Citizens Budget Committee Meeting
June 9, 2014
Siskiyou Room, 51 Winburn Way, Ashland
- CALL TO ORDER
Stebbins called the meeting to order at 6:00pm and introduced Mary Cody, the newest Citizens Budget Committee (CBC) member.
- ROLL CALL
Lee Tuneberg Finance Director
Dave Kanner City Administrator
Kristy Blackman Administrative Assistant
Mike Faught Public Works Director
Scott Fleury Public Works Manager
- APPROVAL OF MINUTES
MOTION – M/S Runkel/Voisin to approve the minutes of the;
May 1, 2013 CBC Minutes
May 8, 2013 CBC Minutes
May 15, 2013 CBC Minutes
May 22, 2013 CBC Minutes
April 9 & 10, 2014 CBC Sub Committee Grants Meeting
May 14, 2014 CBC Minutes
with minor grammatical changes.
- PUBLIC FORUM
- BUDGET DISCUSSION AREAS
Update on Water and Waste Water Master Plan budget and revenues
Mike Faught, Public Works Director, presented and handed out a presentation on the Ashland Water Advisory Committee (AWAC) (See Agenda Attachments)
Faught gave credit to the AWAC committee members who worked on the Water Master Plan, being Pat Ackland, Lesley Adams, Alex Amarotico, Kate Jackson, Darrell Boldt, Donna Mickely, Don Morris, Amy Patton, Donna Rhee, Rich Whitley, and John William.
Faught discussed the vulnerability of the Ashland Water Plant, noting that it is vulnerable to natural disasters such as flooding, drought, wildfire and earthquakes. He raised the question of whether to continue risking the possibility of losing the water plant, and noted that it would take one month conservatively to reopen if there was a natural disaster.
Marsh asked if toxic algae were an issue. Faught noted that they are monitoring this all the time and that if water got too low it could potentially be an issue.
Stromberg noted that toxic algae are an issue only at the reservoir and not at the treatment plant.
Another potential issue for Ashland could be supply as Ashland grows.
Faught recommended updating the master plan every 5 years.
Projects that solve these issues are;
- New water treatment plant which would supply 5 million gallons a day.
- New reservoir located next to the treatment plant.
- TID pipe.
- Emergency only TAP.
Faught discussed the funding for the projects as outlined in his presentation. He explained that the total for Medford with $950,000 forgiveness from the state loan agency is $6 million dollars. He explained that COA already had $2.4 million at 1% interest; dedicated to park estates and that these funds have been rededicated to the TAP project. He went on to explain that the COA also entered into a loan for $3 million, $2 million of which is for TAP through the state loan agency. Stebbins asked what rate of interest Faught said 3.2%.Faught explained that COA will save $1 million dollars on Crowson project for the lower demand created by the TAP project.
Voisin asked what would happen with the equipment from the old plant. Faught answered that the old plant will remain operational for some time and then eventually the infrastructure would be removed but the details have not yet been drawn out.
Heimann questioned if the new plant would have capacity to supply all of Ashland exclusive of TAP. Faught answered that 2.5 million gallon meets peak demand by 2018. Supply demand is in 2038 and TAP will supply that and can be used for regular demand if needed. Runkle asked what the projected date to close old plant was. Faught stated that there was not a set date yet.
Morris raised the question if the current plant was destroyed, what would happen and how long would it take to get water to the community. Faught stated that it would take a month or more to restore supply if there were no back up plant. He noted that TAP water is treated and would be available once that is in place.
Stromberg noted that the drought has been advantageous in getting the TAP project moving a year earlier and also that this will show how much our community can preserve.
Faught noted that long term conservations changes are needed. Stromberg pointed out that long term conservation changes are not expensive but it’s about learning to conserve in better ways. Faught agreed that now is the time to talk about long term conservation.
Voisin noted that (as per AWAC) the water treatment plant is the most vulnerable and the first priority was to have a water plant in a safer place and to have TAP in place to help with transition. She went on to explain that the full TAP was too expensive and that COA would be bound to water rights and would be bound to water rates of other municipalities. Faught also noted that the current TAP wouldn’t supply enough water to stand alone.
Voisin noted that eventually we may eventually end up curtailed by Medford if they go into drought also. Faught explained that Medford is in a better position than Ashland.
Marsh asked what the time line was for completion of the new plant. Faught stated that this was 2018 for and that there would be an opportunity to reevaluate capacity issues in 2017 at the 5 year mark.
Runkle pointed out that he feels as if it would be economic to use Medford’s water all the time and to reduce staff at COA plant. He also questioned what the cost is of building a plant in stages as opposed to just using Medford’s water. This is something he would like to look into further.
Heimann commended the AWAC committee and noted that he would like more questions raised regarding building of this plant. Believes these need to be detailed more. Believes costs are becoming inflated and would like to see these questions answered.
Stromberg stated he believes this is a project that should just be done and he praised AWAC and their approach to explaining why they didn’t want to build the whole plant at once. He also noted that the community needs to be able to absorb the cost of the new plant over time.
Faught discussed wastewater and changed that can occur. There is a new temperature rule that COA doesn’t meet. He outlined projects on page 11 to correct this.
Voisin asked why the effluent can’t be used. Faught answered that we could build secondary distribution centers but cost is a factor. He explained that 50% of the flow if taken out of Ashland Creek would need to be replaced. Between cost and flow restriction this was not feasible.
Stebbins asked if the $10.8 million for Wastewater, outlined in the presentation, is enough. Faught stated he was confident that the consultants have this correct.
Runkel asked if this was all borrowed. Faught stated that everything outlined in the Master Plan was based on borrowing.
Heimann asked what COA is doing to assist its citizens in utilizing their grey water. Faught noted that it’s complicated retrofitting new facilities and we are dealing with regulations from other agencies. Kanner noted that it’s not that complicated getting the permits etc, the issue comes with actually using the water. It was noted that it is not possible at this point for commercial properties to obtain a permit to use grey water.
Faught outlined “Transportation” information from presentation.
Stromberg asked Faught to report on where we are on maintenance of streets. Faught explained the road maintenance project and the importance of timing and scheduling of maintenance to preserve roads at a minimal reconstruction cost.
Faught moved on to Storm Water plan and noted that the Master Plan is not yet complete. It is approximately a $10 million dollar cost. Faught outlined projects in the presentation.
- Review Long-Term Infrastructure Plans and Financing Options
PRESENTATION ON COA DEBT BY TUNEBERG (See Agenda Attachments)
Tuneberg noted that current outstanding debt over 10 years has gone down from over $50 million to 38 million dollars. He pointed out that the COA currently pays 5 million for annual debt service and explained that this should remain around this level in the future.
Stromberg asked if we issue bonds with varying rates, Tuneberg answered no.
- Total is much reduced compared to 2002
- Currently pay about $5M in annual debt service
- Rating agencies previously referred to Ashland as an A or A+ rating with moderate debt service
- Today they refer to the City as an AA or AA- rating with limited debt service
Stebbins asked about the $5 million and is that including the debt to Medford and all the debt that Faught was talking about. Tuneberg state that for the time being this was the case and possibly until 2018.
TUNEBERG PRESENTED TOTAL DEBT CHART AS OF JUNE 2013 (See Agenda Attachments)
Tuneberg noted that funds borrowed for TAP are not factored into this chart.
Explained AFN loans and explained how COA calculates future lending needs.
Runkle asked if the Enterprise GEO bonds include water & sewer, Tuneberg answered yes.
DEBT LOOKING FORWARD
Tuneberg noted that by 2018 COA should be back at moderate debt. He also discussed issuing future bonds. Stromberg asked Faught’s opinion on the COA’s sustainability in terms of project maintenance. Tuneberg interjected that this is a hard thing to say. Noted that providing the COA maintains depreciation at above 50%, the city can remain sustainable.
Faught stated that he believes that an insubstantial amount is being spent on street repair and noted that they are looking into this. Marsh asked if COA should be funding street repair with debt or should they be finding a dedicated funding source. Faught answered that is something that will be looked at.
Tuneberg added that there is a dividing line between improvement and replacement and that maintenance is only allowed to be funded with existing funds, not borrowed funds.
Marsh asked if we could send the spread sheet electronically as it was too small.
CAPTIAL FINANCING OPTIONS
- General Obligation Bonds, low interest rate
- Voter approved paid by property taxes,
- Usually no reserve required
2. Full Faith and Credit Bonds, low interest rate
- Council approved GO obligations,
- Paid by any legal source but not by added property taxes,
- Usually no reserve required
3. Revenue Bonds, interest rate normally above GO debt
- Council approved
- Paid by pledged utility rates,
- Covenant city will raise utility rates to meet coverage (1.25+)
- Usually requires a reserve = one year debt service
- State Revolving Loan Funds, can be lowest rate with indirect subsidy from federal government
- Council approved
- General obligations most often paid by utility rates,
- Can require a reserve
- Bank Loans, higher (estimated) interest rate
- Council approved
- Depends on what we have to pledge in revenues and reserves,
- Often shorter term
- Grants, hard to rely on so don’t hold your breath
- Pay as you go – no debt, but…how good are we at saving?
Stromberg asked if you can apply marijuana tax to a debt repayment. Kanner answered that is was unlikely that anyone would accept this method to be accepted as repayment.
Heimann requested debt breakdown.
Stebbins noted Lemhouse and Marsh’s last meeting notations about desired outcomes.
Marsh noted that she was happy with the format of this meeting.
Stebbins expressed her desire to have the budget meetings in the Siskiyou room for the next meeting.
POSSIBLE TOPICS FOR NEXT MEETING
- Budget Incentive Programs
- Possibly AFR from mayor
- Appoint liaison to the audit committee.
Heimann/Slattery M/S that appointment to the Audit Committee be added to this agenda.
Stebbins suggested Cody.
Heimann / Slattery M/S to nominate Mary Cody as the liaison to the Audit Committee.
DATE FOR NEXT MEETING
24TH July 2014
Meeting was adjourned at 8:02
Kristy Blackman, Administrative Assistant.