BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'

REGULAR MEETING

November 2, 2005

following HACSA

Commissioners' Conference Room

APPROVED 9/13/06

 

Commissioner Anna Morrison presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bobby Green, Peter Sorenson and Faye Stewart present.County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.

 

1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA

 

Morrison indicated that there would be an item under Commissioners Business regarding an e-mail the Board received from Peter Thurston.She explained that because of the short timeline needed to respond, they decided to bring it up at todayís meeting.

 

2. PUBLIC COMMENTS

 

Jim Gillette, Eugene, noted that a hearings official has ten days to make a decision and it had been almost 90 days and he doesnít have a decision. He said he is in court regarding the fines the County levied on him.He thought the letter to him was a threat.†† He said he is looking for landowners to donate property for a recreation club.He was willing to donate his property.He said each landowner that joins the club could make rules for their own property.He was told that allowing people to participate in paint ball and riding bikes was illegal.He didnít think it was against the law because it is a free country.

 

3. EMERGENCY BUSINESS

 

None.

 

4. COMMISSIONERS' REMONSTRANCE

 

Sorenson stated that Lane County is a major agricultural county in the State of Oregon.He said the U.S. Senate is working on a budget reconciliation bill and tomorrow they are expected to vote on an amendment. He said it was important legislation as it would cap the payments made by the USDA at $250,000 to farms with two actively engaged spouses or farming partners, and it would eliminate a portion of the huge cut that is accompanying the bill for the conservation security program.He said the amendment would restore funding to mid-sized farms hardest hit by recent cuts in rural development programs.He commented that Oregon is one of the states that receive the least amount of money from these programs.

 

Dwyer announced that the Bush tax reform measure is to remove the mortgage tax credit, including the deductions for state and other taxes.He said this would impact the American public like nothing before.He commented that it was a way to balance the budget on the backs of the middle class.

 

5. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION

 

a. Announcements

 

None.

 

6. CONSENT CALENDAR

 

A. Management Services

 

1) ORDER 05-11-2-1/In the Matter of Amending Chapter 4 of Lane Manual to Revise the Computer Resources and Information Technology to Include Communications and to Authorize the County Administrator to Establish a Monthly Stipend (LM 4.200 through 4.220).

 

B. Public Works

 

1) ORDER 05-11-2-2/In the Matter of Vacation of a Portion of Oak Road (Co. Rd.373), Located in the Northeast Quarter (NE 1/4) Of Section 36, Township 20 South, Range 3 West of the Willamette Meridian, in Lane County, Oregon (20-03-36).

 

2) ORDER 05-11-2-3/In the Matter of Awarding a Contract to Papť Machinery Inc. for the Purchase of One (1), New, Diesel-powered Telescoping Boom Excavator, with One (1) Trade-in, Contract FY 05/06 FS-05.

 

3) ORDER 05-11-2-4/In the Matter of Appointing Two Members (David Balthrop and Ross Penhallogen) to the Vegetation Management Advisory Committee.

 

MOTION: to approve the Consent Calendar.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 5-0.

 

7. MANAGEMENT SERVICES

 

a. ORDER 05-11-2-5/In the Matter of Approving an Increase in Stipend Rate for Board of Property Tax Appeals Members to $12.50 Per Hour.

 

MOTION: to approve ORDER 05-11-2-5.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.

 

Dwyer indicated that the rate had been $10 per hour for a long time.He commented the people put in a lot of time for a little more than minimum wage and it was time to recognize they have professional value and should be compensated.

 

Stewart added this was covered by the revenue it generates.

 

VOTE 5-0.

 

8. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS

 

a. DISCUSSION AND DELIBERATION Ordinance No. 5-05/In the Matter of Amending Chapter 4 of Lane Code to Add Provisions for a Lane County Sales Tax and Use Tax, to Dedicate the Revenues, to Adopt Administration and Collection Provisions, To Renumber Differential Tax Provisions, and to Set an Effective Date (LC 4.400 through 4.462).

 

b. DISCUSSION AND DELIBERATION Ordinance No. 6-05/In the Matter of Amending Chapter 4 of Lane Code to Add Provisions for a Lane County Gross Receipts Tax, to Dedicate the Revenues, to Adopt Administration and Collection Provisions, To Renumber Differential Tax Provisions, and to Set an Effective Date (LC 4.500 through 4.563).

