BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'
February 8, 2006
Commissioners' Conference Room
Commissioner Bill Dwyer presided with Commissioners Bobby Green, Sr., Anna Morrison, 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
Item 7 b) was pulled because the Board decided not to move forward with a rate increase.
Dwyer noted that under Commissioners Business there would be a second reading for Ordinance 1-06.
Morrison added under Commissioner’s Business 6 b) a letter for Secure Rural Schools.
2. PUBLIC COMMENTS
Ernest Nisser, Eugene, stated he had come before the Board twice on this matter, and was upset with the Sheriff’s Department. He said he was a combat veteran infantryman. He said he was manhandled and abused by the Sheriff’s Office. He said when he filed his complaint, the Sheriff’s Office fabricated a story about him. He said his complaint was not investigated by the Sheriff’s Department, but was used against him. He asked for a review board above the Sheriff to review citizen complaints. He said he has condition responses built into his head as he was trained to kill people. He indicated he wasn’t upset with the city, but with the Sheriff’s Department for his mistreatment. He added that he hired a lawyer who also mishandled his case.
Dwyer thought they needed to have a work session on how citizens address complaints about law enforcement.
Van Vactor recommended speaking with the Sheriff before they have a work session.
Green wanted to hear the other side of the matter. He wanted to speak with the Sheriff’s Office and then they could send a response to Nisser.
Sorenson wanted to ask the Sheriff to make a response to Nisser about the materials that were provided and to copy the Board on the letter. He said they should have the agenda committee decide if they should move ahead with a work session.
3. EMERGENCY BUSINESS
4. COMMISSIONERS' REMONSTRANCE
Sorenson indicated that the President had released his budget and it was bad news for counties, schools and roads. Sorenson noted the President recommended a 50% reduction in what the forest counties receive with payments. He added that the money that would replace the cut would come from the sale of federal public lands. He commented that it was an outrage that they would premise the receipt of federal monies to counties dependent upon the money for schools.
5. HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES
a. ORDER 06-2-8-1/In the Matter of Accepting Additional Revenues in the Amount of $10,700 and Increasing Appropriations in Revenues and Expenses in the Amount of $3,758 in the Department of Health and Human Services Budget (Human Services Commission Fund 285) for the Community Health Centers Safe and Sound Clinic; and Increasing a Community Service Worker 2 Position by .20 FTE.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 06-2-8-1.
Sorenson MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.
b. ORDER 06-2-8-2/In the Matter of Adjusting the Department of Health and Human Services Budget (Human Services Commission Fund 285) to Accept Additional Revenues in the Amount of $122,858 for the Veteran Services Program and, or This, to Appropriate $61,429 in Revenue and Expenditures to Increase FTE by 1.5 by Establishing a 1.0 FTE Assistant Veteran Services Coordinator and Increasing the Current 0.5 FTE Office Assistant 2 to 1.0 FTE and Increasing Materials and Services.
Joseph Riley, Veterans Administration, explained that this is to accept additional state funding for the expansion and enhancement of veterans' services. He recalled the last legislative session Senate Bill 1100 was passed that established the program and a funding bill, Senate Bill 5629, defined the amount of state funding. He said the Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs was granted rule making authority to determine the funding formula and through that process, Lane County will be allocated $122,858 per year for the fiscal years 2005/2006, 2006/2007. He recalled that during the legislative session some of the concerns of the bill included language that counties may not use the new funding to supplant current county funding for the veterans' service office. He noted the Board took a position against the language and made the concerns known to the Lane County delegation.
Riley noted the original language was modified somewhat and exceptions were made to when counties should reduce funding, but the maintenance of the requirement was maintained. He explained his office assists veterans in obtaining the maximum benefit to which they are entitled by law by virtue of their military service. He said they help dependents and survivors of veterans obtain benefits that they might be eligible for based on the veteran’s military service.
Riley said in 2004 the VA spent over $85 million within Lane County and of that, $46 million was in direct payments to disabled veterans or their dependents or survivors. He added since the office was made a County program, the direct payments to Lane County veterans has increased by $12 million.
Riley reported that currently veterans must wait approximately six weeks to see a councilor in his office to help them with the process. He was concerned with that timeline as some are 30 day deadlines and it is difficult to see those clients and respond to the VA’s request for information within that period. He added as the World War II and Korean veterans continue to age and Vietnam veterans reach retirement ages, they have more veterans housebound and involved with long-term care. He said with the additional Assistant Veteran Services Coordinator position, they would increase the housebound and facility bound veterans.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 06-2-8-2.
