BUDGET COMMITTEE MEETING
May 10, 2005
Commissioner’s Conference Room
Chair David Crowell presided with Budget Committee Members Scott Bartlett, Bill Dwyer, Bobby Green, Sr., Denis Hijmans, Mary Ann Holser, Anna Morrison and Peter Sorenson present. Francisca Leyva-Johnson arrived at 6:30 p.m.
1. Committee Business – Minutes
Crowell indicated there had been a recommendation that the minutes of May 3, 2005 be placed on Thursday’s agenda.
2. Justice Courts
Garnick explained the total budget for the Justice Courts is $3.3 million. He said that all three courts are entirely in the general fund; they are part of the system tied to the traffic team. He added the system is always self-supporting. He explained that over the last eight years, five of those years brought extra money into the system, but on three of the years they cost the system money. He noted for FY 2001/2002, they cost the system $476,000 in one year and $450,000 in the other. He said the deficit was due to the fact that the departments charged indirect. He noted they started charging indirect to their own programs and to the general fund. He said their total budget went up by $4 million for the whole department. He added they rose M & S expenses considerably, which contributed to the bottom line. He said they charged the general fund and made revenue for it. He explained they weren’t collecting the revenue they were supposed to, but came close. He noted that over the past eight years, they have cost the County $426,500 or an average of $53,000 per year for 13 officers working on traffic. He said for the most part the court didn’t pay for itself.
Van Vactor commented that even if it cost $53,000 on average, public policy is that there are 13 deputies on the road creating the money and enforcing traffic safety.
With regard to court operations, Garnick reported they bring in around $1 million per year. He said the budget for the courts was up to $2.6 million. He noted that $1.4 million is the portion that supports the Sheriff’s Office traffic team. He added in the past there was a part that supported Oakridge and Florence and next year it is just supporting Florence for $51,000 because the Florence court had been hit hard by different factors. He indicated that the court had lost some of the revenue from the Central Lane Courts to keep the Florence Court open. He noted that Oakridge is totally self-sufficient and there is no subsidy. He stated there was an effort to talk to the City of Florence to see if they would be interested in merging with the municipal court. He said at this point, they [Florence] are not interested in pursuing it, even though it would be a win-win situation.
Garnick indicated that in the rural courts they have a part-time justice of the peace and one clerk and it would be difficult to reduce them any further to keep them open. He said Central Lane generates the majority of the activity. He said they have over 25,000 citations per year which bring in about $4.3 million and some of that goes to other jurisdictions. He noted the nine people at the Central Justice Court do a tremendous amount of work and support the rest of the Traffic Team. He reported that personnel services are up in Oakridge because the one person there is getting ready to retire and the idea is to have another person come in for a few months to learn the operation. He noted in the past three years they have cut the Justice Courts by $96,000 and 1.5 FTE to where they are now.
Morrison wanted to have a discussion about re-aligning the districts between the three and drawing new boundary lines and disbursing the workload between all three courts.
Hijmans asked why the average fine in the Central Lane Justice Court was higher than Oakridge and Florence.
Garnick responded that Central Lane covers small claims as well as civil and traffic. The rural courts tend to have a broader caseload.
Hijmans thought the money from the Central Lane Court could pay for a burglary investigator.
3. Lane Workforce Partnership
Jennifer Inman, Budget Analyst, reported that Lane Workforce Partnership looks different than last year’s budget. She noted the budget is Lane County government’s portion of the Lane Workforce Partnership budget. She said the budget is closer to $8 million. She indicated the $2.9 million relates to personnel-related expenses and M & S. She said the Workforce Partnership Board oversees the Lane Workforce Partnership budget. She added the part they are seeing is related to personnel services provided by Lane County to the Workforce Partnership. She noted there were not major changes to the Lane Workforce Partnership Services or budget. She stated there was a drop of 2 FTE based on the change in funding from the state. She said the staffing is similar to last year but Lane County’s part of the budget looks different.
