BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'
April 6, 2005
Commissioners' Conference Room
Commissioner Anna Morrison presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bobby Green, Sr., Peter Sorenson and Faye Stewart present. County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
8. PUBLIC WORKS
a. REPORT/U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Drought Contingency Plan, a Part of the Reservoir Management Plans for the Willamette Valley Reservoirs.
Todd Winter, Parks, explained that representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers met with Morrison, Stewart and him on March 16, 2005 and the Army Corps outlined the drought contingency plan for the Willamette Valley reservoirs. He said it was decided at that time that it would be beneficial to apprise the whole Board of the drought contingency plan and the overall condition of the Willamette Valley reservoirs.
Matt Ray, Army Corps of Engineers, recalled the condition of the reservoirs two weeks ago was bleak. He commented that it is now only partially bleak. He said the rain last week improved the situation, but they are still in a low water year (if not a drought year) and that is how they are managing the reservoirs.
Ray reported that the best news was at Cottage Grove and Dorena reservoirs where they are above their refill curve and on the surplus storage. He said they went from a scary situation in Cottage Grove and Dorena to a good position for the rest of the season. He noted the downside is that they have been filling across the system, and in a normal year when they fill 11 of their storage reservoirs, they have 60 percent of the storage in the upper half of the basin in the McKenzie, Middlefork, Coast Fork and Long Tom basins. He added that 40 percent are in the lower part or the Santiam sub-basin. He noted that the big storage projects on the McKenzie and on Middlefork are the ones that are lapsing behind.
Ray said they have a drought contingency plan for the Willamette projects. He said it had four levels. He noted they were currently in level three, a drought warning level. He said at level three they make cutbacks in their releases because they are managing what storage they have to make sure they have adequate storage to meet downstream flows through the season. He noted they started those operations in February. He said level four is a drought distress level. He noted at that level they would establish a drought council involving the Corps of Engineers and state people to make decisions on where they make cutbacks. He didn’t think they would need to go to drought level four. He added they are looking at a dry year. He said the way they manage the reservoirs, they define any given water management year as either an abundant water year, a sufficient water year, a low water year or a critical water year, depending on how much they could store. He said they had been in a critical water year prior to the last rain event. He noted the key threshold for them is whether or not they could store 900,000 acre-feet prior to May 15. He said as of today they are at 700,000 acre-feet. He thought they would get to 900,000 acre-feet by May 15. He said they have a commitment with the State of Oregon and with US Fish and Wildlife and National Marine Fisheries that if they can get to 900,000 acre feet then they will provide reduced mainstream flow augmentation targets for migrating juvenile steelhead and adult salmon in April, May and June. He said when they get to 900,000 acre-feet they will start pulling some of the water out of storage out of the reservoirs. He noted they would hit Green Peter Reservoir on the Santiam, as it has the most flexibility.
b. ORDER 05-4-6-7/In the Matter of Authorizing the Temporary Closure of Portions of Clear Lake Road, Kirk Road and Orchard Road in Connection with the Fern Ridge Dam Repair Project.
Frank Simas, Public Works, reported the Corps of Engineers plans to start repairing the damn between May 15 and June 1. He said because of the small site and the need to move excavating material around, it would be necessary to close portions of county roads. He said the roads that would be closed to protect public safety and to assure the contractor could meet the project timelines are a portion of Clearlake Road, the southerly portion of 600 feet of Kirk Road and Orchard Road. He added the road within Orchard Point Park. He noted that Lane Code allows the Public Works Director to temporary close the roads to protect the public safety. He said since this closure would take a long period of time and inconvenience, they thought it was best to get authorization from the Board prior to any closures.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 05-4-6-7 adding the roads within Orchard Point Park.
Green MOVED, Dwyer SECODNED.
Green encouraged Simas to work with Melinda Kletzok for the public education on the closed roads.
c. ORDER 05-4-6-8/In the Matter of Reappointing Merle Bottge and Appointing Catherine Koehn to the Parks Advisory Committee.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 05-4-6-8.
Dwyer MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.
d. ORDER 05-4-6-9/In the Matter of Vacating a Portion of the Alley in Block 74 in the Plat of Gallagher’s Part of the City of Florence, as Platted and Recorded in Book 30, Pages 12 and 13, Lane County, Oregon Plat Records, Without a Public Hearing, and Adopting Findings of Fact (18-12-26-42).
