BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'
October 26, 2005
Commissioners’ Conference Room
Commissioner Anna Morrison presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bobby Green, Sr., 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
2. PUBLIC COMMENTS
Jim Hale, Eugene, thought the Board needed a set of promises in the charter that offloads public safety from the general fund. He added it puts a ceiling on the rate that gives assurances to the voters of Lane County the promises they are trying to make. He asked the Board to reconsider an income tax. He thought if the Board puts out a charter amendment, it should include all of the public safety funds. He commented that they should expand Lane County’s jails, not the City of Springfield.
Tim Laue, Eugene, commented that the report of the Public Safety Task Force highlights an ongoing crisis in public safety, human services and criminal justice at Lane County. He said the willingness to take a political risk with proposing a new mechanism for revenue is unprecedented and indicative of the seriousness of the crisis. He said the accomplishments of the task force are one for which the participants should be justifiably proud. He said that the larger population of the County is not well informed. He said it took four months for representatives and professionals (who on a daily basis lived with the consequences of the public safety criminal justice crisis) to come to agreement. He commented that it would take longer for the community at large to reach the same conclusions. He said if the work of the Public Safety Task Force is to succeed, the wider community of Lane County must be engaged in a way that describes the crisis, identifies strategies and goals and gets support of the critical needs to fund necessary programs. He said to make progress, the Board will have to educate, communicate and engage the public without a perceived sense that it is a sales job to take money from people’s pockets. He commented that the public must be given an honest opportunity to assess the situation, acquire the information they need and determine if they think there is the same sense of urgency. He thought they would, but if they were asked for funding prematurely, the outcome would be the same as in the past. He said this couldn’t be rushed. He suggested waiting until 2007.
3. EMERGENCY BUSINESS
4. COMMISSIONERS' REMONSTRANCE
5. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS
a. DISCUSSION/Request from Oregon Social Learning Center for Letter of Support.
Morrison noted in the agenda setting process they received a request from the Oregon Social Learning Center regarding a letter of support for a grant they are applying for. She said Lane County had originally supported the original grant they applied for and received. She stated this is to try to continue their application and receiving those funds.
Green supported the letter. He suggested deleting the second paragraph.
MOTION: to approve sending the letter as amended.
Green MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.
b. DISCUSSION/City of Coburg Request for Direction Regarding MWMC Connection.
Judy Volta, Mayor of Coburg, asked for agreement in principle of an IGA they are proposing to be drafted. She said they made their proposal to the joint elected officials. She asked if they could come to an agreement in principle that is mutually acceptable. She said this should be a priority. She noted there are environmental issues for using the McKenzie River. She said they brought up the issue that there is a precedent. She said that Coburg is asking to be a user, not a partner. She said they don’t think the five years and the $800,000 price tag is accurate if they are an user.
Volta said to work up the IGA, it would take six to eight months, with a cost of $200,000 as opposed to the lengthier process. She said if the fees were set too high, it might kill the project. Then it might be better to build their own but they preferred not to do that. She noted there are political obstacles. She was appreciative of Lane County’s support. She said they had been part of the United Front effort for some years and they have asked for wastewater funding from the federal government. She said the question comes back as to what they are doing as a regional player so they aren’t duplicating federal spending. She said they wanted to pay their fair share plus the SDC’s. She said they have to be invited and mutually accepted.
Dwyer thought they should work together regionally. He commented that it made se0nse that they deal with this on a regional basis. He thought being an user made sense because it doesn’t become cost prohibitive and it gives the jurisdictions executive authority to make the decisions that are based on the regional system. He was in favor of helping out the citizens of Coburg. He thought if they could expedite this and increase the employment base throughout Lane County and Coburg they could be putting more people to work. He wanted to collaborate with the City of Coburg and their partners. He wanted to move forward with this.
Milo Mecham, LCOG, recalled there were concerns from MWMC staff about costs that were already incurred. He said that some would be covered by an SDC payment. He said they proposed that Coburg would make an additional lump sum payment to reimburse the jurisdictions and create a balance as to how much extra work would be involved. He said that was a proposal on Coburg’s part to help reimburse the jurisdictions for the work they are doing.
Morrison wanted County Counsel to review the IGA draft with regard to the planning department and what on the schedule would have to go to fit this in. She also wanted to know how they would reprioritize the projects they are currently working on. She was supportive of moving forward but wanted to see what the other priorities are.
