Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

March 4, 2014
Council Chambers
1175 E. Main Street

Council Chair Dennis Slattery called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Councilor Voisin, Morris, Lemhouse, Rosenthal, and Marsh were present.  Mayor Stromberg was absent.
Council Chair Slattery announced the City was accepting applications for annual appointments to the various Commissions and Committees.  The deadline for applications was March 21, 2014.  In addition to annual appointments, there was one vacancy on the Citizens’ Budget Committee.  The deadline for applications for the Citizens’ Budget Committee was March 14, 2014.
Council Chair Slattery moved agenda item 1.  Approval of Medford Water Commission Talent, Ashland, and Phoenix System Development Charge Payment and Water Delivery Agreements under NEW AND MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS before the UNFINISHED BUSINESS agenda item with Council consent.
The minutes of the Business Meeting of February 18, 2014 and Study Session of February 18, 2014 were approved as presented.
The Mayor’s proclamation of March 8, 2014 as International Women’s Day was read aloud.
1.   Appointment of Victoria Sturtevant to the Firewise Commission
2.   Request to donate fire pumper and rescue equipment to Guanajuato
3.   Award of a professional services contract in excess of $75,000 for the Wastewater Treatment Plant Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Upgrade project
Councilor Voisin pulled Consent Agenda Item #3 for further discussion.  Public Works Director Mike Faught and Wastewater Treatment Plant Supervisor David Gies explained the Wastewater Treatment Plant Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system had degraded faster than expected and staff had to reprioritize the upgrade in the Wastewater Master Plan priority project list.  SCADA was important because the plant was only staffed two thirds of the time.  It was critical the system was reliable.  Staff would make budget adjustments in order to cover the project.
Councilor Lemhouse/Morris m/s to approve Consent Agenda item #3. 
DISCUSSION: Councilor Lemhouse noted that plans changed and it was important for staff to adjust projects when needed. Councilor Voisin expressed concern the Wastewater Master Plan was two years old and staff was unable to see the failure then.  She thought staff should adhere to the Master Plan and would not support the motion.  Voice Vote:  Councilor Morris, Lemhouse, Slattery, Rosenthal, and Marsh, YES; Councilor Voisin, NO. Motion passed 5-1.
Councilor Rosenthal pulled Consent Agenda Item #2 and noted his appreciation for the donation of the fire pumper and rescue equipment to Guanajuato, Mexico.  Fire Chief John Karns added that the Guanajuato Fire Department maintained their vehicles exceptionally well and planned to drive to Ashland with a trailer to transport the fire pumper and rescue equipment back to Guanajuato.
Councilor Rosenthal/Voisin m/s to approve Consent Agenda items #1 and #2. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
Heather Stafford/100 E Main Street/Explained she was the Executive Director of the Sustainable Valley Technology Group, distributed their annual report and shared accomplishments and upcoming projects.
David Sherr/Diane Street/Announced that 65% of citizens polled by the Sneak Preview disliked the Plaza pavers including 500 petitioners.  He explained that during the project “checks and balances” were disregarded by staff and questioned why renderings depicting salmon colored pavement were shown to the public and press the entire design process then gray pavers installed.  He questioned why the City Administrator was unaware of the choice, why the decision was kept out of the press and why Council would not divulge when the decision was made.  Showing salmon colored paving in an illustration for nine months was the same as promising them.  He wanted Council and staff to keep that promise, citing both had given false impressions to the public and press. 
1.   Approval of Medford Water Commission Talent, Ashland, and Phoenix System Development Charge Payment and Water Delivery Agreements
Public Works Director Mike Faught explained the 2012 Water Master Plan identified the need to construct the emergency Talent Ashland Phoenix pipeline (TAP) in 2015.  Staff began working with the Medford Water Commission (MWC) on System Development Charges (SDC) October 2013.  The plan was finish negotiations, hire an engineering firm, and construct the pipeline in 2015.  Severe low snowpack and winter drought conditions caused staff to recommend moving the project up to 2014.
Staff recommended 3,000,000 million gallons a day (mgd) but could get by using 2.13 mgd along with 2 mgd from the Talent Irrigation District (TID) and 2 mgd from Ashland Creek.  Construction would be on an aggressive schedule to have it built by August 15, 2014 when typically Ashland needed additional water.  Currently Mt. Ashland had 17-20 inches of snow pack.
