Agendas and Minutes

City Council (View All)

Regular Meeting

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


November 18, 2014
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, Morris, Lemhouse, Slattery, Rosenthal, and Marsh were present.
Mayor noted vacancies on various Commissions.
The minutes of the Study Session of November 3, 2014 and Business Meeting of November 4, 2014 were approved as presented.
Housing Program Specialist Linda Reid and the chair of the Housing and Human Services Commission (HHSC) Rabbi Joshua Boettiger provided an overview of the Commission.  The HHSC analyzed the current social services grant program and made recommendations.  The analysis involved an inventory, identifying gaps, and developing a strategic plan by collecting demographic data, conducting interviews, and leading a forum with current grant recipients to establish priority goals and an implementation strategy.  The HHSC also focused on whether students should be a protected class in the City’s Fair Housing Ordinance, the Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), and the Normal Neighborhood Plan. 
Key goals the Commission wanted to work on going forward were employment programs, transitional housing for at risk populations and youth, dual diagnosis, mental health, and addiction issues, veterans, seniors, and affordable home ownership for working families.  The goals aligned with Council goals.
Richard Morris/642 Van Sant Street/Represented the co-owners of Paddington Station and the Paddington Jewel Box and commented on the plastic bag ban.  They contacted the largest gift shop in Eugene practicing a similar bag ban who reported an escalation in shoplifting due to the ban.  He described issues Paddington Station and The Jewel Box experienced charging the .10-cent requirement to purchase paper bags and asked Council to consider dropping the bag fee.
Madeline Hill/950 Golden Aspen Place/Owned a condominium with bedrooms above the club area on Will Dodge Way that produced enough noise to regularly disrupt her sleep.  She read from the noise ordinance, did not understand why it was not being enforced, and questioned the City’s control over liquor licenses. Patrons from the Vinyl Club and O’Ryans Irish Pub were throwing up, defecating, making loud noise in the alley and rapes had occurred.  The police could not do anything about it since it was a normal activity for a club scene and reiterated the ordinance stated differently.  She wanted the police and City Administrator to enforce the ordinance.
Roy Laird/419 Willow Street/Owned a business on Will Dodge Way, noted the disruption from the bar scene and pointed out that Will Dodge Way was not an alley, it was a public thoroughfare.  Patrons from the clubs were partying in the alley every weekend.  That behavior would not be allowed on a public thoroughfare.  The City should enforce the ordinance that prohibited partying in the streets.  He went on to support the plastic bag ban but agreed with Paddington Station that Council should drop the .10-cent bag fee.  He did not want to charge for something that he was happy to give away.  
Scott Green/2800 3600 Dean Indian Road/Explained the police were unable to restrain the criminal activities of the public or their own deputies.  This pattern of actively committing crimes had gone on for over a year.  They did not believe it was their interest to serve the public because they did not believe the public was paying attention and were under the mistaken impression they were the government of the town and that was not the culture in Ashland.  He was open to meeting with people on the Council and in the public to solve this problem.
Robert Kendrick/153 Will Dodge Way/Submitted documents into the record and noted one was a guide from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) for police officers handling people gathering around bars and in this case Will Dodge Way, the city’s biggest crime area.  The other document depicted pictures of activity occurring outside of the Vinyl Club and O’Ryans Irish Pub in the alley.  He explained he had sent pictures of these events to the Council and City Administrator for seven years, described his contributions to Ashland that he did pro-bono and now wanted help from the City on a residential overlay.  He took issue with a recent liquor license renewal that Council had no information on the permit fee.  He contacted OLCC who informed him they had not received any reports regarding the Vinyl Club or O’Ryans Irish Pub and expressed anger that for two decades rapes had occurred in the alley, drug use, public urination, and noise.  Women contacted him for tapes because they woke up in empty lots around the city and did not know what happened.  He could not sleep until the bars closed at 3:30 a.m.
Councilor Rosenthal/Slattery to place the topic of the noise ordinance on the agenda for discussion and possible direction of staff tonight.  Voice Vote:  ALL AYES. Motion passed.
1.   Approval of commission, committee, and board minutes
2.   Appointment of Luke Brandy to Forest Lands Commission
3.   Appointment of Andrew Ladygo to the Historic Commission
Councilor Rosenthal/Lemhouse m/s to approve the Consent Agenda. Voice Vote: all AYES. Motion passed.
1.   Social Service Grant Program Evaluation and Strategic Plan Review
