Friday, May 28, 2010

Weekly Update, May 24 - 28, 2010

Council -

There is not much to report on this week that hasn't been in the news. The Police Department has been very busy in the last couple of weeks with the vandalism and tire slashing around town and with the incident at the high school. Here are some other things you might be interested in.

League of Oregon Cities Policy Issues. As I think I have mentioned in previous posts to this blog, the League of Oregon Cities is in the process of developing the Legislative Agenda for the 2011 session of the Oregon Legislature. The Policy Committees have completed their work, and now it's time for all of the cities in Oregon to weigh in. The League has sent a comprehensive list of all of the recommended policy priorities, and every City Council in Oregon has a chance to pick their preferences for League priorities. Every City can recommend four priorities to the League's Board, and then the League Board will meet in late July to finalize the list for the upcoming session. This is scheduled for action by the Ashland City Council on June 29, 2010, and the Department Head staff will meet to develop a recommendation for Council consideration. The list is quite diverse and can be found here. As you may remember, David Chapman and Mike Faught serve on the League's Transportation Committee, and I serve on both the Finance and Taxation and Community Development Committees. As I participate in these committees, I am reminded that Oregon's cities are quite diverse - geographically, economically, and politically - and that it is a tough challenge to develop consensus on a Policy Agenda.

Request for Salary and Benefit Information. A reporter for the Sneak Preview has requested (and received) salary and benefit information for all City employees. He mentioned that his deadline is June 3, so I expect that there will be a story about this in the next issue of the Sneak Preview.

Parking Reconfiguration on the Plaza. Last week, the Transportation Commission approved a decision to reconfigure the parking in the plaza and in front of City Hall. The design actually will add a couple of new parking spaces and remove the first two parking stalls nearest North Main (in front of Mix), by changing current 75 degree angle parking to a 60 degree angle. This recommendation will be coming to the City Council for final approval. A couple of people have submitted written testimony in opposition to the proposed changes, and the change is significant enough that it will affect how the Plaza looks. The staff is looking at whether the removed spaces can be used for bicycle parking and for motorcycle parking. Please let Mike Faught or Pieter Smeenk know if you have any questions about this.

Ex Parte Contact and Cell Tower Decision. Many of you know that there is an application to install a new cell tower at the Ashland Street Cinemas. The Planning Commission has held a hearing on the matter. Because this decision is very likely to be appealed no matter how it turns out, Councilors should avoid ex parte contact on this case. In other words, if you get a phone call or get stopped at the grocery store, you probably should let folks know that you can't talk to them about the case. If you do talk to the person, please write down the date, the person's name, and the general statement that the person makes. And, if you receive any email, you probably should hang onto them and make sure that they are entered into the record if the matter is appealed. I know this is a really hot topic in town, and it's going to be important that Council keeps the procedure clean. If you have any questions about this, you should contact Richard Appicello or Bill Molnar.

City Administrator Pro Tem. I'll be out of town this weekend, and Lee Tuneberg will be City Administrator Pro Tem for any weird thing that comes up in my absence.

See you all Tuesday evening.


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