Sorenson MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.
6. COMMISSIONERS’ BUSINESS
a. REPORT/Olympics Trials.
Greg Erwin, Oregon Track Club President, gave a report on the Olympic Trials
Kari Westlund, CVALCO, gave a video presentation on the Olympic Trials that was shown to the committee in Minneapolis.
b. ORDER 06-2-8-3/In the Matter of Entering Into a Contract for the Olympic Trials.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 06-2-8-3.
Green MOVED, Sorenson SECODNED.
c. SECOND READING AND DELIBERATION/Ordinance No. 1-06/In the Matter of Amending Chapter 4 of Lane Code to Add Provisions for a Lane County Public Safety Income Tax, to Adopt Administration and Collection Provisions, To Renumber Differential Tax Provisions and to Set an Effective Date (LC 4.500 through 4.571).
MOTION: to approve a Second Reading and setting a Third Reading and Deliberation on May 17, 2006.
Morrison MOVED, Green SECONDED.
d. Draft Letter to the White House
Morrison commented that she would rather have 50% of Secure Rural Schools funding than nothing at all. She noted that this was a letter that had been drafted and goes along with a resolution that the Board passed encouraging the administration to include something in the budget.
Tony Bieda, Intergovernmental Relations Manager, said in the fall, school districts and counties across the country made direct appeal to the White House to have the President include in his budget a recommendation for the funding for the re-authorization of the Secure Rural Schools Act. He said the recommendation that came out was less than the 100% of the current act.
Sorenson asked if the funding for the amount they are supposed to get is premised upon the sale of national forest land.
Bieda said there was nothing in the President’s budget that would make contingent the funding of the continuation of the timber payments upon specific liquidation and disbursement of proceeds from the sale of the specific lands. He noted the political discussion is that there will be offsets by Congress and the White House to any continuation of mandatory spending in the federal budget. He said when the White House agrees to fund some continuation of mandatory spending, they are obliged to recommend a source of the offset.
Sorenson asked how the money is distributed.
Bieda responded that it would be 75% in the first year of extension, 50% the next year, and then 25%. He noted that it zeros out and goes away in five years under the President’s proposal. He added the act would sunset in seven years.
Green thought the letter was fine and supported sending it. He wanted paragraph three to adopt a more appropriate level of funding.
MOTION: to approve sending the letter with the amendment about funding.
Green MOVED, Morrison SECONDED.
Sorenson was against this because the letter grossly understated the threat they are under. He didn’t think the letter alerted people to the seriousness of it. He added that they were not telling people what the effect was on Lane County government. He thought they should be directing a letter to the Oregon congressional delegation urging them to help prevent the cutting of the funding.
Dwyer thought Sorenson was correct, that they need to be more aggressive and direct this at Congress and not just to the Bush administration. He didn’t think they would lose anything by bringing Congress in.
Morrison disagreed, stating she had been working on this for a long time and did not agree with the process being suggested. She didn’t support the change in the letter.
Green noted that Sorenson was opposed to sending a letter in the first place when they started the conversation. He thought the language could be more aggressive. He said this was a starting point.
Dwyer supported the letter as a good start. He asked that Sorenson draft a letter pursuant to the points he was trying to make.
VOTE: 4-1 (Sorenson dissenting).
7. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION
b. ORDER 06-2-8-4/In the Matter of Considering Charter Communication's Notice of Rate Change for the Florence/Dunes City Service Area. (PULLED)
c. ORDER 06-2-8-5/In the Matter of Providing Direction to Staff on Cable Television Franchise Negotiation Goals and Objectives.
Peter Thurston, Economic Development, recalled for the past couple of years the Community and Economic Development Program had been assigned to deal with the franchise issue of cable television that Lane County had been involved with. He explained that Lane County has a role as the franchise authority, described under the federal act as negotiating with the provider of the services. He noted that the franchise as written returns five percent of gross revenue. He said they have been discussing this with Charter Communication, but hadn’t moved forward with anything substantive.
Thurston said the Board wanted to have their meetings broadcast through the cable system throughout the County. He noted they are only covered inside the metro area on the contract system. He said this was the opportunity to put the Board of Commissioners and other county public meetings on the system in the communities that are not now represented. He added a second item would be to see that the public access education and government channel prescribed in the federal act would include educational types of programming extended and coordinated throughout the County. He said what is also included would be to follow the usual procedures of auditing. He said it has impact in the way the County government disseminates information about its services to the people of Lane County. He said the systems in the rural area had evolved over time in an ad hoc way. He noted there had been no connection in the past and Charter is the first organization that had pulled them together in the past several years into one system.
