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Mayor & Council (View All)

City Council Study Session

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Medford City Council Study Session
May 29, 2014
The meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m. in the Medford Room, City Hall, 411 W. 8th Street, Medford with the following members present.
Mayor Gary Wheeler;  Councilmembers Daniel Bunn, Eli Matthews, Bob Strosser, Chris Corcoran, John Michaels, Tim Jackle and Dick Gordon.
  1. ESCI Report (Fire Services Study):  Jack Snook and Don Bivins from ESCI were in attendance to provide an overview of the study.  Mr. Snook addressed the Council and thanked the Council, staff and stakeholders who participated in the study.  He noted this was presented to Fire Dist. #3 last evening and the presentation went well.
Mr. Bivins addressed the Council and described the process undertaken to bring the study forward.  He noted the purpose of the study was to assess current conditions, identify opportunities for improvements, analyze collaboration options and then determine feasibility of options. 
There are fifteen key findings in the report and Mr. Bivins reviewed the findings.    He noted that the recommendations in the study are feasible and will provide efficiencies.  He then reviewed the strategies:
Strategy A:  Status Quo
Current shared activities continue (shared Duty Officer and Battalion Chief Response; fleet maintenance, repair, fuel purchases and equipment rental and use; mutual and automatic aid agreements.)
Strategy B:  Expansion of Existing IGA's - Functional Unification
Adds additional organization functions through IGA’s (administrative and support services; operations oversight, prevention programs, purchasing and training.)  Moderately difficult to implement but estimate $11.5 million saved over ten years.
Strategy C:  Contract for services through IGA Agreement
Combines both agencies via a contract, treating the combined agency as one entity for fire and emergency services.  Recommend an intergovernmental council be formed.  More difficult to implement, risks can be managed and cost savings same or more than Strategy B.
Strategy D: legal integration - annexation of Medford into Fire Dist. #3
Full integration of the agencies is accomplished via annexation.  Difficult to implement, requires an election and approval by residents of the City and Fire Dist. #3.  City of Medford would be taxed as part of the fire district but could reduce general fund revenue requirements to reflect the elimination of the fire fund.
Mr. Bivins then presented the ESCI recommendations:
Recommendation #1: Implement strategy B to have Fire Dist. #3 Fire Chief to manage both agencies; form task forces to work to develop and prepare for additional IGA’s.  
Recommendation #2: Mid-term consider implementing strategy C (contract for fire services.) 
Recommendation #3: Long term consider implementing Strategy D to annex Medford into Fire Dist. #3.  Recommend agencies consider this after they have spent time working through the B and C strategies.  This allows for time for the previous strategies to be implemented and positive outcomes achieved that will support Strategy D.
Mr. Bivins reviewed the next steps which include time for both agencies to review the document and provide feedback.  It is suggested that in late July a joint study session with Fire Dist. #3 will be held to provide direction to staff on course of action to be undertaken. 
Mr. Swanson noted that the next steps in the process also include meetings with line staff and admin staff and posting the report on the City’s website.
Councilmembers questioned holding public hearings and joint meetings with Fire Dist. #3 and Medford Rural Fire Dist. #2 members.  It was suggested that additional City Council work session may be necessary once Council has had sufficient time to review the study and comments submitted.
Mr. Snook noted that the study contains three recommendations that are stand-alone decisions but could build on each other leading up to annexation if the governing bodies should decide to pursue that option.  However, he felt this would be 4-6 years out before it would be discussed and that the other strategies should be implemented first.
Councilmember Michaels left the meeting.
Council discussion of concerns regarding transparency and wanting to ensure all parties have opportunity to provide feedback.  Also concerns on annexation impacts to residents regarding potential increase in taxes.  Council members also expressed concern regarding how to deal with the unfunded liability of fleet replacement and equipment owned by Fire Dist. #2.
Mayor Wheeler spoke to needing to ensure that any communications are in the open, in group setting and not one-on-one conversations.  He urged Councilmembers to be judicious in how and what they communicate with members of the stakeholder agencies and general public.
Meeting adjourned at 7:40 p.m.
Glenda Wilson
City Recorder

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