Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

February 3, 2009
Council Chambers
1175 E. Main Street

Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.

Councilor Voisin, Navickas, Lemhouse, Jackson, Silbiger and Chapman were present.

Mayor Stromberg announced this is the time for applications for the Annual Appointment to the various Commissions and Committees. Deadline for applications are March 13, 2009.

The minutes of the Regular Council meeting of January 20, 2009 were approved as presented.


1. Does the Council accept the Minutes of Boards, Commissions, and Committees?
2. Shall the Council approve a Resolution that authorizes approved signatures on the City of Ashland bank accounts with Bank of America?
3. Does the Council wish to approve the recommendation of the Public Art Commission to implement Reflections of Ashland: Utility Box Beautification Project?
4. Will Council approve a resolution acknowledging the City of Ashland's contractual relationship for membership in the City County Insurance Services Trust?
5. Will Council accept an Alliance for Community Traffic Safety (ACTS) Building Safer Communities Mini Grant in the amount of $5,000 and authorize the City Administrator or her designee to sign the grant agreement?
6. Will Council approve funding for the reconstruction of the Siskiyou Boulevard / Garfield Street intersection to improve pedestrian safety and accept the final report from the Siskiyou Safety Ad Hoc Committee?
7. Will Council approve a Liquor License Application from Michelle Alexander dba O'Ryan's Irish Pub located at 137 E Main Street?
8. Will Council approve a Liquor License Application from Teresh Nguyen dba Motif Restaurant and Lounge at 62 E Main Street?

Councilor Jackson requested that Consent Agenda items #6 and #3 be pulled for discussion.

Councilor Jackson/Chapman m/s to approve Consent Agenda items #1, 2, 4, 5, 7 and 8. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

Councilor Jackson provided background on the Siskiyou Safety Ad Hoc Committee. Engineering Services Manager Jim Olson presented a map that indicated the improved areas. Members came forward and introduced themselves as Delta Ferguson, Matt Warshowsky and Eve Woods. Gratitude was expressed to those that participated on the Committee and the staff that worked on the project.

Councilor Jackson/Chapman m/s to approve Consent Agenda items #6. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

Councilor Lemhouse/Silbiger m/s to dissolve the Siskiyou Ad Hoc Committee. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

Melissa Markell Chair of the Public Arts Commission explained the proposed project was a suggestion from the community. A grant was awarded to the City from the Jackson County Cultural Coalition and Miller Paint will donate materials. A Request for Proposal (RFP) will be sent out to local artists and the Commission is expecting project completion by July 2009.

Councilor Voisin/Chapman m/s to approve Consent Agenda item #3. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

1. Should Council approve a resolution adjusting the FY 2008-2009 Budget to create appropriations and authorize expenditures for unanticipated expenses during this year?
Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg presented the staff report that explained ways to change appropriations after the Budget is adopted. He stated that a supplemental budget is needed to adjust the FY 2008-09 budget.

Public Hearing Open: 7:19 p.m.
Public Hearing Closed: 7:20 p.m.

Councilor Jackson/Silbiger m/s to approve Resolution #2009-03 Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

Mike LaNier/155 Suncrest Road, Talent/Requested that staff receives authorization to work with the Ashland Gun Club on some changes to the approved lease agreement and a possible lease extension if necessary.

Chuck Parlier/6801 Irish Lane/Commented on the length of time the Ashland Gun Club has been at the present location.

City Administrator Martha Bennett suggested if the Council wanted to continue the discussion, they add it to the Council Agenda under New & Miscellaneous Business.

Councilor Chapman/Lemhouse m/s to add item to agenda under New & Miscellaneous Business. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

Noreen Tubbs/792 St. Andrews Circle/Directed her comments to Councilor Navickas and expressed her disappointment over his involvement in a publicized throwing of shoes at a picture of former President George Bush.

Councilor Navickas expressed concern that using the Public Forum to criticize and attack specific Council members was inappropriate.

Ron Roth/6950 Old Hwy 99 South/Submitted an article from Growing Magazine regarding Solar Farming. He sited a good area to build the solar panel and it is truly sustainable. He encouraged Council to look into it further.

Councilor Voisin noted that she and Councilor Silbiger attended a Rogue Valley Council of Governments (RVCOG) meeting where a representative of the Energy Department of Oregon thought there was great potential for Southern Oregon to create a valley of solar.

