City Council
January 24, 2011

City of Hood River
City Council Work Session
January 24, 2011

Council:  Mayor Arthur Babitz, Carrie Nelson, Ann Frodel, Laurent Picard, Dawna Armstrong, Jeff Nicol, Brian McNamara  

Staff:  City Manager Bob Francis, City Attorney Dan Kearns, Finance Director Lynn Rasmussen, Public Works Director Mark Lago, Planning Director Cindy Walbridge, Jessica Sullivan 

I CALL TO ORDER – Cell Phone Reminder & Pledge of Allegiance –6:01p.m.





1. Mid-Year Budget Monitoring    
The City adopted the FY 2010-11 Budget on June 28, 2010.  Council is being updated with the results of the first six months of operations – July 1, 2001 through December 31, 2010. 

Rasmussen stated a year ago there were significant corrections to the budget that were put into place.  There were staff layoffs, all non union employees were placed on furlough one day a week and almost every fund had to be readjusted.  Two months later the staff developed the budget and used information from July 1st forward to build the proposed budget. That budget was adopted.  When FY2010-11 started the first monitoring during the first quarter was to look at the beginning fund balances of what was done during that budget process.  Rasmussen wanted to make sure the City started out with a health beginning fund balance.  Now at mid-year it needs to be determine whether or not the budget that was built a year ago is still sound, or if there are corrections that need to be made.  Rasmussen is pleased to present this monitoring and she is pleased to report that there are no significant variations to the budget that need to be made.  She noted that there are always budgets being developed and as time goes on there are some things that need to be worked through.  For the most part the budget is structurally sound.

The monitoring is for the primary operating funds; General Fund, Utility Fund, Building Fund and the Road Fund.  There is a lot of information in the packet about the General Fund and General Fund revenues.  These are the revenue streams that were discussed during the budget process. 

The first part of the report shows the nine largest revenues in the General Fund.  These nine revenues make up 8% of all the operating revenues.  There is a lot of seasonality to some of the revenues.  Rasmussen noted that the City is six months through the fiscal year but that does not mean six months worth of revenue has been collected.  Revenues come in at different times, that is why the books are kept open during July and August at the end of each fiscal year.  The City has to wait to collect all revenues and expenditures and book them back to the correct year. 

The first revenue discussed is Property Taxes; these revenues increase every year because the levee increases ever year.  The two important pieces to property taxes are how much did the levee increase and how much levee is actually collected during that year.  This levee increased 3.5% this year and last year 94% of the levee was collected by June 30th.  This year’s levee collections are on the same pace as last year.  Rasmussen anticipates they will have the same 94% collection at the end of this year.  

This year the levee has increased 3.5% and the difference between what was collected last year and what was budgeted is only 2.8% higher, Rasmussen is are expecting this revenue to meet or exceed what was budgeted. 

The second revenue discussed is Transient Room Tax.  This is also a seasonal revenue; 40% of collections are collected July-October.  The other piece that is known this year is that the revenue earned through November is 10% higher than what was last November.  The City budget is on pace this year to collect more revenues this year and the budget is small.  The projection is TRT is going to exceed. 

Ambulance receipts are not seasonal, they fluctuate month to month.  The amount of receipts through November is $5,000 less than what it was a year ago, but the budget is about $15,000 less than what was earned last year.  The projection is that the City  will meet this budget.  Rasmussen gave a brief summary of the pieces in ambulance, the different rates that are associated with ambulance receipts and how these costs are paid. 

Franchise fee collections are about where they were last November.  Pacific Corp has a residential rate increase that is going to be affective January 1st.  This year’s budget is about $60,000 smaller than last years actual.  The projection is this revenue stream will exceed budget.    

Parking sales include collections from meters, pay stations and parking permits.  This year the parking in Downtown for the month of December was not free so the collections were 19% higher than in December of last year.  Rasmussen stated parking sales were also slightly ahead in all of the other months.  This year’s budget is already smaller than last years actual; the projection is the City will defiantly meet parking revenue. 

Municipal Court fines do not fluctuate.  This revenue is slightly higher than what it was a year ago at this time.  The budget is smaller than what was collected last year.  This projection is to meet budget. 

State Shared revenues are higher than they were at this time last year; 18%.  This year’s budget is smaller than last years actual; this revenue is expected to meet projection.

Development fees are the fees for planning, engineering and fire that are used for potential building permits.  This revenue has seasonality.  This tends to earned more revenue the second half of the year when there is more building activity in the community.  The City has collected $2,000 dollars less than what was collected the same time last year.  The budget is $25,000 less this year, this revenue is expected to meet budget this year. 

