A Summary of the June 15, 2021 Ashland City Council Meeting

For those of you who may have missed the Council meeting on Tuesday, here is a rundown on their most consequential actions.  It was a productive meeting.
Whenever a measure passes 4-2, the 2 opposed are Moran and Duquene.

Discussed the budget total that Graham referenced in a Tidings article.   Moran questioned Adam Hanks about it.  Hanks said both numbers are submitted to the State. Hanks said you need to ask the Tidings about what they print. No one confronted Graham, but she did ask Hanks if he in fact had given her that number.  He confirmed that he had.

Had a long discussion about Res.#2021-15, the On-Bill financing program. There were many concerns expressed, but Hanks stated that this just meant that the City can apply for the assistance funds, it does not commit the City to the program. The details will be worked out later.
The measure passed 4-2.

Had a long discussion regarding the COLA for the Police Union.
Most of the discussion revolved around comparable salaries in other jurisdictions, and the need to remain competitive.  Moran stated that he had asked for comparables, but they had not been provided.  Hanks brought in Tina Gray (HR) to discuss comparables.  She talked about our ratings, how we had been in the top 1 or 2, but after July would be 6 or so, that it was constantly changing and hard to quantify.  [What she didn’t mention is the frame of reference for those rankings, i.e., 6 of X, 1 of X… what is X?]  When Moran again pressed for the actual dollar amounts, Gray stated that yes she does have them.  After an awkward pause as everyone waited for her to produce the numbers, she stated that she didn’t have them at the time, but would get them to the Council [n.b., AFTER the vote].
The measure passed 4-2.

Approved the second reading of Ord.#3199 regarding duplexes, 6-0.

Approved Confirmation of Mayoral Appointment of Katrina Brown as Interim City Attorney 6-0.

Discussed the ad hoc committee for Winburn Way Repairs.  The only controversy was Graham’s concern that Council would be obligated in some way to accept the recommendations. She was assured it would not be. Approved 6-0.

Discussed Jensen’s modified draft resolution regarding commissions. Following is his statement, verbatim:
“During the past three or four weeks, this issue has seen vigorous, um, conversations within the community, um, from a variety of perspectives. Um, in order to lower the temperature on this matter, um, and come to a positive conclusion, um, I suggest that we change this agenda item from a draft resolution to simply call it a motion to clarify and improve communication in the city commission appointment process. Um, in that spirit, I’m prepared to make a motion, um um, if, if I can.” Mayor: “feel free”. Jensen: “I move the city council direct the city recorder to draft a detailed process and timeline for city commission appointments consistent with the letter and spirit of the existing AMC code and that this draft be brought back to council for approval within 30 days.” There was discussion, and it passed 6-0.

Duquene questioned the need for 15 additional study sessions to deal with the budget, as approved at the previous meeting.  A long discussion ensued.  The vote was technically to simply reconsider the previous vote.  Failed 0-6.

Approved Res.#2021-16, the adoption of a supplemental budget to 2019-21.  This is a routine procedure. Approved 5-1 (Duquene opposed).

Approved the Social Equity committee work plan, etc. 6-0

Approved the purchase of water and waste treatment chemicals, 6-0.

Discussed Res.#2021-18, the 2% COLA for management and confidential (non-represented) employees. 
Tina Gray explained that there are no comparables for these positions.  She said it is hard to fill some of the lower and middle level positions, but she believed it was more due to COVID than to pay scales. Graham, Jensen, Seffinger spoke in favor, Moran spoke in opposition.  Approved 4-2.

Approved Res. #2021-17 adopting misc. fees.  Approved 4-2.

Approved a contract for engineering design for rebuilding 0.636 miles of Ashland St. (from Siskiyou to Faith) for an amount not to exceed $459,691.33. 
Approved 6-0.

Agenda: http://www.ashland.or.us/Agendas.asp?Display=Agenda&AMID=7782

Video: https://videoplayer.telvue.com/player/w9sPsSE7vna3XTN_39bs1rEXjVWF0kfP/media/649336?fullscreen=false&showtabssearch=true&autostart=true

Dean Silver