Housing and Human Services Commission (HHSC) Vice Chair Coriann Matthews and Commission Chair Rabbi Joshua Boettiger explained the purpose of the plan was supporting the agencies and organizations that worked to improve the lives of its most vulnerable citizens.  Top Community Strengths were the civic mindedness of the community and the capacity work in collaboration.  The second was improvements made to affordable healthcare and access to food.  Challenges encompassed the need for more effective service options for dual diagnosis, physical, mental, and developmental disabilities needs.  Other challenges were the deficit of supportive services for working families and citizens earning below the median income and the lack of transitional housing options.
The plan outlined Strategic Priorities, Implementation Strategies, and Outcome Measurements.  The Commission kept the Implementation Strategies broad and would review the plan every four years.
General feedback from the community forum suggested the City specifically identify funding priorities, and make the demographic data gathered available to everyone.  They were not interested in restricting funding or that the City should give larger grants to fewer organizations.  Feedback was positive on grant recipients having more accountability.  A change HHSC recommended would have the Budget Committee set the amount for the social services grants with HHSC make recommendations to the Council for grant awards.
Council suggested rewriting the priority for housing to include housing assistance, resource and referral, and housing evaluations in addition to subsidies.  Vice Chair Matthews explained the HHSC discussed involving case management in the subsidies as well as life skills training as part of the measured outcomes.  She clarified the fifth bullet under Implementation Strategies should read, “proceed” instead of “precede.”  Council requested the HHSC have periodic check-ins with grant recipients to ensure they utilized funds efficiently.
They clarified subsidies for housing included additional transitional housing and increased transportation services meant providing more bus passes.  The assumption was grant recipients would provide an all-encompassing program that included transportation services.  Housing would include people who were homeless as well as assist renters and homeowners in danger of losing their homes.  Council suggested adding language on the third bullet under Implementation Strategies about collaborating with pre-existing services.
2.   Acceptance of FY 2013-2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report
Administrative Services Director Lee Tuneberg explained this was the first year of the biennium and the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) compared one-year’s worth of activities against a two-year budget causing percentages to be different.  The City was in a good position and doing well.  There was a slight drop in the net position due to depreciation, paying off debt and building assets.  Last year the City capitalized more causing a reduction in expenses that affected the net position.
Another change was the Parks and Recreation Commission presented as a blended component unit instead of a discretely presented component unit.  The CAFR showed more detail regarding the Parks and Recreation Departments activities than in the past.  Mr. Tuneberg went on to describe the disclosure reports added to the back of the CAFR.
Councilor Rosenthal noted the first sentence in the second paragraph on page 10 of the CAFR read, “The City Administrator is charged with general oversight of all operational and management functions, with the exception of the Parks Commission,” and wanted to know if it was specifically worded to say the Parks Commission and not include the Parks and Recreation Department.  City Administrator Dave Kanner thought the language mimicked Chapter 2.28.040 City Administrator – Administrative Responsibilities but was not sure what the exception included.  Staff would change the language to match the code if needed.
Mr. Tuneberg clarified a change that affected the Municipal Court.  Court staff reported to the Human Resource Director and they established a system where the Director would review and sign off on transactions.  He then addressed the $4.6 million dollar decrease in the Total Net Position and would forward that detail to Councilor Voisin.  The high banking charges in the Central Service Funds under the Internal Service Funds was due to the increase of electronic payments for utility bills, and the fee charged by the bank.  Currently 38%-40% of utility customers made automated payments.  It saved staff time, but increased fees to the bank.  Post employment benefit costs under the Insurance Service Fund depicted the long-term liability for providing retirement and insurance benefits for every employee in the City and Parks. 
Councilor Slattery/Voisin m/s to accept the Audit Commission Report and the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2014, as correctedRoll Call Vote:  Councilor Marsh, Voisin, Lemhouse, Rosenthal, Morris, and Slattery, YES.  Motion passed.
3.   Workforce Development Proposal – Ashland Community Resource Center
Management Analyst Adam Hanks and Lee Madsen with the Ashland Community Resource Center (ACRC) provided background on the workforce development program.  During the June 30, 2014 Study Session Council indicated they wanted a program for workforce development that came from a job seeker perspective, entry level and short-term employment that had the potential to convert to consistent and long-term employment through ACRC.