Parking fines do not have seasonality but they fluctuate with collection effort.  This fiscal year Jessica Sullivan has been assigned to the parking program to work on collecting both current fines and outstanding fines.  She has done a tremendous job which is reflected in the numbers.  In the first six months of this year she has collected the budget amount and the entire revenue from last year.  This revenue stream will defiantly exceed budget. 

Rasmussen stated 65% of the budget for the largest revenues just discussed has been collected.  There is about $1 million dollars in other revenues that the City collects. Rasmussen stated the beginning fund balance started with a zero budget and started the year at negative $75,000 which was previously discussed.  Past revenues are budget neutral. Administrative chargeback’s are at 50% of budget and performing as expected.  There is a budget for grants and nothing is showing for actual.  Grants are expenditure-based and the expenditure has not been made so the grant reimbursement has not been received.  All other revenues combined are at 64% of budget thought the first half of the year.  The General Fund revenues are solid. 

Rasmussen reviewed expenditures.  When the City gets to the supplemental budget Rasmussen will be requesting a modification to move the Planning Assistant’s salary and benefits from Planning to Parking since Sullivan has been working on collecting parking fines. The other two areas that are over 50% are Fire and Police.  The Police Chief addressed Council about their operating issues.  There are a couple of issues that are affecting Police and Fire.  The first is holiday cash out.  Rasmussen explained how it is possible for an employee to receive two full holiday payments in one fiscal year.  This has caused a budgeting conundrum.  This is part of the reason why expenditures are over in Police and Fire.  Over expenditures will be discussed at Goal Setting and during the budget process.  Rasmussen stated she believes it would be a good idea to have an amount sent aside in contingency for holiday cash out.

Rasmussen also discussed health insurance for represented employees.  When the budget was developed over a year ago the budget was developed assuming that all employees would move to a less expensive health care plan.  The union contracts were being negotiated, so the represented employees were still on the most expensive plan Cadillac Plan.  Getting those employees from the Cadillac Plan to Plan B had a one time impact to the budget. In the General Fund operating expenditures, everyone will have some housekeeping pieces to take care of.  There are a couple of pieces that will have an impact on the budget; getting represented employees from the Cadillac Plan to Plan B and allowing for the holiday cash outs that are doubling up in this current fiscal year. 

Rasmussen stated when she was preparing this monitoring she was specifically not giving revenue estimates a dollar amount, she was not being precise.  She is trying to determine if the budget in place is adequate or if it needs corrections similar to last year.  She did not want to quantify those things because she only has 4-5 months worth of revenue history.  She will have more information by the time the budget process begins. 

Rasmussen stated the City began the year with a negative $75,000 in the fund balance.  The General Fund included $75,000 in a PERS reserve that is not going to be used.  If all revenues come in as budgeted and all expenditures come in as spent the ending fund balance would be zero. 

Rasmussen stated the Water Fund revenues are seasonal and the water revenues are on target with that has been projected.  The operating revenues are on track and operating expenditures are where they are expected to be, with the exception of one item.  They will definitely exceed the ending fund balance. 

Rasmussen stated personnel services are just over 50% in the water fund, which is because they are moving represented employees from the Cadillac Plan to Plan B.  Rasmussen will be requesting an adjustment on the supplemental budget so the budget authority does not exceed. 

The Sewer Fund is a modified budget; there is a $1.7 million dollar resource and associated capital outlay in the Sewer Fund for the Indian Creek Lift Station project.  The project is not going to happen this year.  Sewer revenues are somewhat seasonal.  They are collected evenly throughout the year although they are slightly higher in the summer season.  The sewer sales are at 52%, they are on track where they are expected to be.  The sewer fund will exceed ending fund balance at the end of this year. 

The Storm Water fund was a fee that was enacted in October of 2007.  That fee has not increased since then.  It is collected evenly throughout the year.  The revenue for Storm Water receipts is on budget. 

In the Road Fund, gas tax is the primary revenue stream; $280,000 was budgeted as a projection.  Through the ten months that the tax has been collected the City has received $240,000.  State gas taxes are also coming in as anticipated.  The City County Coop Fund is in its last year of operations.  That was a fund that had timber money that was transferred from the County that paid for road related activities. In FY2011-12 the Road Fund is going to need to absorb those expenditures. 

The activity in the Building Fund was contracted out to Clair Company last fiscal year.
The revenues are tracking very close to budget.  They are just over 50% half way through the year.  Rasmussen will be asking for a budget modification because materials and services are under budget and building revenues are over budget.  

