BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'
October 12, 2005
Commissioners’ Conference Room
Commissioner Anna Morrison presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bobby Green, and Faye Stewart present. Peter Sorenson was present via telephone. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa were also present.
1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
Under Commissioners Business, items added will be 6. c., the track and field resolution and item 6. d. regarding the Board’s appointment to the Enterprise Zone Interim Committee. Green added an item under Commissioners Business, a request for support in funding for the work conference on October 28.
2. PUBLIC COMMENTS
Carol Berg Caldwell, Pleasant Hill, stated it was better to fund crime prevention programs. She thought there could be voluntary contributions from the purchase of luxury items. She thought there could be a tax on beer as a voluntary approach for funds to be collected for a dedicated purpose at the County level on sales of alcohol and tobacco. She commented that prevention dollars are cost effective. She was against a sales or gross receipt tax.
Jim Spickerman, Eugene, distributed a copy of a letter. He spoke on behalf of Harley Brewer. He noted that Brewer has judgments against him of about $45,000 on property worth about $49,000. He added there is a loan of $30,000 on the property. He said that Brewer needs relief from the judgments or he would lose his property. Spickerman indicated that Brewer bought his property in May 2000 and paid for it on contract, but the seller wouldn’t convey title. Spickerman stated that Brewer couldn’t get a loan on the property. Spickerman said it was three years before Brewer could get title to the property. He noted the house Brewer was living in on the property burned down in 2001, including his copy of the contract. Brewer didn’t have a place to live on the property and couldn’t afford to live elsewhere, so he lived in a bus. Brewer didn’t clean up the vehicles that were on the property. Spickerman said Brewer didn't have title to the cars so he couldn’t take them to the junkyard. Brewer and his daughter talked to Marc Kardell, Assistant County Counsel, and Jane Burgess, Compliance Officer, about his situation. He asked the Board to direct staff to talk with him.
Harley Brewer, Junction City, said he made all of his payments on his property on time. He said he had problems with the land but didn’t think it would get to this point. He didn’t want to lose his land and asked the Board for help.
Matthew Conser, Albany, indicated he spent 20 years in the manufactured home retail business. He recalled that Brewer came to him in early fall 2003 in researching loan options to get a new home on his property. Conser said Brewer had bought his property and paid for it, but didn’t have ownership. Conser added the owner died and previous to that wouldn’t convey title. Conser said Brewer’s house burned down and destroyed his copy of the contract. The heirs denied Brewer his rights, so he had to sue for title. Conser reported that Brewer finally got things resolved but there was a balloon payment due and no lending available because of his credit. Conser said his father personally loaned him the money to pay the balloon payment. He said Brewer can’t get financing without a building permit and the County wouldn’t issue one because of his infractions, but he doesn’t have any money to buy the permit because he doesn’t have financing. Conser said Brewer might lose his land to the County because of the infractions. Conser said they were willing to help Brewer obtain his building permits and further financing for the home. Conser said the fines levied had gotten out of hand. He asked the Board to help Brewer by reducing or extinguishing his fines or allowing staff to negotiate a reduction and allow him to obtain a permit on his land.
Debbie Jeffries, Eugene, commented the City of Eugene changed the document that was presented to the Board about parks and open space. She noted it was the third change since the original draft in November. She requested that the record stay open until County Counsel could respond to the Board to submit testimony to the Planning Commission. She said city staff did not want the Planning Commission to keep the record open. She said the city said that the County had been kept up to speed by city staff on what was going on. She asked the Board to take the position that the City of Eugene stays in its own planning area.
Morrison was concerned that there are planning actions taking place on lands that are under the jurisdiction of Lane County, but they are not being included in the conversations.
Dave Hauser, Eugene, stated he represented the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce. He shared the results of a poll of their 1,200 members relating to the public discussions underway. He said they sent out 1,200 surveys and received 158 back, a 14 percent response rate. He said that 98 percent of the businesses they polled thought there was an important connection between a functioning public safety system and a healthy economy. He added that 99 percent thought it was an appropriate priority for Lane County to focus on. He said when they asked their members if they would be willing to pay a new tax to help fund public safety in Lane County, only 34 percent of those who responded said yes, 44 percent said no and 22 percent were uncertain. He said when they asked about a sales tax to fund public safety, 69 percent wouldn’t support it. He added when they asked about a one percent sales tax tied to a decrease in property taxes and locked into the County charter, 61 percent said they would oppose it. He said when they asked about a gross receipts tax for businesses earning over $250,000 annually, only 16 percent indicated they would support such a proposal.
