BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'
March 16, 2005
Harris Hall Main Floor
Commissioner Anna Morrison presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bobby Green, Sr., Peter Sorenson and Faye Stewart present.† Assistant County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
There is an Emergency Business item on the West Fir letter. Dwyer wanted to add an item under Commissionersí Business.† Green requested a Public Works item be placed under Commissioners Business around the CIP.
2. PUBLIC COMMENTS
3. EMERGENCY BUSINESS
ORDER 05-3-16-8 Requiring Utility Relocations in County Right of Way Adjacent to the Lowell Covered Bridge.
Marc Kardell, Assistant County Counsel, indicated the County has an issue with the Lowell Covered Bridge interpretive project.† He said there are utility lines on the east side of the project that are owned by Lane Electric and Qwest.† He said they asked those utility companies to relocate the utilities to a different side of the project so the project would be better with its presentation.† He added it is a historic preservation project and having the wires in the way was something staff and the state wanted to avoid.† He said so far it had been refused.† He requested a board order authorizing litigation and directing staff to have the electric utilities and Qwest move the lines from one side of the property to the other.
Morrison asked why there was a concern by Qwest and Lane Electric Co-op about moving the lines.
Kardell responded Lane County didnít have road fund monies to pay for it. He said they were asking the utilities to do that.
Ollie Snowden, Public Works, explained the utilitiesí issue is in the right of way and not a road project.† He noted the rest area is the part of the project that is a legitimate use of road funds.† He indicated that, historically when they have had a road improvement project, they have told the utilities they have to move at their expense and they usually do.† He stated they have a right to be in the right of way but Lane County has the legal right to tell them where to place things within the right of way.
Kardell explained the other possibility would be for the County to do the work and sue for the money.† He added they donít have road funds to put into this project.† He said they would be looking at filing a declaratory judgment.†† He said they asked to respond to their last letter dated March 11, within 10 days and if not they would take further action.
Morrison asked if they had a chance of winning this in court.
Kardell indicated the statute allows the Board to designate the location.† He said he would present a follow-up board order indicating where the designation is.† He said there need to be findings to find it in the public interest and expedient.† He said if the Board makes those findings, the Board would be on strong ground.
Stewart said he had received a letter where the utilities agreed to move the wires and then there was a change.† He asked why there was a problem.
Sonny Chickering, Public Works, responded that the urgency was brought about because the contract is due to be bid by ODOT in April or May and there had been a number of issues needed to be resolved so the bid opening could occur.† He said they now have all of the environmental permits and the only issue holding up the bid and construction of the project this summer is the electrical and phone relocation.† He noted letters had gone back and forth about this, trying to get the utilities to move.† The utilities have declined and stated they think they should be compensated for the relocation because it involves federal funds.† They were claming there is a Code of Federal Regulation that would allow them to be reimbursed for this work.† He checked with the granting agencies from federal transportation and they were told that money could not be used for utility relocation.† He added one of their arguments had been shown to be false.† He said they are claiming that because this is an interpretive center and not a road safety improvement, the County could not make them move.† He said they were treating this more like a private development.† He said for them it is a road safety issue because they are creating a rest area for the traveling public.† He noted the existing facilities are within their existing right of way.† He said they are allowed to ask the utilities to move when they make improvements to the right of way.
Dwyer stated he wanted to make sure the findings are in the order.
MOTION:† to approve ORDER 05-3-16-8 with the exhibit.
Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.
4. COMMISSIONERS' REMONSTRANCE
5. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS
a. REPORT/CVALCO Semi-Annual Report.
Kari Westlund, CVALCO, reported they had a solid first half of the year, estimating about $24.5 million in income from their efforts, or $44 for every one dollar of room tax invested in the program.† She noted that room tax collections were up 5.34% and including January, they were close to six percent in growth for collections so far this fiscal year.† With regard to room nights, they had booked more rooms but had fewer leads.† She said they found a glitch in how they are accounting for their leads.† She indicated their web traffic is stable.† She noted the January numbers were a net increase of 5,000 user sessions over the previous year.† She added people are visiting the website and the different pages that are on line.† She noted that memberships are up to 420 members.
Westlund explained that people were asking for tourism grants, and leveraging ways to further them in their applications for the special tourism project grants.† She noted they are implementing monthly tourism forums in the metro area, in Florence, Cottage Grove and Junction City.† She said they are working with the Travel Information Council on getting travel plazas on the I-5 rest areas.† She said they are looking at the Oakgrove Rest Area, (southbound coming into Lane County) and committing to handling staffing of that one rest area.