Van Vactor thought asking County Counsel to do anything now is premature because there are two other governing bodies that have to join in. He thought with the Board’s knowledge, Faye Stewart could work with the other governing body partners. He thought the work needed to be done initially with MWMC and Coburg as opposed to Lane County staff. He said Lane County doesn’t operate the facility at all.
Stewart indicated he is the commissioner on the MWMC. He noted that the MWMC did not take any formal action. He said they had a discussion about Coburg hooking-up. He commented that in general the Board is supportive of moving forward with trying to accommodate that. He said there was one member who was against hooking up because of additional costs. He said they were concerned about how it would affect the maximum daily loads with Coburg hooking up, and they hadn’t addressed that issue yet. He said the majority of the Board wanted to continue moving forward to see if they could accommodate the request. He was supportive of doing this. He said it made sense from an environmental standpoint. He thought this was the best solution. He believed the system could accommodate it and they have an obligation to do it.
MOTION: to approve the concepts enumerated in the IGA.
Dwyer MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.
Stewart said they have to find a way to deal with the costs for the hook up.
Green didn’t share the concern of the City of Eugene--that this was to serve a large employer. He said that Coburg is providing meaningful income and quality of life for people. He said this addresses a groundwater contamination problem. He thought that Coburg did need to be a user. He agreed that a lot of the work needed to be done with other entities.
Sorenson thought they needed to more forward on this.
Stewart said they have to de-emphasize businesses located in Coburg and acknowledge the citizens that live there. He said the system is designed to treat the waste facilities that are not functioning properly to improve health.
Morrison asked where they were with the other jurisdictions.
Volta responded that later today they meet with the City of Eugene and on November 21 they meet with the Springfield City Council. She indicated they are trying to get this resolved by the first of the year if possible.
c. WORK SESSION/Public Safety Task Force Report and Ordinances 5-05 and 6-05.
Morrison reported that this was a continuation discussion regarding the Public Safety Task Force Report that was delivered to the Board.
Jim Johnson, Facilitator, explained the task before the Board is to find a way to finance a major enhancement or restoration of public safety in Lane County. He said to do that they could deal with property taxes or alternatives to the property tax. He indicated they did three community surveys in March, August and October that are in Attachment D (copy in file). He discussed what was to take place at the public hearing next week. He said there are a number of issues the Board could choose to send to the voters.
Wilson noted the potential option under the May election, Option 8, if it was a timing option favored by the Board, would have been removed from the table had they not placed an ordinance for reading last week. She said it was an order to keep that a viable option. She said in the course of the Board’s decision making next week, they will decide the option they want or any other timing options. She said had they not had a first reading last week, the elements of Option 8 would have gone away because of the time frame allowed. She stated the Board still had the full range of options available.
Sorenson asked if the County loses the federal forest payments what the amount of loss would be.
Dave Garnick, Budget Analyst, responded that the general fund currently receives $20.5 million. He added that doesn’t include the other $27 million that goes into roads and schools.
Sorenson asked why they would enact an ordinance in 2005 knowing that they would need an additional $21 million per year. He didn’t see the rationale for doing this in 2005 or 2006, until they know they would need more money from the Secure Rural Schools Act.
Stewart asked if they had the ability to change the ordinances and go in a different direction if they found it impractical.
Johnson said they would never have to go to adoption. He said next week if they decide they don’t like the ordinance, they could hold another public hearing on another option.
Sorenson asked if Lane County would be the only county to enact a sales or gross receipts tax.
Johnson responded that no other county in Oregon had proposed this.
Green asked if they could present alternative taxes to the voters in a menu format.
Wilson reported that the Board has to ask the voters a yes or no question. She said they couldn’t have options described on a ballot. She said the language would have to be clear in the measure.
Dwyer stated he had been opposed to a sales tax. He didn’t think a sales tax would pass.
Sorenson asked if they could get the corporate income tax option and put off this hearing until next week.
Johnson said that was an option. He wanted to see a motion that expanded the purpose of the November 1 hearing to include all of the funding options that are available to the County that includes comments from the public on the task force budget, the services and any other items the public thinks is appropriate.
MOTION: to approve an expanded purpose for the November 1 hearing to include receiving comments on all of the funding options that are available to the County that includes public safety needs, task force proposed budget, task force proposed programs and services and other items the public thinks are appropriate.
Morrison MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.
Sorenson asked what the legal implications would be if they modified the ordinances.
