Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Monday, November 05, 2007


Monday, November 5, 2007 at 5:15 p.m.

Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street



Mayor Morrison called the meeting to order at 5:15 p.m.


Councilors Hardesty, Navickas, Jackson, Hartzell, Silbiger and Chapman were present.


1.     Look Ahead Review

City Administrator Martha Bennett reviewed the Look Ahead with the Council and noted several changes and additions. 


2.     Review of regular meeting agenda for November 6, 2007

Public Works Director Paula Brown answered questions in regards to the community process for the City Master Plan.  She stated that the proposed process will help the Council make decisions and have the opportunity to review how facilities work together.  The committee will look at current and future space needs and how they work together geographically.  She explained that the firm hired to do this work has done similar work locally.  Staff recommendation is to approve an ad-hoc committee and bring back the recommendation to Council for their approval and final decision.  She stated that the open houses will be open for all to attend.  She noted issues in regards to the need for more civic space and that staff will advise the committee to look at all options.


Ms. Brown clarified that it is not staff presumption on relocation for council chambers, and that is why they are asking for pros and cons.  She further clarified that staff is considering storage needs for public documents.


Ms. Brown stated that identification of land that could be sold or used for affordable housing was not addressed but could be brought back to the Council for review.  The Facility Master Plan had not been broadened to include affordable housing and it may be a lot to ask of a consultant to bring this into the mix.  Staff reviewed why the original ad hoc committee was formed, and carrying on the same intent seemed appropriate along with any additional charges.  She clarified that the consultant will give recommendations to the Council in regards to overall use of City facilities and their location in terms of available properties.


Police Chief Terry Holderness explained the definition of tactical communications and further explained how budgeted dollars could be used.


Management Analyst Ann Seltzer explained that staff was uncertain where the “gentleman’s agreement,” as discussed by Council in their meetings, should be placed.  Staff would like to have further discussion with Council on where to place this.  Interim City Attorney Richard Appicello suggested that this could be referenced by order of the Council that Council may adopt guidelines to aid in interpretation.  City Administrator Martha Bennett stated staff could provide their best attempt at what the Council would like to see in this agreement for their review.


Staff agreed to review how items are added to agendas and if these items should be limited to emergency items or time-sensitive items.  In addition, staff requested the consideration of changing “councilors” to “council and mayor” under item (D) Section 2.04.080.


3.     Does the Council have any questions on the progress on the replacement of the Lithia Fountain at the Plaza?

Public Works Director Paula Brown and George Kramer, Kramer & Company presented drawings on the update on the replacement of the Lithia Fountain.  She noted that the project came in under budget and voiced appreciation of the historical nature of this project.


Ms. Brown explained the process in which Lithia water is piped to the fountain area and the difficulty that this has presented over the years due to water pressure and locating leaks when they happen.  She explained that there is a small amount of money in the water budget for needed repairs.  Ms. Brown stated that the flow of Lithia water is constant and drainage goes back into the water treatment facility.


Mr. Kramer stated that what will be installed is informational signage and noted the location.  Ms. Brown noted the signs will be low enough so visibility would not be an issue.


4.     Does the Council have any feedback about the process to review, analyze, and complete an update of several sections of the City’s 1998 Transportation System Plan (TSP), Capital Improvements Project List and Transportations Systems Development Charges (SDC’s)?

Public Works Director Paula Brown spoke in regards to the plan elements and what the next steps would be.  Staff is seeking input on the plan by both Council and the community.  She stated that HDR had received the contract and added it is available on the City website.  She stated that the Transit Element is being analyzed and explained the process in which this will take place.  Staff will be bringing back an updated Transportation Needs Analysis for Council’s review.


Ms. Brown presented the current Capital Improvement Project (CIP) project list as compared to the 1998 project list and what has been completed.  She identified projects that have not been completed but noted that progress has been made over the years.  Ms. Brown stated there is a need to continue to discuss transit issues and proposed a continued discussion with Rogue Valley Transportation District (RVTD) in regards to their Long Range Plan.  She noted the dates of the upcoming meetings and the topics for discussion, including proposed new System Development Charges (SDC).


Council briefly discussed trans-railway.  Ms. Brown noted the disappointment by Council on the lack of participation but added that the City did receive some press by the local media.  Staff will try and do better PR in order to get more individuals involved.


