LANE COUNTY

BUDGET COMMITTEE MEETING

May 12, 2005

5:15 p.m.

Commissioner’s Conference Room

APPROVED 5/2/06

 

Chair David Crowell presided with Budget Committee Members Scott Bartlett, Bill Dwyer, Francisca Leyva Johnson, Denis Hijmans,  Mary Ann Holser, Anna Morrison, Peter Sorenson and Faye Stewart present. Bobby Green, Sr. was excused.  County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, Senior Budget Analyst Dave Garnick and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.

 

1. Committee Business 

 

Approval of Minutes – May 5, 2005

 

Garnick noted corrections on page 3, third sentence, the text should say an increase in salary. He added the statutory benefit was 55.4 percent with the negotiated benefit of 42.4 percent.  He said on page 4, at the end of the first sentence, it should be a $3.4 million increase and the last sentence should be all inflation and population growth is $56.6 million.  Page 5, third paragraph, should be a fee increase in the future.  Page 6, employee benefits should state that some of the 2003 legislative changes were overturned.

 

MOTION: to approve the minutes as corrected.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 6-0.

 

2. Dept. of Assessment & Taxation

 

Jennifer Inman, Budget Analyst, reported the Assessment and Taxation budget is part of the discretionary general fund and the total budget for this year is $5,891,368.  She noted the one major change with the budget is the joint A & T Department of Revenue strategy to eliminate the backlog of property tax divisions’ consolidations and tax area changes. She indicated the strategies eliminate the backlog, including adding four FTE.  She added it includes cartography services provided by the Department of Revenue that is new this year.  She explained that the increase in FTE this year should show a financial return in the 07/08 Fiscal Year budget.  She noted that last year A & T made $250,000 in base reductions in order to meet their target.  She stated that those reductions had not been reinstated in this year’s addition to the FTE.  She noted there are no other major budget changes or adjustments.

 

Jim Gangle, Assessment and Taxation, explained the biggest change they are facing in their department is the compliance audit that the Department of Revenue did and the recommendations they put together.  He noted that they are going to be adding a cartographer and a clerical position and some appraisal positions to take care of the backlog.  He indicated that it would create revenue for Lane County by increasing the amount of value that Lane County receives.  He said by adding positions, they will get reimbursement back from the Department of Revenue.  He indicated they have a commitment from the Department of Revenue to help with the appraisal function.

 

Gangle said with the 06/07 years, they will be adding two more appraiser positions and more revenue.  He noted another change is that the Department of Motor Vehicles no longer has the responsibility for manufactured structures.  He said that has moved to the building codes division of the state.  He said they are going to be sharing in the fees they will be collecting.

 

Anette Spickard, Assessment and Taxation, stated what A & T had always done was participate in regional partnerships with other government entities.  She said what is coming up next year is their participation with LCOG, the Cities of Eugene and Springfield and the Public Works Department with the Regional Parcel Maintenance Project.  She said that all of the entities would be using the same mapping software.  She said the map changes would be able to be made directly into the same database.  She indicated they would be taking over the maintenance of the data base system and adding all of the assessor map features that are required by the state.

 

Gangle reported that the Leadership Team rated Assessment and Taxation under the third level of the Strategic Plan of seven service priority guidelines.  He indicated their services have a higher return on investment, higher leverage and higher outcomes and results.  He commented that Lane County is doing more with less staff than anywhere else in the state.

 

Gangle stated the key outcomes they identified for the department is getting the property divisions taken care of and getting the backlog current.  He added they have to get all of the revenue turned over to the taxing districts and collecting the taxes.  He indicated that they put more information on line that has helped cut down on the number of telephone calls.  He noted that annually they review their business processes and try to streamline them.  He added they would be working on their level of staffing to make sure they are getting the most out of the staffing situation.  He said they have identified performance measures.  He said that administration is focused on compliance with the state law and county policies and making sure that they are in compliance with the Lane County Strategic Plan.  He indicated that the appraisal division is focused on the properties submitted for re-appraisals to make sure they are appraised accurately.  He explained that this year it is going to be different with the added staff and the County will realize more revenue.

 

Crowell asked about the level of use electronically that the people use to utilize the information from his department.

 

Gangle responded that they have a database of 170,000 accounts and maps.  He said in November they put the tax statements on line and received 50,000 hits.

 

Morrison asked for an update as to what other counties are doing with E-government.