Wilson responded that for any modification to the ordinance that is substantive, they would need an additional reading. She said it would give them the opportunity to incorporate those comments into a subsequent reading of the ordinance. She said if they could craft the new language today, they would only need one additional reading. She said the purpose of the public hearing is to receive the public’s comments on the task force report or alternative revenues.
Sorenson supported this motion. He was against a gross receipt and sales tax.
Dwyer was for solving the problem and wanted to be progressive.
Sorenson wanted the rate on the corporate tax. He asked if there was any current research on the method by which they would assess a corporate income tax within Lane County that would generate the amount of money that would cover the Secure Rural Schools Act. He was against a sales tax.
Johnson indicated that Garnick was working on that.
Sorenson asked if there would be a multi-million dollar impact on the rest of the fund if the task force report was implemented and the federal forest funds went away.
Garnick said that Stewart recommended moving the public safety department off the general fund. He noted in doing that, they would free up the amount of money they are currently using and by giving a rebate, there is about $20 million to address the Secure Rural Schools problem if that money were to go away.
Stewart proposed if they gave a rebate on the property tax to give back $1.00 instead of $1.28, as that would still produce almost $6 million and if they lose the Secure Rural Schools Act, it would keep the general fund whole. He said the money at Public Works is still at risk and not counted in this proposal. He commented that this doesn’t make everything whole if they lose the Secure Rural Schools Act. He said the general fund should remain intact and not make cuts in public safety.
Dwyer commented there was no refund unless they were property owners. He asked if there could be a rebate on income taxes. He didn’t see any benefits to a sales tax.
Sorenson asked what the implications would be for a corporate income tax change.
Johnson noted that the Multnomah business income tax rate is 1.45 percent, the Portland Business License Fee is based on 2.2 percent of Portland’s net income. He said there are other corporate income taxes at the city and county level in the State of Oregon. He said that Dave Hauser, Eugene Chamber of Commerce, supported taxing techniques that are broad-based. He said there could be a question on why the businesses were paying for all of the public safety needs in the County.
Stewart commented that the citizens want the Board to make steps to restore trust. He wanted to know what the possibility would be of setting aside the public safety services they currently have in the general fund and dedicating funding for those.
Van Vactor explained they could do something by board order, or create things by ordinance. If they wanted to create something permanent, it could be done through a charter amendment.
Dwyer wanted to know about the impact on the gross receipt taxes. He wanted to know what advantage there would be to deduct property taxes from gross receipt taxes compared to a credit.
Sorenson wanted a presentation on the two specific ordinances being set for public hearing next week. He wanted to know the department directors’ observations on the task force report.
Harvey Rogers, (Preston, Gates, Ellis, Bond Council for Lane County), addressed the Board. He said a sales tax is a tax that is imposed on the sale of goods. He said they were asked to come up for provisions for the Lane Code that would mimic the basic provisions of the State of Washington’s sales tax to estimate revenues. He said the State of Washington’s sales tax code is also a tax on certain services and they preserved that element in the draft of the Lane County sales tax code. He noted there were about 200 exemptions. He said they might start out with something simple but then fine-tune it. He noted that before the Board is a relatively untuned sales tax code. He said there are basic exemptions for food and medical supplies and it has other exemptions that are base level in the State of Washington.
With regard to a gross receipts tax, Rogers said they could only tax things that happen in Lane County. He commented that is a difficult issue with gross receipts. He said that many companies operate within the County and outside the County and the gross receipts tax code follows the Washington Code model. He said people do business and create income in Lane County. He said if some income is from outside the county, it is not fair to tax that. He commented that not all of the income of an entity inside the county would be income subject to a gross receipts tax. He added things might be mined or harvested and the gross receipt tax code refers to that type of activity as extraction from the land. He said another economic activity is manufacturing and there are commercial activities that might occur within the county. He noted the gross receipts tax would be imposed on each of those activities.
Stewart asked if it was hard to administer a gross receipts tax.
Rogers responded that there would be an administrative component that would be complicated. He said if they did an income tax, it would mirror the provisions of the state tax.
Doug Harcleroad, District Attorney, said after working through the need, they had consensus on the $24.4 million package. He thought it was a good first step. He was hopeful that whatever the Board does there is a 5-0 vote. He hoped the cities would support whatever it is the Board does. He said they need to be successful. He commented that requires compromise and consensus from everyone. He was supportive of this.
Green asked if they wait until 2007, what they would do until then.