Funds are operating as expected and budgeted in the budget process.  There are just a few pieces that need to be adjusted.  Rasmussen is very pleased that there are no major corrections needed this year. 

Rasmussen stated there are no reserves in the General Fund.  The City will be looking at another year where all the risks need to be on the upside.  The City needs to get to a positive fund balance and stay there.  Once the budget has a zero balance, the next thing that needs to be done is to build an adequate working capitol so the City is not running deficient until property taxes come in.  Also if there is variation in revenue the budget can absorb that without a mid-year correction by doing lay offs or employees going on furlough days in the middle of an operating year. 

Mayor Babitz reminded everyone that there are two vacancies in the Budget Committee. 

2. Street Closure Procedure 
Francis stated Council directed that new street closure procedures be developed for events and festivals that occur in the City to make the procedures clearer for responsibilities, notification of businesses, and allowing an avenue for businesses to comment on street closures.   

Francis reviewed high points on the procedure.  The proposed procedure would require the event holder to collect signatures from businesses affected by the street closure, with a 75% approval of the closure.  Signatures need to be collected by those businesses that are within the boundary of the street closure.  The event holder also needs to notify the business again 10 working days prior to the event. 

Francis stated another change to the procedure is the event holder must be sponsored by a business that is within the street closure area.  The sponsor needs to sign off on the application and take some responsibility for the event. 

Nate DeVol, Dog River Coffee 2770 Montello, Hood River, OR – thanked Council and Staff for addressing this issue.  He reviewed items in the proposed procedure he had concerns with.  He believes there are points that could be cleaned up so it will make it easier to understand the process.  He believes applicants should be required to submit their paperwork at least 30 days prior to the event, he does not believe applicants should have the option to submit an application two weeks before an event.  He pointed out language he thought could use some clarification to make it clearer. 

Councilor Nicol stated he agreed with most of the concerns DeVol has.  There was discussion regarding the deadline of 30 days prior to the event to submit an application and the expedited fee if it’s turned in less than 30 days.  Mayor Babitz stated he would like some language that states in rare conditions there would be an exception to the 45 day rule.   

Councilor Nelson stated she does not believe this has to be difficult.  If there is a street closure the applicant needs to notify the business owners. 

Mayor Babitz stated there needs to be clearer process and language regarding the 75% approval by business owners for the street closure. 

Kearns stated he does not want to see a lot of specific requirements imposed on the City. 

Councilor Frodel stated there needs to be an exact deadline for applications to be submitted

There was a consensus to have a 30 day deadline to submit a street closure application, with an exemption for rare instances that will be determined by the City Manager.

Councilor Frodel expressed her concern about the requirement that an applicant must be sponsored by a downtown business that is within the area of the street closure.

There was also discussion regarding the language regarding the required fire lane on a street closure.

Francis will take Council’s feedback, make adjustments to the proposed procedure and report back to Council in the near future. 

3. Park Rules       
City Council directed that new park rules be developed and a procedure for amending park rules be implemented to provide for more flexibility, and that the park rules that are currently in the HRMC be removed.  Francis presented a list of general park rules in the Council packet as well as a list of specific rules for certain parks and areas. 

Francis stated one of the rules they want to implement that has not been a rule in the past is a smoking ban in the parks.  The rules state that no person shall smoke within 40 feet of any City park. City parks currently have voluntary signs for no smoking within 10 feet of parks but this would now be a rule. 

Francis also stated damage to plants or property would be prohibited.  Plants and trees can not be removed from any City parks.  Fires, fireworks and open flames are all prohibited.

The rule include not allowing dogs to run at large in any City park and all dogs within the park need to be kept and controlled on a leash at all times.  Dogs are not allowed on the beach or in the beach areas and owners are responsible for the clean-up of their dogs. 

City emergency vehicles are the only vehicles allowed on City park property.  No one is allowed to be in City parks past closing times or at City parks that are not light.  No over night camping is allowed.  Alcohol beverages cannot be sold in parks but alcohol beverages are allowed since the City does not have a open container law.  Personal garbage such as household garbage cannot be taken to City park garbage containers or dumpsters.  Francis stated it also needs to be added that visitors in RV’s cannot dump trash at City park containers.  Only trash generated in the park can be put into City park garbage containers.

Barbara Ayers- 205 Wilson Street, Mosier, OR – lives in Mosier but works in Hood River. She is on the Chamber board and Rotary and is very active in the community.  Before she moved to the area she was very involved in an ocean beach town council, they had a dog beach committee.  In such a dog friendly town she believes it would very nice to see some park access for dogs off leash.  She was very involved in off leash dog park areas in San Diego.  She explained the success she had with coming up with ways to allow dogs in parks and having dog owners held responsible for their pets.  She proposed to help gather some volunteers to do a public private partnership.  She asked Council to seriously consider her proposal.    