Bill Robinson, Land Management, explained that this is a portion of the plat that is north of the Siuslaw River and adjacent to the rest of a subdivision on the north and ODOT maintains access on the south. He said that they talked with ODOT to see if there was any concern about this since it was so close. He said they were of the opinion that access was maintained on the north side to the unvacated portion, they would be supportive of it. He noted one resident has property that could be cut off were an access easement not granted. He said a surveyor had done a survey and had written an access easement that would be recorded if this were approved for a vacation.
Robinson noted this was platted in 1891, the alley in question is about 300 feet in length and about 20 feet wide. He indicated that the City of Florence supports the vacation, although it is outside city limits and inside the urban growth boundary. He added the Board also vacated the west end of the proposed vacation in 1997 and at that time the city also supported it. He noted that 100 percent of the adjacent landowners had signed the petition. He said there is a portion of the easement that will be created that runs through the portion of the alley that will be vacated but it will be going to the adjacent landowners, as they are creating the easement and have signed off on it.
Dwyer said he doesn’t vote to vacate roads that impact people without a public hearing. He asked what the public benefit would be in giving this up.
Robinson noted the petitioner on each side of the road would become the owners. He said the benefit would be taking it off the road’s maintenance list. He said this is not being maintained by the County but by citizens. He noted the reason they didn’t have a public hearing was because they had 100 percent of the adjacent owners sign the petition. That allowed it be on the agenda.
Sorenson noted the local requirement was met. He asked if there were other people who were affected.
Robinson responded they had notified the utilities and asked for a response. He said they heard back from ODOT to make sure there was no access in the future from the state highway, so an access easement had to be on the north side to get into the property. He said there was a concern by the neighbors that they agreed to an easement and that was done.
Dwyer stated he wanted a public hearing before he voted affirmative.
This matter was pulled to be brought back for a public hearing.
9. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION
b. DISCUSSION/Designation of Enterprise Zone.
Denny Braud, City of Eugene, discussed the possibility of establishing a new enterprise zone in Eugene. He explained that an enterprise zone is an economic development tool that provides a tax exemption incentive for new industrial development to create new jobs. He said they are asking the County to consider joint sponsorship of the new proposed enterprise zone in Eugene. He noted a portion of the proposed boundary is outside the Eugene city limits but within the urban growth boundary. He said in that case the state statute requires that the County be a joint sponsor of the proposed zone.
Braud recalled the City of Eugene operated the West Eugene Enterprise Zone from 1987 to 1997. He added that Lane County was a joint sponsor of that zone. He said that zone expired and they have been without an enterprise zone since 1997. He explained that Lane County was also a joint sponsor of three other zones: Springfield, Cottage Grove and Oakridge. He said this came out of Mayor Torrey’s committee on Economic Development. He said they brought forward a series of recommendations, one of which was to create a new enterprise zone in Eugene. He said his city council has given direction to make application to the State of Oregon for a designation of an enterprise zone this year. He noted there is competition this year and the City of Eugene would be competing for available zones.
Braud noted another option is a bill being considered that would expand the number of enterprise zones that are available beyond 49. He recalled an enterprise zone offers a three-year tax exemption on new investments including building, equipment, industrial based and production oriented within the enterprise zone. He added that companies have to increase their employment by ten percent in order to be eligible. He indicated they have to maintain the ten percent increase throughout the three-year enterprise zone exemption and only specific types of businesses qualify: manufacturing, productions, warehousing and businesses related to production.
Braud explained the objectives in the tax exemption program have been effective. He noted it is a short-term tax exemption of three years and the objective is to entice and provide an incentive for new investment via the three-year short-term tax exemption. He said after the exemption expires, the new investment goes onto the tax rolls and increases the tax base and provides long-term revenue for the taxing district in addition to the job creation impact.
With regard to the proposed boundary, Braud noted the boundary had been amended and the strong support they received from the Eugene City Council was based on a more narrowly focused enterprise zone. He said they wanted to focus on properties and areas that already have existing services and infrastructure so the program is more focused on infill development, redevelopment and brownfill development. He said the city council had expressed its interest in conditioning part of the tax exemption. He said in this case the recommendation would be that the first 75 percent of the tax exemption is available to all companies who qualify for the tax exemption. He added the last 25 percent would be conditioned on job quality standards that have yet to be defined.
Morrison asked what would happen if they didn’t meet the 25 percent standard.
Braud explained they would have them make a payment in lieu of taxes so they would be making a payment to the zone sponsors that would be a recapturing of part of the tax exemption, based on the inability to meet certain standards.