The TAP project would require 14,000 linear feet of line and a pump station.  Staff had selected an engineering firm, and the next step was formalizing an agreement with the MWC for water delivery.  The MWC would raise SDCs on April 1, 2014 making the SDC for 3 mgd $3,967,000 when it was currently $3,690,000.  Mr. Faught explained that staff arrived at 2.13 mgd by taking the 1,000 acre feet water right and dividing it by five months.  In addition to the SDC, MWC would charge .55 cents per 1,000 gallons to treat and transfer the water to Ashland.  The SDC was not included in the Water Master Plan because the City was under the impression emergency water use did not incur those charges.  However, when the City discussed an agreement prior to 2008, MWC made capacity improvements in anticipation of connecting Ashland to TAP.  Ashland decided not to participate and now was responsible for paying MWC for those improvements through SDCs regardless.
Senior Engineer Pieter Smeenk explained TID charged .39 cents per 1,000 gallons.  In addition to the .55 cents per 1,000 gallons, MWC would charge pumping costs at .10-.20 cents per 1,000 gallons for a possible total cost of .65-.70 cents per 1,000 gallons depending on which pumper system Ashland chose.
Financial Analyst Ray Bartlett from Economic & Financial Analysis explained how the additional $3,500,000 would fit into the Master Plan budget.  The Water Master Plan forecast was conservative in revenue and generous in operating expenses.  After a year, the City would produce $300,000 more a year in net revenue than was anticipated.  The City obtained cheaper financing for approximately $12,000,000 of the $34,000,000 the City was planning to spend over the next five years through an Oregon State Revolving fund loan at 1-1.5% instead of the 5% anticipated in the Master Plan.  This would save the City $340,000 a year due to the interest rate adjustment.  Building the TAP line would reduce construction costs for the Crowson II Reservoir by $1,300,000.  Depending on how much the City put down, which was $396,000 year one to MWC, the City could pay off the balance over the next 20 years.  The City had some options through negotiations with MWC that allowed pre-paying the loan without penalty or otherwise pay off equal amounts over a 20-year period.
The City faced $37,000,000 additional debt over the next 5-6 years and would tailor that second payment to reduce the amount of new debt service to Medford and at the same time hold cash reserves for emergencies that might come up.  Mr. Bartlett ran the forecast assuming half the balance would be paid off by Fiscal Year 2016.  At that point, the City would evaluate where it stood financially.  There were unknowns and risks with Capital Improvement projects where preliminary engineering estimates could come in below or above budget project by project.  There was also potential long-term drought that might affect water revenue.  Then there was the economy and where it would grow in Ashland to produce additional revenues.  The forecast kept the growth analysis at a conservative .5%.  The City had managed its debt well and taken every opportunity to reduce debt service and that helped.
Mr. Faught added the City could afford this if Council continued to raise rates as adopted in the current Water Master Plan.  Mr. Smeenk addressed the 1% loan with the state and clarified the City could apply for one loan each year.  Subsequent loans depended on changing conditions and competition.  Staff went on to explain if the City did not hook into TAP, Ashland would have 4 mgd with a general demand of 6 mgd that would result in curtailment.  Additionally the City could incur a severe reduction in revenue.
Mr. Smeenk clarified the Crowson II Reservoir savings of $1,300,000 would occur because the City would not need as much storage with TAP and could reduce the size by 500,000 gallons.  Cost constraints prevented the City from having both.  The TAP pipeline would allow the City to refill Crowson II Reservoir if needed in an emergency and the water was already treated.  The contract stated the City’s 1,000 acre feet water right was during the summer months and Medford would meet that same demand with their water during the winter months. 
Staff asked the two engineering firms how they would meet the deadline and whether the budget was realistic.  The engineering firms response expressed concern the $2,300,000 was not enough to cover 3 mgd.  An analysis would provide a concrete figure by March 21, 2014.  If Council chose 3 mgd and it cost more, the City would have to raise rates.