 

Morrison recalled they held public hearings yesterday from 1:30 to 3:15 and reconvened last night at 6:00 p.m. to hear public comment and testimony around the two ordinances, any other taxing mechanisms and the needs identified in the public safety process

 

Jim Johnson, Facilitator, lead a discussion about focus and goals.

 

Dwyer thought the goals were good but could be expanded.He said they need more community buy-in. He added that besides incarceration, other types of services need to be considered.He didnít see much buy-in from the community.

 

Stewart supported the goals and focus.He said they should try to reduce the use of alcohol and illegal drugs. He thought the goals and focus points targeted that.

 

Johnson recalled that staff looked at what the driving forces were behind crime in the community and the major difficulties and problems.He said they identified family violence as one of the major difficulties.He said there werenít enough programs or money devoted to stopping family violence.He said that was brought up as being one of the goals to consider.

 

Dwyer commented that this was a start and there were things with treatment and addiction they need to deal with.

 

With regard to page 22 (copy in file) Sorenson was concerned that governments typically underfund prevention because the benefits are obvious, but not immediate.He commented that $620,000 was being allocated for prevention but $13.8 million for special action.He said with this recommendation they appear to be continuing to spend more money on the tail end and not enough on rehabilitation, or the front end.

 

Johnson reported that the task force heard from staff involved in the programs.He said there were lots of facts that went to the task force about the existing system being so broken that it needs an infusion of dollars to make it work.

 

Doug Harcleroad, District Attorney, agreed that more money was put into traditional corrections and prosecution than into prevention.He said it is more expensive to do the more traditional programs than prevention.He noted they are not prosecuting 1,000 misdemeanor cases in the District Attorneyís office and stamping those reports with no resources to review or prosecute.He commented that the system is damaged.He noted the Sheriff has trouble doing basic law enforcement.He said they donít investigate 300 property crimes per month.He explained that this was designed to bring the basic function of government back to a level where they can say they are doing an okay job.He said this would be significantly better.He agreed about adding dollars to prevention.

 

Green didnít think they did a good job as a Board in getting this issue into the community.He hoped they could put some money toward prevention.He commented they need jails, as some people definitely need to be in jail.He added that people who have treatment also end up in jail.

 

Stewart said what was proposed to the task force was a $38 million package that was balanced.He indicated that the task force thought it was too much and wanted to reduce it to $24.5 million.

 

Lisa Smith, Department of Youth Services, commented that incarceration and treatment donít occur in isolation from each other.She said they work with the families and a lot of that occurs when they are in detention.With regard to juvenile dentition, she said they specifically put that package together as secure treatment beds.She said part of that is because they had lost so many Oregon Youth Authority beds that were long-term treatment beds.She thought they needed that as opposed to having the most dangerous kids in Lane County in the community.

 

Sorenson asked why alcohol abuse was left off.

 

Rob Rockstroh, Health and Human Services, said 40 percent of people arrested have meth in their blood stream.He said what is different about alcohol is that it doesnít mess up their heads quickly.He said that meth users are also taking alcohol, but their judgment is worse under methamphetamine.He said that alcohol is the number one drug in the country but when users take combinations of alcohol and meth, there are more problems.He said they donít see dangerous labs with alcohol but they do with meth.He added the state and federal governments have it as a focus.

 

Sorenson asked if there was a way to measure the routine problem.

 

Rockstroh responded that the level of meth has increased over the years.He said it takes a long time to clear.He added when they come in it is hard to tell what they have as it looks like a paranoid delusion, but is meth-induced.He noted they donít automatically do blood testing for meth.He thought most times people are on all types of drug and alcohol combinations, but meth is coming to the front.

 

The Board agreed with the goals.

 

With regard to programs and services, Johnson asked if the Board was satisfied with the types of programs and services recommended to achieve the four goals, or if the list should be changed by removing or adding items.

 

Stewart wanted to consider adding to rural patrols. With regard to capacity, he said there had been talk about possibly not enough capacity in the system and setting some money aside for purchasing capacity from other entities.With regard to capital improvements, he noted there was nothing included in the package for potential capital improvements.He noted the level of funding and prevention was low.

