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VIRTUAL City Council Study Session Agenda & Minutes
Thursday, May 14, 2020
May 14, 2020
The Medford City Council Study Session was called to order at 6:00 p.m. virtually on the above date with the following members and staff present:
Mayor Gary Wheeler; Councilmembers Clay Bearnson, Kay Brooks, Tim DíAlessandro, Dick Gordon, Alex Poythress, Eric Stark, Kevin Stine, Michael Zarosinski; City Manager Brian Sjothun, Deputy City Manager Kelly Madding, City Attorney Rick Whitlock, Public Works Director Cory Crebbin, Principal Planner Angela Durant, Deputy City Recorder Winnie Shepard
Public Works Director Cory Crebbin presented a PowerPoint (attached) and explained that the City is notified of a defective sidewalk, notifies the property owner that they are responsible for the repair, which includes the compliance information and a list of agencies that offer financial assistance for the repairs.
City Attorney Rick Whitlock advised that if the City were to assume responsibility for residential sidewalk repairs, the City would have an affirmative duty to conduct inspections for defaults. Current Municipal Code states that property owners abutting the sidewalks are responsible for any injuries sustained by those sidewalks.
If a property owner does not complete repairs within the designated time period, the City will complete repairs and bill the property owner. City Code requires the interest rate for delinquent accounts to be assessed at 18% per annum, but the City Recorder can eliminate or reduce that amount through a payment plan and if payments are timely.
After a discussion, the Council did not wish to modify the Code at this time.
Council Vision Fund Review
Deputy City Manager Kelly Madding presented a PowerPoint (attached) outlining five requests for use of the vision funds: Downtown Medford Association (DMA), St. Vincent de Paul, Private Property Abatement, Small Business Bridge Grant and a Preschool Scholarship Fund. Those five requests totaled $432,500; the vision funds collected from January through March 2020 were $242,680. There might be matching funds available through the state for funds spent for COVID assistance.
Council voiced comments and concerns regarding the proposals for the Council vision funds:
DMA fund request would provide funding needed for an employee. Discussed reducing the proposed request to $50k. There were concerns regarding whether DMA was currently operating, what their current and past activities were, how they would continue paying for services if they were granted this funding. Councilmembers requested an update on DMAís activities and their current and future funding options. Councilmember Stark will obtain the information and update Council.
Small Business Grant Fund request would provide funds for small businesses impacted by COVID: Request reduced to $125k to allow funds to be distributed to other agencies as well. This funding is needed right now. Many Councilmembers supported this request.
Preschool Scholarship Fund would provide funds to Kid Time to provide daycare for families impacted by school closures and daycare limitations due to COVID: Kid Time was selected because it is one of the largest childcare providers in the City. Concerns were raised that there are other childcare agencies that may need the funding, specifically the YMCA. Councilmember Stark will request information from YMCA regarding their plans post COVID and their current financial need.
Property Abatements request would provide funding for property owners along the Greenway to alleviate nuisance issues. Request reduced to $50k and a further reduction was suggested to provide the funds for St. Vincent. Multiple Councilmembers agreed that the City should to continue improvements along the Greenway, but COVID needs were priority.
St. Vincent de Paul request would provide $7,500 for their Greenway cleanup program: This is their annual expense and $2k of this funding paid for garbage bags. All Councilmembers agreed to this request.
It was noted that funding is available every six months, so many of these requests could be postponed.
Mayor Wheeler asked for any objections to these proposals. Council voiced concerns and potential reductions; however the DMA request was the only one which received specific objections.
Principal Planner Angela Durant presented a PowerPoint (attached) and outlined HUDís provisions for the CDBG CARES grant funding, noting it would require an amendment to the 2019 Action Plan. She requested Councilís funding priorities for housing stabilization, small business relief, nonprofit operational assistance and homelessness. Housing stabilization includes rent assistance, legal services for landlords, tenants and child care.
Ms. Durant left the meeting temporarily due to technical difficulties at 8:30 p.m.
Councilmember Stine provided a brief overview of the Council Officers meeting while Ms. Durant attempted to return to the virtual meeting.
Ms. Durant stated that the allocation process would be established by Council. The funding could help some of the 60% of pre-COVID childcare providers which have closed due to restrictions.
She explained that there are many factors to consider with the impact of COVID on the homeless, including: lack of restrooms and places for washing their hands, close proximity to each other, etc. Agencies are discussing potentially purchasing a hotel to provide housing.
Council discussed how to financially assist renters when the rental moratorium ends. Many will be months behind in their payments due to COVID.
After discussion, Council directed Ms. Durant to research rental assistance, eviction prevention and childcare to determine the communityís financial need and potential for state funding. She will provide recommendations to Council.
The meeting adjourned at 9:14 p.m.
Winnie Shepard, CMC
Deputy City Recorder