Green asked how they measure the community memberís outreach and the affect.† He recalled the Board discussed the signs to ďSee All of Oregon Logo on the I-5 Freeway.Ē
Westlund said it cost too much.† She noted that three years ago they tried to launch a cooperative campaign where they would put the ďSee All of OregonĒ slogan up along with a private partner to bring their costs for I-5 billboards down and make it affordable.† She indicated it would have been a $35,000 buy-in and they werenít able to get private sector participation.
Green asked if they could get this promotion to work with the Economic Development Committee.† He asked if this was eligible, as it would create jobs.
Dwyer didnít think it was directly related.
Green thought they could split the costs between the Cities of Eugene and Springfield.
Westlund explained the key for ODOT is an officially adopted slogan.† She thought Lane County would have to get an officially adopted slogan.
Dwyer thought the road funds were an appropriate use for the sign.† He thought there should be a legal opinion on whether this would be a road fund eligible project.
Morrison said they need to find out if road fund dollars could be used to add the tagline on the sign. †She wanted to make sure that this goes to Facilities and then brought back to the Board.† She added if they determine it is not feasible with road fund money because of legal issues, they would have to look at using another venue and the costs.
Stewart asked if there was any discussion about having tourists turn to a special radio station for events taking place.
Westlund indicated she hadnít done any research.† She said it was an opportunity they had previously discussed but didnít follow up on.† She said she would look into it.
Bob Zagorin, CVALCO, explained the Tourism Task† Force suggested a destination attraction that focuses on Lane Countyís heritage.† He noted that timber, agricultural and outdoor recreation is on the top of the list.† He thought if they had that type of a structure associated with a regional convention center or a stand-alone destination, that would be a product that could be marketed and leveraged by the rural communities.
b. Public Works CIP
Green said they are seeing large and small cities instituting a gas tax.† He stated with Lane Countyís projected decline and the Secure Rural Schools Act not being in the federal budget, he wanted Snowden to come back with a modified CIP that would project what a countywide gas tax in two or three years would look like, in the event the reauthorization doesnít happen.† He also wanted to know what the restoration of the urban transition payments of $2.5 million would be.† Also, he wanted an alternative for discussion.† He said in the past they werenít able to make a case for a countywide gas tax.
Snowden indicated they would present that to the Roads Advisory Committee as an alternative on March 30, as that is when the Roads Advisory Committee would be deliberating.† He said this would come back in May.
a. RESOLUTION 05-3-16-1/In the Matter of Proclaiming the Month of March as National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in Lane County.
Morrison read the resolution into the record.
MOTION:† to approve RESOLUTION 05-3-16-1.
Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.
7. ASSESSMENT & TAXATION
a. REPORT/Discussion of Department of Revenue Assessment & Taxation Functions Analysis Report and Recommendations.
Jim Gangle, Assessment and Taxation, recalled that last year in the grant process they had identified the reduction of three positions and submitted that to the Department of Revenue.† He indicated the Department of Revenue decided to perform a review of the functions in the Assessment and Taxation Department in Lane County and prepared a report on it.
Morrison indicated that this came through Finance and Audit with a favorable recommendation.
Karen Gregory, Department of Revenue, said the County Assessment Function Funding Assistant Account grant is a process the county and state go through on an annual basis.† She said there is a mechanism whereby as long as Assessment and Taxation is funded to an adequate level, there is a grant process the County moves through and there are dollars that come back to the Countyís general fund.† She said the key is that the Assessment and Taxation function is funded at an adequate level.† She recalled that last year the Countyís grant came in and they had a dialogue after that because it was not an adequate level grant.† She said they decided at the meeting last year that they would reinstate most of the cuts from last yearís budget recommendation and the Department of Revenue would work side by side with Lane Countyís staff to develop this report.† She said it had occurred and they have a good product for the County.† She said they did the in-depth analysis and part of their analysis is there are resources that need to be added but they are going to add part of their resources to help get Lane County to the level of adequacy they need to be at for Assessment and Taxation.
Jim Bucholz, Department of Revenue, reported they went through the work and found that Lane County had two areas that needed to be addressed:† one to be addressed immediately and one could be planned for, or phased in.† He noted the immediate area to be addressed is the area of the backlog.† He† said the area they could phase in more is the area of reappraisal.† He said they notice the County doesnít have an active reappraisal program and there are methods they could use to overcome that in the short term, but over the long term it could cause a problem.† He said part of the recommendation is to add staff to be able to address the reappraisal program starting within the next year.† He added the specifics of what they determined needed to be added to County staff: one cartographer and one clerical support as soon as possible to start addressing the backlog.† He said that two appraisers were needed and they phased those in to coincide with the additional workload that would be created by the cartographer staff.† He noted in 06/07 they need to add two appraisers to address the reappraisal program.† He indicated they are also requiring they add workstation and appropriate tools to do their jobs.† He added the Department of Revenue assistance would include a cartographer,† of .5 FTE up to one FTE. He said they initially told Gangle that the cost would be at a 50/50 cost share basis, with their cost being $60 per hour, and the Countyís would be $30.† He announced it would be closer to $20 per hour for Lane Countyís cost plus the cost of a car.
