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Council to discuss process to replace Lemhouse

The Ashland City Council will outline its plan to appoint a new council member at its public meeting Tuesday after Councilor Greg Lemhouse resigned to avoid potential conflict of interest and spend more time with his family.

Lemhouse announced his resignation at a council meeting on Feb. 6, saying it’s time for him to pursue his career in the private sector and dedicate more time for his family. Per Oregon law, the council has 60 days from his resignation to appoint a new council member.

At its meeting Tuesday, the council will vote on an appointment process, according to its meeting agenda.

City staff recommends the city post notices as early as Feb. 21, following the Tuesday meeting, and keep the deadline for applications open until March 6. The council then can conduct interviews on March 19 or hold a special meeting on March 29 before making the decision on or prior to April 20.

According to the meeting packet, past practice includes the council determining a set of questions for the applicants about their motivation to seek a council seat, their knowledge of local issues, their involvement with the community and their opinion on the role of the council.

Per Oregon law, a city councilor has to live within the city limits. The appointed councilor will serve out the remainder of Lemhouse’s term.

Ashland Fiber Network will also give the council an update on it strategy and marketing plan at the meeting. The presentation will cover issues such as net neutrality, the network’s current market share, service reliability, growth trend and strategy.

According to the report, AFN currently has 35 percent market share and has seen a healthy growth in customers since January 2017, when the city hired the new operations manager.

In response to the repeal of net neutrality, AFN says it will not collect its subscriber’s information or browsing history and will continue to treat all data the same.

AFN is also planning to double its current bandwidth offerings to stay competitive, the report reads.

The funding for the marketing plan is included in the biennium 2017-19 budget, according to the report.

The council will also vote on the second reading of a revised ordinance to raise the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products and inhalant delivery systems from 18 years old to 21. The ordinance will also allow the city to continue to keep track of commercial outlets within the city.

On the consent agenda, the council will vote to approve an appointment of Rick Barth to the ad hoc Climate and Energy Committee, a quitclaim deed that releases interest in a public utility easement at a property on Fordyce Street, a purchase of eight fleet vehicles and equipment at almost $1.4 million, and a $99,000 services contract for a transit feasibility study for the Transportation System Plan.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20, at the Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main St. The meeting is broadcast on RVTV.

— Reach reporter Tran Nguyen at 541-776-4485 or tnguyen@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on twitter @nguyenntrann.