Council to review Nevada LID charges

The Ashland City Council will hold a public hearing on charges property owners could be assessed for the disputed Nevada Street Local Improvement District.

The hearing will be held during the council's regular meeting that starts at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in the Ashland Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main St.

Resident Art Bullock sued the city over the charges, saying the city government took on a bigger share of costs than allowed under city rules. Bullock said the charges harmed taxpayers and benefited property owners in the neighborhood, including Public Works Director Paula Brown and Billings Ranch subdivision developers.

A Jackson County Circuit Court judge ruled the city had erred in calculating the charges, but that neighbors were not harmed and the city did not have to revise the charges.

City officials said they used a simple, flat formula for assessing the charges because that seemed more equitable and they thought it would create more support for the improvements from neighbors.

Based on the original estimate of the project's cost, each property owner would have paid an average of $141.28 more if the city had used the correct formula.

In other business Tuesday night, the City Council will also consider whether to approve a contract for legal services concerning the Mt. Ashland Ski Snowboard Resort expansion. Legal costs were first estimated at about $7,400, but could exceed $54,800, according to a city staff memo to councilors.

The city hired a law firm and had entered mediation talks with Mt. Ashland Association officials. But on Friday, association officials said they had reached an impasse with city representatives.

In a press release issued that day, Mt. Ashland Association officials said they are considering "all legal options" in response to "repeated attempts by city officials to stop a much anticipated and much needed" expansion.

The City Council has sought a detailed business plan, appointment of an expansion construction oversight team and guarantees that the Mt. Ashland Association has enough assets to restore the mountain if the ski area fails financially.

Other agenda items include holding a public hearing to declare city-owned property on Strawberry Lane as surplus so that it can be sold to support affordable housing and to help pay for past construction costs for The Grove.

The City Council is also scheduled to hear an update on a proposed community solar project and to review a proposed ethics ordinance.

At 6 p.m., the City Council will hold an executive session, which is closed to the public, to discuss pending litigation.

For a complete list of agenda items and for more information on each item, visit /Page.asp?NavID=10190.

Staff writer can be reached at 479-8199 or

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