 

Green wanted to know what peopleís expectations are around rural patrol.

 

Russ Burger, Sheriff, said they initially included unincorporated patrol deputies in the task force process and it was removed.He said the task force decided that resident deputies in the communities were a better fit for what they were trying to accomplish and there was a high price tag tied to unincorporated patrol.He explained that one of the things that the Sheriffís Office has been doing is having the main office patrol do unincorporated patrol.He added they have a traffic safety team where the revenue from that pays for transportation safety and gives them some capacity in the event they have a high priority call.He added that they then could break away from their traffic safety duties and go to the call.He commented that any time they have a monetary gain tied to an enforcement action, there is going to be a negative perception.He noted there are some people in the community who do not like the transportation safety team for that reason.It was his goal to get to the point where they have a core group of transportation safety deputies to do fatal crash reconstruction and focus on the areas where they are having the crashes, but put the rest into unincorporated patrols so they could respond to calls for service.He noted they have eight to ten calls on the screen all the time, and many of them they donít get to because they are responding to priority one calls.†† He said for thefts, they are sending people a form to fill out to write what was stolen.He indicated they are not investigating those calls.

 

Morrison thought this was a compromise as the areas could take of their own police needs within their city limits at no cost to their budgets.She was supportive of rural patrols.She thought the city people go into the rural areas and commit a lot of the property crimes.

 

Green said that it was important to have a law enforcement presence in the rural areas. He was okay with program services but he was cautious about adding too much more.

 

Dwyer commented that there is a lack of knowledge among the citizens and the elected officials.He said the argument of double taxation has no relation to the types or level of services they deliver.He said they have services that are mandated by law.He didnít think they were getting their fair share of dollars for the types and level of services that they are expected to provide and to exact more out of the County in terms of arguments of double taxation is not fair.

 

Morrison thought this was a beginning and if they are successful with demonstrating they could do this, then at some point they could add the rural patrols.She wasnít happy about deleting it, but it would give Florence a resident deputy that they donít have and the INET Team brings a presence back and it would impact the entire County.She was willing to go forward to keep things the way they are.

 

Sorenson stated that rural patrols are an essential duty of the County government.He wanted to see it in the package.

 

Green accepted the packet recommendation from the task force.He liked the resident deputy and thought it was more efficient.

 

Stewart said he heard from his district that patrols are important.

 

Burger said that resident deputies will have the surrounding area in the jurisdiction they are in and the resident deputies are the essence of community policing.He said they know who the bad people are and where the problems are and they could focus their efforts on that.He said the deputy becomes the police officer for the community.He commented that it doesnít take care of the gaps in between the communities.He thought as a first step, the resident deputies go a long way.

 

Capital Improvements

 

Stewart commented that one of the problems in their system is they hadnít set aside enough money to improve the buildings or replace them.He noted there is no money in the budget other than for the courts.He said the jail was built back in the 70ís and is an aging facility that needs upgrading.He asked, with no funds to do that, if it would be prudent to add some funding.

 

Dwyer recalled that, historically, they had utilized a bonding mechanism for capital projects.He said there is a reserve that is part of the indirect which they never had before.He noted for maintenance there is not a capital replacement fund in anyoneís budget.He thought they should go out for bonding.He said what they needed to deal with immediately was prosecution and incarceration.He said they need to think about using the reserve to plan for needs in the future.

 

Green said the task force was clear to keep it simple and not include capital improvements at this time.He said they need to focus on public safety.

 

Morrison concurred with Green and Dwyer.

 

Johnson noted within the $24.5 million there are dollars for capital, related to courts, and they could do $10 million in work in a building that needs $45 million, but it would be a beginning.

 

Additional Capacity

 

With regard to the Springfield Jail, Johnson said they called it ďadditional capacityĒ and stipulated that it could be at the new Springfield Jail or any other facility.He said they spoke with the City of Springfield about the language and they agreed to it.He said they would like the additional capacity language in the budget.Their suggestion was $2 million instead of $1.5 million.

 

Morrison thought they should look into other counties for capacity.She thought that could be an advantage.

 

Green agreed.