He said public safety is a priority for the local business community and it is clearly connected to the goal of the chamber to promote a healthy local economy. He indicated that they wanted to be part of the solution. He didn’t think their members and the general public were convinced there was a need for a new revenue source to address the problem, nor are they supportive of the sales tax or a gross receipts tax. He thought without a significant outreach and education process in advance of an election, any new revenue proposal would fail. He said if the Secure Rural Schools Act is not reauthorized, it would have to be their priority for the County.
Jim Hale, Eugene, commented that the Chamber doesn’t recognize that Lane County has a crisis. He thought Lane County’s federal funds would dry up. He thought charter amendment language should limit the rate, dedicating the funds to certain law enforcement functions, separating the costs out of the general fund and setting aside a portion for a rainy day fund. He said they should require the property tax relief they are promising. He thought they needed three ordinances, one would be for law enforcement functions from the task force recommendation, and establish refunding of the County’s operating tax rate. He thought they needed to establish a second revenue stream that takes care of the Sheriff and police function with significant additional revenue so they could give disbursements to all of the cities. He said they also need a revenue stream to fund the immediate addition to the Lane County jail.
Mona Lindstromberg, Veneta, said last week in her neighborhood she was subjected to blasting cannons and gunshots. She said that Secret House Winery has property south of Veneta where birds had become a nuisance. She indicated the shots start early in the morning and go off at frequent intervals throughout the day. She indicated her neighbors have called the Sheriff’s Department and she called Land Management, and they have not received any calls back. She called Patty Chapelle at Secret House and Chapelle said there were no alternatives to blasting cannons. She claimed Chapelle was well known in the area for not being a good neighbor. She said there are alternatives and if Lane County has no standards for addressing this behavior, it needed to be rectified.
Morrison recommended Lindstromberg contact the Department of Agriculture to remedy the problem.
3. EMERGENCY BUSINESS
4. COMMISSIONERS' REMONSTRANCE
5. MANAGEMENT SERVICES
a. REPORT/GFOA Award.
David Suchart reported that the Finance Depart is responsible for almost $1 billion flowing through the County. He indicated they received their second award of financial achievement from the Government Financial Officers Association. He noted the award is presented by the GFOA to the individuals designated as instrumental in their government unit in achieving the certificate of achievement in excellence of financial reporting. He added the certificate of achievement is presented to those government units whose annual financial reports adhere to program standards and the certificate represents the highest award in government financial reporting. He congratulated his staff.
b. ORDER 05-10-12-1/In the Matter of Allowing Eligible Retirees to Choose Either to Enroll in the County’s Current Medicare Supplement Plan or to Receive a Quarterly Payment in the Amount of the Premiums for the Medicare Supplement Plan.
Morrison indicated that this came to Finance and Audit and they gave the approval to move it forward to the Board.
Karen Artiaco, Management Services, reported that this is a change in their administrative practices for eligible retirees who are Medicare eligible. She said when a Lane County employee becomes Medicare eligible; they are enrolled in a Medicare supplement plan. She said it had not included a prescription drug benefit. She commented that prescription drugs are becoming more expensive. She said they have employees who turn 65 and then come to the County asking for prescription drug coverage. She noted their only option would be to buy another Medicare supplement plan and give up the County’s plan because Medicare says they can only be enrolled in one Medicare supplement at a time.
She said this order proposes giving the employee an option to either be enrolled in the County’s program or they could choose to receive money equal to the amount of that premium in a quarterly payment to apply to another Medicare premium plan that would better meet their needs. She said the County currently pays about one-half percent of its employer rate to PERS for a PERS retiree medical program. She said the money goes towards a premium and administration of the plan. She said the employees could take approximately $82.00 per month. She noted the PERS least expensive plan is $84 per month and they would have a prescription drug benefit that would equal that offered by the new Medicare Modernization Act.
Van Vactor noted that the Board of Commissioners does not intend to expand the current retiree benefits to include prescription drug coverage.
Wilson said when this money goes to a retiree the requirement will be that they use it to purchase the Medicare supplement plan. She added if they don’t, then they lose the eligibility and there is a potential risk of taxable consequences not only for the retiree, but for the County.
Dwyer asked how they would ensure that.
Wilson explained they would have to report the policy number back to the County and it would be explained clearly in the information that goes out to the employee. She said the concern is that they keep it as a qualified plan under the IRS program.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 05-10-12-1.
Green MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.
c. ORDER 05-10-12-2/In the Matter of Revising the Lane County Human Rights Advisory Committee (LCHRAC) Bylaws.
Greta Utecht, Management Services, said because they face the problem of a quorum in order to meet, versus a quorum in order to vote, they changed the language in the bylaws so that includes liaison members and associate members as part of the County in order to hold a meeting. She added the bylaws required that there be a youth member on the committee and it is difficult for the youth member to get transportation to come to an evening meeting. They recommended a change in the language so it may include a youth member.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 05-10-12-2.
Green MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.
d. ORDER 05-10-12-3/In the Matter of Revising Lane Manual Section 3.540 Regarding the Membership Terms for the Lane County Human Rights Advisory Committee.
Utecht explained that the Lane County Human Rights Advisory Committee went through a transitional phase last year. She said because there were meetings where it was difficult to have a quorum, they discussed the term length, and when the terms begin and end for members. She said many members thought they were limiting the number of people who would be willing to apply for the advisory board because of the four-year term length. She said the Board Order states it is up to four years, instead of a four-year term, and the appointment term begins and ends on the date the new member comes on board. She said this was to be more flexible and encourage people to join and allow the Board to appoint members for both three and four year lengths.
Morrison supported this. She hoped the changes would move them forward.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 05-10-12-3.
Green MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.
e. ORDER 05-10-12-4/In the Matter of Appointing Ten (10) New Members to the Lane County Human Rights Advisory Committee.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 05-10-12-4.
Stewart MOVED, Green SECONDED.
f. ORDER 05-10-12-5/In the Matter of Ratifying the Tentative Agreement Between Lane County and the Sheriff’s Office with the Lane County Peace Officers’ Association.
Frank Forbes, Management Services, explained this was the two-year labor agreement between LCPOA, the County and the Sheriff’s Office. He noted it covers the sworn deputies and a few others in the Sheriff’s Office and the Juvenile Group workers in Youth Services to provide for a two percent COLA effective July 1. He added it includes a two percent deferred comp contribution by the County, effective the first pay period following ratification. He noted that the deferred comp contribution ends next year and in place of any COLA, they picked up the six percent individual account program contribution under the PERS program. He said it would make them more competitive in the marketplace and provide for consistency. He added there would be insurance changes that will put the LCPOA insurance program on target with AFSCME. He indicated there was a file note by County Counsel wanting clarification on language about the jail briefing, but it did not change.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 05-10-12-5.
Dwyer MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.
6. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS
a. REPORT/Extension Service Quarterly Report.
Charlotte Riersgard, OSU Extension Service, gave her quarterly report. (Copy in file).
b. REPORT/Public Safety Task Force.
Stewart supported the items on the rest of the agenda. He said the member they recommended to the Board for the Planning Commission would bring a fresh perspective.
(Stewart left at 10:20 a.m.)
Jim Johnson, Facilitator, commented the Public Safety Task Force had done great work. He indicated this was the final report. He noted the needs of the County and city are identified in the document.
Johnson reported that the task force met seven times from June 30 to September 28. He said they heard testimony from a number of citizens. He said at the beginning of the process it was suggested that they work by a super majority--80 percent of the jurisdictions attending would need to vote on a matter for it to be passed onto the Board of Commissioners. He explained the conclusions and recommendations are in Focus, Goals, Programs and Services and Finance.
Johnson reported that the task force recommended that for the next five years the Lane County public safety system focus its efforts on illegal drugs and alcohol abuse. He noted that meth is the single most important factor associated with criminal behavior and interaction with the public safety system. He said the task force recommended that public safety should target special groups for special action: illegal drug producers, dealers, and property criminals. He said they have to find a way to reduce family violence and enhance treatment programs and provide additional prevention programs.
Johnson said a program was recommended that cost $24,530,000--a combination of new programs of restoration and programs or enhancements that had gone away in the past few years. He said that task force and staff are recommending a system where all of the components work together. He commented that the task force and staff were not convinced that it was the ultimate list of programs and services or the budget amount that is needed. He said they thought it was a reasonable first step.
Johnson indicated that the task force was not able to reach a supermajority vote regarding the vote for the same motion. He said it included the recommendation (page 6 of the summary) of the $24 million enhancement program and asked that the Board move the public safety service (paid for in the general fund) out of the general fund. These would be combined with the enhancement package, creating one new public safety system for $60 million. He added they recommended that a one percent public safety tax on retail sales dedicated to a public safety system would be the only financing tool. He said they also recommended rebating a minimum of one dollar per thousand of the County’s property tax up to $1.28 per thousand. He said they recommended asking the voters to allow three years to verify the results and then give the voters the opportunity to make it permanent in November 2008. He noted the only way to change the rate is by a vote of the people. He stated the Sheriff and District Attorney support this and will attempt to get resolution and support from all the cities.
Green said they still have an education problem with the general public on funding and the necessary costs to provide public safety in a systematic way.
Dwyer stated when he was elected in 1999, his goal was to provide a system for public safety. He wanted a tax that was low rate, broad based, and deductible from other taxes. The rate would be locked in the charter so there is no concern about new boards raising the rate. He noted the comparable discounts on property taxes, and the use is limited to what is in the charter. He said they went out for a surcharge and he thought it was fair as it was based on the ability to pay. He didn’t know why it failed; if there wasn’t enough time for education or if they had not done a good enough job. He said there wasn’t an exit poll as to why the tax failed. He commented a tax is not popular but they need a way to make it as palatable as possible.
He didn’t support a sales tax. He thought they needed to have an income surcharge tax because it would tax on the ability to pay and exempt Social Security and people below the threshold. He said it would have to have the rate locked in the charter so it could not be changed without a vote of the people. He added they would want to lock in the applicable use so people know that it is for something defined. He recognized the problem and was willing to do something to solve it. He asked what type of a plan met the principles and what types of ordinances do they need to proceed so that it would culminate in a favorable vote by the people.
Morrison said there is a disconnect on how people understand the finance piece. She said whatever they choose, it is questionable if it would be accepted. She thought the idea of reducing a property tax was a plus they had never dealt with. She thought people would be more receptive if there is a dedicated place for the money.
Van Vactor stated that these were just recommendations from a task force. He said the Board could determine a higher or lower rate. He suggested a work session to go through the details on what all the options are before a public hearing.
Dwyer wanted Dave Hauser, Chamber of Commerce, to formulate a work group and review the Portland Business and Occupation Tax to see what kind of limitations there would be regarding the dedication. He commented that most of the tax relief goes to the larger corporations. He worried about tax avoidance when it comes to sales tax.
Morrison was against a gross receipts tax because a majority of businesses in Lane County are small. She thought this could have an impact on them. She thought they would support this tax if the property tax were reduced.
Dwyer said whatever top rate they decide, it would need to include the amount they lose if they don’t have the re-authorization of the Secure Rural Schools Act.
Green thought they should talk about solving problems. He added it could be a set of solutions. He said they couldn’t just do anything with the problems continuing. He wanted the work session on October 26 to incorporate a strategic discussion and make a recommendation to the public on going forward.
Van Vactor suggested the strategic discussion occur after the public hearing.
Morrison thought by adjusting this, they could generate the revenue and not make it so onerous. She wanted the public hearing to be one in the day and one at night so they wouldn’t limit the public’s chance to testify. She commented that if they get the Secure Rural Schools Act money, it only lasts until 2013. If they were going to be looking at the long term, they should try to find something. She wanted the work session facilitated.
Johnson recalled there were two votes from the task force and neither the gross receipts tax nor sales tax met the super majority. He added since the last meeting, one more jurisdiction voted for the sales tax. He noted the Veneta City Council voted a majority to gross receipts. He said they were preparing ordinances on the top two recommendations from the task force.
Van Vactor indicated next week they would have a reading and roll the ordinance. He noted on October 26 they would have a work session and go through the details with each tax and a timeframe.
Morrison wanted information on the administrative costs for the taxes.
c. ORDER 05-10-12-16 Urging the USA Track & Field Governing Committee to Award the 2008 US Olympic Track and Field Trials to the Oregon Track Club, Eugene, Oregon.
Morrison indicated that Green would be going back with the Oregon Track Club to try to get the Olympic Trials to come to Eugene.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 05-10-12-16.
Green MOVED, Sorenson SECONDED.
VOTE: 4-0. (Stewart excused).
d. ORDER 05-10-12-17 Appointing Two Citizens to a Joint City/County Committee to Develop Permanent Standards for the West Eugene Enterprise Zone.
Morrison recalled in December they decided that Green and Stewart would be the Board’s representatives on the interim group that is forming, and the County would be advertising for applicants for the citizen positions. She noted the deadline was September 23 and applications were received. She said the city recommended Rusty Rexius and Green. Stewart’s recommendation was Lou Christenson and Steve Korth.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 05-10-12-17, appointing Lou Christian and Steve Korth.
Green MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.
VOTE: 4-0 (Stewart excused).
e. ORDER 05-10-12-18 Transferring $5,000 from the General Fund Operational Contingency to Materials and Services Within General Expense to Support the "What Works" Conference on Early Childhood Intervention in Oregon.