Chuck Forster, Lane Workforce Partnership, explained they have a 39 member Board of Directors that provides oversight and review of what they do. He said it is comprised of business representatives as well as representatives from local government. He indicated that the Federal Workforce Investment Act is the parent organization that mandates the membership. He added they receive the Federal Workforce Investment Act funds and they compromise 75% of the revenue they receive. He said one of the major roles of their Board is to make investment decisions with the resources they have to help promote a competitive work force in Lane County.
Forster indicated that when they implement programs, and review the programs they currently operate, there are six areas they watch. He said they are looking to the industry cluster approach on how they allocate their resources. He said as they secure additional resources, they would point those resources toward training for individuals. He said they are looking at existing low-wage workers who want to gain skills, increase wages and career potential. He added they are focusing on work-readiness skills. He said there is concern that people coming into the workforce are lacking work-readiness skills.
Forster reported they are receiving $500,000 from the governor’s office to work with Molecular Probes and the training of their workers and another $500,000 by the governor’s fund to work with Monaco and other RV manufacturers.
Forster explained that beginning July 1, 2004, Lane Workforce Partnership became the recipient of funds and they were not for Lane County and are not part of the budget process. He noted the $2.9 million reflected their payments for services to Lane County for personnel management, budget assistance, risk management assistance and payroll. He added their overall revenue amount had not changed that much. He said they would be moving to their own accounts payable and having a contract audit firm.
4. Fair Board
Garnick reported that the Fair Board budget is $5.5 million with 21 FTE. He said they don’t receive any discretionary general fund; they have to generate their own revenue to support their operations. He noted at a meeting on May 4, the Board of Commissioners met with the Fair Board members to talk about Fair Board financing. He indicated the Board fully demonstrated a commitment to continue at the fairgrounds, including the use of transient room tax dollars for capital and operating budget, allowing more flexibility with the TRT and the confirmation of that through the new budget process. He added they also directed the Fair Board to come back with any suggestions on how they could do more at the fairgrounds. He indicated there are no proposed reduction or add packages and no other adjustments.
Warren Wong, Fair Board, discussed that financial stability was a big issue with the Fair Board and is predominate for their goal. He indicated that there is an operating budget and that is expected to continue. He added there is a little cash reserve and expenses are continuing to increase. He indicated the issue of fair spending is throughout the nation. He explained that with the Board’s authorization they were able to use $250,000 of excess transient room tax to flow into the operating budget to help address the operating budget and establish a cash reserve. He said it also goes to fund critical equipment need. He said they are continuing to pay off various loans that are outstanding. He indicated the largest loan external to the Fair Board was the Planetarium loan. He said they accelerated the payments so that, of $290,000, $60,000 remains, which will be paid off in the next fiscal year. He noted the other debt had to do with the energy conservation loan and an equipment purchase. He indicated those loans will be paid off over the next five or six years.
Wong said they were continuing to increase activities through marketing efforts and outreach. He said the number of events from the past year had actually increased significantly. He said they are getting inquiries for use of the facilities and have added a number of events. With regard to the fair, he said they are changing the number of concerts. He said they cut back the concerts to five because of the cost of getting the entertainment and the low recovery for what concert tickets are sold for. He indicated there is an operating deficit and that would continue. He stated the transient room tax is a critical resource that keeps the fairgrounds open. He said they need it to subsidize the operating budget and they need it on the capital side to replace aging equipment.
With regard to the future, Wong commented that as long as they remain a public entity, excess transient room tax is critical to keeping the facility open. He said they would be able to make modest investment in equipment and capital projects as they go forward. He said there would still be a facility and it will continue to be used.
