City of Ashland
PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
January 23, 2012
Present: Commissioners Eggers, Landt, Lewis, Rosenthal, Seffinger; City Council Liaison Slattery; Director Robertson; Superintendents Dials and Dickens
CALL TO ORDER
Eggers called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
MOTION: Rosenthal moved to approve the minutes as amended. Lewis seconded the motion.
Regular Meeting—December 19, 2011
Under “Presentation of Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,” in the section where commissioners voted to accept the report, Seffinger noted that she voted “yes” but was not included in the roll call vote. Eggers said Landt voted “no” but was included in both the “yes” and “no” sections.
The vote was: All yes
Alex Knecht, 330 Wright’s Creek Drive, speaking on behalf of the youth tennis organization known as STAY, thanked the commission for installing upgraded tennis lights at the Hunter Park tennis courts and asked when court resurfacing would occur. When Robertson said resurfacing would occur in FY 2012-2013, Knecht asked if the project could begin in the spring, before the Big Al’s tennis tournament in July 2012. Robertson said the project was budgeted for the fiscal year beginning on July 1, 2012.
ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO THE AGENDA
ELECTION OF OFFICERS
Eggers read the list of duties for the chair and vice chair positions, then opened the floor to nominations.
Rosenthal nominated Eggers as chair for 2012. Seffinger seconded the nomination.
The vote was: 5 yes – 0 no
Rosenthal nominated Seffinger as vice chair for 2012. Lewis seconded the nomination.
The vote was: 5 yes – 0 no
PROPOSED ENDING FUND BALANCE POLICY
Commissioners reviewed the revised draft ending fund balance policy that was submitted by Landt. Robertson said Landt and Eggers worked on improving the clarity of the document and it would be a useful tool during budget season, providing staff direction and showing citizens the commission’s management of the multi-million dollar budget. Landt said there were two parts to the new version: a revision of the former policy and a separate, newly proposed policy relating to the City reserve fund. He said the draft policy on ending fund balance suggested contributing a percentage into the City reserve account rather than a dollar figure. Commissioners considered a range of 10-25%, possibly allowing residual funds to be used for deferred maintenance of Parks infrastructure. Seffinger asked to replace the word “healthy,” appearing in the fourth section on the right, with “fiscally responsible.” Slattery asked for the intent or purpose of the non-binding policy and Eggers said it would serve as a guideline for the commission. Robertson said in years with no excess, the funds would be dealt with through the regular budgeting process. He said the commission wanted to make a significant contribution to the ending fund balance when possible. He said a healthy fund balance was important, as bonding agencies looked at the ending fund balance of a city to determine the stability of a community and a low balance could trigger a lower bond rating, possibly leading to higher interest rates.
MOTION Landt moved to adopt the policy as presented, with minor revisions as discussed. Eggers seconded the motion.
Discussion of Motion
Lewis said he preferred allocating 10% for the City reserve fund as the commission’s duty was to Parks and that would allow residual funds to be used for deferred maintenance repairs of Parks infrastructure. Rosenthal suggested adding the words “up to” in terms of the proposed 20% for ending fund balance. Landt said he would agree to a friendly amendment of 10%, as suggested by Lewis, rather than 20%, and Lewis made the friendly amendment. Eggers reviewed the motion: adopt an ending fund balance policy as stipulated on the handout with three changes—place 10% into the City reserve account, change the word “healthy” to “fiscally responsible,” and reevaluate the policy when Parks met its goal for funding the City reserve fund or after two years, whatever came first.
The vote was: All yes
Landt thanked Robertson for his behind-the-scenes work that allowed the policy to move forward. The commission agreed to delay discussion of Landt’s additional proposed policy until they determined how the City planned to proceed.
Robertson said in fiscal year 2006 the City and Parks jointly purchased the property referred to as both “Upper Clay Street” and “Chitwood” for a joint use of workforce housing and parks. He said the workforce housing portion of the project was terminated and the City offered the property to the commission for the same price paid at the original time of purchase: $8.90 per square foot. He said the land, which was flat and developable, totaled approximately 14,000 square feet.
UPPER CLAY STREET (CHITWOOD) PROPERTY ACQUISITION
MOTION Landt moved to approve the property acquisition as discussed. Rosenthal seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes
PROPERTY ACQUISITION ALONG ASHLAND CREEK
Landt said he had a conflict of interest and removed himself from the discussion by leaving the room. Eggers asked if the remaining commissioners held discussions with other commissioners and Lewis said he visited the site.
For background on the topic, Robertson said Landt offered the commission an opportunity to purchase a portion of his property along Ashland Creek. He said Ashland Creek was identified in both the Open Space Plan and the Trails Master Plan as a primary trail corridor. He said the land under consideration fell within both designations and would serve as an adjunct to the future trail. He said the purchase would include 2,773 square feet for $8 per square foot minus the difference of $8 per square foot for a trade of 269 square feet of City-owned property. He said the total purchase price of $20,032 for land plus $3,500 for planning and surveying brought the total estimated cost to $23,532.
Discussion Among Commissioners
Rosenthal said he was in favor of the commission purchasing land for the purpose of improving trail connectivity in Ashland. Lewis said the land acquisition was consistent with the commission’s mission to purchase land along Ashland Creek. Eggers said the trail connectivity project was very important for the future.
MOTION Rosenthal moved to approve the purchase of Landt property along Ashland Creek as presented. Seffinger seconded the motion.
The vote was: All yes [Landt not present for vote]
Robertson said the topic would be sent to council for approval in the near future.
SUBCOMMITTEE and STAFF REPORTS
Forest Lands Commission Report
Seffinger reported on a single-use pedestrian trail in Ashland [near the BTI Trail) that was currently under construction. She reported walking the trail and offering suggestions to the Forest Lands Commission about providing handrails and other amenities for older adults.
North Mountain Park Nature Center Annual Report
Robertson said staff provided the commission with copies of the North Mountain Park Nature Center annual report for 2011. He said the report aided staff in tracking costs associated with the facility and reporting back on activities and events occurring at that location. He said it also helped determine budgetary needs for the Nature Center and its programs.
Parks Division Projects Update
Dickens provided a brief overview of the projects currently underway within his division.
ITEMS FROM COMMISSIONERS
Lewis asked about a construction project he observed at his neighborhood Park [Railroad Park]. Dickens said it was a redesign of the landscaping at that location along with a blackberry removal project. Lewis said the Historic Commission sign at Railroad Park was moved off to the side and the Historic Commission might want the sign relocated to another section of the park. He suggested having staff contact the Historic Commission to ask where they wanted the sign placed at Railroad Park.
UPCOMING MEETING DATES
ADJOURNMENT– By consensus, with no further business, Eggers adjourned the meeting at 8:20 p.m.
Study session set for February 13 at 7:00 p.m., Parks Office, 340 S. Pioneer Street.
Regular meeting set for February 27 at 7:00 p.m., Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main Street.
Ashland Parks and Recreation