Green announced this would be on October 28 in Portland. He said it is a conference on early childhood intervention. His request was a funding request of $5,000 from the contingency budget. He indicated the budget for this is $75,000, for speakers and accommodations.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 05-10-12-18.
Dwyer MOVED, Sorenson SECONDED.
7. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION
8. PUBLIC WORKS
a. ORDER 05-9-21-2/In the Matter of Vacating a Portion of B Street, a Public Road Within the Plat of Coles’ First Addition to Marcola, as Platted and Recorded in Book 3, Page 4, Lane County, Oregon Plat Records, Without a Public Hearing, and Adopting Findings of Fact (16-01-18-33). (NBA & PM 9/21/05)
Dwyer requested that this be pulled as it was without a public hearing.
b. ORDER 05-10-12-6/In the Matter of Appointing One Member (Todd Johnston) to the Lane County Planning Commission.
Morrison and Stewart reported they went through the application process. They interviewed three people and selected Todd Johnston to replace Marion Esty, who retired.
Dwyer had problems with this applicant as he works for a land use firm.
Green suggested bringing this item back next week.
9. CONSENT CALENDAR
A. Approval of Minutes:
April 13, 2005, Regular Meeting, 9:00 a.m.
May 18, 2005, Regular Meeting, 9:00 a.m.
September 13, 2005, Regular Meeting, 9:00 a.m.
September 13, 2005, Joint Fair Board, 12:00 noon
September 21, 2005, Regular Meeting, 9:00 a.m.
September 21, 2005, Regular Meeting, 1:30 p.m.
B. Health and Human Services
1) ORDER 05-10-12-7/In the Matter of Awarding a Contract in the Amount of $140,191 to Emergence for Drug Court Outpatient Addiction Treatment.
C. Management Services
1) ORDER 05-10-12-8/In the Matter of Authorizing the Sale of Surplus County Owned Real Property to Green Eye, LLC for $40,000 (Map 17-04-25-44-00900, 267 Van Buren, Eugene).
2) ORDER 05-10-12-9/In the Matter of award of Bid LCB 2005-10 for a Construction Contract for Lane County Community Corrections Center Roof Replacement In the Amount of $97,209.
3) ORDER 05-10-12-10/In the Matter of Award of Bid LCB 2005-9 for a Construction Contract for Lane County Jail Roof Replacement in the Amount of $44,331.
D. Public Works
1) ORDER 05-10-12-11/In the Matter of Authorizing the Sale of Two Parcels of County Owned Real Property Adjacent to Northwest Expressway on Filbert Avenue, Identified as Tax Lots 17-04-23-44 4100 & 4200.
2) ORDER 05-10-12-12/In the Matter of the Alteration of a Portion of Clear Lake Road (County Road No. 1174), from Jensen Lane to Canary Road, Located in Sections 11, 12, 13, 14, 23 & 24, Township 19 South, Range 12 West of the Willamette Meridian.
3) ORDER 05-10-12-13/In the Matter of the Alteration of a Portion of Upper North Fork Road (County Road Number 513) Located in Sections 5, 6 and 7, Township 17 South, Range 10 West of the Willamette Meridian.
4) ORDER 05-10-12-14/In the Matter of the Alteration of a Portion of Brice Creek Road (Portions of County Road Numbers 81, 737, and 1207) Located in Sections 7, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23, Township 22 South, Range 1 East of the Willamette Meridian.
E. Assessment & Taxation
1) ORDER 05-10-12-15/In the Matter of Approving Settlement of the Cricket Communications, Inc. (Also Known as Leap Wireless International, Inc.) and the Genuity Inc. Tax Claims in Bankruptcy Court, and Approving the Cancellation of Taxes Remaining on the Cricket/Leap, Genuity, and K-Mart Affected Accounts.
MOTION: to approve the Consent Calendar.
Green MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.
10. CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD
11. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
Morrison announced that last night there was a joint elected officials meeting with Eugene, Springfield and Coburg regarding Coburg hooking up to Metro Wastewater. She thought the meeting went well and the jurisdictions there realized the situation Coburg was in. She said they have agreed to keep this moving forward to their respective bodies with an answer for Coburg by the first of the year. She said they would bring it back to the Board on October 26.
12. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660 - 11:30 a.m. TIME CERTAIN
Per ORS 192.660 (2)(h) for the purpose of consulting with counsel on litigation.
13. OTHER BUSINESS
There being no further business, Commissioner Morrison recessed the meeting at 12:10 p.m.