Bucholz reported other things the Department of Revenue will do is give help in developing the sales ratio study.† He said they found issues with that and it could be improved.† He added they would help Lane County with the reappraisal program and develop a communication site or a database and provide additional help with the personal property program for training and assistance.† He added they would enhance field office support to the County.
Bucholz said they developed a plan that allowed for a gradual correction so the County didnít have to take the whole hit at once.† He added they staggered the addition of the staff to coincide with the work that needs to be done so they werenít adding people who werenít going to be productive immediately.† He said they didnít do an in-depth analysis of the extent of the problem, matching it up with the people they thought would be necessary to address the backlog in a certain period of time. He indicated they made some assumptions on that and built into the process coming back after a year to see where things are.† He said they want to make sure things they would be doing were what they thought would happen.
Dwyer asked if there would ever not be a backlog of properties.
Bucholz hoped the addition of staff would help.† He said they found overall that the staffing wasnít horrible, it didnít address the occasional things that would come up.† He said that allowed the backlog to increase.† He thought this would solve the problem.† He said they also did comparisons with other counties.† He said Lane County is on a par with other counties who have found that this amount of staff is bare minimum and they need to be able to address the work that comes in.† He said Lane Countyís inequities were due to the fact that Gangle didnít have the staff to send out to get the proper inventory on his records for these particular properties.† He indicated if they have an active re-appraisal program, it would allow them to be able to address the inequities sooner.
Green asked how unique Lane Countyís Assessment and Taxation Department is in comparison to other counties around the state.
Bucholz reported that Lane County is unique in that Lane County is 36 out of 36 in assessment taxation programs.
Green asked how that compared because Lane County has one of the lowest tax rates in the state with not much of a tax base to allow them to put forth the staffing.
Bucholz explained the reason why Lane Countyís tax rate is so low is because of the O & C funds it receives.† He said Lane Countyís tax rate is artificially depressed and got locked into a situation that is not workable.† He added there are† a number of other counties that are in that situation and are looking at 06 with what the feds want to do with the extension of the O & C funds.
Morrison commented that last year in the budget cycle this was one of the areas where she gave a high priority because of the realization that in order to have money available for programs, they need to increase the revenues.† She said it was obvious to her this is a way to do it.† She noted that trying to increase revenues is a priority for the Board and this is the primary area where they could focus that would make a great difference with the revenue stream they have.† She was concerned about the timeline with the backlog they have and how aggressively they could work on it.
Dwyer thought the fix would be to allow the counties to take a two percent administrative fee from the taxing districts for collecting and distributing property taxes.† He said that way as the district grows, their revenue grows.
Gangle responded that two percent would be more than adequate.
Dwyer commented he views collecting property taxes for the cities and the special districts as an unfunded mandate for the counties.
8. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION
9. PUBLIC WORKS
a. ORDER 05-3-16-2/In the Matter of Approving a Project Design Concept for Jasper-Lowell Road at MP 10.564 to 10.826 Based on the Design Concept in Exhibit B and Authorizing Staff to Prepare a Right-of-Way Plan Necessary to Construct the Road, Pursue All Necessary Planning Actions and Prepare Plans and Specifications for Improvement of Said Road.
Sonny Chickering, Public Works, explained this is a request to approve a design concept for Jasper-Lowell Road.† He noted it is the last segment in a series of projects that have gone from the north end of the City of Lowell and they are at the south end at Dexter Lake.† He recalled they originally began the project as a pavement rehabilitation project and intended to only perform work between the curbs and gutters, but at the request of the City of Lowell, the project concept was expanded to include replacement of the existing curb, gutter and sidewalks that are in disrepair.† He said concurrent with this project, the city needs to replace some sanitary, sewer and water lines and $150,000 of this project will be paid by the City of Lowell as those are not road fund eligible or the Countyís responsibility.† He indicated they would have an IGA with the City of Lowell to recover those costs. He noted they are extending the sidewalk on the west side of Jasper Lowell Road to the causeway.† He explained that the sidewalk stops at the top of the hill and if they walk to the causeway for the covered bridge, they would have to get on to the road shoulder.† He said the city has requested that they extend the sidewalk to the causeway.† He noted that normally they would assess for those improvements, but because the remainder of the project has existing curb, gutter and sidewalks, it is eligible for credit.† He said where there is new sidewalk, the code would require them to assess unless the Board gives permission to waive assessments.† He added there are three private parcels and a core parcel of property that runs between the Countyís right of way and the three private parcels.† He said because they would only be recovering costs from the three property owners, the cost of implementing and collecting the assessments would exceed the value they would take in from the private property owners.† He requested that the Board waive the assessments.