Stewart asked why the Economic Standing Committee couldn’t follow this and bring recommendations to the Legislative Committee. He wondered why this came back to the Board.
Thurston indicated that it could go to the Legislative Committee.
Stewart asked why they couldn’t get the government channel put onto a satellite dish.
Thurston responded the Board sent a letter to the two major satellite companies and asked if there was a way they could get local types of programming onto the system. He said they never received a response. He said it had challenges because of the area of coverage. He thought they could send another letter which could be brought under the next agenda item. He noted this board order had to do with the specific charter.
Green asked why they would change the goals they currently have as they are still viable. He asked if the goals were consistent with other franchise companies.
Thurston responded that the Board had not given specific direction regarding what to do on the franchise with Charter Communications. He added it lent itself to what they might do in conjunction with the franchise of Comcast in the future. He noted what is on the table is specific to Charter Communications.
Morrison asked who would be providing the consulting service with the audit portion and the performance survey.
Thurston noted there are other local franchise authorities in the State of Oregon that they meet with. He said they used a consultant two years ago when they had the issue of Comcast and its settlement. He noted at that time a consultant out of Portland was called on to do the auditing. He thought that was the type of firm he thought they would solicit responses from on an RFP.
Dwyer commented that Lane County represented the people in the unincorporated areas as a buffer between Charter, Comcast and the others. He said if they have gripes with the service, they go to the County. He noted this is an effort on how their performance is and whether or not the accounting practices are appropriate and accurate. He said it is paid for through a five percent fee they collect from the subscribes.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 06-2-8-5.
Green MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.
d. ORDER 06-2-8-6/In the Matter of Providing Staff Direction for Preparing a Lane County Economic Development Telecommunications Strategic Plan.
Thurston explained this is for broader questions that are being discussed in Congress. He said they are aimed at amending and changing the 1996 Telecommunications Act under which franchise authority is authorized and internet access and the range of telecommunications issues that are dealt with. He noted some options to date include affecting the County’s authority in its rights-of-way. He asked if the Board had a clear sense of the direction it wants to go in defending its rights-of-way and its franchise authority under Charter and Comcast and having revenue that is generated from that. He indicated the local capacity to create systems, if a board of commissioners or city councilor chooses because it is in the public’s interest to do so, might be in jeopardy. He thought this would be a good time to make the investment to have a strategie so they would be able to be more effective in providing an essential infrastructure that has broadband telecommunications capacity to economic development. He asked if the Economic Development Standing Committee in its role as the economic development gatekeeper for plans and action in the County could take it on and develop a strategic approach to economic development and telecommunications.
Green thought their greatest challenge was that the rural areas are without access. He said they should come up with a plan that identifies strategic actions that will allow Lane County a greater presence in the rural area by telecommunications.
Stewart supported it and thought it would be important to put together a strategic plan for telecommunications. He said they have issues with the Fiber Consortium where they had lost their contract with PCI Northwest. He wanted to think about how they could best serve the citizens of rural Lane County.
Dwyer noted that when there are issues that relate to legislation, that those issues need to go through the Legislative Committee. He noted that other issues that are related to the franchise could come to the Economic Development Standing Committee.
Green didn’t think they should continue with an ad hoc process, but with a formal process. He wanted to put a formal process on the work plan.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 06-2-8-5.
Green MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.
Morrison supported the concept around the telecommunication importance to the rural areas but she didn’t have faith in what was being proposed.
Van Vactor asked if they wanted to amend the order as the last sentence noted the Economic Development Committee would review legislative issues.
Dwyer said he wanted the change to be made.
VOTE: 4-1 (Morrison dissenting).
8. PUBLIC WORKS
a. DISCUSSION/Briefing on the Update of the Oregon Transportation Plan (OTP).
Tom Stinchfield, Public Works, noted that the comment period for the Oregon Transportation Plan ends March 1. He said he could submit a formal letter if the Board wanted. He added there is a questionnaire in the packet that they are requesting the Board fill out.
Gail Curtin, ODOT, explained that the plan is equivalent to the State Transportation System Plan. She said cities and counties are responsible for developing a transportation system plan. She noted that it goes to 2030 and is an update of the 1992 plan. She said it is a policy document and investment strategy, but it doesn’t identify projects. She added that it includes transportation needs including rail, freight, passenger, aviation, marina ports, public transportation and bicycles.