With the question asked about the attendance and net revenue for the fair, Wong responded that they only keep attendance on the fair, they don’t require 4H to give attendance numbers. He added that the logging conference doesn’t give them attendance numbers. He noted with the 4H Fair, they make no revenue off of it, they write a check to the fair for $5,000. He said their out-of-pocket costs are estimated at $40,000 to $60,000 per year. With regard to the actual County Fair, he recalled that two years ago the attendance was 180,000 and they net $475,000. He indicated in 2003 the attendance dropped to 170,000 and they net $412,000 and last year the attendance was 160,000 and they net $370,000. He noted with regard to sponsorships, in 2001 they generated $63,000 in sponsorships and last year they generated $111,000 in sponsorships. He added for this year they anticipate $120,000. He noted that the logging conference provides them with $100,000 gross revenue each year.
Dwyer commented that the fair is part of the fabric of the community and it is a loss leader. He thought they were blessed because they had a dedicated Fair Board that brings business experience, plus Wong’s expertise. He noted that Wong inherited a lot of the problems.
Sorenson noted that nationwide attendance for county fairs is declining. He added that many communities were doing away with a county fair. He asked what the Board of Commissioners could do.
Wong responded that there was no magic solution. He said what they see as a commonality is the age bracket of 20 to 35 year olds don’t attend fairs. He said that no one has solved the problem. He added there are other entertainment options available. He explained that the Lane County Fairgrounds does not have the space to have a rodeo or a racetrack that brings in the people.
Tom Hunton, Fair Board, reported that losing the ability to have horses and livestock on the ground year round is a loss of about $70,000. He thought they could talk with Public Works of the City of Eugene to bring this back again.
5. Health and Human Services
Inman explained Health and Human Services’ total budget is $89,817,513. She indicated it is split into four different funds: the Health and Human Services Fund is 58% of the budget; the Intergovernmental Human Service Fund is 12.8% of the budget, Lane Care is 25% of the budget and the discretionary general fund is 4.2% of the general budget.
Rob Rockstroh, Health and Human Services, reported that they have 287 FTE and with extra help and volunteers, the total is 400 FTE. He noted personnel expenses are $22 million and their system is largely contracted out. He explained that Lane County is a major funder of a lot of the contracts. He noted with the cuts they had taken, they are down about $10 million since 03/04 or 42 FTE staff.
Rockstroh indicated that they don’t have a large amount of cuts this year. He had to absorb increases by reducing positions and moving some funds around.
With regard to Parole and Probation, Rockstroh indicated they were covering over 3,000 felons at any given time. He said that recidivism of offenders in Lane County is a broad issue. He said they are doing worse than the statewide averages. He said they have to discuss allocating Community Corrections money so there isn’t recidivism in Lane County.
Rockstroh said with the Strategic Plan, they prioritized how to do things. He said they engaged staff and stakeholders in the process.
With regard to the subcontract partnership list that showed $47 million, Morrison requested that that list be distributed to the Eugene city councilors. She commented that when they had their joint meeting, the Eugene city councilors were not aware of who was providing services, the money and for what reason.
Rockstroh noted that 70% of services are for the Eugene and Springfield zip codes.
Sorenson asked about the revenue portion for the current and proposed budget of the Human Services Commission.
Steve Manela, Human Services Commission, responded that City of Eugene general fund dollars are $985,808 and they are adding community development block grant dollars of $1,400, 808. He added with the City of Springfield, $124,654 is from the general fund, adding in the community development block grant of $239,736. He noted that Lane County’s portion is $515, 972. He added that all jurisdictions’ budget amount includes a cost of living increase.
6. Department of Public Works
Garnick indicated the Public Works’ budget is $152.9 million with 390 positions. He indicated there are six divisions across seven funds, the largest fund being the Road Fund at $86.5 million and includes all the roads and bridge maintenance and preservation and capital improvement projects. He noted that the second largest fund is Solid Waste Disposal at 39.9%, including operation of a landfill and transfer sites. He said the third fund is the Fleet Fund at $18.1 million and has the fleet replacement reserve. He noted the general fund portion is $4.4 million and it is funding the Land Management Division that is all fee-supported. He indicated there are the Parks and Open Spaces and Preservation Fund of $2 million each. He added that there is a small amount of revenue in a special revenue fund related to the Park’s SDC’s. He stated there are no major changes from this year to next. He indicated rising costs are putting pressure on their funds and they would be looking at future reductions if they can’t come up with other revenue. He said they have had to reduce about $500,000 and two positions that were spread across, surveyors, Parks and Land Management. He noted there are no other adjustments or additions or reductions.
