What Is the Capital Improvement Plan and What the Vote on the Plan Means for Ashland

Because of the amount of information on our Capital Improvement Project Plan, this post is written as an outline rather than in narrative form. Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) Overview: Timeframe, Inputs and Individual Project Approval The Capital Plan is a 20-year document compiling all the infrastructure needs for this time period.  Each department (water, electric,Continue reading “What Is the Capital Improvement Plan and What the Vote on the Plan Means for Ashland”

Past Due? What To Do.

In listening to the inauguration of Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris yesterday I am thankful for the hope this ceremonial and historic pause brings. However, as our president and vice president transition quickly to the work of their offices, it is clear the needs of our communities, and our nation, do not pause. Specifically, theContinue reading “Past Due? What To Do.”

Utility Rates Begin With Master Plans

In our recent forums, council candidates received an excellent question about our Water Master Plan directing rate increases of 4% year over year. This begs the question, how are our utility rates established and what drives the increases? I love this question because it focuses on a critical part of the rate setting process. OurContinue reading “Utility Rates Begin With Master Plans”

Economic Diversity, Where Do We Start?

Recent smoke events and the impacts of COVID-19 not only encourage, but demand, we look at Ashland’s economy and the diversity of its’ industries. More to the point, we may say we need greater economic diversity in Ashland but what does that look like and how do we achieve the goal without adversely impacting affordabilityContinue reading “Economic Diversity, Where Do We Start?”

Capital Investment Projects and Their Role in Ashland’s Budget

In my career I have built models that evaluate capital projects, their return on investment, payback period, and ultimate priority within the macro picture of the business. Additionally, I have developed metrics that assist in prioritizing which projects get the go ahead, versus those that wait. Such analysis is a challenge because the variables betweenContinue reading “Capital Investment Projects and Their Role in Ashland’s Budget”

Utility Shut Offs Are A Tipping Point

Traditionally I stick with budget specific topics, but upon seeing the lines at Rogue Credit Union locations throughout our valley yesterday, I wanted to bring these ideas forward. With a record number of Oregon workers applying for unemployment benefits the system has been swamped. To answer the need, our State Legislature recently allocated $35M toContinue reading “Utility Shut Offs Are A Tipping Point”

Specialty Drug Spend – Cost Drivers and Impacts

Specialty medications are biology-based medications, administered either orally or through injection, and are used to treat chronic, complex conditions 1. Why does this class of medication matter? Specialty drug spending drives considerable healthcare costs for individuals and employers. While working for a specialty pharmacy, it was not uncommon to receive multiple price increases for aContinue reading “Specialty Drug Spend – Cost Drivers and Impacts”

Transferring Dollars from Enterprise Funds…It’s like Ghostbusters

One question I often receive from community members, “Why can’t we transfer money from the Electric Fund Ending Fund Balance to support the shortfall in the General Fund?” This is an excellent question and logical too. Before we dive in, there are a few important definitions to consider. As many are aware, our city usesContinue reading “Transferring Dollars from Enterprise Funds…It’s like Ghostbusters”

Ending Fund Balances: What they are, and what they are not…that is the question

When we develop our personal budgets, we consider cash flow either knowingly or unknowingly. The timing of a pay check is often known, the expenses addressed from that paycheck are also known, and ideally, we reserve a portion of the check to cover those expenses. What is left gets us through to the next payContinue reading “Ending Fund Balances: What they are, and what they are not…that is the question”

Health Care Considerations

Over the last three years health care costs have increased annually by 5-6% out pacing inflation1. According to Price Waterhouse Coopers Health Research Institute the three primary drivers include increasing prescription drug prices, chronic disease, and greater utilization of mental health benefits1. Looking ahead to 2021 this trend was predicted to continue.  However, COVID-19 impactsContinue reading “Health Care Considerations”