Councilor Nelson believes these rules are micromanaging City parks.  She stated with all of these rules she wonders if they want people to visit City parks.  She does not understand why this has turned into such a big issue.  Councilor Nelson expressed her concerns regarding the enforcement of park rules. 

Councilor McNamara stated there does need to be some rules in the City parks, but it will be difficult to enforce them. 

Councilor Frodel stated she is on numerous park committees and park rules has been a discussion for the past three years.  They have questioned when the park rules would be completed and signs be placed.  She said this is a big issue for people with families and people that frequently use the park.  She believes it’s important to have rules and regulations.  This would be a great opportunity to create a dog park or area. 

Councilor Armstrong stated she can see the harm if there are no rules, they would not have anything to fall back on.  She asked what the harm is in having rules.  

Councilor Picard states he is ok with the rules, they are complaint driven.  Most of these things are activities that we do not want happening in parks.  He was unsure how they could legislate obscene language.  Kearns stated it can not really be done. 

Councilor Nicol believes the no smoking within 40 feet of a City park can cause issues. Mayor Babitz asked if they receive a lot of complaints regarding smoking in parks.  Councilor Frodel agrees with the no smoking rule.  Councilor McNamara believes it should be left voluntary.  Councilor Nelson stated this rule would be hard to enforce and she does not see who could enforce it.   Mayor Babitz stated it looks like there is not a consensus on the no smoking rule.   

Kearns stated Council should look at these rules and determines which rules they want enforced. 

Ayers stated in San Diego during the winter month’s dogs are allowed in parks and beaches during certain hours.  The areas were clearly defined for leash free parks.  It was a general consensus to allow dogs during the winter months.  Mayor Babitz would like Francis to speak to Ayers and come up with proposals on seasonality to this particular rule.  The majority of Council agreed.

Francis will make an addition to the rules regarding no trainer kiting at City parks. 

Francis will make the changes discussed and bring park rules back to Council in the near future. 






1. Council Meeting Minutes – January 10, 2011

Motion:  To approve the Consent Agenda as presented
First:  Frodel
Second: Picard
Discussion: None
Vote:   Motion passed
Ayes: Babitz, Nelson, Frodel, Picard, Armstrong, Nicol, McNamara    
Nays:  None
Abstentions:  None
Excused:  None

 A.   City Manager
1. Announcements
Council has been invited to a ribbon cutting and open house this Friday for the new Veterans Service office on 2nd Street in The Dalles from 12:00p.m. to 4:00p.m.

In regards to the Urban Renewal Agency, there was discussion at the URA meeting about the projects that are coming up for the URA to do for the amendment to the Columbia Cascade Plan. The URA does not want to borrow more money than it needs to and they do not want to do any projects until they know exactly what they are going to do.  Francis suggested that Council and URA have a joint meeting in the near future to discuss how they can affectively do the remaining projects and what contributions the City may make for the infrastructure.  Council agreed to a joint meeting. 

Francis will be at a meeting in Silverton, OR from February 15th-17th.  He has been elected to the Oregon City Managers Association Board. 

Council will hold its next Council meeting on February 14th, 2011.  Councilor Frodel and Councilor Armstrong will be absent.  

Council agreed to have a Special Council meeting on February 7th, 2011 at 12:00p.m. to award the waterline bid for Phase II.     

1. Visitors Council – Frodel
Councilor Frodel talked about the Chamber packet that went out to Chamber members. 
2. Urban Renewal – Armstrong/Frodel 
Councilor Armstrong stated at the last meeting they discussed how the City charges the URA a flat rate of 20%, some member of URA were questioning how accurate that was year in and year out.  They also approved the URA audit. 
3. Police Citizen Advisory Committee
4. IAMP Stakeholder; Bi-State Interstate Bridge Transportation Committee
Mayor Babitz will be attending the meeting on Friday.  
5 .Mid-Columbia Economic Development District – Nicol

Mayor Babitz has been meeting with the County Commission staff and commissioners regarding the casino.  He has been tracking this very closely.
The Library District has approached the Mayor several times about things that they are organizing. 
On Thursday’s Rotary meeting Mayor Babitz is delivering the State of the City address.  He invited Council and Staff to attend.       


VIII ADJOURN – Adjourned by unanimous consent at 8:38 p.m.

       Arthur Babitz, Mayor

Jennifer Gray, City Recorder

Approved by City Council on February 14, 2011