Ollie Snowden, Public Works, reported there are six divisions in Public Works. He said last year they flattened the organization by eliminating Dale Wendt’s position as Support Services Manager. He said they split Wendt’s responsibilities and made Administrative Services a division under Tanya Heaton and she will report under him. He added that Fleet will be its own division and Phil Guyette will be in charge and report to Howard Schussler.
Snowden explained that the $153 million budget for Public Works represents about one-third of the County’s budget, with 400 FTE. He indicated that they have seven funds and four of those are special revenue funds, an enterprise fund and in the general fund. He added that several funds are fee-supported. He noted the Road Fund is largely state and federally funded, meaning that they have little local control over it. He stated their forecast is for flat revenues going forward with not a large likelihood that they would be able to generate significant local money to augment that. He reported the expenditures for FY 05/06 is 42% of the overall budget is in reserves and contingencies. He added of the remaining funds, only about one-third is personnel services. He indicated they had no significant reductions this year, other than in Parks.
Snowden indicated the significant changes the department is facing include increasing costs, flat revenues, technology and the Fern Ridge Dam closure. He added that benefits are increasing rapidly and that is contributing to higher personnel services. He noted that bid prices for road construction projects are coming in higher than what ODOT was anticipating.
Snowden indicated in the current fiscal year, they have a revenue bump up of about 6.9% because they have $4.6 million in one time transfers of monies coming to Lane County for engineering services and work they are doing for other agencies. He thought at the end of the fiscal year, they would see a decline in the Road Fund balance.
Snowden reported they are updating their Strategic Plan and are encouraging a different way of thinking among employees and how the skills and experience of their people could benefit the community at large. He added as part of their goals they want to provide efficient effective high quality service at competitive costs. He indicated they would be looking at process improvement exercises and digital technology to help approve efficiencies. He added another goal is to understand the needs of the public and to help them understand the value of the services they provide.
Snowden said they developed financial plans for each of the major funds. He said they were looking at rapid process improvement as a way to improve their efficiencies. He said they are being close to being able to accept credit cards for electrical permits. He added that they are working toward an on-line Parks reservation system and Land Management permits on line.
With regard to impacts, in the engineering division, Snowden indicated that they have presented the Board with a fiscally constrained CIP this year and that means there won’t be enough work to support all of the capital improvement staff. He added they expect staff reductions at the end of fiscal 05/06 of $1 million and another million the following year.
Snowden explained what is in the draft CIP this year is the termination of the County City road partnership. He said they would be more aggressive in pursuing federal funds and in pursuing engineering services for other agencies, but the long-term trend didn’t look favorable.
Snowden reported that fleet rates were up about nine percent over last year and is one of the biggest increases. He indicated their shop rates had gone up to $60 per hour. He added the motor fuel line item in the budget is up from $800,000 to $1.2 million this year.
With regard to Parks, Snowden indicated the estimated loss of revenue is about $230,000 and that is reflected in the budget. He added that would come from the loss in camping fees, park admission fees, moorage fees, concessions and Oregon Marine Board maintenance. He said they would have a reduction of 24 employees and six subcontractors. He explained they wouldn’t fill a vacant parks planner, a seasonal position or 14 summer help positions. He reported they have automated the parking fee collections. He indicated in the upcoming year they will be looking to the completion of the Parks Master Plan. He noted in the Land Management Department there is a $70,000 reduction in M & S that could result in a slowdown for E-government. He added they are trying to build up a prudent person reserve to give them the opportunity to address some of their unmet needs, like updating some of their office facilities.
Adjourned at 8:15 p.m.