street project up and thanked Ms. Brown for adding a N. Main Street project to the list.

Ms. Brown noted the N. Main Street bike and pedestrian improvements would come back to Council as part of the TSPF. She noted at the earliest, they would see this included in next years CIP discussion.

Ms. Brown summarized the suggestions offered by Council and stated the one tangible suggestion is moving the Laurel Street project up one year to the FY08 budget. City Administrator Martha Bennett noted they would also move the police station remodel and parking lot off to an out year. Ms. Brown noted they would need to have discussion and make a decision for the A and B Street projects and stated staff will bring back information prior to the budget meeting.

Councilor Hartzell/Chapman m/s to approve the CIP as presented with a modification that the facility improvement for police station and parking lot be held until the completion of the space needs study; that staff examine other ways to fund the Laurel Street sidewalks project in FY07/08; and that staff return to the Council prior to the Budget Committee with options for alternatives to paving A & B Streets. DISCUSSION: Councilor Navickas voiced his concern that the changes would increase the CIP budget for next year. Staff clarified they would be looking into a grant for the Laurel Street sidewalk project. Comment was made voicing support for having the facilities study completed before they start putting off important needs. Additional comment was made noting that each individual LID will still come before Council to receive approval before moving forward. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Jackson, Navickas, Silbiger, Hardesty, Chapman and Hartzell, YES. Motion passed.

Mr. Tuneberg noted staff would provide a council communication that addresses the affects of these changes as well as the issue of rate increases and what financing will be required for the CIP projects.

Ambuja Rosen/Stated there is a lot of compassion in Ashland for homeless people, but not for animals left out in the cold. She stated the proposed anti-tethering ordinance gives animals the ability to drink when they are thirsty, includes a requirement for a tip proof water supply, a tethering and crating limit, and gives them the ability to sleep on material that shields them from the cold. Ms. Rosen noted that three of the councilors have indicated they are opposed to the ordinance. She noted the thousands of residents who have signed her petition asking the City to heavily restrict the tethering of animals at their home and requested the Council consider this petition in their decision.

Pam Vavra/2800 Dead Indian Memorial Road/Noted the senate bill to mandate fluoridation that would prohibit cities from enforcing resolutions to the contrary, died in committee. She also commented on HB2761 regarding Instant Runoff Voting, which is supported by State Representative Peter Buckley, and requested the City send a letter in support of this bill.

Art Bullock/Claimed the Records Request Form the City is using is illegal and stated that under ORS 192 the City lacks authority to ask the questions on the form. He also stated the copyright agreement on the back of the form is also inappropriate. Mr. Bullock requested the Council put this issue on their agenda and make a policy decision to stop the use of this form.

1. Proposed Revised Charter Language.
City Administrator Martha Bennett explained if the Council wishes to move toward placing the charter on the May ballot, they will need to pass two resolutions adopting the ballot titles at tonight's meeting. She noted at this point in the process, the Council could add language to the charter only if it is consistent with the question, statement, and summary that was previously adopted. Ms. Bennett stated the language from the current charter regarding Lithia Park could be included at this point; however the changes proposed by Councilor Hartzell could not be added and still make the May ballot. She further explained any language not in the existing charter would require a change to the ballot title and would result in missing the May election. Ms. Bennett stated Council has three options: 1) consider the Lithia Park change, adopt the two resolutions, and proceed to the May ballot, 2) decide they want all of the issues in the packet to be vetted and place the charter on a different election , or 3) decide they do not want to move forward with the charter at all. Ms. Bennett did not recommend the Council consider Option 3, and requested if Option 2 is chosen, that they identify an election date. She also suggested if Option 2 is chosen that they request members of the Charter Review Committee to provide a citizen review of the language.

Ms. Bennett clarified the City received a legal challenge to the language of both ballot titles. She stated this matter should be adjudicated fairly rapidly, but does not know that it will be resolved prior to the March 15 deadline.

City Attorney Mike Franell commented that he does not recall the Charter Review Committee discussing whether the restriction on disposing Lithia Park should be removed. Because of this, he has recommended this provision be included in the proposed charter, and stated in doing so, they should also include the language from the existing charter that permits the City to lease to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He noted he has also recommending adding a sentence in Section 48(d), which provides the City will provide for the continued management of the city parks.

Councilor Navickas expressed his concern that they are making significant changes at the last minute that could be legally challenged and stated it is in their best interest to postpone this to the November ballot. He added there are items in the charter that still need to be clarified, including the issues raised by Councilor Hartzell.

Councilor Hartzell noted the memo she had submitted and questioned if her suggestion for the water language would be considered a significant change. Mr. Franell clarified the language implementing a restriction on the number of gallons is a significant change.

John Enders/367 Bridge Street/Co-chair of the Charter Review Committee/Stated the Committee worked very hard to keep individual political agendas out of the charter; however since this has come to Council that has fallen by the wayside. Mr. Enders stated so many of the Committee's proposed amendments have been ignored that the current proposed charter is not what the Committee proposed. He stated they may be rushing things and recommended the Council not force this through at the last minute. Mr. Enders added that reconstituting the Charter Review Committee would be difficult.

Susan Rust/42 North Wightman Street/Noted she has followed and participated in the charter review process and stated the process worked well and the Charter Review Committee reported back to the Council in good faith. She noted this issue was shelved once it reached the Council and it was a new Council by the time they started discussing it. She stated the whole process has gotten off track and hopes there is a way to somehow salvage this.

Pam Vavra/2800 Dead Indian Memorial Road/Concurred that the Charter Review Committee put an enormous amount on work into this and stated it is a shame that the charter has not gone forward as they intended. Ms. Vavra assured the Council that her interest is not whether the charter and amendment passes, but rather that the voters are adequately informed through the ballot statement, caption, questions and summary as to the content of the measures on which they are voting.