Mr. Faught clarified Medford had a much larger watershed and could probably experience 2-3 years of drought conditions before having issues.  Medford would use an equal curtailment that applied to everyone.  TID had a similar curtailment policy as well.  He confirmed the .70 cents per 1,000 gallons was included in the current and anticipated rates.
If Council chose 2.13 mgd and Ashland exceeded that amount, the City would owe MWC the extra SDCs immediately, MWC would not cut the water supply.  The City’s current pumping facility could handle 2.5 mgd and staff was researching a second pump for 3 mgd. Conservation and curtailment efforts helped but would have a large impact on City revenue.  The $337,000 in the Water Master Plan covered water from Medford and was not an annual cost, only when needed.  Mr. Bartlett clarified the latest analysis increased that amount.  They adjusted the forecast to account for changes that had occurred since the Water Master Plan.
Ron Roth/6950 Old Hwy 99 S/Opposed the TAP project since it was initially proposed.  TID was the secondary water source.   The WISE (Water for Irrigation, Streams, and Economy) group promoted piping all the canals in the valley to save massive amounts of water.  Approximately 25%-30% of water was lost to evaporation and leakage.  He estimated the TAP project would cost at least $6,000,000 if Council went with 3 mgd and cost $300 per capita for Ashland citizens.  He spoke to the Medford Water Commission and asked if they were short on water, what would happen, it was a board decision they had not made yet.  There was no guarantee.  If the City waited until next year, it would cost $314 per capita.  The curtailment in 2009 was not necessary had there been more anticipation.  The City did not use TID until Reeder Reservoir dropped below 60%.  He suggested filling Reeder Reservoir with TID as it lowered instead of waiting for the level to drop below the 60% mark.
Councilor Voisin/Marsh m/s to approve granting authority to authorize the City Administrator to complete negotiations and sign the MWC Water Delivery Contract and SDC payment agreement for 2.13 mgd of water.  DISCUSSION:  Councilor Voisin explained there were two reasons to have TAP.  One was redundancy and the other for emergencies like fire and flood.  She also wanted to find ways to increase and encourage conservation at the same time.  Councilor Marsh added the City needed to develop alternative water sources.  She noted language in the MWC contract that stated the MWC was under no obligation to act in the best interest of any customer outside the City of Medford.  The City could pay additional SDCs later for 3 mgd.  The 2.13 mgd covered the bulk, and the remaining would not be as expensive.  That also gave the City time to sort out what was really happening with the drought, TID, and financing options.  Ashland definitely needed the 2.13 mgd as it moved into climate change and unpredictable conditions.
Councilor Lemhouse would have preferred 3 mgd instead of 2.13 mgd but would support the motion.  The option of not doing the project was not good.  The first responsibility of Council was protecting the citizenry.  Councilor Rosenthal would have supported the 3 mgd option but this made sense.  Choosing this option may not increase rates and the 3 mgd would have.  This was an insurance policy for community.  Councilor Morris also preferred the 3 mgd due to Ashland’s storage and reservoir capacity issues but understood they could go up to that amount another time if needed.  Council Chair Slattery supported the motion.
Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Marsh, Lemhouse, Slattery, Rosenthal, and Morris, YES. Motion passed.
City Administrator Dave Kanner addressed the possible $1,000,000 savings due to Council choosing 2.13 mgd instead of 3 mgd and explained staff did not know actual costs for the project at this time.  This was an emergency procurement and staff would not know actual costs until they had a completed engineering plan.  Reducing the size of Crowson II Reservoir would save the City $1,300,000 but it was unknown whether that amount would be necessary for the TAP construction and pump installation or if there was a savings that would go into the unappropriated fund balance in the Capital Improvement Fund.
1.   First Reading by title only of an ordinance titled, “An ordinance amending AMC Chapter 2: Rules of City Council; Uniform Policies and Operating Procedures for Advisory Commissions and Boards; Recreation Commission; Conservation Commission; and Certain Administrative and Operating Departments”
City Attorney Dave Lohman explained the following changes:
2.04.010 Authority (E) allowed suspension of the rules in limited circumstances.  Mr. Lohman would add a list of circumstances.