Harcleroad said they are basically at status quo for the next year with the current service level.
Lisa Smith, Youth Services, commented there is an extreme need for public safety. She said they also focused on the need for stability. She said they continue to respond to cuts instead of having a level of stability to which they build their services on.
Alicia Hays, Children and Families, said the prevention piece is important.
Rob Rockstroh, Health and Human Services, said the elected officials knew a little about the services He noted that Lane County has capacity and meth issues and they have to convince everyone about this.
Russ Burger, Sheriff, said they came up with a solution that they thought was a reasonable first step. His biggest concern was the Board would dismiss all the work that was done instead of taking it into consideration and have a strong policy discussion about what direction they are going. He disagreed with the concept that they have to wait a few years to fix the problem. He said it is here now and it is going to get worse. He thought it was a bad idea to wait. He encouraged the Board to find a solution and move on so they could do good things for the people of Lane County. He said they need to do a better job.
Johnson noted the next step was the public hearing next Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.
6. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION
7. YOUTH SERVICES
a. ORDER 05-10-26-1/In the Matter of Directing Staff to Dedicate Youth Services Lapse in Excess of 2 percent of the Department's Budgeted Discretionary General Fund Use From FY 04-05 to the Department's Budgeted Discretionary General Fund Use for FY 05-06.
Lisa Smith, Department of Youth Services, requested use of some of the 04/05 Youth Services lapse to build a self-sustainability plan for the Culinary Arts Program. She said she was initially approached from staff with the Martin Luther King Education Center and Detention Kitchen to meet their own internal catering needs and have the kids do it. She said it became popular and has grown to the point that if they are going to continue, they need to have a curriculum to where they are teaching the skills as opposed to just working in the kitchen. She added they want to be able to build a program that has a direct transition to the Lane Community College Culinary Arts Program. She noted that the LCC Culinary Arts Program was already a partner with the MLK Program through GED. She said they need funds for consulting to develop a curriculum that staff could implement. She added they need equipment that is not available in detention and to pay youth to put through the curriculum. She noted it would be a one-time request of $40,000 and at that point they want the project to be self-sustaining.
MOTION: to approve 05-10-26-1.
Green MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.
8. CONSENT CALENDAR
A. Approval of Minutes:
May 18, 2005, Regular Meeting, 1:30 p.m.
June 1, 2005, Regular Meeting, 9:00 a.m.
June 1, 2005, Regulation Meeting, 1:30 p.m.
July 27, 2005, Regular Meeting, 9:00 a.m.
September 14, 2005, Regular Meeting, 1:30 p.m.
September 27, 2005, Regular Meeting, Following HACSA
October 11, 2005, Joint Elected Officials, 7:00 p.m.
B. Children and Families
1) RESOLUTION AND ORDER 05-10-26-2/In the Matter of Delegating Authority to the County Administrative Officer to Execute the Oregon Commission on Children and Families Healthy Start - Medicaid Administrative Activities 2005-2007 County Intergovernmental Agreement Not to Exceed $200,000.
C. Public Works
1) ORDER 05-10-26-3/In the Matter of Releasing, Dedicating and Accepting Parcel “C” of Suburban Manor Second Addition, as a Public Road (17-04-02-44) (Hoyt Avenue)
2) ORDER 05-10-26-4/In the Matter of Considering a Ballot Measure 37 Claim and Deciding Whether to Modify, Remove or Not Apply Restrictive Land Use Regulations in Lieu of Providing Just Compensation (PA 05-5579, Bruce Family Trust).
3) ORDER 05-10-26-5/In the Matter of Considering a Ballot Measure 37 Claim and Deciding Whether to Modify, Remove or Not Apply Restrictive Land Use Regulations in Lieu of Providing Just Compensation (PA 05-5708, Jon & Lynna Gay Bowers).
MOTION: to approve the Consent Calendar.
Green MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.
9. CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD
10. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
Stewart announced there would be a Region 2050 meeting on November 16 to answer questions raised about the process.
Dwyer reported there would be a joint town hall meeting on November 7 at the Senior Center.
Green announced that on Friday he will be in Portland on an early childhood conference.
Morrison reported they were able to retain dollars for the Highway 126 passing lane project. She said it would go to bid in 07 and it will be built in 08. She congratulated the Siuslaw Volleyball Team for being first in the league.
11. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660
12. OTHER BUSINESS
There being no further business, Commissioner Morrison recessed the meeting at 11:50 a.m.