Ashland City Council, Ashland School Board, and Ashland Parks Commission
March 16, 2006, 7:00 pm
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street
The meeting was called to order by Mayor John Morrison at 7:03 pm on March 16, 2006 in the Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street Ashland, Oregon.
Mayor Morrison, City Councilors Amarotico, Hardesty, Hartzell, and Silbiger were present. Councilors Chapman and Jackson were absent.
School Board Members Amerhein, Alexander, Marr, Parker, and Patton were present.
Parks Commissioners Amarotico, Eggers, Gardiner, Lewis and Rosenthal were present.
Staff: Lee Tuneberg, Administrative Services Director
Don Robertson, Parks Director
INTRODUCTION AND AGENDA REVIEW
Mr. Morrison gave an overview of the purpose for calling the three bodies together. He invited the members of the three groups to introduce themselves.
It was confirmed that the last meeting with minutes was in November of 2005. Council member Hartzell requested that we dig up the minutes from last meeting and have them mailed to all for approval at next meeting.
Alice Hardesty- 575 Dogwood Way Read a brief article about the cost of housing affecting the school enrollment. Also made a statement about the need for Workforce housing to not only draw young families, but also to aid teachers in living here in Ashland. She stated that we do have land surrounding schools, and that there are parks lands not being used effectively, which could be used for housing.
Melissa Mitchell Hooge- 271 High Street. Represents Save our Schools and Playgrounds. Read a statement about the continuing efforts towards a combined maintenance of Briscoe and Lincoln schools between Parks and Recreations and the School Board. She requested that instead of waiting for the outcome of the Youth activities levy, we come up with alternatives. The goal is that the playgrounds remain as parks land, and that they be well cared for. She invited the group to the Community cleanup crew on Saturday, April 1 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. She also invited everyone to a forum on workforce housing that SOS is co-hosting with the Housing Commission on May 4 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Ashland High School library. She also concurred with Alice Hardesty’s earlier statements.
IMPLICATIONS AND NEXT STEPS REGARDING EUGUENE ACTIVIITES LEVY TAX COURT RULING
Mike Franell, City Attorney, gave an update on the tax court ruling, and how the decision might affect the Ashland levies. The tax court ruled unconstitutional an Oregon statute which tried to define where monies collected for taxes would be allocated as far as the education levy and the general education levy. He stated we don’t have to rush to do anything this year, we have the time to look at alternatives and to give good education to the voters. The Eugene decision is probably going to be appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court, which will take time. Also, there are differences between the Ashland Levy and the Eugene Levy, and those differences will likely be in our favor. Mr. Franell reminded us that there are many options we can look at, even with this decision, which would help us. All the potential options will require cooperation between all three entities.
The members discussed how long it might take for this decision to be appealed and/or ruled upon. Also, discussed how the differences in the percent that we use versus Eugene might aid us in not losing more funding. The members thanked Mr. Franell for keeping on top of this, and asked that he continue his efforts as well as continue to keep all three groups informed.
REPORT FROM SUBCOMMITTEE ON PLAYING FIELDS/PLAYGROUND MAINTENANCE
Don Robertson gave a report on the last subcommittee meeting on February 22, 2006. They came up with three options. He gave a brief outline of these options.
The members discussed the differences between the options, and whether or not they are effective, or need to be expanded upon. The group was reminded that these options are really just to be used as a framework for discussions within each of the individual groups.
The members discussed how to balance what level of maintenance might be provided and the benefits to the community, with the potential maintenance costs. It was decided that this would go back to each group for further discussion. Each group would give directions to the subcommittee who would then meet again for deliberation. The subcommittee would then present their decision for discussion at the next joint meeting.
UPCOMING BOND AND OTHER SPECIAL TAX AND FINANCING MECHANISMS
The members discussed that the only bond the City is currently working on is one for a Fire station, in the range of $4 to 4.5 million.
The members discussed the upcoming school bond, and the three options they had come up with. Option one will address essential health and safety issues in the range of $28 to 30 million, equal to the tax rate of the old bond which is expiring at the same time as this one would come up. Second option is to replace one of their older schools, Bellevue Elementary, with a new energy efficient school and one phase of replacement of some of the older parts of the high school as well as core facilities advancements and health and safety improvements at the other schools. It would be a 10 year bond in the range of approximately $55 million. The third option would replace two complete elementary schools with new energy efficient schools, and replacing the high school, with the exception of the theater. It would be a 20 year bond in the range of approximately $90 million. For some of the schools cost of renovation is nearly equal to cost of new construction. There will be an open house on April 8 for the community to give feedback on the school’s bonds.
The members discussed ways to make sure that we prioritize funding necessities, so that all the groups are not hitting the tax payers with bonds at the same times. The members would like to see the directors of each group converse on this topic, so that we can see if there are any potential conflicts. The members would like to have the speaker from the County, who had to cancel last meeting, come and talk at the next joint meeting.
Councilor Hartzell, Housing Commissioner Alice Hardesty and Mayor Morrison gave a re-cap of the Regional Housing Workshop. The thing that was most commonly discovered at the workshop is that this is not just a local problem. Workforce/affordable housing is becoming a national issue. Additionally, there are many options and strategies that we either haven’t previously been made aware of, or are relatively new. They recognized it is important that we become more pro-active in order to work on this issue, we can’t leave this issue up to the private businesses or financial organizations in order to solve the problem.
The members discussed how the Housing Commission and the City is already proceeding, and how they can bring the parks and school board in to their projects. The Members also discussed some of the options for funding, local business training, Fannie Mae assistance, etc. The members recognized that this is not an issue which will have a “quick fix”, it will take long, slow work to accomplish.
The next meeting will be May 25, 2005.
ITEMS FOR THE NEXT AGENDA
· Finance Issues, with Speaker from the County
· Maintenance Agreement
· Presentation of Alternative Transportation Sub-Committee
The meeting was adjourned at 9:11 pm.
Respectively Submitted by Diana R. Shiplet