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Ashland Council to Chop Competing Ballot Measures Affecting Parks – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

By on June 23, 2022 0

Ashland City Council is trying to find common ground between two competing ballot measures that would affect parks and decided on Tuesday to chop it up next week.

City Manager Joe Lessard has proposed a ballot measure that would split the food and beverage tax between the parks and recreation department and fire, police and other emergency services.

Under current law, at least 25% of the tax must be spent on parks and up to 73% can go to repairing streets. Two percent is for tax collection costs.

In practice, the Department of Parks and Recreation received the lion’s share of tax revenue.

Another ballot measure, drafted by a group calling itself Friends of Ashland Parks, Trails and Open Spaces, would give the entire food and drink tax to Parks and Recreation. Signatures are being collected to put the measure on the November ballot.

On Tuesday, Ashland Councilor Stephen Jensen said he and Councilor Paula Hyatt met with three members of the Friends group in a bid to try to find common ground and approve a ballot measure. .

Jensen said APRC commissioners Rick Landt and Jim Bachman, along with former APRC commissioner Mike Gardiner, attended a Zoom meeting with Jensen and Hyatt on Monday for what Jensen said was a discussion. productive.

Jensen asked the council to approve what he called the “pure food and bev” ballot measure, which would allocate the entire food and beverage tax to the parks department. Jensen said he and Hyatt didn’t promise anything during the Zoom meeting.

Other councilors and Mayor Julie Akins expressed surprise that the meeting took place.

The board voted to discuss the ballot measures again at its next business meeting on July 5.

The deadline for the city to file Lessard’s proposal with the city registrar is August 19.

In other council business on Tuesday:

  • Michael Hersh, a longtime Ashland volunteer, received the James M. Ragland Memorial Volunteer Service Award posthumously. He was accepted by his widow. Councilor Stefani Seffinger presented the award, remembering Hersh as a man with a sense of humor, compassion and the audacity to speak his mind.
  • The Alan C. Bates Public Service Award was presented to Seffinger in recognition of his many years of service to the city. Councilor Stephen Jensen presented him with the award.

“Our city is grateful and forever changed by his skillful and constant care,” Jensen said.

In accepting the award, Seffinger said this would be her last year on the board, but she would continue to work hard for the city of Ashland.

Contact Morgan Rothborne, Mail Tribune reporter, at [email protected] or 541-776-4487. Follow her on Twitter @MRothborne.