MOTION:† to approve ORDER 05-3-16-2.
Green MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.
b. ORDER 05-3-16-3/In the Matter of Awarding a Contract to Oakridge Sand & Gravel, Inc. for the Amount of $1,025,465.00 for Grading and Paving, Stagecoach Road (M.P. 0.22 To M.P. 0.56), and Awarding the Alternate Bid Item - Delete Road Closure, Contract No. 04/05-05.
Chickering recalled that last year they bid the project and it came in substantially over.
MOTION:† to approve ORDER 05-3-16-3
Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.
Green asked if there were any residents opposed to this action.
Chickering responded they would be opposed to the inconvenience, they were not opposed to the road repair.
c. FIRST READING AND SETTING SECOND READING AND PUBLIC HEARING/ Ordinance No. PA 1211/In the Matter of Adopting a Conformity Determination Amendment Pursuant to RCP General Plan Policies - Goal 2, Policy 27.a.ii. and Goal 4, Policy 15 to Rezone 34.2 Acres from Nonimpacted Forest Land (F-1, RCP) to Impacted Forest Land (F-2, RCP) for a Parcel Identified on Lane County Assessorís Map 21-01-30 as Tax Lot 300, and Adopting Savings and Severability Clauses. (File: PA 04- 5252, Everett) (Second Reading & Public Hearing: March 30, 2005, 1:30 pm).
MOTION:† to approve a First Reading and Setting a Second Reading and Public Hearing for Ordinance No. PA 1211 on March 30, 2005 at 1:30 p.m.
Dwyer MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.
d. FIRST READING AND SETTING SECOND READING AND PUBLIC HEARING/Ordinance No. PA 1212/In the Matter of Adopting a Conformity Determination Amendment Pursuant to RCP General Plan Policies - Goal 2, Policy 27 a.ii., Goal 2, Policy 27 a.vii. and Goal 4, Policy 15, to Rezone 83.58 acres from Nonimpacted Forest Land (F1, RCP) to Impacted Forest Land (F2, RCP) for Four Parcels Identified as Tax Lots 4100 (15.69 acres) and 4200 (23.19 acres) on Lane County Assessorís Map 19-01-08, and Tax Lots 1800 (26.01 acres) and 401 (18.69 acres) on Lane County Assessorís Map 19-01-17, and Adopting Savings and Severability Clauses. (File: PA 04-5276, Kronberger) (Second Reading & Public Hearing: March 30, 2005, 1:30 pm).
MOTION:† to approve a First Reading and Setting a Second Reading and Public Hearing for Ordinance No. PA 1212 on March 30, 2005 at 1:30 p.m.
Dwyer MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.
e. FIRST READING AND SETTING SECOND READING AND PUBLIC HEARING/Ordinance No. PA 1213/In the Matter of Adopting a Conformity Determination Amendment Pursuant to RCP General Plan Policies - Goal 2, Policy 27 a. iv., to Correct a Scrivener Error on the Official Zoning Map - Plot # 525, and Adopting Savings and Severability Clauses (Lane County LMD) (Second Reading & Public Hearing: March 30, 2005, 1:30 pm).
MOTION:† to approve a First Reading and Setting a Second Reading and Public Hearing for Ordinance No. PA 1213 on March 30, 2005 at 1:30 p.m.
Dwyer MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.
10. CONSENT CALENDAR
A. Approval of Minutes:
June 30, 2004, Regular Meeting, Following HACSA
June 30, 2004, Regular Meeting, 1:30 p.m.
December 15, 2004, Regular Meeting, 9:00 a.m.
February 16, 2005, Regular Meeting, Following HACSA
February 16, 2005, Regular Meeting, 1:30 p.m.
B. Assessment and Taxation
1) ORDER 05-3-16-4/In the Matter of A Refund to Jenova Land Company in the Amount of $77,237.00.
C. Public Works
1) ORDER 05-3-16-5/In the Matter of Authorizing a Grant of Utility Easement to the City of Springfield Over a Portion of County-Owned Road Fund Property Identified as Tax Lot 17-03-25-13 00500.
D. County Administration
1) ORDER 05-3-16-6/In the Matter of Approving Assistance Applications for Title II Funds for the Forest Work Camp and Department of Youth Services for FY 04-05 and Authorizing the County Administrator to Sign the Required Applications.
2) ORDER 05-3-16-7/In the Matter of Authorizing the County Administrator to Expend $25,000 for Costs Related to PL 106-393 (Secure Rural Schools and Communities Act).
MOTION: to move to approve the balance of the Consent Calendar with item 10 C. 1) pulled.
Green MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.
C. †1) Dwyer asked if they would allow a city to put an easement through a developable lot if it impacts the value of the lot, or if they ensure the placement of the easement doesnít impact the market value of the lot.
Chickering said they do assess it and with this particular parcel they had an agreement with citizens who intended to purchase the lot.
Dwyer said the City of Springfield wants an easement through one of their road properties.† He asked by giving that easement if they impact the market value of the property.† He said they couldnít develop over an easement.† He asked if there was more access for the property if they moved this easement.
Frank Simas Public Works, indicated the right of access was already there but it would be subject to the City of Springfieldís approval of a driveway.† He said the pole they are agreeing to take out could turn out to be favorable.
Dwyer asked if the people didnít have an option on the property and it would be put out to the public, if there would be a greater value associated with the move than what now exists.
Simas said that would be true.
Dwyer said these people had never exercised the option and they renewed the option and instead of exercising the option, they would ask the Board to use its authority to remove the easement.† He commented that they would benefit from the greater value.† He asked why they should benefit from the greater value when the taxpayers could benefit.
Simas said the litigation they were involved in regarding the title issues on the property was completed at the same time the request by SUB came through.† He said the litigation is completed and he will send a notice to exercise their option.† He added if they were not to exercise their option, the property would be sold for considerably more.
Dwyer didnít think it was in the Countyís interest to approve the order.
Simas indicated it was neutral because of the options in place and the fact that property had increased in value as a result of the successful completion of litigation.
Wilson indicated it was part of the agreement the Board made with them.† She said the Board has an existing agreement.
Dwyer explained if they donít approve the order and the utility stays, if they exercise their option, it becomes their property and they would deal with SUB instead of using Lane Countyís power to deal with the utilities.† He wanted them to exercise their option.† He didnít like someone buying something that has a diminished value because of the placement of utilities then exercising the option when it has a greater value now than when they negotiated the option.
Green noted they have an existing agreement and it seems everyone was happy with the agreement and they had not exercised the option to purchase the property but they have an interest in it and they approved the action.
MOTION:† to approve ORDER 05-3-16-5.
Green MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.
Dwyer wanted to raise the issue that sometimes they put things out and they change in the interim.
Green suggested utility easements be kept clean with the process so there are no problems in the future.
Simas indicated the original option took place three years ago, before the SUB had planted the lines.
11. CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD
Morrison noted they received a letter from the City of West Fir from Mayor Diana Tonkin.
Stewart reported for the past few years the City of West Fir had been trying to encourage the U.S. Forest Service to donate two vacated homes that the Forest Service used and give them to the town of West Fir. He added the town of West Fir would like to use them for their city hall and offices that they currently rent at another location.† He noted the buildings had been vacant for quite sometime.† He said at the West Fir/Oakridge Meeting, they were asked to write a letter in support of West Fir to the U.S. Forest Service.† He wanted to make sure that happened.
MOTION:† to move to have the Board direct the County Administrator to write a letter to the appropriate authorities in trying to secure the surplus dwellings for the City of West Fir.
Dwyer MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.
Morrison wanted to make sure these properties were really excess and whether there is compensation involved.
Dwyer thought the County Administrator could clarify in the letter those questions and state they understand that it might be surplus property; then the Board is on record as urging the Forest Service to take action to give these buildings to the City of West Fir.
12. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
Green noted the legislative body of AOC met on Monday and approved a number of different bills. He recalled this past Saturday he and Stewart attended a town hall meeting on racism sponsored by KEZI.
Dwyer thanked the Board for their participation in the dedication of the Wayne Morse Plaza.
Stewart attended the Parks Advisory meeting on Fern Ridge.† He noted there is a new no-leash area at Armitage Park for dogs.† He said the Parks Advisory Committee voted to move forward a potential proposal for an indoor riding arena that the Sheriffís Posse is looking at building at Mt. Pisgah.
Morrison announced that this weekend is the Daffodil Drive at the Long Tom Grange.† She said she and Stewart would be meeting with the Corps of Engineers about drought situations† She reported that they didnít get into the budget resolution regarding Secure Rural Schools.
13. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660
14. OTHER BUSINESS
There being no further business, Commissioner Morrison adjourned the meeting at 11:20 a.m.