Curtain explained the plan serves as an overall umbrella policy document and further refined in the modal plans, as well as in the local city and county regional transportation system. She noted the plan will be adopted by the Oregon Transportation Commission next summer.
Curtain indicated the challenges they are facing with the state include a 41% population growth over the plan period. She noted there would be a 33% increase in carbon emissions by 2025. She indicated the oil supply is question. She commented that safety and security will always be a concern. She added that land use issues were a challenge for them. She stated they will see a 40% decline in spending power over the plan period. She commented that they need to figure out more innovative ways to maintain and continue to invest in the transportation system.
Stinchfield noted he put a note about highway funding in the Board packet. He said he would prepare a letter that supports investments in transportation.
Green said in Lane County they get asked questions about transportation issues and for public participation. He said they need to have education around it so it is not coming from Lane County but the direction from the state.
Dwyer asked how the counties and cities would be participating in the alternative transportation systems and how the money would be divided.
Stinchfield responded that in this process, the MPC would comment directly to ODOT. He said he would draft a letter that would reflect the issues and he would bring it back next week.
Morrison commented that this focused around large urban population areas. She noted in the isolated areas where there is no population growth, they are trying to survive around economic development and looking at the freight, air and port issues, and that they would still be behind because they are not at the table.
Dwyer said they would have the letter express the concerns about rural areas and the impact it may have on them.
b. DISCUSSION/Establishment of “Quiet Zones” at County Road-Railroad Grade Crossings (NBA & PM 9/27/05).
Sonny Chickering, Public Works, recalled they were asked by a citizen near Jasper to consider new regulations from the Federal Railroad Administration that would allow the creation of a quiet zone, an area where a train horn would not be utilized. He said it is usually used within small communities or large cities. He noted in June 2005, federal regulation was adopted allowing for their creation and criteria established for where and when they could be created.
Chickering said he was given direction to proceed with this. He explained that the train horns provide a measure of safety at the railroad crossing. He said if they establish a quiet zone and the horns are no longer used, it reduces the level of safety measures provided at that crossing. He stated the federal regulations have established the current level of safety when the horns are used and the other is a national average of safety railroad crossings. He said if they compare the established safe level of safety at the crossing with the horns, and if they fall below the threshold, they would have to compensate for loss of the horns. He said there were several ways to do that which are called supplemental safety measures. He said there are products on the market called wayside horns that could be mounted at the railroad crossing and would be pointed up and down the crossing road. He said the decibel levels would be significantly reduced He thought they needed to look at the long term ramifications of whether they want to get into quiet zones.
Chickering said they are asking direction from the Board on whether they were interested in having staff begin to look into establishing quiet zones. He said if they set up a program, he wondered if it should be set up to be complaint driven. He added that there is an issue of funding. He said the supplemental safety measures are expensive to install. He said they are $200,000 for the median option and between $200,000 and $600,000 for the four gates. He added these projects would have to compete against other projects that are already in their capital improvement program.
Stewart believed that the County was the only one that could apply for the quiet zone.
Chickering said the governing jurisdiction has to apply. He said they would have to apply to the Federal Railroad Administration. He noted it was a six month process and if they approve the creation of a quiet zone, they would have to go to the ODOT rail division where they would issue a draft order and send it out for a 30 day comment period. He said the operating railroad and the local road jurisdiction would have an opportunity to comment. He added if there could be some arrangement that could be agreed to among the parties, then ODOT rail would issue the order and would be obligated to construct and pay for the improvements.
Stewart was in favor of having this tool. He said Lane County has no money and he couldn't see paying for the upgrade. He said the citizens of Jasper were willing to fund it among themselves. He said if the citizens can’t do it themselves, then they have to have the County apply for it. He said he would work with the citizens to accomplish what they want to do, provided they pay for it.
Morrison asked what would happen if the citizens couldn’t come up with the money.
Dwyer said they could be the intermediary at their request. He was concerned about staff time.
Stewart suggested treating it like a Land Management application fee to see if it was possible to do.
Dwyer suggested they think about a structure they could respond to and recover their cost. He added that he wanted to be responsive to the community and identify what the alternatives are. He requested the structure be brought back in front of the Board.
Chickering asked if the Board was interested in cost recovery for staff time.