1. Will the City Council continue the First Reading of an ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Authorizing Execution of an Intergovernmental Agreement, the Greater Bear Creek Valley Regional Problem Solving Agreement" for the Bear Creek Valley Regional Problem Solving Program, providing a Process for Participants to Implement the Adopted Greater Bear Creek Valley Regional Plan to a future meeting?
City Administrator Martha Bennett recommended the Council delay the discussion to March 3, 2009 as the RVCOG has asked the City to delay due to a possible amendment to the original agreement.

Councilor Navickas requested staff include the differences between the original and final agreement in their report to the Council. Ms. Bennett added that staff would also analyze how the Participant's Agreement will affect the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).

Councilor Jackson/Lemhouse m/s to continue the deliberation and first reading to the March 3, 2009 Council meeting. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

2. Will the Council adopt a new resolution that amends the subsidies the City provides for Local Improvement Districts (LIDs)?
Public Works Director Mike Faught presented the staff report that outlined the City participation in a Local Improvement District (LID) Project. Staff recommended that Resolution #1999-09 be repealed, the percentages for City subsidy types of improvements be changed and removal of the overall cap on residential assessments. Mr. Faught continued the presentation by providing background information and a summary of the current subsidy, cap and the financial impacts.

The proposed Resolution would allocate the City subsidy for LID projects, remove the cap and repeal the current Resolution. In addition, a proposed amendment would allow the Council to increase or decrease the amount of subsidy for any LID project by a majority vote.

Mr. Faught explained arterial collectors were main thoroughfares through town and sited Highway 66 as an example. East Main as it passes Council Chambers was considered a collector street. The Street Classification Map was accessible on the City website.

It was explained that if the Council removed the cap, the cost to the majority of property owners would range from $10,000-$12,000 depending on project size and number of participants. Mr. Faught clarified the definition for residential is everything less than the average daily trips (ADT) for a neighborhood collector.

Mr. Faught continued when the City builds a street, it is responsible for maintaining it in perpetuity curb, gutter, sidewalk and road. The lifecycle of a street is 20 years with overlay occurring at year 15 for $400,000 extending the life of the street another 20 years. If overlay is deferred, the last 4-5 years incur the majority of deterioration and repair costs increase to $2.5 million. The concern was spending on LIDs when the City does not have enough money defers maintenance on the existing road system at an additional long-term cost. The majority of streets on the LID list are gravel and not up to City standards. The cost per mile to construct a new road is $2.5 million and the total cost for road construction on the LID list is $14 million.

Carol Custodio/1460 Fielder Street/Understood LIDs were complicated but requested flexibility in terms of the percentage and expressed concern the increase might make LIDs unaffordable. She hoped if the subsidy was raised the City would base it case by case.

It was noted that grant monies are available that could decrease the costs at a Federal level in terms of air quality.

Councilor Navickas explained the 40% subsidy on the General Storm Drain was based on the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) standards regarding storm water discharge. Mr. Faught added the 40% would apply to every storm drain system.

Councilor Navickas/Jackson  m/s to maintain the cap while raising it to $8,000 with the appropriate construction costs index adjustment and approve the subsidies recommended by Council including the proposed language amendment regarding flexibility.
Councilor Navickas commented the Council always has the option to oppose an LID and can do so to avoid deferring maintenance. Removing the cap could create disparity in neighborhoods whereas retaining the cap would keep it level. City Administrator Martha Bennett explained another concern is for neighbors who signed a waiver of remonstrance they are obligated to pay could raise equity issues. Alternately, the reason they were able to move forward with development without putting the full improvement in is that they signed a waiver of remonstrance ensuring the cost was theirs. Councilor Lemhouse added if there was not a cap and an LID came forward, and it was clear to the Council there were people who would have a difficult time with it the Council could deny the LID.

Councilor Jackson was sensitive to overall cost noting her responsibility was to protect the taxpayer's money. A waiver of remonstrance is given at the time of construction of new properties and the property owner then has value in it and the waiver is a signature that when the time comes they will help pay for that improvement. Even though it was difficult maintaining or raising the fees to continue the street maintenance program and the fact LIDs have been taking money out of that system, she still agreed on removing the cap.

Councilor Chapman commented the percentage subsidies were originally designed without a cap and if the cap was retained, the percentages should be recalculated. Overall, he thought the cap should be removed. Councilor Voisin agreed to remove the cap as long as individuals had the opportunity to be heard and the Council had the ability to be flexible in their decision. Councilor Silbiger noted the cap was arbitrary, $8,000 relative to the value of the homes involved could be large or small.