Art Bullock/Stated the charter is not ready for the ballot and questioned how the Council could consider changing language when this is now under the Courts jurisdiction. Mr. Bullock stated the ballot title language that has already been submitted to the City's Election Officer is very different from the change proposed by staff. He stated there is not enough time to make these substantial changes and stated this issue deserves the best that the Council can produce.

Mr. Franell clarified the City has published the ballot titles, and the title for the city manager amendment indicates that it would be applicable to either the revised charter or the existing charter. Because of this, they have to take them both forward or neither forward.

Councilor Jackson/Chapman m/s to move forward with both resolutions and the proposed language as adopted at the February 20, 2007 Council Meeting.

Councilor Hartzell/Jackson m/s to extend meeting until 10:30 p.m. voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

DISCUSSION: Councilor Navickas shared his concern that this version of the revised charter will not be approved by the voters. Councilor Silbiger shared his concern with postponing this to a subsequent election and noted the November ballot will likely have less voter turn out. He voiced support for moving forward with the May election and suggested that the individuals who challenged the language will continue to do so if they do not get everything they want. Councilor Hartzell stated the charter deserves more attention than they have been able to give it. She noted the suggestions she brought forward and stated more work needs to be done on the charter. Councilor Hardesty voiced support for having the Charter Review Committee review the current draft. She voiced her disappointment in having to put this off, but stated it may be necessary to gain approval by the voters. Mr. Franell clarified under state law, there are strict restrictions about the disposal of park land. Mayor Morrison voiced his support for the proposed charter and noted the arguments that have come forward are over the ballot language, not the document itself. He voiced his support in the voters to be able to determine whether the proposed charter adequately serves as a guiding document for the community and suggested the Council move this ahead. Mr. Franell clarified the two resolutions do not need to be read in full, but can be read by title only. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Jackson, and Chapman, YES. Councilor Navickas, Hardesty, and Hartzell, NO. Mayor Morrison, YES. Motion passed 4-3.

Councilor Jackson/Chapman m/s to approve a Resolution titled "A Resolution of the City of Ashland, Jackson County, Oregon, Proposing and submitting to the voters of the City of Ashland the adoption of a charter amendment to change the form of government from a mayor/council form of government to a council/manager form of government and calling for an election." [Resolution 2007-06]
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Jackson, Silbiger, and Chapman, YES. Councilor Navickas, Hardesty, and Hartzell, NO. Mayor Morrison, YES. Motion passed 4-3.

Councilor Silbiger/Chapman m/s to approve a Resolution titled "A Resolution of the City of Ashland, Jackson County, Oregon, Proposing and submitting to the voters of the City of Ashland the adoption of a revised charter and calling for an election." [Resolution 2007-07]
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Chapman, and Jackson, YES. Councilor Hartzell, Hardesty, and Navickas, NO. Mayor Morrison, YES. Motion passed 4-3.

2. Reading of a Resolution titled, "A Resolution of the City Council of the City of Ashland Reiterating its Policy of Relating the Expenditure of Monies for Economic and Cultural Development to the Hotel/Motel (Transient Occupancy) Tax and Repealing Resolution 2004-32."
Item delayed due to time constraints.
1. OSF Paving (the bricks) item from Philip Lang.
Item delayed due to time constraints.
2. Discussion of Reallocation of Unused Portion of Economic and Cultural Development Grant in FY 2006-2007.
Item delayed due to time constraints.
3. Emergency Shelter Policy.
Item delayed due to time constraints.
1. First Reading by title only of an Ordinance Titled "An Ordinance Amending AMC 3.08.020 To Apply Ethics Provisions to Employees, Appointed Officials and Elected Officials".
Item delayed due to time constraints.
2. First Reading by title only of an Ordinance Titled "An Ordinance Amending Sections 10.30.005, 10.30.020 A. and 10.30.030 A. of the Ashland Municipal Code Addressing Outdoor Burning and Requirements for Permitted Fires".

Councilor Jackson/Navickas m/s to approve first reading of ordinance and move to second reading to prohibit open burning in the City of Ashland using Option #1 as proposed by staff. DISCUSSION: Councilor Chapman stated he could not support the motion and stated they need to include only the wildfire hazard zone and should also make it difficult to obtain a burning permit in the other zones. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Silbiger, Navickas, Hardesty, Jackson, and Hartzell, YES. Councilor Chapman, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

3. First Reading by title only of an Ordinance Titled "An Ordinance Amending Ashland Municipal Code Chapter 9.24 to Require Removal and Disposal of Non-Certified Woodstoves and Fireplace Inserts Upon Conveyance of Real Property, Requiring Disclosure and Removal Certification".

Councilor Hartzell/Jackson m/s to approve first reading of ordinance with staff Option #1 and move to second reading. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Hartzell, Jackson, Silbiger, Navickas, Chapman, and Hardesty, YES. Motion passed.

Mayor Morrison noted Councilor Jackson has requested permission to visit Washington, D.C. in April to lobby on behalf of the City of Ashland and the Ashland United Front. Councilor Hartzell requested they look at the Council budget and how this opportunity has been distributed over the years. Councilor Hardesty stated she would like to discuss a possible change to the Affordable Housing project. Councilor Jackson noted she would welcome Hardesty's input prior to her trip. City Administrator Martha Bennett noted they could discuss Councilor's Hartzell request when the Council discusses the Mayor/Council budget at their next Study Session.
Meeting adjourned at 10:30 p.m.

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder
John W. Morrison, Mayor

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