notable quotes

APRC Chairman Rick Landt interviewed by JPR May 3, 2023

“Which is the reason we wanted to extend the sunset date,” Landt said. “So there’d be sufficient years for a revenue bond for a new pool.”

https://www.ijpr.org/politics-government/2023-05-03/measure-15-214-heres-whats-in-ashlands-measure-giving-special-tax-money-to-the-parks-department

Councilor (now Mayor) Tonya Graham in the Sneak Preview, September, 2022, p.43

“We’re not in a budget crisis.”

Councilor (now Mayor) Tonya Graham in the Sneak Preview October, 2022, p.51

“That money (the $4.3 million in federal Covid aid)… helped us fill gaps in the budget. Without it, there would have been massive cuts in services, which is something we’ll be facing in the next budget.”

Councilor (now Mayor) Tonya Graham in the Sneak Preview October, 2022, p.52

“That money (the FBT taxes) doesn’t come close to paying for the Parks Department. It would be more prudent to put it into the General Fund, then allocate a lot of it to the Parks and Rec commission. Either way, we’re going to find a way to fund the Parks budget but having the money in the General fund gives us more flexibility.”

[editor’s note: that is EXACTLY what the current ordinance does currently– vote NO to changing it]

Fire and Rescue Chief Ralph Sartain at City Council meeting, Feb. 21, 2023. Testifying regarding a 10% match from the city for a grant for protective gear for firefighters. Quote begins at 2:59:07.

The federal government provides 90% funding for the SCBAs. This grant does provide necessary fire protection opportunity necessary for equipment and safety. The grant requires a 10% money match which is in our current budget. The reason we applied for the grant is because our predecessors had not put enough money aside to purchase the necessary equipment. I have addressed this in my budget request to city manager Lessard and deputy city manager/HR director/finance director Sabrina Cotta with several items that I’ve located in the fire department as your Fire Chief that we have not put money aside that are mission essential. And we should not be running a fire department on hoping we get grants. We should be funding necessary equipment later on down the road.

Finance Director Melanie Purcell at the third meeting of the CBC on April 27, 2021.  Her statement begins at 1:19:15 of the video. Watch it here.

“We need to clarify our language requirements and our terms. We have a legally balanced budget before the committee.  It has the use of fund balance to offset the fact that operating revenues do not equal operating expenses. We’ve been very clear about that.  That is mindful.  It also is balanced on the premise that there is a very emphatic recommendation that the council get into the weeds and get into the policy discussion of what we do from here. It cannot be sustained. We have been very emphatic. This is not a sustainable general fund budget…. The committee is looking at the 2 year window and rightfully recognizing that the future does not look bright.  There is room for the committee to make recommendations to the city council about where to concentrate their energy over the next 6 to 18 months.  There is only a 6 to 18 month window before there is a major problem. And that is something that both the city manager’s message, as well as my executive summary, spell out. You’re absolutely correct in that there is a deficit coming on the horizon.  We have been very straightforward, very upfront about that.  It is however, does meet the standards of the state.  It does meet best practices but for a very, very limited window.  We are very fortunate that the federal government is releasing funds to the city otherwise this would be a completely different conversation and there would not be a 6 to 18 month window for the city to decide what it’s willing to live with or what it wants to live with. It would be gutted.”

Gabe Howe, executive director of the nonprofit Siskiyou Mountain Club in the RV Times, March 27, 2023

“We have 404 miles of trails that we promise to maintain each mile every three years.”

[editor’s note: then WHY should the City of Ashland spend taxpayer dollars on purchasing more new land for trails?]

Fire and Rescue Wildfire Division Chief Chris Chambers discussing the addendum to the Climate Change Addendum to the Ashland Forest Plan at the City council Meeting, April 18, 2023:

Ashland in some places, and especially in the city Forest lands– actually just around the Palen property– we have some of the highest trail density that you could have, because you can’t really walk very far without tripping over a trail, and comparing our trail density to other areas. But that’s you know one local area, but we have other areas where we don’t have any trails. So it’s a complicated decision-making process when we talk about adding recreation to the landscape. It’s definitely better to disperse, it but also the kind of recreation matters.