Faced with a spike in bike thefts in town, the Ashland City Council will consider eliminating a $2 bike registration fee to get more residents to register their bicycles — an action that can help police recover stolen property.
The issue is on the agenda for a meeting that begins at 7 p.m. on Tuesday in the Ashland Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 E. Main St.
In 2010, 67 bikes were reported stolen and five were recovered, according to Ashland police. This year, 116 bikes were reported stolen and nine were recovered, police said.
Ashland requires residents to register their bikes and pay a one-time $2 fee.
From the 2008 fiscal year through this fiscal year, only $298 has been collected in registration fees, despite the prevalence of bikes in town, police said.
Eliminating the fee could boost registration rates, police believe.
The Police Department also is creating an online registration process that could make registering easier.
Police recover many abandoned bikes each year, but reuniting them with their owners is virtually impossible if the bikes were not registered, police said.
If more people registered their bikes, police would have a better chance of getting stolen or abandoned bikes back to their owners and apprehending thieves, police said.
At the Tuesday meeting, councilors also may consider whether to change a city policy that emergency shelters open when temperatures drop to 20 degrees or lower.
The temperature threshold could be moved to 33 degrees and lower, which would mean emergency shelters — which are held in city buildings or churches — likely would open more often.
Councilors will consider the change only if they agree to add the issue to Tuesday's meeting agenda.
They will decide whether to do so during a Monday evening study session that starts at 5:30 p.m. in the Ashland Community Development and Engineering Services Building at 51 Winburn Way.
Ashland has no permanent overnight shelter for homeless people or others who need shelter.
To see all agenda items and details on each item for both the Monday and Tuesday meetings, visit www.ashland.or.us/SectionIndex.asp?SectionID=475.
Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or firstname.lastname@example.org.