Medford City Council Study Session
October 9, 2014
The meeting was called to order at noon in the Medford Room, City Hall, 411 W. 8th Street, Medford with the following members present.
Mayor Gary Wheeler; Councilmembers Dick Gordon, John Michaels, Eli Matthews, Bob Strosser, Tim Jackle and Daniel Bunn.
Councilmember Chris Corcoran was absent.
City Manager Eric Swanson invited Councilmembers to attend the weekly meetings of the working groups for the Police and Fire facilities. Interested Councilmembers should contact the City Manager’s office to ensure no violation of quorum of Council at meetings.
1. Special Events and Alcohol at City Facilities: City Manager Swanson opened the topic and spoke to the expansion of quality public facilities in Medford with Pear Blossom Park, U.S. Cellular Community Park, Carnegie Building as well as the anticipated renovation of Hawthorne Park. With these improved quality facilities, the issue of use of alcohol at special events in these facilities has come to the forefront. Current Medford Code is antiquated and this is brought forward for Council information and recommendations on moving forward.
Police Chief Tim George addressed the Council and provided an overview of the issue that has come forward regarding alcohol in City facilities/parks and the current Municipal Code. He reviewed the Municipal Code sections that cover the use of publicly owned property and drinking in public.
A new definition of "special event" is proposed to be added to the code.
He reviewed the proposed changes to Section 2.185 for use of public owned property and right of way.
Councilmember Bunn questioned how this affected amplification that is covered under a Conditional Use Permit and Deputy City Attorney Cooper noted the CUP would override the proposed new language.
Councilmember Strosser questioned how amplification was measured and enforced. Police Chief George noted that if they receive complaints from neighboring properties, they investigate and request amplification be turned down. If not compliant, they will enforce termination of the amplification.
Chief George provided an overview of the options for Council consideration and staff recommendations that the code be changed.
Councilmember Jackle requested language that gives clear reasons for the City Manager to deny a request be included in code.
Council concurred with staff recommendations and requested changes be brought forward.
Chief George reviewed the Code language which permits drinking only in City parking lots. He reviewed the Oregon Liquor Control Commission process that is required by event organizers in order to be allowed to serve alcohol. He noted that the staff recommendation is to expand the allowed location list to include additional sites besides parking lots. He noted that this would reflect what has been authorized in the past.
Councilmembers discussed additional locations of Holmes Park and Ruhl Park as there are weddings held in these parks.
Chief George noted that the staff recommendation is to allow for wine/malt beverages, expand the locations as presented and to increase the processing fee for the applications.
Councilmembers discussed liability issues and Deputy City Attorney Cooper addressed the concerns.
Councilmembers requested staff bring forward the recommended changes.
2. Community Sponsored Special Events: Assistant to the City Manager Glenda Wilson addressed the Council and noted that staff is seeking clarity of policy regarding the use of special events funding. She provided an overview of the history of funding for special events and how the policy in the last few years has been modified for specific events.
Staff is seeking clarity on the process to address new or additional funding requests, if a standardized form should be utilized, should requests be addressed by the Budget Committee and if the Council would like an annual report on the events. In addition, if the funds are for “in-kind” City expenses such as personnel, facility rentals or should we consider reimbursement of expenses.
Council discussed the issue and concerns regarding increasing requests for funding. Council concurred with staff recommendations with the exception to allow the Martin Luther King and Taste of Alba to submit receipts for the duration of this budget cycle. In the future, no reimbursement will be allowed.
Ms. Wilson addressed the Council and presented the staff recommendation that the special event funding for the Winter Lights Festival be transferred from the Special Events budget into the Parks & Recreation Department budget in the next biennium as they are now managing this event. Council concurred.
Meeting adjourned at 1:10 p.m.