Councilor Navickas preferred a policy that was strictly defined; the flexibility issue will create problems and burden the Council. Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Jackson, Lemhouse, Silbiger, Chapman NO; Councilor Navickas YES. Motion denied 5-1.

Councilor Lemhouse/Jackson m/s to accept staff recommendation to remove the cap on the LIDs, to accept Council's recommendation of the subsidy matrix and adopt the final statement created by staff regarding flexibility and adopt Resolution #2009-04. DISCUSSION: Councilor Navickas reiterated flexibility was dangerous and it was better to make policy that is clear on what the City will subsidize.

Councilor Navickas motion to amend main motion to remove the flexibility clause. Motion dies for lack of second.

Roll Call Vote on main motion: Councilor Lemhouse, Chapman, Silbiger, Voisin and Jackson YES; Councilor Navickas NO. Motion passed 5-1.

1. Discussion regarding Ashland Gun Club Lease proposed changes. (item added to the agenda)
City Administrator Martha Bennett requested direction from Council and that neighbors are notified when this item comes back to the Council. Ms. Bennett suggested letting the Gun Club provide the changes to staff who will determine if the policy requires action.

Councilor Navickas/Voisin m/s to allow staff to communicate with the Gun Club to determine their issues with the lease and they have authority to extend the lease up to one year on a month to month basis with new lease beginning at the termination of the last lease.
DISCUSSION: Councilor Navickas explained the Council has put a 5-year deadline on clean up. He supported the Gun Club and wants it maintained as one of the City's recreational amenities but noted there has not been a clean up for the 40 years the Gun Club has leased the property and did not want the deadline extended.

Councilor Navickas/Voisin m/s amended the motion to state the timeline set on clean up will begin at May 1, 2009 as suggested previously and the Council gives the Mayor authority to sign an order to extend the lease for a one year period. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.

1. Should Council approve First Reading of an Ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Amending the Ashland Municipal Code Chapter 2.36.030 Initiatives and Referendums - Deposit Required" and move the ordinance on to Second Reading?
City Recorder Barbara Christensen provided the staff report explaining the ordinance will increase the deposit from $200 to $500. The $200 deposit was set in 1962 and the costs associated with filing, noticing and recording had increased since then. Ms. Christensen followed up with other Cities and determined the average amount requested for deposit was $500. The deposit is returned to the Chief Petitioner if voters pass the initiative. If it is not passed by the voters, the cost associated with the initiative is taken out of the deposit and normally the cost is more than $500. The cost applies to all citizen-initiated referendums and initiatives and the deposit is not required until it becomes a measure with signatures approved by the County. The initiative requires 15% signatures based on the percent of those that voted in the last Mayoral election. Once a citizen has obtained the required amount of signatures, they bring it to the City Recorder who has the signatures confirmed by Jackson County. Once confirmed, a deposit is required.

City Attorney Richard Appicello read the ordinance title in full.

Councilor Chapman/Jackson m/s to approve to approve first reading and place on agenda for second reading of Ordinance to February 17, 2009. DISCUSSION: Councilor Navickas did not support the change, making it more costly might exclude people from the process and the cost is small to the City. He commented the Council should support subsidizing citizens' access to government.

Councilor Lemhouse thought it was a prudent change to the ordinance, considering $200 47 years ago was probably worth more than $500 present day and it has made it this far and people were able to pay it when it was probably more restrictive to do so. They do not have to pay the $500 until all the signatures are obtained and verified. At that point, assuming there are many people interested in the same measure gives them the opportunity to raise money to pay for the deposit. He did not think it was restrictive.

Councilor Silbiger pointed out that if they win they get their money back and the actual costs they would be responsible for if they put a measure out on an off election year would be higher. The increase to $500 is a small amount and not reflective of actual costs which are substantially higher. Ms. Christensen clarified the actual cost is approximately $1 per voter and used the Ashland Library as an example noting the total cost was approximately $10,000.

Councilor Navickas commented the City is subsidizing the process anyway and raising the cost might exclude people or make it more difficult. Councilor Silbiger pointed out the petitioner was responsible for the entire amount. Mayor Stromberg clarified if a citizen filed the petition in an off election year the $500 is a deposit and the Chief Petitioner would be financially responsible for the costs of the election if they lost. Councilor Voisin did not think it would leave people out of the process. The citizen initiating the referendum or initiative should be responsible and the amount was appropriate.