 

3. Dept. of Information Services

 

Inman reported the total budget funds for Information Services this year are $20,047,035 for the Information Services Fund, the Regional Information Services Fund and the PC replacement fund.  She added there are no discretionary general fund dollars dedicated directly to IS, but some departments use discretionary general fund dollars to pay their IS bill.  She noted there is a 3 FTE increase in the IS budget.  She explained that a department initiated these positions and they are funded directly by a department.  She noted the major change in the budget is the merging of Information Services and Regional Information Services.  She said that merge took place this year and the administration of fiscal and budget tasks were also merged.  She said the transfer between IS and RIS funds has been taken out so they didn’t duplicate the dollars in the budget.  She added that there is an additional $200,000 budgeted for reserves and the PC replacement fund is down, but servers were removed from the PC replacement fund and are part of the other IS charges.  She stated there was no reduction or add packages or any other technical adjustments.

 

Tony Black, Information Services, explained that his department had 45 staff in four divisions and six programs with an $8.7 million budget last year.  He said currently he has a department of 85 staff in six divisions with 15 programs and a $20 million budget.  He indicated this was a result of the County Information Technology Department and the Regional Information Technology Department merging.

 

Black indicated the first task from the Strategic Plan was to merge the administrative divisions of the two departments.  He said they started that from an organizational perspective.

 

Black explained that the Department of Assessment and Taxation had 50,000 web hits per month.  He added the property tax maps had hits of 80,000 per month on the website.  He noted that on June 1, E-commerce was going live, selling items for Parks.  He added that the animal adoption site of LCARA is very popular.

 

Stewart asked if they compared their service costs with other counties or private companies.

 

Black responded that they didn’t compare  with private business, but with other counties.  He said every six months the counties get together to discuss their agencies and what is different.  He noted that before the merge, they were almost aligned with Marion County in the number of staff, what they produced, how much it cost, and their approach to technology was almost identical. He noted there were a handful of counties that were demographically close to Lane County.

 

Crowell asked how they were doing with homeland security.

 

Black stated they had $500,000 in the Homeland Security grant application last year and received zero this year.  He explained that money was earmarked for disaster recovery.  He said their disaster recovery plan had to do with a rebuild of the computers, but it wasn’t acceptable.  He said they have the project underway and it is not funded so they were doing the best they could internally.

 

Morrison asked what the cost was to get  the project done.

 

Black explained they applied for Homeland Security grant monies last year and received $67,000.  He said they applied those monies for several monitoring tools.  He added that they combined regional agencies to apply for the grant.  He noted that the big winners  were the Eugene Police and the rural fire districts.  He added that none of the IT agencies received  money.

 

4. Dept. of Management Services

 

Christine Moody, Budget Analyst, explained that the total budget of the department is $15.5 million and it is located in eight different funds.  She said that 50 percent is in the General Fund., with the balances in the Capital Improvement Fund, the Animal Regulations Fund, Intergovernmental Services, Special Revenue and the County Clerk.  She noted that the Discretionary General Fund amount is about $570,000.  She said the department has 81.8 FTE.  She indicated that the major changes from the current budget are a proposed reduction within Animal Regulation as a result of increased costs in contract negotiations with the City of Eugene.  She noted that the support services portion of the department is funded through the indirect charges that are paid from non-support service departments and pursuant to the request of those departments, they asked to stay status quo.  She reported that the total reduction in the department over the past three years including the proposed budget is $910,000 and 8.5 FTE.  She noted the one reduction package is  Animal Regulation, which is 3.00 FTE as a result of  an increase in costs.  She indicated there is an add package in Animal Regulation.  She said when they did the analysis they realized that the County had been funding a piece of the city service so when they reduced their services to what they were actually paying, there was approximately $70,000 the County had been putting into the funds.  She said the position they are recommending is an administrative analyst to help with the rabies-licensing program.  She indicated there were no other changes or technical adjustments.

 

David Suchart, Management Services, reported that Management Services is comprised of five divisions, three of which are internal and two external.  He noted the most significant changes have been in operations.  He said they have not had a full-time maintenance supervisor since September and the custodian had been out since February.  He said it had put added pressure on the staff and on manager Dan Banducci.  He added that they had recently filled the maintenance supervisor position and they have posted for the custodial supervisor.  He noted another major change was that they took on the Elections building last summer.  He said they have been trying to keep the annex going and it is a strain on the County as the systems are old and require more maintenance than should be required for a building.

 

With regard to Finance, Suchart noted that three of the top four positions in the division have been vacant for several months.  He said in the past few months they have filled the accounting supervisor and the accountant.  He noted that they are in the final stages of hiring the finance manager.

 

Suchart reported that they were in the process of updating the PeopleSoft financials and the process had been going on for over a year.  He added that they have been doing electronic time cards through the departments and it will become a timesaver for the entries.

 

With regard to the County Clerk operation in Deeds and Records. Suchart indicated that they have a ten-month backlog due to the reduction last year of one FTE in that division.  He said they also needed more people to operate November’s election.  He noted they use employees from Deeds and Records to help operate during an election.  He said they moved to their new location and things have improved.  He recalled that it was the highest voter registration in the County’s history with 206,000 registered to vote and the highest participation in County history of 90 percent during the election.  He added they migrated from a punch card system to optical scan and it had been a success, but it was more expensive and time-consuming to operate.

 

With regard to Human Resources, Suchart said the division has taken over the Human Rights Advisory Committee from his division.  He noted they were responsible for Performance Counts in December.

 

Suchart reported that for LCARA the increased revenue has been used for the spay and neuter program and they are hoping to reduce the pet population.  He added that the mandatory rabies reporting code had been adopted in the county and the City of Eugene.  He thought it would infuse more revenue into the system, making them less dependent on the general funds of the County and the City of Eugene and they could use that money to increase their educational programs, dealing with the health issues in the community and funding capital projects.

 

With regard to human resources, Suchart indicated they are maintaining a status quo budget.

 

Suchart said that the cost of doing business in Animal Control has gone up based upon benefits and PERS.  He said the City of Eugene has decided they cannot pay for their share of the business.  His concern over the reduction in service is that they can’t cover the calls they have currently.  He said they are still going to get the calls and still have the same numbers of vicious animals.

 

Suchart indicated the key outcomes for the department for facilities and finance is to get to full staffing and to provide the service that the Board and the Budget Committee had allocated.  He hoped that they could fill the positions by the first of the fiscal year.

 

With regard to the Capital Improvement Program, Suchart said the projects for next year are for infrastructure.  He said they are awaiting a study by the Courts, as they do not feel they are getting the proper maintenance and custodial service.  He said they are working on security issues around the building.  He said new access cards have been in place and they are working on duress alarms.  He indicated that the Public Health Building is the biggest program he is working on.  He added that it remains in the Strategic Plan as a strategic objective.

 

5. Board of Commissioners/County Administration

 

Moody reported that the budget is $2.5 million, located entirely in the general fund.  She said this year it uses $73,000 of discretionary general fund.  She noted one major change is in the public information program.  She recalled that Benton County came to Lane County and wanted to share a staff person and decrease costs.  She added it correlates directly with the Board’s strategic objective.  She noted that the reductions for the past three years in the department have been about $650,000 and 2 FTE.  She added that there are no reduction or add packages and there will be one technical adjustment.  She said the actual FTE for the proposed budget is 20.5 FTE.

 

Van Vactor indicated the most recent change that the Board of Commissioners had to deal with is a turn over of three of the four management analysts during the past year.  He added there has been an increase in the workload.  He noted they would be working on the Secure Rural Schools Act for the renewal, the public safety district and Ballot Measure 37.

 

With regard to allocating resources, Van Vactor explained that in January the Leadership Team worked on the prioritization requirement in the Lane County Strategic Plan and prioritized the general fund programs 1 to 79.  He added that in February the Board of Commissioners adopted four strategic objectives:  ensure the continuity of high quality Lane County services by enhancing revenues and costs, safeguard delivery of public health services by the construction of a new public health building and measure performance and use the results in County decision making.  He said they are using the priorities and strategic objectives to allocate resources for Lane County.  He said the goal is to decrease and eliminate the structural deficit, to improve the quality of facilities for public health caregivers and service recipients and to fund and improve the public safety system for the long term.  He said it fits strongly with the strategic objections and matches the requirements of the strategic plan.

 

Van Vactor indicated it is basically a current-service-level budget, so there is not a lot of changes.  He said because of their alignment of services in the 1980’s under urban transitions, they ended up with key critical governmental services.  With regard to data and what is used in decision making about the changes, he said that they need to inform the citizens about the critical services.

 

Van Vactor explained that County Administration is tied with the goals and the strategic objectives of the organization as a whole and this is a significant assumption of responsibility of outcomes and an assumption to which to be accountable.  He said with regard to strategic objectives, and how they will measure whether or not they have met their outcomes is whether or not they had done a better job of informing the citizens of the services they provide.

 

6. County Counsel

 

Moody reported County Counsel’s budget is under $1.3 million and located in two different funds.  She noted the general fund has the legal services portion and the law library operates under its own fund.  She added the discretionary general fund use by the legal services portion is about $138,000.  She said they have a total of 9 FTE in the department.  She indicated there wasn’t much change in the proposed budget, but midyear in the 04/05 budget the librarian was restored to full time.  She explained that the Law Library is funded through collected court filing fees that have stayed flat over the past few years.  She added that division had experienced dramatic cost increases in their M & S in publications.  She said that this was also a support service department, so it is funded through indirect charges to the non-support departments and they asked that it remain status quo.  She indicated that the reductions in the past three years have totaled $180,000.  She said although there was no FTE included in this, there was extra help that was a law clerk function and they are now operating without any law clerk support.  She stated there was no reduction or add packages and no technical adjustments.

 

Teresa Wilson, County Counsel, reported that the significant change that the Law Library has experienced over the past three years have been a reduction of about $150,000.  She noted that most of the money had come out of the purchase of legal resource materials.  She said there was a reduction because book publication costs have gone up.  She noted they had done mitigation of the restoration of the law librarian to full-time in order to help patrons use Westlaw.  She added they have implemented an on-line computer research tool and she is providing training for the public patrons.  With regard to the Strategic Plan she said that the Law Library provides a public service.  She noted that wasn’t a major component of a funding source for the Law Library but it is a major time and personnel resource of the Law Library.  She said of the changes that have occurred in the Law Library, they moved to a much heavier computer resource use.  She noted the outcomes they are seeing for the law library is that they have focused on the public use visits.

 

With regard to legal services, Wilson stated the significant changes they have seen are the increased workload and lack of legal research time through a law clerk.  She said in order to address impacts like increased personnel costs, as vacancies have occurred in support staff, she has reclassified positions to reduce the expense.  She said they no longer have any senior legal secretaries.  She has a paralegal and Legal Secretary I.  She indicated that the lawyers do more of their own work online than in the past but it means they don’t have the same skill set available to them in the past.  She added that they reduced the amount of time management sales.  She said with the decision by the Management Team to hold status quo on support services, she looked at what the allocation was for her department’s discretionary general fund.  She said to have met that target would have involved reducing an attorney in the office.  She recommended to the Management Team that in the next year they would need to add a sixth attorney to the office.  She added they are facing in the next three to five years the probability of turnover in the office due to retirements.  She didn’t believe they would be able to replace the kind of experience in the five attorneys in the office.  She commented that with some of the initiatives that have occurred, it is placing a cost on legal counsel’s office.

 

Wilson explained that the key outcome they identified is that they believe that citizens in the community would care about settling claims.  She said they set a target to have 90 percent of their claims against the County resolved without litigation.  She said through April of last year, they paid out $239,000.  She added as of the end of April 2005, they are at $354,000.  She thought there would be another $100,000 incurred in May and June of this year.  She explained that the probable value of claims has gone up and it is a function of inflation.  She added that they are seeing serious claims, the ongoing effect of staff stretched too thin that cause mistakes, oversight and not enough training to help people manage their jobs.

 

7. General Expense

 

Garnick reported that the entire general expense budget is almost $100 million.  He said it is considered non-departmental. He said these are things that don’t fit into a department but benefit the entire County organization  He noted the general fund expense portion under the 05/06 proposed is $10.7 million, but total resources are $57.6 million.  He explained the difference between those two is a large share of the discretionary general fund that is used to support the Sheriff’s office, DA, and support services.  He noted that all the federal revenues from the taxes go into general expense.  He indicated that $9.6 million of the $10.7 is discretionary money, the other $1.1 million is community and economic development dollars from the Housing and Community Development grant.  He added that there is also the prudent person reserve and additional money if the Board wanted to enter into a COLA with the bargaining units.

 

With regard to debt service, Garnick indicated it is $4.9 million and covers everything from the improvements at the fairgrounds, the mental health building, juvenile justice center and the PERS bond.  He noted that special services and projects is $12.4 million, including $7.1 million of passed through funding that goes through the county school fund and is a portion of the national forest timber receipts, 75 percent of which goes to the road fund, the other 25 percent going to schools.  He noted that $608,000 is dedicated to courthouse security.  He added that it pays for the security personnel at the courts.  He said that $732,970 is for economic development projects funded through video lottery funds.

 

Garnick noted in the general allocation there are two breakdowns: general allocation and strategic investment.  He noted that under general allocation, the Youth Services Department, Land Management long range planning and the Sheriff’s Office receive about $441,000.  An additional $732,000 is used for other strategic investment initiatives and in the operating contingency.  He added there is $4 million that remains for the Juvenile Justice Center Capital Improvement Fund and those funds are used to do additional remodeling.

