City to hold budget hearing

The Ashland City Council will hold a public hearing before considering whether to adopt an $89.3 million city government budget for the coming fiscal year, which starts on July 1.

The hearing will take place during a regular council meeting that starts at 7 p.m. in the Ashland Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main St.

The coming fiscal year's budget of $89.3 million is up $6.3 million from the current fiscal year budget of $83 million.

Most of the increase comes from additional spending on city infrastructure projects, including parks system projects funded by the city's restaurant and deli meals tax and infrastructure projects partially funded by $2 million in grants.

The city property tax rate will go up by 1.6 cents per $1,000 in assessed value to $4.21 per $1,000 in assessed value.

That increase is to begin building a reserve fund to pay for fire hoses as well as protective pants and jackets for firefighters.

The owner of a home assessed at $237,410 — the median in Ashland — will pay $999.50 in city property taxes. Assessed values are lower than market values because of property tax limits approved by state voters.

Almost half of city taxes go to the Ashland Parks and Recreation Department.

The tax rate also includes 17.5 cents per $1,000 in assessed value to help make annual Ashland Fiber Network debt payments. The city-owned service sank $15.5 million in debt after it was launched in the late 1990s. The city later privatized the money-losing cable television side of the enterprise and kept the Internet service.

The owner of a home assessed at the median value will pay $41.55 cents in the coming fiscal year to help pay AFN debt.

City tax rates don't include property taxes for the Jackson County government, the Ashland School District, a levy Ashland voters approved to supplement Ashland Public Library hours, or other taxes.

In other business on Tuesday night, the City Council is scheduled to consider whether to:

  • charge out-of-town people for services they receive from Ashland Fire & Rescue;
  • extend a contract with Bank of America, which provides banking services to the city government;
  • adjust the angle of parking spaces on the downtown plaza in an effort to increase safety and available parking;
  • make a recommendation to Jackson County about the Greater Bear Creek Valley Regional Problem Solving Plan, which is meant to guide development in the valley for decades;
  • approve a $303,400 contract with Keller Associates to create a sewage master plan;
  • and give initial approval for the Croman Mill site redevelopment plan.

For a complete list of agenda items and for details on each item, visit

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

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