Mr. Madsen added the workforce development program would help low-income people, and provide an opportunity to supply good employees, eager to work at the type of jobs most difficult to fulfill.  ACRC was already providing coaching on resume writing, interviewing, and dressing for the interview process and employment.  Options for Homeless Residents of Ashland (OHRA) recently received a $10,000 grant from the Leightman Maxey Foundation specifically for increasing employment opportunities.  Funds would go towards a position that would manage the Workforce Development program that included training and ensuring the applicant could get to their place of employment, as well as track employee success.
The City would provide the primary marketing and ACRC would establish relationships with businesses.  The program would extend to the more experienced worker but initially would focus on entry level positions since the majority of employment needs at this time were entry level.  Mr. Madsen addressed people without a General Education Diploma (GED) and explained guests at the Center were generally past of the age of getting a GED or not willing.  If it became an issue in the future they would deal with it then.  Since the Center opened February 11, 2014, ACRC helped 18 individuals gain employment.  There were businesses willing to hire employees with unstable work experience and accepted the liability.
Councilor Voisin/Marsh m/s to direct staff to work with ACRC staff to develop a grant contract incorporating the program elements generally described in the Council Communication and bring back to Council for contract approval at a future meeting.  DISCUSSION:  Councilor Marsh thought the integrity at ACRC and the services provided would make the program work.  Councilor Lemhouse added one of the marketing points the program would have was that ACRC would help prepare people for the job.  He did not want to miss the opportunity to help people facing unemployment and wanted them to know they could go to ACRC for assistance.  Roll Call Vote:  Councilor Lemhouse, Slattery, Morris, Marsh, Rosenthal, and Voisin, YES.  Motion passed.
  1. Noise ordinance discussion regarding on Will Dodge Way
Police Chief Terry Holderness explained staff would discuss liquor licensing, issues with the clubs on Will Dodge Way, similar issues in other areas as well as the current process at the December 1, 2014 Study Session.  He went on to explain how the noise ordinance did not work well regarding Will Dodge Way because it was set up in a way that noise did not travel instead it bounced off the buildings causing a disturbance.  Yelling and singing violated the ordinance but it was difficult for the police to catch individuals in the act.  The Police Department tried to have officers present on Will Dodge Way and other problem areas when the bars closed.  Most of the people were walking between venues.  Treating the alley as a roadway was problematic.  There were no sidewalks and it was not wide enough for traffic in two directions or wide enough for people to walk comfortably when a car drove through.  The Police Department was having ongoing discussions with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) on what the department could and could not do.  The clubs managed lines coming into their venues but were not responsible for people walking to and from the bars.
City Administrator Dave Kanner suggested determining whether it was legally feasible to close Will Dodge Way at night from midnight to 5:00 a.m.  It would apply to bar patrons and the neighbors living above the alley.  Council might want to review the City’s policy of encouraging residential development in commercial zones.  Another option would make bars and nightclubs conditional uses. 
Council wanted information on better ways to enforce the thoroughfare, overlays of the noise ordinance downtown to encourage residential living downtown, and buffer options for R-1 overlays in commercial zones.  If the issue created a possible zoning change, Council wanted that separate from work already in progress on the unified land use ordinance. 
Other Council comments were reticent to make changes to the land use.  Building a condominium next to an area with a history of club activity, there was no reason to believe that atmosphere would change in the future.  The situation did not call for additional action other than ensuring people understood that commercial in a vital and diverse downtown were a high priority for the community and if someone chose to build housing nearby they would experience side effects from that.  The City needed to enforce the laws already established.
Chief Holderness noted the Police Department had no reported rapes that had occurred on Will Dodge Way.  The fact that it was busy in that area did not seem like a place a rape would occur.  Alternately, that someone could meet and drink at the location then go to another location and be victimized was viable. 
  1. Look Ahead review
City Administrator Dave Kanner reviewed items on the Look Ahead. Representative Peter Buckley and Alan Bates would attend the December 16, 2015 Council meeting to provide an update on the upcoming legislative session and field questions.  Council will also discuss how to enforce the Food and Beverage Tax on vendors doing business through the Growers Market at their December 2, 2014 Council meeting.
Meeting adjourned at 9:11 p.m.
Dana Smith, Assistant to the City Recorder                
John Stromberg, Mayor           

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