2.04.010 Authority (F) clarified the City Attorney as parliamentarian and not the decision maker.
2.04.020 Meetings Study Sessions Councilor Voisin suggested allowing 15 minutes for Public Forum during Study Sessions.  Mr. Lohman would retain the current language and bring possible amendment language for Second Reading. 
2.04.020 Meetings (C) Study Sessions would change wording from Study Sessions occurring on the first and third Mondays to the Monday that preceded Council meetings.
2.04.030 Agendas (A) Agenda Guidelines for Regular Meetings (3) would add the word “information,” “All other items that the City Administrator, City Attorney or Mayor present to the Council for action or information.” 
2.04.040 Conduct of Meetings (C) Council Deliberation (2) Discourse Rules add language to read: “Council members, as well as members of the public speaking on Council agenda items, shall confine their remarks to the question under deliberation, avoid redundancy, speak only for themselves, and make no negative personal remarks or comments about the motives or personal traits of others.”
2.04.040 Conduct of Meetings (C) Council Deliberation (3) Decorum Mr. Lohman would add language regarding inappropriate gestures and signs or gestures of Councilors attempting to communicate with audience members during the meeting as potential disruptive behavior.  He clarified the section applied to interchanges between Councilors and Councilors with the audience. 
2.04.040 Conduct of Meetings (4) Motions and Permissible Intervening Actions (b) Permissible Actions While a Speaker Has the Floor (2) Request for Information would clarify a second was not required.  Mr. Lohman would bring possible amendment language for Second Reading removing Request for Information as an intervening action.
2.04.040 Conduct of Meetings (4) Motions and Permissible Intervening Actions (c) Main Motion would clarify a second was not required when a Councilor withdrew a motion.
2.04.040 Conduct of Meetings (4) Motions and Permissible Intervening Actions (6) Voting would clarify a Councilor or Mayor who did not vote for or against a motion unless excused would count as a negative vote.
2.04.050 Order of Business at Regular Meetings Mr. Lohman would remove the date requirement for the Mayor’s State of the City presentation.
2.04.050 Order of Business at Regular Meetings (D) Public Forum (4) would move Public Forum before the Consent Agenda unless changed by a suspension of the rules and would add back the following, “When possible and feasible, preference will be given to individuals who reside within the Ashland city limits.  Persons who do not reside in the City may be placed at the end of the list of those wishing to speak at public forum.”

2.04.050 Order of Business at Regular Meetings (E) Consent Agenda would clarify that Council may request that any item be removed from the Consent Agenda and voted on separately either during the Consent Agenda portion or as part of the Regular Agenda under the appropriate section.
2.04.050 Order of Business at Regular Meetings (F) Public Hearings (1) changed the public hearing time extension to 9:45 p.m.

2.04.100 Council Liaisons to City Advisory Boards and Commissions (A) Role and Responsibilities of Council Liaisons (2) added “objectively and accurately” to read “…and are expected to represent the full City Council objectively and accurately in interacting with such entities.”

2.04.100 Council Liaisons to City Advisory Boards and Commissions (A) Role and Responsibilities of Council Liaisons (3) would read, “City Councilors may attend meetings of the City's Regular, and ad hoc advisory bodies as citizens of Ashland.  When attending as a citizen, Council members must identify their comments as personal views or opinions not a representation of City Council policy.” 
Mr. Lohman would provide provisions under Roberts Rules regarding censure, misrepresentation of Council by a Councilor and the provision submitted by Councilor Rosenthal regarding 2.10.110 Lobbying and Representing the City
2.04.100 Council Liaisons to City Advisory Boards and Commissions (A) Role and Responsibilities of Council Liaisons (B) Attendance would provide flexibility regarding attendance
2.04.100 Council Liaisons to City Advisory Boards and Commissions (C) Deliberations Mr. Lohman would correct the reference to paragraph I to paragraph H.