 

Morrison said she had no problem with flexibility of capacity.She wanted to keep it in line with what had been agreed upon, otherwise they would lose momentum.She said they need support with whatever the funding mechanism is that they use.

 

Johnson asked if capacity should be included in the programs.

 

Green thought it should be.

 

Stewart agreed that it should be included and the free market should be used wherever they find the best buy for additional beds.

 

Morrison concurred.

 

Sorenson didnít think they should include the Springfield Jail in the proposal.

 

Programs and Services

 

Green said what people donít see is the level of expertise that goes into dealing with children at this level of prevention.He noted that most of the money comes as block grants that the County applies for.He said they donít see those dollars coming into the County.He commented that Lane County has a good reputation for doing great work around prevention, treatment and intervention.He noted what they donít have is a stream of sustainable dollars for the general fund that is dedicated.He said there are programs that work and that is what they are trying to get to.

 

Dwyer agreed they needed to have treatment, counseling, recognition and a support system.He added that drug testing was an important part in keeping someone clean.He said they need so much that if they tried to do everything they thought they needed to solve the problem, it would be cost prohibitive.He added that given the fact they are trying to solve an identified problem they know is immediate and leads to the recidivism rate and the lack of sanctions and the ability to punish people for acts, it creates another level of behavior. He commented that they needed what they could do now.

 

Sorenson suggested that they needed early intervention and greater health monitoring.He thought they should get rid of the sales tax proposal and come together on something they could agree on.

 

Dwyer said he doesnít like regressive or sales tax.He thought the idea of a graduated gross receipts with exemptions was his idea.He commented that a corporate tax couldnít raise enough funding.

 

Johnson said there are policy choices the Board has to face.The type of taxation was key. He added the Board needs to discuss whether they want property tax relief and what they want to do with Secure Rural Schools funding and the possibility of losing money.He added that they also have to decide what election days to put this on the ballot.

 

Dwyer commented that whatever they do would require a charter amendment.He said that has to come first.He said they have to give people a guaranty about what the caps are and how the money is going to be used. He thought if they had a surcharge on income taxes that would be deductible and could be leveraged, and giving property tax relief that more people would be in favor.He said they need to be systematic on how they solve this.He added they need to give the public assurance and security that whatever they do is for the intended purpose, there will be relief, and the rates will be capped.

 

With regard to number six on property tax relief, Morrison asked should a funding mechanism for a public safety solution include an amount that would provide property tax relief by not levying some or all of the Countyís property taxes?She said when it is written, it needs to explain that not all of the tax bill would go away, just the County portion.She thought this should be a component to consider when they get to the end.

 

Dwyer, Morrison, Stewart and Green agreed.Sorenson said for him it would depend on the other tax.He said if the tax was going to be as proposed, he was a no.

 

Van Vactor said the Secure Rural Schools Act would be the trigger with regard to property taxes.

 

Johnson explained if they gave property tax relief of about $1 per thousand, it was similar to the $20 million that comes from the Secure Rural Schools Act.

 

Dwyer said if they tell people something and then take it away, it becomes a gimmick to foster their support.He wanted to make the assumption that there would be no Secure Rural Schools money.

 

Sorenson asked if the government needed more money why they were reducing property taxes. He thought if they make it too complex, there would be more reasons for people to say no.

 

Stewart commented that they want to go from a tax mechanism that is not working to one that does.He thought they should give back the property taxes.He also wanted to factor in what would happen if the Secure Rural Schools Act was not re-authorized.He said the income tax at one percent on individuals and corporate taxes would generate about $65 million.He added that also covers the issue if they do not receive the Secure Rural Schools money.He added if the Secure Rural Schools Act is renewed, then they need to give back taxes and not levy the full one percent.

 

Wilson reiterated that the Board would give property tax relief but the rate will vary depending on whether they get Secure Rural Schools money.

 

Johnson asked the Board if they wanted to send this to the voters.

 

Dwyer said whatever they have to do, they would have to send it to the voters. He said before they do that, they have to have a charter safeguard that will give the voters confidence that the amount, use and dedication is secure.

 

Green supported sending it to the voters.He said their responsibility is to provide the information to the voters to let them make the decision.He said whatever the voters say, that is what the Board will do.