 

Garnick explained with tourism, there is $4.4 million dedicated for special revenue that is all transient room tax.  He noted the County tax is 8 percent across the county except 7 percent over western Lane County.  The first 5 percent portion is dedicated for capital improvements and retiring the debt to the fairgrounds.  He added that out of that portion, anything that is not currently being used to retire the debt is swept into the fairgrounds and used for their capital improvement programs and to build up an operational reserve.  He recalled there is a request from the Fair Board to put in the budget the additional flexibility to use it more for operating funds.  He noted the other 3 percent portion is for tourism marketing.  He indicated that 70 percent goes to visitor marketing (CVALCO contract), 10 percent for the historical museum, 10 percent for realtors and 10 percent for other special projects. He added out of that amount, they also give some to Parks to administer the special projects program.  He said it didn’t include the 1 percent that was imposed by the state.  He noted with the City of Florence, (as a part of the use of room tax ) for the Florence Events Center, it would be $190,000.  He added the actual debt service is $154,000 and they are asking for the Budget Committee’s approval to spend the balance of that for operations at the events center.

 

He noted in the past three years they have cut about $942,000 out of the general expense portion of the budget.

 

Moody reported that general expense Title III 05/06 budget is about $6.4 million with no discretionary general fund.  She said although there is no FTE in the program, it does help fund the management analyst who runs the program.  She commented that reauthorization is critical as spending ends in 2006.  She explained that Title III provides funding for timber dependent counties and regions with substantial holdings in federal forests that will be ending 2006.  She indicated that there are six specific areas they are able to fund Title III projects and they solicit from the public projects that they think will fit under those headings and they recommend certain projects.  She noted the projects the Board had approved for Title III include the Sheriff’s Office, their search and rescue, national dunes deputies, forestland emergency services and the Forest Work Camp, Department of Youth Services, the youth forest crew and Land Management Division.

 

With regard to risk and benefits of general expense, Moody explained the total budget is $60 million and located in the employee benefits, the pension bond, retirement benefit trust and self-insurance.  She noted that the FTE is found in Human Resources.  She indicated the only major change was the increased insurance cost.  She said there are fairly large reserves in that program and those are as a result of the retiree medical insurance. She noted for PERS there has been a charge of 4.66 percent of payroll until the time the litigation is over.  She said there has been a reduction in this in the past three years in 03/04 and they decided to do a transfer of over $450,000 to the general fund to help balance the budget.

 

Karen Artiaco, Management Services, explained that Lane County had a benefit program in place that stated if they worked with the County for 10 or 20 years they would receive medical benefits upon retirement.  She said they are setting aside a fund for that.  She noted there are about 300 retirees who are receiving medical coverage and another 300 who are receiving Medicare benefits.  She added they have about 600 employees in the system who, if they meet all the requirements, might potentially receive County paid retiree medical benefits.  She said they have an actuary working to determine a  percentage to fund that.  She noted that two years ago they put it in at five percent and it has built the department’s contribution to that level.  She said they have received another actuarial report in draft form and that five percent is holding for now.

 

With regard to the PERS pension bond, Artiaco said that originally when they issued the $70 million worth of bonds,  PERS was charging eight percent for unfunded liability and they could issue bonds at seven percent.  She noted that originally they started out charging departments about 5.6 percent of payroll to cover the principle and interest.  She added that it has been increased to six percent this year because salaries are not growing to the level they or PERS expected.

 

Artiaco noted that they have a risk fund that keeps about a $2 million reserve for any claims.

 

With regard to the employee benefits fund, Artiaco reported there is a large balance around $5 million that will be used to try to defray whatever costs come out of the Supreme Court judgments on both the Lipscom decision and the City of Eugene case.  She added at the end of any fiscal year, they have money for the health insurance premiums.  She noted on an ongoing monthly basis they only pay 85 percent of the premiums that are calculated at the first of the year.  She added at the end of the year if they only used 85 percent of the money, they don’t have to pay anything more.  She said if they have used more, they have to pay an additional premium up to a maximum of 100 percent of premium.

 

Garnick reported that they received some community requests.  He said there was $2,500 for the SAVE Committee, Santa Clara Community Organization for $4,300 and the Watermaster has asked for $6,600.

 

Stewart asked to make an adjustment to next week’s agenda.  He noted the same night as the meeting, the Springfield Economic Development Agency (that he and Dwyer sit on) are hoping to approve their budget that evening.  He asked if they could attend a conference call for ten minutes around 6:00 p.m.

 

Adjourned at 8:40 p.m.

 

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary