Medford City Council Study Session
April 11, 2018
The meeting was called to order at 12:12 p.m. in the Medford Room, City Hall, 411 W. 8th Street, Medford with the following members present.
Mayor Gary Wheeler; Councilmembers Dick Gordon, Chris Corcoran, Bob Strosser, Eli Matthews, Al Densmore, Karen Blair, John Michaels (*arrived as noted) and Daniel Bunn.
1. Budget Work Session: Quarterly financial review by Alison Chan, Finance Director. Ms. Chan distributed the new format for the quarterly update report and reviewed the document. The report will primarily focus on the General Fund but does include a status report on all funds. She spoke to the fact that while property taxes have not declined, they have not gained. However, expenses have continued to grow with increases in PERS, utility costs, etc. She noted that the tax collection rate has held solid. She spoke to expenditure increase of four percent for Public Employee Retirement System (PERS). It is anticipated that PERS will increase by a similar amount next year unless legislative changes are made.
Ms. Chan spoke to the need to budget vacancy savings to assist in the balancing of the upcoming budget.
*Councilmember John Michaels arrived.
Ms. Chan then spoke to capital outlay and capital improvement items that will be included in the upcoming budget presentations.
2. Overview of Mayor and City Council Budgets
Ms. Wilson gave an overview of the Council Budgets (Mayor & City Council, Advisory Services, Special Events and Vision Implementation). She noted the budget number shown has been changed due to the return of some money originally taken to balance the budget.
Councilmember Densmore noted he would like to have a presentation of budget expenditures by category such as Alba Visit Support and Public Outreach versus the accounting line items. He also spoke in support of the Mayor being able to travel to Alba to represent the City. He suggested that perhaps the food line item expense could be reduced by providing lunch for Council only on council meeting days.
Councilmembers discussed costs for publishing and printing and Ms. Wilson noted that the budget reflected actual expenditures. However, she noted that staff is working on development of a comprehensive Community Outreach plan with specific action items for improving public education regarding City services. Once this plan is finalized, it will include costs and budget needs.
Ms. Wilson addressed the Special Events budget which stayed flat however it is anticipated that additional groups will be requesting funds during the budget process.
3. Legislative Priorities: Councilmember Densmore addressed the Council and noted that a draft priority listing had been distributed. He noted that the Council needs to have discussion regarding the proposed priorities as well as addressing the League of Oregon Cities (LOC) Legislative Priorities. Councilmember Dick Gordon provided an overview of the LOC priorities of population forecasting, 911 funding, local control/reset on sale for property tax, land use and jobs and economic development.
Councilmember Densmore also spoke to the need for more relationship building with legislative officials and agencies. As there are no longer earmarks for special projects, the real work is in the relationships with agencies.
Ms. Wilson noted she would revise the City legislative policy draft to include the LOC priorities for discussion by Council at a regular meeting.
There being no further business the meeting adjourned at 1:20 p.m.