BUDGET COMMITTEE MEETING
May 16, 2006
Commissioners' Conference Room
Chair David Crowell presided with Budget Committee Members Scott Bartlett, Bobby Green Sr., Mary Ann Holser, Tony McCown, Anna Morrison and Faye Stewart present. Peter Sorenson left at 6:00 p.m. Bill Dwyer and Denis Hijmans were excused. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, Budget Financial Planning Manager Dave Garnick and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present
1. PUBLIC COMMENT
Gloria Griffith, Springfield, stated she works with the Springfield School District and with homeless children and families. She supported the request of the development coordinator for Children and Families.
Karen Roth, Eugene, stated she works for Food for Lane County. She supported the funding to hire development personnel for the Commission on Children and Families. She noted that the Commission on Children and Families worked closely with Food for Lane County to help expand the summer food program.
Nancy Brindle, Eugene, stated she is the social service manager for Catholic Community Services of Lane County. She supported the development position within Commission on Children and Families. She commented that this position would help them further their combined goal of promoting health and wellness for Lane County families. She said they have worked with the commission on many projects. She indicated they rely on the commission’s expertise and support and they helped to make a difference in the community. She commented that the partnership they have with the Commission on Children and Families is paramount to continued success.
Dave Flores, Springfield, stated he is the Chairman of Prevention Recovery Northwest. He said their youth and family adult outpatient programs have motivated over 30,000 clients to turn their lives around. He asked the Board to consider adding the funding for substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery services in Lane County.
Anne Marie Bilderback, Eugene, Prevention Recovery Northwest, explained their treatment model. She noted that meth clients were not doing well in their standard treatment groups and in order for them to recover from the addiction, it was beneficial to be part of a group of peers. She said it helps change their thinking, which in turn changes their actions. She said the group relies on evidence-based practice of relapse prevention. She noted that over 88 percent of Prevention Recovery Northwest clients created a foundation for their ongoing recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. She said the waiting list is long for treatment services that are available. She noted that at any given time; out of the 51 publicly funded outpatient substance abuse treatment service spaces for low income adults, all are filled, and 36 to 39 clients are waiting up to six months. She asked the Board to consider adding to the funding for prevention, treatment and recovery services in Lane County.
Pamela Raynor, WomenSpace, said she sees one to two survivors of domestic violence at the clinic a day. She said as physical violence increases in the home, children experience a 300 percent increase in physical violence by the batterer. She commented that being abused or witnessing domestic violence as a child increases the likelihood of arrest as a juvenile by 53 percent. She added that 38 percent of the kids were more likely to be arrested as an adult, and for a violent crime. She noted that 40.5 percent of youth assessed at the Department of Youth Services since October 1998 have reported histories of exposure to family violence. She commented that it is affecting the community. She asked the Board to support the future of the children with validation and legal remedies to stop the abuse in Lane County. She said they need a system wide solution, including funding the Parole and Probation docket to stop the violence and the cycle.
Amber Murray, Eugene, stated she was present on behalf of the Domestic Violence Council. She supported the Health and Human Service request for the DV Docket in the Circuit Court. She urged the Board to devise a solution.
Merlyn Hough, Eugene, Director of LRAPA, stated they have a budget request in the proposed budget. He thanked the Board for their support for the name change. He noted the difference with Lane County versus other jurisdictions is that their civil penalties are returned to the Lane County general fund. He indicated that had averaged about $42,866 per year for the past decade. He noted that had the net effect of reducing the contribution from the 93.3 cents to closer to 60 cents per capita. He said in order to maintain air quality progress in Lane County they believe it is a good investment for the county. He said they had been successful in returning over $1 million in other funds and the request would allow them to continue that progress by having air quality funds they could use as a match to support their grant requests.
Green asked how this money was funded before.
Hough responded that the grants they had been successful in obtaining had gone to local businesses. The businesses had provided the matching dollars to make it work. He noted some grants had been going to school districts replacing school buses, with a local match from the school districts. He said it would allow them to apply for other grants that require a match and increases their success rate by showing there is a local match to leverage a federal or state grant. He indicated this money would be with Lane County, not under LRAPA’s control.
Stewart reported he received a call from a Peggy Lynn who also supported the Children and Families Development Resources position. He said she thought this could help the situation in Cottage Grove.
2. COMMITTEE BUSINESS
Approval of the Minutes of the May 9, 2006 Budget Committee Meeting.
MOTION: to approve the Minutes of May 9, 2006.
McCown MOVED, Morrison SECONDED.
Garnick distributed new information. (Copy in file). He projected the impact of a 50 percent loss and a total loss of the Secure Rural Schools Act on the general fund forecast. He noted the prepared budget was put together under the assumption that the Secure Rural Schools Act would be renewed. He reported the budget for the Secure Rural Schools Act in FY 2006/2007 is about $49 million. He said Title I funds that come into the discretionary general fund and road fund are $43 million. He noted that Title II funding is less than $1 million, with Title III funding about 11 percent.
Morrison noted if they were using the old funding mechanism they would have received $2 million instead of $14 million.
Garnick explained that the Secure Rural Schools Act is ten percent of the entire County budget. He noted the road fund is the largest fund and receives $20.6 million, with the general fund receiving $18 million. He noted the general fund budget for next year is about $98 million, with $18 million coming from the Secure Rural Schools Act.
Garnick indicated if the Secure Rural Schools Act funding went down to zero, Lane County would return to the old formula where they would share the timber receipts 50/50 based upon the percentage of O & C lands that are in Lane County. He noted that Lane County has 15.27 percent of the O & C lands, and actual O & C receipts in 2005 were $11.9 million. He added that Lane County’s portion would have been $1.8 million. He added that under the Secure Rural Schools Act in 2005, Lane County received $17.6 million.
Garnick reported that if they reduced the Secure Rural Schools in half, they would have to cut another $8 million. He added if it were to go away entirely and they went back to the old formula, they would have a $16.4 million reduction in 2008. He said if they had to cut $18 million, the Sheriff’s Office would lose about $9 million. He noted the general expense cut would be about $3.2 million, and the cut for Youth Services, District Attorney and Assessment and Taxation would be around $1.5 million. He noted that the public safety area would be cut about $12 million.
3. BUDGET COMMITTEE DISCUSSION/DELIBERATION
Garnick noted that on page 1, under Section D 1. a., the Sheriff’s Office drug trafficking area had been increased. He noted the original estimate was $70,000, but that had been changed to $107,862. He said on page 2, they cleaned up Section D.3 that clarified the amount of transient room tax for the Fairgrounds. He commented that if the Board decided to spend general fund monies on those, it would come out of the reserves.
Stewart asked if the money for the Health and Human Services’ misdemeanant supervision position could come from SB 1145 money.
Van Vactor indicated the money was available. He said the Supervisory Authority Team had made a recommendation that is going to the PSCC and then the Board. He had reservations because the money had been earmarked to help in the event the collective bargaining agreement is settled. He noted the SAT allocated it to other priorities.
Morrison asked how they allocated the money.
Linda Eaton, Parole and Probation, reported the proposal that would be going to the PSCC is out of the $251,000 that is unallocated. She noted that $100,000 would go to Parole and Probation, designated for the misdemeanant supervision position to help contribute toward the total cost. She thought $116,000 was for the medical area remodel at the jail and the remainder ($30,000) for a one-time allocation to the drug court treatment program. She noted that these were seen by the SAT as a one-time allocation because this was carryover from a previous biennium and they don’t know if the same dollar amount will be part of their base.
Green asked what would happen if they did dip into the reserves.
Garnick indicated the reserve is at $9.2 million or 11.4 percent, and Moody’s didn’t want the reserves to be lower than ten percent.
Morrison commented that it would cost $580,000 to fund everything. She commented that whether or not the Secure Rural Schools Act funding comes in at 100 percent, next year they still have to cut $2.2 million.
Crowell asked what the leveraging would be with the narcotics investigator.
Russ Burger, Sheriff, explained that they had a two-year grant for $200,000 for equipment and supplies. He noted it could not pay for a car. He said it is a request for salaries and benefits. He added that they have made an application for a HIDA designation for drug trafficking. He indicated that it gives them the opportunity to get additional federal dollars for overtime, equipment, supplies and training.
Crowell indicated that Hijmans supported the LCSO position for $70,000, but Hijmans did not know the cost would be $107,000. He added that Dwyer also was supportive of the LCSO money, the watermaster and the Lane County Human Rights Advisory position for the half-time office assistant.
Green indicated that the Health and Humans Services misdemeanant supervision position was coming back to the Board. He asked why they were acting on this now.
Garnick indicated that they need another $169,000. He noted the SB 1145 money is for $100,000 and there is still a gap of $169,000 from general fund dollars for the proposed packet.
The LRAPA add package did not receive enough votes to pass.
Holser wanted to add family planning, restoring some of the funding. She was concerned about eliminating family planning as a function of the Public Health Department as a core preventive function. She wanted to keep some family planning in Public Health. She noted that the Riverstone Clinic would only need $181,000 to do some of the work that is being done by the Public Health Department. She was concerned that there was no line item for family planning in the Public Health Department.
Rob Rockstroh, Health and Human Services, indicated his whole department is the Public Health Department. He said they could enhance family planning by sending it to the Riverstone Clinic. He indicated that they get a higher reimbursement rate and access to primary care. He said it would still be linked with the Public Health Department. He said when they build a Public Health building they would probably have a co-located physical health, primary care clinic with public health and they could keep family planning alive.
Holser was concerned that this program is moved to a clinic that is set up for people who are low income. She thought family planning in the Public Health Department was important as a stopgap measure. She worried about programs that are transferred out from where they belong.
Holser asked if they could maintain the family planning function at Public Health with $180,000. She wanted to recommend that it be brought to the table with no money attached.
There were not enough votes to move family planning forward.
Crowell indicated the items that came forward from discussion from the Budget Committee were Children and Families, Public Works, Health and Human Services, the Sheriff’s Office, Watermaster and the Lane County Human Rights Advisory Committee.
Children and Families Program Service Coordinator
McCown commented that the County is facing a deficit next year but he thought the only add package item that would pay for itself was the Children and Families advocate. He thought even if they were faced with losing the position next year, it was worth it for the program.
Green supported the position, as it leveraged other funding.
Morrison commented that having someone available to help find grants was an admirable goal, but she didn’t see grants as a solution for this.
There were six votes to add $75,000 for a Children and Families Program Service Coordinator to the budget.
Update and Review of Lane Code for $100,000 for Public Works
Garnick explained that Public Works would have budget authority but they would still have to go through the Economic Development Standing Committee to have the funds allocated. He said there would be a placeholder put in for this.
There was unanimous approval to have this added to the budget.
Misdemeanant Supervision from Health and Human Services for $269,000 and $100,000 from the general fund.
Stewart commented that if they add this position and it has to go away after a year due to contract negotiations, that if they save one life, it is worth every dollar. He was in favor of this as it would be helping people for at least a year.
Holser supported this because if a misdemeanant is caught early that they could prevent a reoccurrence and jail time.
Green stated he was against the sequencing of this. He recalled that Rockstroh brought this to the Budget Committee due to the lack of direction from the Board. He said he would vote in favor but he was uncomfortable with the way they were doing this.
Morrison commented that this would impact their reserves.
There were six votes to add this to the budget.
Sheriff’s Office Narcotic Investigator for $107,862
Green commented that Lane County needs a narcotics investigator for its drug problem.
The vote was unanimous for this add package.
Watermaster for $3,500
There were six votes to forward this as an add package.
Lane County Human Rights Advisory Committee for a half-time office assistant, $30,664
Green stated that this commission lacks staff help. He thought this would be a good move in the right direction. He thought it could continue to help them follow their work plan.
Holser asked how they would staff the committee.
Greta Utecht, Human Resources, noted it would be posted internally and the Human Rights Advisory Committee would do the hiring.
There were six votes to forward this as an add package.
Garnick reported that the budget going forward was the budget proposed. He noted the only technical adjustment is the general expense for video lottery.
Van Vactor noted that $386,191 would be from reserves.
MOTION: to allow the Fair Board and the City of Florence to utilize the excess transient room tax for their operation in the amounts of $500,00 and $33,960 respectively.
Green MOVED, Bartlett SECONDED.
MOTION: to approve the recommendation of the Elected Officials Compensation Board.
Utecht explained (based on the charter language), that it specifically states that changes to board member compensation packages could only take effect in January of each odd-numbered year. She said if the Board didn’t approve this recommendation, the next opportunity would be January 2009 before this could take effect. She said it would be more costlier administratively to pull the five commissioners out with PERS instead of putting them in. She said based on their calculations, it actually saves the County money over time.
Stewart’s concern was that they are giving themselves raises when they are going out to the people asking for more money.
Green supported the recommendation.
McCown didn’t think this raise would affect the public, as this was a cost savings.
Holser noted that Lane County is at the bottom for compensation in comparison with other counties. She added even after they approved a raise, the commissioners would still be at the bottom. She commented that if people want good government they have to pay for compensating the people who run it.
Bartlett asked if the commissioners were at the top of the pay scale.
Utecht commented that they have 1,453 employees and the commissioners are two-thirds down the list. She noted the top paid employees at Lane County are physicians.
Bartlett MOVED, McCown SECONDED.
VOTE: 6-1 (Stewart dissenting).
MOTION: to approve the FY 2006-2007 budget with the agreed upon additions being paid out of reserves with a $420,000 video lottery adjustment.
Stewart MOVED, McCown SECONDED.
MOTION: to approve the FY 2006-2007 Permanent Tax Rate of 1.2793 per $1,000 of Assessed Value and the Juvenile Justice Center General Obligation Bond Tax Levy in the amount of $2,893,653.
Green MOVED, Bartlett SECONDED.
There being no further business, Chair Crowell adjourned the meeting at 7:15 p.m.