Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Study Session

Monday, June 20, 2011



Monday, June 20, 2011

Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way



Mayor Stromberg called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. in the Siskiyou Room.


Councilor Silbiger, Chapman, Morris, Lemhouse, Slattery, and Voisin were present.  


1.     Look Ahead Review

City Administrator Martha Bennett reviewed items on the Look Ahead.


2.     Does the Council wish to schedule consideration and adoption of the recommended Economic Development Strategy for the July 19, 2011 regular City Council meeting?

Project Manager Adam Hanks provided a presentation on the Recommended Economic Development Strategy that included:

  • 2009-2010 Council Goal:  Develop and implement a comprehensive economic development strategy for the purpose of:

o   Diversifying the economic base of the community

o   Supporting creation and growth of businesses that use and provide local and regional products

o   Increasing the number of family-wage jobs in the community

o   Leveraging the strengths of Ashland’s tourism and repeat visitors

  • Strategy Highlights (Page 5)

o   Support existing business

o   Support businesses that rely on creativity, innovation, design, prototyping

o   Support business that produce specialty goods and services for export

o   Support local purchasing opportunities

o   Maintain existing tourism strengths, shoot for year round success

City Administrator Martha Bennett explained when staff revised grant criteria for the Economic Cultural and Sustainability grants, they would use the same filter.  Council would make decisions on enterprise zones, re-zoning areas, and infrastructure if consistent with the Economic Development Strategy.  It would focus on specialty goods, services frequently exported, and connecting local products to local businesses to achieve supply chain efficiencies.  It would not recruit businesses from the outside.  Council added the City needed to position itself to ensure available land sold at reasonable prices and it was easier for the right profile of business to establish in Ashland.


o   Improve Coordination among economic development partners

o   Support existing business

o   Support businesses that rely on creativity, innovation, design, prototyping

o   Support business that produce specialty goods and services for export

§  Focus on innovative, specialty value added, growth businesses for quality job expansion

§  Find out what they need

§  Be a partner in their physical growth

§  Provide or connect them with the resources/education/tools they need to succeed

  • Support local purchasing opportunities

o   Business to business supply chain purchasing

o   Develop and promote tools for businesses to identify local opportunities (

  • Maintain existing tourism strengths, shoot for year round success

o   “Peak” season not a given

o   Increase fall, winter, spring activities

o   Expand offerings appealing to a wide demographic scope

o   Convention/Community Center?

  • Increase coordination among economic development partners

o   Integrate Ashland strategies with local and regional groups

o   Create means for regular communication

o   Provide coordinated info and marketing to businesses for programs and resources

o   Identify new local/regional funding opportunities

The City needed to be aggressive in order to be successful with this strategy.  The discussions revealed many people were unaware of existing economic development activities.  City staff, the Mayor and Council would also need to collaborate with regional economic development efforts.


  • Stuff that only the City can do

o   Public infrastructure (roads, water, sewer, electricity, parks, etc.)

o   Development regulations and process

o   Some funding (urban renewal, state/fed grants, etc.)

Mayor Stromberg suggested forming Council economic liaison relationships. 


  • Stuff the City can assist and support

o   Coordination

o   Data collection and distribution

o   Information resource and distribution hub

o  Indentifying and facilitating the creation of needed programs resources for Ashland businesses

Mr. Hanks explained identifying and facilitating the creation of needed programs and resources would come from the Business Retention and Expansion Survey and indicate service gaps Ashland community had not accessed and why.   The City would fund and conduct the study to determine those gaps and understand what profiled businesses needed.  Council could also set aside grant money to help with funding.  The benchmark used for the Measures of Progress & Success started in 2011.  The percentage increase in total employment growth came from the State.  Each of the items would have measures that matched specific actions. 


o   Other funding/grant programs

  • Strategy First Actions – table
  • Phase I Implementation

o   1.1 Conduct Business Retention and Expansion (B, R&E) Surveys

o   1.2 Designate City Staff “point of contact” for economic development needs/projects/interactions

  • Priority 1 Actions – September 2011

1.1  retention & expansion surveys

1.2  designate City staff point of contact

2.1 formalize relationships

3.1 grants process

6.1 urban renewal districts

7.1 land use development

Ms. Bennett will identify the key point of contact in City staff.  In some cases, the contact will be a specialty person in a pertaining department.


Council had concern with aggressive timeframes on items that made achieving them unrealistic.   Staff would adjust the timeline to reflect realistic start and end dates for projects.  Each priority task would have individual timelines.


  • Priority 2 Actions – 2012

1.3  import substitution and local to local – March 2012

1.4  business resource & mentoring program – November 2012

2.2 routine communication with partners – January 2012

3.2 increased local access to funds – June

  • City Funding for Economic Development

o   Direct Funding thought General Fund:  Tourism $501,743, Econ Dev $274,335 (Grants + Econ Dev Program)

o   Capital Improvement Plan – Infrastructure Projects identified in master plans

o   Staffing in Community Development, Public Works, etc.

  • Council Discussion

Council majority supported the plan, wanted it to be aggressive but realistic, have priorities with detailed plans, frequent updates to Council in a format similar to the Look Ahead in addition to the annual updates to the actual plan.  A key element was coordinating and capitalizing on activities already occurring in the community and throughout the region.  Ms. Bennett added staff would contract an outside source to conduct the Business Retention and Expansion Survey.


3.     Does Council agree with the TOT funding allocation proposed by staff?

City Administrator Martha Bennett reviewed the final slide regarding proposed TOT allocation:

  • Proposed FY 2011-2012 Council-directed allocation

BR&E Survey                                                  $25,000

City Staff Econ Dev Focus                              $20,000 

Urban Renewal Plan                                        $85,000

Improve Land Use Process                              staffing

Set aside for FY 2013 or special projects         $20,000

Total for FY 2011-12                                 $150,000


Ms. Bennett explained money not spent could go towards other projects and used downtown plaza improvement as an example.  Council suggested adding “(if approved)” next to the Urban Renewal Plan allocation.  Mayor Stromberg thought the plan should emphasize volunteerism and sustainability as well. 


Council and staff went on to discuss Study Session format.  They eliminated staff presentations and would have agenda item discussions based on questions Councilors had after reading their packets.  Also suggested having multiple topics and reserving a half hour to discuss the next night’s Regular Council meeting agenda.  Council will notify Ms. Bennett of their questions prior to the meeting so she can get the answers or arrange to have staff attend the Study Session to respond.  Ms. Bennett will also arrange for speakers to present on unfamiliar topics as needed.


Meeting adjourned at 7:10 p.m.



Respectfully submitted,                                

Dana Smith

Assistant to the City Recorder

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