 

Morrison thought this needed to go to the voters.She said there has to be a comfort level in regard to the public that if the Board does this they would have a check and balance system as far as the rate increase, and it has to be in the charter amendment.

 

Johnson indicated the second reading and adoption of the ordinance would be delayed while they have other conversations.He said they need to decide whether to send a charter amendment to the voters first and if so, should it include both dedication and rate or only one or the other.He asked the Board about the charter change.

 

Dwyer commented that the charter could only be changed with the will of the people.He said they need to give the public a comfort level that doesnít restrict their ability to govern.He said the purpose and rate needs to be sent to the people in charter form.

 

There was consensus in going with a charter rate and purpose.

 

Dwyer wanted to lock in the rate so the businesses know what the fee would be.

 

Morrison asked, in looking at the rural patrol package and having it in the charter, if they want to increase the needs, if they go back out to the voters to add the rural patrols.

 

Johnson suggested that it be general so a future Board of Commissioners can decide what the priorities are and do it generally for public safety.

 

Sorenson thought if they were going for a charter amendment to establish the policy the voters would limit the amount of a particular type of tax to what it could be used for. He asked when they could make a decision to refer a measure to the voters and a limit to take action.He asked if there was a charter amendment that establishes a tax and limits the use of tax.

 

Wilson responded that depending on which election they choose and whether or not they wanted to be in a voterís pamphlet, there is a date by which it must be turned into elections.She said for a charter amendment on the ballot with a County voterís pamphlet for the March election, they would need to place the charter amendment on the ballot and appoint the Explanatory Statement Committee by December 28 in order for the committee to write the statement. She noted because of the way Lane Code is written, if they wanted to place a charter amendment on the primary ballot, it could be in the state voterís pamphlet and they must place the charter amendment on the ballot by January 16.

 

Van Vactor suggested continuing this discussion until next Wednesday afternoon.

 

Sorenson suggested having Van Vactor look at other options in helping draft the charter amendment.

 

Johnson distributed information on a business income tax.He said they were working on all business activity being taxed.He noted it would take a 3.4 percent tax rate to do only what the task force recommended.He said that would raise $24.5 million for all business activity.

 

Dwyer didnít want to put businesses at a competitive disadvantage.He said they are leveraging taxes.

 

Wilson indicated the Board makes preliminary decisions relative to a safety net and property tax relief that were different than what was coming out of the task force.She said the conclusion that they would vary the tax rate depending on the Secure Rural Schools Act has not been factored into the rates.She indicated that the rates assume that the property tax relief was the safety net.She explained that would cause a change in the rates that were presented with the others.

 

9. CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD

 

Morrison said the Board received an e-mail from Peter Thurston.She said this morning at agenda setting they decided that because of the timing of this to bring it to the Board for further discussion.

 

Green asked if it could be mandated around the protection plan.

 

Dwyer said that was needed to get clarified.He suggested sending a letter back stating they didnít receive adequate notice to respond to their request, but they could come and spend 15 minutes before the Board.

 

Green asked if there was any expected cost by their staff that they would be reimbursed.

 

Van Vactor stated he would draft the letter.

 

Morrison commented that there are different things taking place that are not connected.She said this had to do with the special water protection district surface water for Junction City and Coburg.She said it is all tied together.She added that they have watershed councils looking at the watersheds that are supposed to be accomplishing the same task, but it doesnít seem like they are getting it done.

 

MOTION: to send a letter.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 5-0.

 

Stewart noted that he received a copy of a board order that was approved by Douglas County.He said there was a budget note in this yearís budget document about turning over state police operations to counties.He said this board order is asking that it not be considered.

 

MOTION: to prepare a resolution like Douglas County.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 5-0.

 

10. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Dwyer announced that on Monday night he and Stewart are meeting at the Willamalane Senior Center to discuss public safety.

 

Green recognized the passing of Rosa Parks.

 

11. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660

 

Per ORS 192.660 (2)(H) for the purpose of consulting with counsel on litigation.

 

12. OTHER BUSINESS

 

None.

 

There being no further business, Commissioner Morrison recessed the meeting into Executive Session at 2:00 p.m.

 

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary.