LANE COUNTY BUDGET COMMITTEE

Thursday, May 11, 2006 Work Session

5:15 p.m. Ė 7:45 p.m.

Board of Commissionersí Conference Room

APPROVED 4/26/2007

 

Chair David Crowell presided with Budget Committee Members Bill Dwyer, Bobby Green Sr., Denis Hijmans, Mary Ann Holser, Tony McCown, Anna Morrison and Faye Stewart present. Peter Sorenson arrived at 6:10 p.m. Scott Bartlett was excused.County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, Budget Financial Planning Manager Dave Garnick and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.

 

I. Call to Order

 

Chair Crowell called the meeting to order.

 

II. COMMITTEE BUSINESS

 

Approval of Minutes from May 2, and May 4.

 

MOTION: to approve the Budget Committee Minutes from May 2, 2006 and May 4, 2006.

 

Green MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 8-0.

 

Hijmans asked if there could be a proxy for budget members who couldnít be present when voting takes place.He wanted his voice and vote made public.

 

Green indicated he had a 5:00 p.m. ceremony to attend on Tuesday, May 16.

 

Van Vactor thought an E-mail from Hijmans to the committee on what his issues are could be read aloud.He said they could ask County Counsel if that vote needs to take place in person.

 

III. QUESTION/ANSWER DISCUSSION

 

None.

 

IV. PERS Information

 

Karen Artiaco, Management Services, reported that PERS had gone through changes in the past four years.She said there have been lawsuits, decisions and appeals, legislative changes and a new PERS Board of Directors.She noted the rate Lane County paid an employer to support the new retirement system was 20.46 percent.She stated that rate was assessed to departments. She indicated that recently the PERS Board made decisions that resulted in smaller reserves and changes in their actuarial calculation method.She thought that would mean lower rates for the next biennium.She said projections are for rates to decease or stay steady.She added that four years out, they might see the rate become one to two percent higher than currently.She noted this summer the actuary would begin to work on each of the employers. She commented that in the long run, employers who have older employees would have a broader swing in rates.

 

V. Fair Board

 

Garnick reported the Fairgrounds are in an enterprise fund.He said their budget is $5.1 million.He added they donít receive any discretionary general fund dollars and there are no major changes from the current year.He noted as part of the budget process, they need to review and approve the use of transient room tax dollars to operate the Fairgrounds.He added on May 16 they intend to have that as one of the issues to discuss.He noted there were no adds, reductions or technical adjustments.

 

Warren Wong, Fair Board, reported the budget before the Budget Committee is a carry forward of the current yearís budget, adjusted for inflation.He added it carries the same service system into the next fiscal year.He noted the Fair Boardís overarching goal is financial stability.He said next year in the proposed budget, they are recommending that from the excess transient room tax, $500,000 be transferred to the operating budget.He said they are projecting $850,000 after the first principal payment on the 2002 bonds is made.He noted of the $500,000 going into operations, they would need about $350,000 to address the operating deficit.He said they want to use $50,000 to increase the cash reserve, bringing it up to $350,000. He said they intend to use the other $100,000 to buy down the PERS bond liability.Of the remaining $350,000 he stated that in the transient room tax, they want to set aside $50,000 for a capital reserve account.He said the other $300,000 would be used for capital projectS, equipment replacement and debt service.He reported that, ten months into the fiscal year, their operating deficit at the end of April was $52,000 versus an operating deficit last year of $246,000.He commented that they were making good progress.

 

Wong reported they paid off the planetarium loan in total last October.He said they made a $50,000 payment on the PERS bond liability and had increased the cash reserve from $187,000 to $307,000.He said the Fair Board worked with the Board of County Commissioners, and the commissioners extended the commitment of the transient room tax to 2015.He said the Fairgrounds will continue at the present site.He noted that the Fair Board had contracted with a consultant to prepare an economic impact study of the Lane Events Center.He indicated that study will be completed in the fall and will indicate how much economic activity is generated by that facility.He noted they are getting financial information from promoters, exhibitors and other attendees of the Lane Events Center.

 

He said they were approached by the YMCA with a proposal to convert the livestock building into a multi-purpose sports facility.He noted the livestock building is underutilized because they canít have large animals onsite during wet weather from September 14 to June 14.He recalled in the past twelve months there were only nine events in the facility, some as short as four hours in one day.He said the YMCA has contracted with an architect and they are working through the issues.He said they would come before the Fair Board at its next meeting with a more formal proposal.He said the big issue is contaminated dirt.He said if they take out the dirt to put in a hard surface, they have estimates it would cost about $25,000 to move the dirt out.He didnít know if a pile of dirt at the fairgrounds is permissible.

 

VI. Lane Workforce Partnership

 

Garnick reported the Lane Workforce Partnership is a special revenue fund of $3.1 million with 35 FTE in the department.He said they receive no discretionary general fund and there were no major changes.He recalled they used to be a full department and their entire budget was built in.He noted they are now a separate entity.He added the only thing in the budget is personnel services.He said there were no add packages or any adjustments.

 

Chuck Forster, Workforce Development, explained they are a work force development organization and their mission is to meet the work force needs of employers and job seekers through partnerships and innovations.He said they are overseen by a 39 member Board of Directors who make policy decisions and resource allocation decisions for them.He said their intent is to provide a single point of contact for businesses and for job seekers.He recalled that during the past 12 months over 1,200 people accessed services through the workforce network.Also, more than 1,300 businesses accessed services.

 

Forster explained they now have access to employer workforce training funds that are targeted to private sector businesses for upgrading skills of current employees.He added that during the past two years they funded over 1,400 Lane County businesses.He said they have also been involved with the governorís office to help manage his strategic training fund.He said they just completed managing a $500,000 contract with Molecular Probes.He added they are also using another $500,000 of those funds to help build a recreational vehicle consortium which includes Marathon, Monaco and Country Coach.He noted it was the first time those companies have collaborated on the work force.He hoped they would build a training capacity pipeline of workers that would continue to grow the industry.

 

Forster reported they offer services for low-income youth.He noted this past year they had worked with over 300 low-income youth with an emphasis on skill building.He said they work with six school districts, three non-profits and the Department of Youth Services.

 

Forster commented that they would continue to see declines in their revenue.He indicated the current budget calls for a 15 percent reduction in federally funded work force programs.He thought this would force them to do a better job of leveraging resources and not duplicating services.

 

Forster noted the budget is status quo and there are no significant changes in their delivery or design.

 

VII. Department of Information Services

 

Garnick reported the budget is $19.2 million across three funds.He noted they have 83.75 FTE and donít receive any direct general fund support.He indicated that the budget shows a reduction of $2 million in the current year.He noted it is not a reduction of service, but a change in the amount of budgeting.He recalled when Information Services and the RIS Department merged together, the regional information system had a series of internal transfers.He commented that revenue overall is up about three percent across the department.He indicated they have an add package that was requested by the Board of Commissioners regarding disaster recovery planning.He noted there were no technical adjustments.

 

Tony Black, Information Services, reported they have changes in Information Services this year.(Copy in file).He explained they have six divisions and three funds and provide IT services to Lane County and to the regional agencies: the City of Springfield, the City of Eugene, EWEB, LCOG and Lane County.He added other agencies receive service:the City of Coburg, Junction City, Veneta, Florence and the Siuslaw Public Library.

 

With regard to the PC replacement fund, Black indicated the amount had dropped 30 percent in the fund.He said they moved the file server replacement fund out of the PC replacement fund and put it into a capital fund.He noted the most significant change was the budget committee action last year where they extended the life for PCís from three years to four years.

 

Black explained the budget now reflects a consolidation of administration in the Countyís internal services fund.He said there was a savings to the County and to the region by consolidating administration.He noted in the past two years they have gone from 9 FTE at the executive management level to 6 FTE.He commented that he couldnít go lower on the administrative side.He noted it was the Governance Committeeís goal to consolidate administration and pull efficiencies out and they had done that.He said that took $300,000 in administration for the County last year and turned it into $600,000 in the countyís fund this year, the additional revenue being provided by the regional partners.He said it was a savings for the County. He said some regional revenue was moved into the County fund to pay for consolidating administration.He added they also standardized and defined all of the general ledger accounts they used across the department for all funds.

 

Black reported that this fiscal year they dissolved the web service division that was responsible for providing application content to the Internet and intranet sites.He noted the group that was in the web services was distributed back into the applications division and the tech services division and a project management office were created.He noted the former web services division manager now manages the project management office.He has 3 FTE currently assigned and four to manage all IT related projects for the County.

 

With regard to the regional fund, Black noted there wasnít much change.He said they did work around standardizing program numbers.

 

Black recalled in the past three years there had been comments from the auditors that noted the County didnít have a disaster recovery plan.He said they havenít ignored the issue around business continuity or disaster recovery or protection of their data.He identified next steps and what needs to happen.He said the back up solution in the add package is a core precursor to having an effective business continuity and disaster recovery plan.He said it needs to be funded and has to be completed before they have a disaster recovery plan.He noted they do have a system in place to recover systems in the event of a loss.He stated they donít have global control of the systems.He added there is no business prioritization of services.He said they need to replace the back up system and they have to have a risk and impact analysis with each of the business owners.He commented that it was time consuming but they got what the critical systems were and data to the business owners and how much data they could lose before it impacts their business.He said then they would know in what order to restore systems.He commented that the Countyís data storage requirements have doubled every year.He noted they have over 12 terabytes in the County.He explained the County only owns the equivalent of over 4 million floppy disks or 10,000 disks.

 

Sorenson arrived at 6:10 p.m.

 

VIII. Department of Management Services

 

Christine Moody, Budget Analyst, explained they have a total budget of about $18 million, in eight different funds.About 36 percent is in the general fund.She added of that, 36 percent or $465,000 is in the discretionary general fund.She noted they have 69.8 FTE and the major change in Human Resources is becoming its own department.

 

David Suchart, Management Services, noted the change over the past ten years has made the difference in their ability to maintain the level of service they have with reductions in staff; or kept the same amount of staff and increased their workload.He indicated in the past year they worked on purchasing cards which reduced the amount of vendor checks they used to write.They are also streamlining the use of vendor material, which has brought reductions in accounts payable.He added they worked with IS and put in a time card system.With regards to Elections, he noted they have moved to a statewide data base system.He added they are a pilot project for handicapped access in order to vote.He reported LCARA has put together a pet track system, so they can track the data the Board asked for on how Animal Control is performing.He said it helps manage their system and provide better answers to questions from the Board and the public.

 

With regard to capital projects, Suchart indicated a major strategic plan goal of the Board and the County is the Public Health Building.He said he is in negotiations with the architects who will put together the master plan.He thought by 2009 they would have a Public Health Building that the community would be proud of.He said they are working on the last phase of the Juvenile Justice Center.He said the County owns the armory and they would be putting a new HVAC system in it.

 

Morrison asked where they were with getting the C & Eís online.

 

Suchart noted that Annette Newingham, Elections, and Teresa Wilson worked on this.He didnít think they were allowed to put them online.

 

Green asked where the Public Health Building would be located.

 

Suchart responded the architectural program determines the general design and what type of building.He noted the second part is site selection.He said they would look at site criteria to determine that.He said they would be putting together the base budget so they know how much money they would need.

 

IX. Department of Human Resources

 

Moody reported their budget is $1.8 million, all located in the general fund.She noted of that amount, $319,000 is in discretionary general fund.She said they will have a total of 17 FTE and they became their own department.She noted there are no add or reduction packages and no technical adjustments.

 

Greta Utecht, Human Resources, reported their budget represents a major change.She said they have four divisions:personnel, employee and labor relations, training, and risk and benefits.She said they are a partner with the rest of the County departments.She said they view themselves as a support system helping other departments be successful.She said they are helping to maintain costs and protect the Countyís resources.She said one of the major issues that had been growing over the past few years is the cost of an older employee population.She noted the average employee age in Lane County is 48.

 

Utecht recalled that in 2001 they had ten employees who were out on long-term disability.She noted in 2005 they had 28.She explained a long-term disability leave is costly for the County.She said they are reorganizing in order to deal with this.She added they looked at creative ways to keep their costs down.She recalled in the past year they successfully negotiated four of their union contracts.She noted they had one more contract to negotiate with the Federal Parole and Probation Officers, containing 35 employees in that bargaining unit.

 

Utecht indicated they have a Human Resources Advisory Committee that meets on a monthly basis.She said they took on the Countyís computer use policy and adopted a new policy.

 

Utecht noted that this past year they put more information on the Countyís intranet, encouraging an employee self-service way of doing business.She noted that her department adopted a new slogan:ďThey are HR, they are passionate about their employeesí success and the Countyís future.Ē

 

X. County Counsel

 

Moody explained County Counsel has $1.4 million in the general fund and the Law Library fund.She said they use about $253,000 of general discretionary fund in the legal services division.She noted the total FTE for 06/07 would be 9.5.She noted the major changes are the increased workload and impending retirement of the litigation attorney.

 

Terry Wilson, County Counsel, noted that Dave Williams would be retiring.She said they would have the challenge of getting someone up to speed with litigation that is ongoing.She said the Management Team and County Administrator were supportive of adding a position in the middle of the year to provide additional support.She said their tort litigation had a large number of costly claims.She said of the ten claims they were aware of, seven had been resolved within the amounts projected last year.She added there were other significant claims showing up, but not at last yearís rate.She said the costs are going up.She noted what had changed that took up a lot of time were Measure 37 cases.She said that Lane County had taken an approach where they asked claimants to put everything on hold until they knew the result of the Supreme Court decision on Measure 37.She noted when the Supreme Court ruled Measure 37 claims constitutional, the claims being put on hold were processed and more had been filed.She said as of today, 61 Measure 37 claims have been made to Lane County.She noted in FY 2004/2005, they only had 21.She had devoted her time in working with the Board to find solutions for public safety funding.She said because of that, other departments had received little legal service from them.She noted their primary job is litigation and their second priority is advice to the Board and elected officials..

 

With regard to the Law Library, Wilson explained that fund was seeing the same gap that everyone else has.She said they had a substantial reserve in the past but it had been eaten away and they are working on a long term strategic plan to figure out how they could use the funds they have to provide services that their customers want and need.She noted their revenue stream comes from people who go to court and pay a filing fee.She added that part of that funds the library.She added general public users are not paying for their use.

 

XI. Board of Commissioners/County Administration

 

Moody explained the budget is $2.8 million located in the general fund and special revenue fund.She noted about $396,000 is general fund use, with 20.5 FTE.She noted the major changes include the Public Information Program.

 

Van Vactor recalled this past year they had the retirement of Ethel Mashaw and Sascha Cosio has taken her place.They filled the vacant Administrative Assistant position with Vicki Epperson.He said they had a management analyst position, but to save money they lowered the position to an administrative analyst.He said the department continues to greet citizens and has an open front door to Lane County.He indicted they were allocating resources within the Lane County Strategic Plan.He said there is a status quo with roll over expenses.

 

With regard to Public Information, Van Vactor indicated that is the one area where they are proposing an increase.He noted there are two people in public information who go to Benton County one day a week.He said it is proposed to restore those positions to full-time out of Lane County starting July 1.He recalled within the past week they had been getting out the public information initiative regarding employees.He added that there was the development of a Lane County Communications Plan and that plan was accepted by the Board of Commissioners.It indicated the goal of the Communications Plan was to profile Lane Countyís image as a local government providing responsible stewardship of funds, the delivery of valuable, effective and beneficial public services and programs. He said on November 3, 2004, they received a recommendation from the Service Stabilization Task Force that the Board establish a process to complete an in-depth analysis of revenue options to consider the implications of each of those options.He indicated they did that this past summer through the Public Safety Task Force.He added it also stated the County needed to develop positive communication and they are in the process of that.He added they are planning on increasing the public information effort next fiscal year up to 100 percent.He said this program would go through all of 2006 and 2007 and possibly beyond.

 

Van Vactor indicated the poll the Public Service Task Force reviewed last summer indicated the citizens did not have a clear understanding of Lane County and there is confusion as to what services government provides.He hoped that the citizens would learn what Lane County is and what they do.

 

Van Vactor explained the key outcomes from County Administration are to successfully implement Board policy.He said for 2006/2007 they hope to work with the Board in the development of a revenue measure that will address the funding of the public safety system for the long term and decrease and eliminate the structural deficit and the building of a public health building.He indicated they were experiencing a retirement and transition in Economic Development.He stated that Peter Thurston was retiring on June 30 and they hired a new person.He said they are also going to enhance the citizen understanding of Lane County government.

 

Elected Officials Compensation Board Recommendation on the Commissionersí Six percent pickup

 

Utecht distributed spreadsheets.She recalled they negotiated the bargaining unit contracts with all but one of the employee groups.She said as part of the contracts, the County had agreed to pick up the six percent portion of the employee PERS contribution.She said it doesnít compound their salary plan.She said it actually costs the County less than six percent because they donít have to pay Social Security taxes on that money.She said the commissioners were the last employee group not yet approved for the County to pay their PERS employee contribution.She noted the recommendation from the Elected Officials Compensation Board was that the County should move in that direction.She noted the Lane County Board of Commissioners is currently four percent below market, and with the PERS pick-up the total compensation would be only two percent above the average.She said this wouldnít be effective until January 2007.

 

XII. General Expense/Community Requests

 

Garnick explained they put all of the various costs that are not associated with particular departments: debt service, tourism costs and video lottery in general expense. He indicated the total budget for next year is $108.4 million spread across 12 funds and grouped into six categories.He noted the debt service is about $9.7 million and is up 3.4 percent.He added it is to retire a series of bonds and debt ranging from capital improvement at the Fairgrounds, the Mental Health building, the Juvenile Justice Center and the PERS bond.He noted the largest expense for next year is $9.2 million for the operational reserve.He said the transfer into the capital improvement fund for the Public Health building is $1.5 million.He noted the general fund piece of the debt service is $705,000 with the Extension Service at $619,000.

 

Garnick said they have an expense associated with the conversion of the AIRS project.He noted there are certain expenses that are eligible to be paid out of bond proceeds and they are capital expenses.He indicated this is the non-bond eligible expense, up $187,000 for next year. He noted they are going to be doing the next phase of the AIRS conversion in-house and there will be ongoing costs.

 

Garnick noted the special revenue and projects fund is $15.2 million.He explained that it includes all of the pass-through funding for the Countyís school fund of $7.4 million.He noted there is $3.1 million for community economic development projects funded out of this and Peter Thurstonís block grants.He noted there is a technical adjustment in this category.He said they found that this year the line games for the lottery are bringing in a higher level of video lottery revenue than in the past six years.He said they exceeded that budget by $350,000.His recommendation is to bump up the video lottery in general expense by $420,000 to be put into operational contingency so the Economic Development Standing Committee could decide how to best allocate the funding.He said the category also has about $4.1 million left over from the original bond proceeds for the Juvenile Justice Center.He indicated there is about $4 million dedicated to transient room tax dollars.He recalled that five percent of the room tax goes for capital and three percent goes for tourism marketing.He noted of the five percent portion that gets transferred to the Fairgrounds, they requested use of approximately $500,000 for operational purposes.He added they also give money to the City of Florence for the Events Center.He said they are asking to use the excess for operational expenses.

 

With regard to risk and benefits, Moody noted there is $58 million, most of which is in insurance costs that come from the departments then are paid to the insurance carrier.She added there is also the retiree medical trust and self-insurance.She noted there is no FTE in general expense, it is in Human Resources.She said that there is about $6.3 million of Title III funds through the Secure Rural Schools Act funds.She said the majority of the money would be spent this year, as this is the last year of the legislation.She added there would be a reserve for any unemployment costs that would be needed if they need to close out the fund due to resulting lay offs.

 

Crowell indicated they hadnít had anyone from the public show up for any of the meetings.He noted the budget is straightforward and is non-controversial.He thought they should wrap the budget up tonight.

 

Dwyer was against wrapping up the budget.He said if there was a public hearing set for next week then they should keep it for next Tuesday.

 

Crowell talked to County Counsel and there was nothing legally preventing them from approving it tonight.

 

Sorenson thought because it was advertised that they are going to have a public comment opportunity next week, they should stick with that.He agreed the budget is cut and dried.He thought people hadnít been coming in because they were told they could comment at the beginning and at the end of the meetings.

 

Hijmans suggested canceling Tuesday and just have a meeting on Thursday.He believed they advertised a meeting for next week with public comment.He didnít recommend they complete the budget tonight.

 

Holser stated they have to communicate to the public and the public has to communicate to them.

 

Sorenson agreed with having the public hearing on Thursday.

 

Crowell recalled in the past they had always scheduled two nights for deliberation, but always completed deliberation on Tuesday.

 

Heidi Schulz, Chair, Human Rights Advisory Committee, stated their main purpose is to advise the Board of Commissioners on human rights issues in Lane County.She noted the City of Eugene has its own human rights committee.She said they are addressing everything that is not in the City of Eugene.She indicated they have a liaison relationship with the Eugene Human Rights Commission.She recalled in the 2003/2004 Fiscal Year, the .5 FTE staff position was cut.She said the committee had been operating without any paid staff other than Greta Utecht and Loretta Careccia.She added that Careccia is paid overtime to take the minutes.She said they want the position so they could have structural staff support to be a more functional committee. She stated the Board of Commissioners have committed to diversity and human rights issues on paper.

 

Schulz stated that everyone on the committee is a volunteer.She said they have had a hotline with a county phone number that goes into a voice mail and the call is returned.She said they had a staff committee volunteer monitoring the hot line.She said it gets few calls because the hotline is not well publicized.She said they want to publicize the phone number and want people to know the services and support they are offering.She added they have contracted with Community Mediation Services to field the calls and do mediation.She said they are finding some of the issues are not a good fit for mediation and sometimes there is a legal component.She explained that all of that is a part of the human rights complaint process.She noted that in the past the staff person fielded a lot of the hotline calls.

 

Dwyer asked how many calls they received.

 

Schulz said they get a handful of calls per month due to a lack of publicity of the hotline.

 

Utecht noted when they did have a paid staff person, she was fielding about 50 calls per month.She said that each call takes a fair amount of time. She said the members were going to take turns fielding calls but they didnít have the training or the knowledge about the network in the community in order to make sure people were really assisted.

 

Schulz commented that if the Budget Committee is going to commit to diversity programs and human rights issues, they need to have a viable Human Rights Advisory Committee and this was an important piece of it.

 

XIII. Next Meeting/Review Staff Assignments

 

Garnick noted on the information distributed for Transient Room Tax dollars for the Fair Board, that the correct amount was $500,000, not $800,000.

 

There being no further business, Chair Crowell adjourned the meeting at 7:50 p.m.

 

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary