January 21, 2016
411 West 8th Street, Medford, Oregon
- State Lobbyist –Cindy Robert
January 21, 2016
411 West 8th Street, Medford, Oregon
The Medford City Council Study Session was called to order at 5:30 p.m. in the Medford Room of the Medford City Hall on the above date with the following members and staff present:
Mayor Gary Wheeler; Councilmembers Clay Bearnson, Daniel Bunn, Chris Corcoran, Tim Jackle, Eli Matthews, Kevin Stine, Michael Zarosinski
City Manager Pro Tem Bill Hoke; City Attorney Lori Cooper; City Recorder Karen Spoonts
Cindy Robert of Rainmakers
Councilmember Dick Gordon was absent.
State Lobbyist – Cindy Robert
Cindy Robert stated that the 2016 Legislative Session begins February 1, 2016. Most of the ballot measures are being brought forth by the unions. She noted the minimum wage is a big issue. The governor stepped in and came up with a new plan for the minimum wage. There would be a $2.00 differential from Portland and the rest of the state. Blue Oregon provided a chart that she presented on how the minimum wage proposals stack up. Ms. Robert questioned what Council has heard; Councilmember Corcoran stated that the Chamber will be against it, some of our valley will be for it/some against. Ms. Robert noted that those going to college in Portland would not be able to get specific grants due to the minimum wage increase, whereas you would receive it in Ashland. There is talk about a training wage as well. She noted there is a cliff that if you make a higher amount you will not be able to receive other benefits. Councilmember Bearnson spoke about how it will affect his business and how it will raise other wages.
Ms. Robert stated that there are several bills pertaining to marijuana. Councilmember Corcoran questioned if there is an age limit pertaining to marijuana; Councilmember Bearnson stated that you have to be 18 or have a note from your parent. Ms. Robert questioned what Council’s thoughts were towards hemp; City Attorney Lori Cooper noted it is in Grants Pass. Councilmember Bearnson noted there is an issue with marijuana and hemp growers for cross pollination.
Ms. Robert presented seven pages of active ballot measure filings. She talked about IP28, a proposed gross receipts tax and the companies that say they will leave if this passes. There is a possible study for a facility for Lane County with a branch to Coos Bay; I-5 would not be used. The senator from Eugene is putting this together; she wanted to know how it will affect this area. Councilmember Corcoran stated we are the last stop for triples and would be a significant impact on our community. We have truck hubs here. It would help infrastructure but if you take the trucks away you have less drivers. A truck would hold product there on a short line rail and be sent out when it was full. Councilmember Corcoran suggested she talk to truck brokers.
Pertaining to LC 235 on annexations; Ms. Robert noted this would only apply to White City and not Medford and presented a letter from Boise Cascade. It appears Boise will call Harry & David and Timber Products. Councilmember Zarosinski questioned if she talked to Representative Sal Esquivel; Ms. Robert noted that she had.
Pertaining to brownfields and wetlands she will discuss with Planning Director Jim Huber.
Linn County is suing the state (Forest Trust Lands); the 15 counties would be involved in a class action lawsuit as this contract was breached. The lawsuit seeks $1.4 billion in damages - $35 million per year from 2001 to the present. Councilmember Stine questioned if this would go anywhere. Ms. Robert stated every county around Jackson County is a timber trust county.
Ms. Robert stated that a screening company needs a new youth member under the age of 21 at the time of appointment; we are to contact her if we know of someone who might be interested.
Councilmember Zarosinski questioned the inclusionary zoning issue; Ms. Robert noted there is a state preemption pertaining to the sale or rental price of a home or unit. Last session there was a bill that lifted this but did not pass. We did not weigh in on it as we would not do it anyway. There are three versions of the affordable housing bill and this is a supply and demand issue. They will also look at stability. They are not saying they will lift the inclusionary zoning issue but can do zoning if you do a, b, and c. Once a new regulation is established it can be on 30% of the development and have to follow certain incentives. Councilmember Corcoran stated he needed more information and would want to hear from the developers. Ms. Robert noted they are close to an agreement although this has been talked about before. Councilmember Jackle questioned why not do UGB standards that would help grow our boundaries. Mr. Huber noted the trick is the right incentives to give the developer the ability to build. Councilmember Bunn noted it is a tool, we would not use it much and it will not solve the problem. Councilmember Jackle did not think it was a good tool. Councilmember Corcoran does not want to waive the SDC fees.
Regarding public transit, Councilmember Bunn stated someone is circulating a bill to require the state to not give to Metro but to other portions of the state. DLCD lets us give money to RVTD in lieu of us not taking away allocation money. Ms. Robert stated that this would set up the infrastructure but not provide the funds. It is very hard to fund mass transit. There is no money to come up with the federal match. Councilmember Corcoran questioned how much money went to light rail; Ms. Robert stated she was unsure. RVTD cannot do an employee tax. Discussed was a letter to Julie Brown that we support the efforts on how this would be funded and we would like to participate.
The meeting adjourned to the regular City Council meeting at 6:47 p.m.
Karen M. Spoonts, MMC