2.04.110 Council Representatives to State, Regional, Community, and other External Organizations (3) would read,City Councilors are expected to represent the full City Council in their work as City Representatives.  If the Council has an approved position on a matter under discussion, the Representative shall articulate and, if called upon, vote in favor of that position.  If the City Representative is asked to take an official position on an issue that affects the City of Ashland and the City’ s official position is unknown or unclear, the City Representative should request that the item be placed on a City Council agenda in accordance with AMC 2.04.030 for full City Council action.  If the Council has not approved an official position and has not had the opportunity to confer with the City Representative on a matter under deliberation in the subject external organization, the Representative shall make a good-faith effort to reflect what the Representative believes the full Council's position would be if the Council were to consider the matter, regardless of the Representative's personal views.  Conduct contrary to the guidelines in this subsection is grounds for removal under paragraph E.”  Mr. Lohman would add language requesting a Councilor to report to Council about a decision made in the Council’s name.
2.10.020 Terms, Term Limits and Vacancies would have different term limits for the Audit Committee.
2.10.025 Meetings and Attendance (B) Mr. Lohman would remove verbiage regarding missing two consecutive noticed meetings for Second Reading.
2.10.025 Meetings and Attendance (E) would read, “Each advisory body should review member and report to the City Recorder approximately every six months.  City Recorder will advise the Mayor on the need for appointments or re-appointments, if necessary.”
2.10.050 Election of Officers, Secretary, and Subcommittees would elect a chair and vice-chair following the appointment or reappointment of members each year and limited that position to no more than three consecutive annual terms.
2.10.060 Agendas and Minutes would require minutes posted to the website in a timely manner.
2.10.105  Reports (B) would clarify report expectation from an advisory body Chair to Council.
2.10.110 Lobbying and Representing the City Councilor Rosenthal proposed the following language concerning external statements of advisory body members:  “Members of City advisory bodies shall not state the position of the City or of a City advisory body at meetings or in correspondence with federal, state, regional, local or community organizations or elected bodies, unless specifically authorized to do so at duly advertised meetings by the City Council and by the advisory body.  An individual advisory body member is free to express personal views on any issue in any forum as long as the individual makes clear that the views expressed are personal and do not represent the position of the City or of the City advisory body.  Advisory body members are prohibited from engaging in political activity in accordance with ORS 260.432.” Mr. Lohman would bring the language to Second Reading as an amendment.
2.11.015 Modified Terms and Qualifications (A) Terms City Recorder Barbara Christensen recommended language concerning terms of certain Municipal Audit Commission Members:  “Notwithstanding any other provision of the Ashland Municipal Code, the terms of the Mayor or Councilor, City Recorder and Liaison Budget Committee member shall be for one year, each expiring on December 31 each year.  All other terms shall be as provided in AMC 2.10.020.”  Mr. Lohman would add the language for Second Reading.
Councilor Lemhouse addressed 2.04.040 Conduct of Meetings (C) Council Deliberation and asked Council to consider adding language that defined deliberation.  Mr. Lohman would add defining language and clarify after a motion was made that was the time for deliberation and expressing opinions.  He noted 2.04.040 Conduct of Meetings (2) Discourse Rules addressed issues of redundancy and confining remarks.
Jonny Boulton/165 East Main Street/Thought the purpose of parliamentary procedure in Council was to debate, convince other Councilors to change their opinion, deliberate and vote.  He read from Roberts Rules, explained the rules were the backbone of the law of the land, and had been with people for thousands of years.  He questioned whether the changes being made would serve its purpose and expressed concern regarding the actions of future Councils.
Councilor Slattery/Marsh m/s to approve First Reading by title only of an ordinance titled “An ordinance amending AMC Chapter 2: Rules of City Council; Uniform Policies and Operating Procedures for Advisory Commissions and Boards; Recreation Commission; Conservation Commission; and Certain Administrative and Operating Departments” as amended and place on agenda for second reading.  Roll Call Vote: Councilor Voisin, Marsh, Lemhouse, Rosenthal, Morris, and Slattery, YES. Motion passed.
Councilor Voisin announced there were now 133 volunteers for the Help Center and shelters.  Friday, March 18, 2014 free dog and cat vaccinations would happen in the parking lot at the United Methodist from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Councilor Lemhouse announced the High School basketball team was in the play offs, a senior won the state title for wrestling in his weight class and another senior came in second in state in his weight class and a third student was the first female state champion in wrestling. 
Meeting was adjourned at 9:31p.m.
Barbara Christensen, City Recorder                            
Dennis Slattery, Council Chair

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