Roll Call Vote: Councilor Lemhouse, Chapman, Jackson, Voisin and Silbiger, YES; Councilor Navickas, NO. Motion passed 5-1.

2. Should Council approve First Reading of an Ordinance titled, "An Ordinance Relating to Ambulance Response Times and Amending AMC 6.40.060" and move the ordinance on the Second Reading?
Interim Fire Chief Larry Langston stated it was unusual to have response times defined by an ordinance. The City is unable to meet those standards currently or in the near future. Chief Langston suggested repealing the ordinance and defining response times according to industry standards through the annual budget approved by the Council and Budget Committee, the Standards of Cover that define operational expectations for the City and the current Ambulance Service agreement.

Chief Langston explained the Fire Department is working on Standards of Cover and that defines along with the budget, the level of service the department can realistically provide citizens with current resources. The ordinance response standard of 95% in 4 minutes was not realistic and unobtainable. Chief Langston noted that the Fire Department's current response time of 75% in 4 minutes was terrific. He proposed response time not be less than the current Ambulance Service Area (ASA) agreement of 90% in eight minutes and added the Fire Departments budget document has the response time at 90% in 6 minutes.

City Attorney Richard Appicello read the ordinance title in full.

Councilor Jackson/Lemhouse m/s amend AMC 6.40.060 and move it to second reading.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Navickas, Voisin, Silbiger, Chapman, Lemhouse and Jackson; YES. Motion passed.

1. Does the Council wish to hold a Goal Setting Session, and what direction does the Council have?
Councilor Silbiger briefly shared the Council's history of goal setting and opened the discussion on whether to have goal setting and what process to use. City Administrator Martha Bennett discussed logistics and the use of a facilitator.

Councilor Lemhouse was interested in having a goal planning session but thought a facilitator might complicate the session.

Councilor Jackson noted it was time to initiate the strategic plan and identify some short-term goals.

Councilor Silbiger explained the goal setting he was familiar with was a three-step process with larger goals established first, staff creating a timeline, determining costs then presenting it to Council for further consideration. Regarding facilitation, it was important to have someone in charge of the process who can remain unbiased. Councilor Navickas agreed the facilitator was important and thought the goal setting session should happen soon.

Councilor Chapman attended three goal sessions and did not think they were effective adding that last year Council identified ten goals that required 10 study sessions and had the Council known prior that visioning would cost $400,000; they might have rethought that goal.

Councilor Lemhouse was not against having a facilitator, he thought that staff and the Council could successfully manage the goal-setting meeting without facilitation. He envisioned goal setting as determining a collective vision for the City, putting together a general framework of goals, deciding what the Council wants to do and then clarifying the goals within the larger framework.

Councilor Jackson commented that the strategic plan would be where the community participated in the discussion regarding the 40-50 year plan. The 18-month goals were items the Council wanted the City to work on for that period. The larger vision came as part of the strategic plan that was currently in the budget.

The Council clarified the Mayor's role in goal planning. Ms. Bennett thought the goal setting session was a key opportunity for the Mayor to discuss his agenda with Council and articulate what he wants to accomplish.  Mayor Stromberg was not comfortable with a facilitator who was not familiar with the substance of the discussion.

Councilor Lemhouse added that it might be crucial to set 12-month goals since economic conditions could change and shift goals during the year.

Ms. Bennett suggested forming a sub committee to set up the goal planning session. Councilors Jackson, Voisin and Mayor Stromberg volunteered to help with the sub committee.

2. What direction does the Council want to provide to city advisory committees working on sustainability efforts?
Councilor Jackson explained the Conservation Commission and Planning Commission have sub-committees working on aspects of sustainability and asked if the Council should provide input for those activities.

Mayor Stromberg shared he hosts a brown bag lunch with the Commissions' Chairs the fourth Friday of every month in an effort to connect the Commissions with what is going on with the Government. It was important for the Council to be aware of what the Commissions wanted to work on and that it was in line with the Council's expectations.

The Council expressed support and resistance because Commissions varied and should have some independence in their direction.

City Administrator Martha Bennett reviewed the items on the Council Look Ahead.

Meeting was adjourned at 10:01 p.m.

Barbara Christensen, City Recorder

John Stromberg, Mayor


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