Ms. Brown stated that ideally visioning comes first and that this is a Transportation Master Plan that gives targets for future visioning for the next 20 years.  She noted the Council should not rely on plans that cannot be changed.  The Master Plan is based on what is known today, what future targets are, and uses the current Comprehensive Plan and Master Plan as guidelines.  Councilor Hartzell voiced her concern with spending money based on future plans and felt that it made more sense to plan for now.  Ms. Brown would not recommend changing direction and stated the City should focus on the Master Plan, as it is a project that does not allow dependency. 


Ms. Brown explained that the Transportation System Plan looks at current zoning and build-out.  She gave examples of how this is internal to Ashland.  She clarified that the maximum gas tax, without asking for a vote, is 5 cents and most cities have been charging between 2 and 4 cents.  Staff will be bringing back further information on this for Council.


Ms. Brown explained that all master plans give a ten-year plan and then move out.  She further explained that a revised CIP will be brought back during the normal budget cycle.  She explained what a “financial constrained plan” means and when the appropriate time would be to implement this constraint and prioritize.  Additionally, she clarified the costs involved.



5.         What direction would the Council like to provide to staff about changes it wants to make to City policies and practices for using Local Improvement Districts (LIDs) to fund street, sidewalk and storm drain improvements, considering the work done to date to implement the Council’s April 2007 direction on LID’s?

Public Works Director Paula Brown presented the recommendations by staff and explained how these were determined.  She noted the following six recommendations:

·         Continue to utilize LID’s as viable and important funding mechanisms for future improvements

·         Consider further evaluation to develop City’s funding cap and specific logic in identifying property owner approval and assessments to fund LID’s

·         Modify Resolution 1999-09 once revised assessment methodology and funding caps are determined

·         Wait for updated Transportation System Plan (TSP) to prioritize the current list of LID’s

·         Prioritize current list of LID’s for road pavement based on traffic volumes and neighborhood support

·         Consider utilizing LID’s to establish funding mechanisms for electric underground services, street lights and other non-traditional utility enhancements


Staff provided information on how other cities handle Local Improvement Districts, current assessment methodologies, current cost sharing, a list of projects and a summary of granite surfaced streets.


Staff provided a list of recommended revisions as follows:

·         Cap City’s share at 40% with the affected property owners responsible for their share at 60%

·         “Administrative” cost portion of all LID projects be expanded to include all design, engineering, construction management, legal and other administrative costs incurred by the City of Ashland

·         If cap is not removed, then any deferred street improvements have an initial assessment that is also adjusted annually for inflation

·         Require written petition, which will be considered valid only when property is owned by petition signers, added to any property within the proposed district owned by the City, represents more than 67 percent of the property in the proposed district as measured by the proposed assessment methodology

·         Remonstrance language be specific to only those property owners within the proposed district

·         Council extend the remonstrance period from 6 months to one year and after that time it is incumbent upon the original petitioners to re-engage the Council for renewed consideration for the project

·         Boundaries of the specific LID be defined by the City Engineer in consultation with the Planning Director; proposed LID gain acceptance by the new Transportation Commission prior to the initial petition going to the Council for approval

·         No requirement for “signed in favor” agreements

·         Plan ahead for LID’s, allow only one LID for sidewalk improvements and one LID for street improvements in any fiscal year and that this be determined during the budget and CIP process     


Ms. Brown explained the timeline for bringing this back to the Council and requested their input.


Council provided the following input:

·         concern voiced on limiting number of LID’s per year

·         support for cap and required written petitions valid only when property owned by petition signers

·         better understanding of deferral process

·         basic support for all staff recommendations

·         concern voiced that no LID’s may get approved based on percentage methodology

·         noted that LID’s can be used for parking and transit

·         concern voiced by several councilors in regards to the “signing in favor”

·         question if construction inflation rate could be used in relation to cap

·         storm water criteria and safety should be added

·         concern voiced on “administrative” costs

·         further clarification on extension of remonstrance timeframe

·         one dissent in regards to boundaries being defined by City Engineer and consultant

·         suggestion to look at concept of hill developments and their effect on properties

·         percentage methodology needs to be reviewed




Meeting was adjourned at 7:17 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

Barbara Christensen

City Recorder


















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