Council to consider $103.2 million city budget

The Ashland City Council is scheduled to take on a range of issues on Tuesday night, including restrictions on cellphone transmitter facilities, adoption of a $103.2 million budget, and finalization of a deer feeding ban and a tougher public camping ban.

Other hot topics include creating a downtown exclusion zone for repeat offenders, and reconsidering a previous decision to charge no fees when people opt out of having automatic utility "smart" meters on their property.

The council meets at 7 p.m. in the Ashland Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main St.

When cellphone companies and other businesses want to install wireless communications facilities in Ashland, they must first show that co-locating where other facilities are already installed is not feasible.

If the company does not want to co-locate, it must pay an estimated $3,500 to $5,000 or more for a third-party review of its application.

City councilors will decide whether to approve a $103.2 million city government budget for the coming fiscal year, which starts July 1.

That budget would be an increase from this fiscal year's approved budget of $96.6 million.

New infrastructure projects account for much of the increase, with higher water and sewer rates paying for part of the work.

Regular city property tax rates would remain flat at almost $4.20 per $1,000 in assessed property value. That would cost the owner of a home assessed at $250,000 about $1,050.

Overall, city of Ashland property taxes will actually go up by about a dime per $1,000 in assessed property value because voters approved $3 million in bonds last year to replace Ashland Fire Station No. 2.

Councilors will hear a quarterly report on the city's economic development efforts, and a Southern Oregon University class will present information on a quality-of-life indicators project.

Councilors are also scheduled to finalize their previous approval of tighter rules for the city's ban on camping in public places, which often affects homeless people.

They are likely to finalize a ban against the intentional feeding of deer, wild turkeys, raccoons, bears, cougars, coyotes and wolves.

Nearing the end of the agenda, councilors will consider a new law that would ban people from the downtown if they commit three or more offenses there in a six-month period. Frequent offenders would be banned for three months, and would be arrested and taken to jail if found downtown.

The law includes some exceptions, including that the person could enter downtown to go to work or to keep a medical appointment.

Last on the agenda, councilors may reconsider their previous decision to allow residents to forgo "smart" meters on their property for no fee.

Smart meters send out radiofrequency signals, shortening meter reading time and smoothing the utility billing process, but some residents fear the signals could harm their health.

City staff members have proposed a free initial opt-out provision. But if residents missed opt-out deadlines and then wanted to opt out, they would be charged $60.

People who opt out of having smart meters would also be charged $5 monthly fees to cover extra meter reading costs, under the staff proposal.

In May, staff members had proposed a $120 opt-out fee, plus monthly $20 charges, but a council majority rejected those fees.

If councilors don't reach all agenda items, the remaining items will be pushed to future meetings.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or

Share This Story