Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Weekly Update, May 11, 2010

Council - It seems like we've all been spending quite a bit of time together in the past couple of weeks, so hopefully you feel up-to-date on most things going on in the City.

Budget Committee meetings. We have two Budget Committee meetings this week, and they are both important. On Wednesday, May 12, you will be hearing from the Public Works Department, the Department with the largest budgets in the City. On Thursday, you will conduct your Committee Discussion, making decisions about the variety of issues that have come up during the past three weeks. This is the meeting, too, where the Committee sets the overall budget and the property tax rate. Finance staff have been compiling a list of issues that have come up, and that will be included on the agenda. If you have any issues that you want the full Budget Committee to discuss, please get those to Lee or Bryn by Wednesday evening so the issue can be on the agenda. Also, if you are going to miss a meeting and have not already told Bryn or Melissa, please let them know as soon as you can. Council will consider the Budget Committee's decisions on June 1, 2010.

Croman Master Plan Special Meeting. We have scheduled the special meeting to deliberate on the Croman Mill Master Plan for Wednesday, May 26. Here is a list of the discussion topics that the Mayor prepared for your deliberation. Staff will not be providing any additional copies of materials for this session, so please bring your packets from the April 6 and May 4 meetings with you on May 26. We will send out an agenda on May 21 with the meeting time, the finalized list of deliberation topics, and anything else you need for the meeting.

League of Oregon Cities Weekly Bulletin. Last Friday's bulletin from the League of Oregon cities had updates on two issues that I thought you all might be interested in. The first was the Department of Energy's work to update the Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC), and the second is work on the State's Transportation Planning Rule (TPR). The TPR is especially interesting to Ashland, and I'd draw your attention to efforts to use something besides the volume to capacity ration (V/C Ratio) to g\figure out whether a transportation facility needs to be bigger. More flexibility will be good for Ashland. The link is: http://www.orcities.org/LinkClick.aspx?link=Publications%2fNewsletters%2fWeekly%2fBulletin05-07-10_FINAL.pdf&tabid=798&mid=1588&language=en-US

Ashland Creek Bacteria. A few weeks ago, Lesley Adams, the Rogue Riverkeeper, pulled together a group of people who are interested in trying to reduce fecal coliform and e-coli in Ashland Creek during the summer so that the stream never exceeds the levels for safe swimming. A good cross section of people with expertise in testing and pollution have come together to design a strategy to identify the sources of pollution and to reduce them to avoid violating health standards. City and Parks staff have been participating along with community advocates, SOU faculty, DEQ staff, and some citizens with real expertise and passion for water and stream quality issues. As you can imagine, we are both excited about the chance to really look at where the pollution is coming from and pleased that a group is helping us tackle it constructively. Mike Faught and soon-to-retire GIS Tech Richard Best can give you more information about the effort. Thank you to Lesley and all of the other good folks who are working on this issue.

June 11 Update. Many of you may know that June 11 will be a very busy evening in downtown Ashland. Both High School Graduation and the opening of the Elizabethan Theater and Feast of Will are on that evening. First, I appreciate all of the work that OSF, ASD, the Lions Club, Parks and Recreation and Ashland Police have done already to coordinate the timing of these events to reduce conflicts. Second, we are working closely with these groups to ensure that each organization has a plan for traffic and for parking. You may get complaints from citizens about this overlapping schedule. You should know that there is a lot of coordination taking place to ensure that everyone has a successful event. If you have questions from our end, please talk with Don Robertson or Terry Holderness. This is a good problem to have, even though it is a challenge.

Economic Development Planning. The Economic Development Strategy is moving into its public outreach phase. A draft vision and about 14 draft strategies are going out for public comment shortly after July 4. We will be holding several kinds of meetings and will have an on-line questionnaire about the draft. If you have any specific suggestions about groups or people we should not forget to talk with, please let Adam Hanks know.

I think that is all for now. Please keep your fingers crossed for warmer weather so I can turn the heat off at home.


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