Dwyer thought they could discuss it in the future.
c. FIRST READING AND SETTING SECOND READING AND PUBLIC HEARING/Ordinance No. PA 1229/In the Matter of Amending the Lane County Coastal Resources Management Plan Chapter II-Estuarine Resources Text and Diagram for Ten Acres of Estuary Management Unit (MU) 'C' Identified as 'Sub-Area C-1' From 'Natural' to 'Conservation' and Adopting Savings and Severability Clauses (File No. Pa 05-5506, City of Florence & Shelter Cove Homeowners Assn.) (Second Reading & Public Hearing: February 22, 2006, 1:30 p.m.).
MOTION: to approve a First Reading and Setting a Second Reading and Public Hearing for Ordinance No. PA 1229 on February 22, 2006, at 1:30 p.m.
Morrison MOVED, Green SECONDED.
d. ORDER 06-2-8-7/In the Matter of Amending Chapter 60 of the Lane Manual to Revise Fees For Land Management Division Planning, Subsurface Sanitation, and Building Program Activities (LM 60.851, 60.852, and 60.855), Effective July 1, 2006.
Jeff Towery, Land Management, explained this fee proposal requests a fee increase for the planning, sanitation and electrical programs at Lane County. He added they were not asking for a fee increase for structural building permits. He said the request is for a 13.5% increase to planning fees and an increase of the long range planning surcharge from 5% to 7%, an increase of electrical fees by 12% and an increase for subsurface sanitation fees by 8%. He added they have proposed equalizing the fee for applications inside the forest zone. He noted the first year the division received reimbursement from Title III funding. He said they received reimbursement from work processing the forest zone applications. He said they doubled the planning fees the following year in the forest zones. He indicated that created an inequity in the fee schedule. He commented that it didn’t really reflect the work they have to do for those types of applications. He said the forest zone fees became equalized in the proposal.
Towery distributed a draft budget sheet. He said it reflected what they think the planning budget would look like. He reported the current planning program is about $21,000 in the black and long range planning about $31,000 in the red. He said they budget by division, not by program. He noted that they don’t force every program in Land Management to balance. He said they were close to balancing.
Vorhes reported an issue raised was that Land Management was still not charging fees to cover their cost of service. He indicated there was concern raised about the initial appeal fee where there had not been a hearing at the planning director level. He said the proposal was to increase that and move it to the statute $250 appeal fee. He noted that all of the other appeal fees were appeals where an initial hearing had been held by the planning director. He noted with the change to the page, the Board was able to take action but because the letter raises the challenge that this might be a land use decision subject to LUBA review, his recommendation would be to take tentative action and direct him to draft findings that would come with the order next week for final action.
MOTION: to tentatively approve this based on the findings in support and to come back to the Board next week.
Green MOVED, Morrison SECONDED.
VOTE: 4-0 (Sorenson out of room).
9. CONSENT CALENDAR
A. Approval of Minutes: None.
B. Health and Human Services
1) ORDER 06-2-8-8/In the Matter of Appointing Two New Members to the Lane County Health Advisory Committee.
2) ORDER 06-2-8-9/In the Matter of Approving Exhibit A, 2005-2007 Community Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Program; Local Mental Health Authorities; and Local Mental Health Services Plan for Carryover Fund.
C. Management Services
1) ORDER 06-2-8-10/In the Matter of Award of Bid LCP 2005-12 for a Construction Contract for the New North Sally Port Addition and Minor Interior Remodel Work at the Lane County Adult Corrections Facility in the Amount of $315,100.
MOTION: to approve the Consent Calendar.
Green MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.
10. MANAGEMENT SERVICES
a. ORDER 06-2-8-11/In the Matter of Creating the Classification Specifications and Salary Range for Nuisance Abatement Specialist Classification.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 06-2-8-11.
Sorenson MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.
11. CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD
a. Letter from Jim Gangle
Sorenson asked what the Board should do as there is a potential conflict.
Wilson indicated that the only thing needed doing was the letter needed to be officially acknowledged by the Board by being part of the record. She added it needed to reflect that the Board received it.
MOTION: to move to receive the letter from Jim Gangle and have it entered as part of the record.
Sorenson MOVED, Green SECONDED.
12. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
Green announced that tomorrow the Art from the Heart event was taking place. He commented it was a good opportunity to receive original art.
13. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660
Per ORS 192.660 (2)(h) for the purpose of consulting with counsel on litigation.
14. OTHER BUSINESS
There being no further business, Commissioner Dwyer adjourned the meeting at 12:10 p.m.