Braud wanted direction to bring back a board order that would be a companion to the city council resolution that goes to the State of Oregon, that states they are authorizing application to the State of Oregon for the creation of an enterprise zone.
Braud indicated when they adopt job quality standards, the County has to as a joint sponsor, approve those along with the city.
Morrison asked if that would be the time they would put the stipulation “in lieu of taxes.”
Braud said they are proposing they implement the policy as an interim strategy if a zone is designated this year. He said if they are successful this year, they would immediately put in place the old public benefit criteria and go into a process to adopt new standards.
Wilson commented that Van Vactor would be agreeable to that process.
10. MANAGEMENT SERVICES
a. REPORT/Presentation of Auditor's Management Letter.
Kay Blackburn, Internal Auditor, reported that last fall Moss Adams audited the County’s financial statements for June 30, 2004. She said those financial statements were presented to the Board on December 15. She noted it was a clean audit report with no findings, no budget law violations and no questioned cause. She added during the course of the audit they also look at recommendations regarding the County’s financial system that would help to improve operational efficiency. She said those recommendations had been presented in the management letter they received in February and presented to Finance and Audit on February 15. She added the report in the Board packet has their recommendation along with the County’s response. She distributed a work plan that they put together for addressing all of the items. She said the intent is to bring the work plan back to every Finance and Audit Committee with the update so they can keep on top of things. She noted some were recurring recommendations from year to year.
Dwyer was satisfied with Blackburn’s work and with her timeline. He commented that it was ambitious but it could be accomplished.
Green asked about the fairgrounds. He asked if they needed a different agreement to strengthen the situation.
Wilson explained the Board has an agreement with the fairgrounds and it is contained in Lane Manual for operating practices between the two boards. She said the fairground employees are County employees. She said the County Commissioners delegated responsibility to the Fair Board to create their own compensation and classification plan. She said the Board has the ability to take that back. She said what is awkward with the relationship between the Fair Board and the Board of County Commissioners is the existence of a state statute that delegates all management control to them. She added for the Workforce Partnership they have a private non-profit and could choose to have their own employees entirely. She noted what the administrative agreement does is let them operate with loaned employees.
Morrison commented that they had come a long way in the six years she has been on the Board with regard to the Management Letter. She was concerned about the negative fund balance with the Fair Board fund. She said they had a discussion about it last year. She thought there was supposed to be progress being made toward the deficits. She received the last summary of the Fair Board meeting and there are things she is concerned about. She asked what would happen if the Fair Board doesn’t meet its goal in three to five years and where the liability would go.
Blackburn explained the PERS bond liability is a County liability and they are paying the same payroll tax rate that all of the departments are.
Stewart concurred with Morrison. He asked if there was a long-range plan for the fairgrounds. He noted the returns were down from the fair this past year. He wanted to see a long range plan for the debt.
Morrison recalled the Fair Board had a capital improvement plan but there have been changes in the six years she has been on the Board. She said she doesn’t know where the Fair Board is with the plan and how old it was. She wanted a work session with Warren Wong and the Fair Board prior to July to discuss long-term strategies.
Sorenson said they need to accelerate their normal schedule with the Fair Board. He thought they should hear from them on what their plans are.
Morrison noted the Board made a commitment with additional tourism funds to be renewed on an annual basis. She said starting the budget cycle, they need to know where that is.
Blackburn said she would contact Warren Wong to set that up.
Green hoped the Board would be open to some of the things that Wong has to say about what he perceives needs to happen. He said they have to know the future long-term viability of the fairgrounds.
Morrison recalled when this was discussed in Finance and Audit, they thought that some of the time lines were aggressive. She said they are asking when Finance and Audit meets, that this is brought up to date so they will know what actions are taking place and what they still have that is lagging.
11. CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD
12. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
Stewart said he attended the Oregon Solutions Clean Lane Fuel Partnership signing at Rexius. He noted it was a commitment from five public and government agencies to burn the new biodiesel. He also attended the Firewise Workshop.
Green announced that next Monday is an AOC Legislative Committee Meeting. He said this past Monday he went with Laurie Swanson Gribsgov to Portland to the Center for Advanced Learning. He said kids were learning manufacturing skills at the facility.
Morrison said she was pleased the Firewise Workshop had a big turnout. She noted that their Title III money was part of it.
13. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660
14. OTHER BUSINESS
15. CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD
16. OTHER BUSINESS
There being no further business, Commissioner Morrison adjourned the meeting at 3:10 p.m.