LANE COUNTY

BUDGET COMMITTEE MEETING

May 4, 2006

5:15 p.m.

Commissioners' Conference Room

APPROVED 5/11/06

 

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. Scott Bartlett and Peter Sorenson were absent.  County Administrator, Bill Van Vactor, Budget Financial Planning Manager Dave Garnick and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.

 

I. COMMITTEE BUSINESS

 

Crowell went over the ground rules for the process of asking questions.

 

II. SHERIFF'S OFFICE

 

Garnick explained that the Sheriff’s total budget is $52.2 million, covering different funds.  He said that $41 million is in general fund, with the balance being in the road fund, fleet and special revenue.  He said that $27 million is funded with discretionary dollars and they have 385.5 FTE.  He said they moved $5.8 million from the department into a special revenue fund, including the program for the traffic team and the federal forest crews.  He stated they had no reduction package.  He noted they had an add package for hazard mitigation but they withdrew that and there is $200,000 of additional grant money.

 

Russ Burger, Sheriff, gave his department presentation.  He noted that the jails are overcrowded; there is not enough space and people to watch the inmates.  He said if Secure Rural Schools goes away by 50%, it would be a $2.69 million loss to the Sheriff’s Office, or 17 FTEs.  He said if it is a complete loss, they would lose an additional $5.38 million dollars and 33 FTE.  He added there is a countywide impact if the Secure Rural Schools Act goes away.

 

Burger said they were dropping the add packages for emergency services.  He said what they want to do is take advantage of the COPS methamphetamine grant they had been eligible for.  He said it was a two -year grant for $200,000.  He indicated they couldn’t hire a sworn employee with that money.  He added they have received support from federal, state and police agencies in Lane County to seek a High Intensity Drug Trafficking area.  He explained that in the State of Oregon, every county on the I-5 corridor except for Lane and Linn counties is a HIDA county.  He said they asked for a HIDA designation.  He said that could be an additional resource to combat the meth problem they have.  He also noted another grant they are getting is a COPS technical grant.  He said they would use the technology they receive to obtain video cameras in the patrol cars.

 

Burger indicated they have 25 unsolved homicides dating back to 1968 and they started a cold case investigation team that is led by three retired detectives who volunteer one day per week.

 

Captain Tom Turner gave a presentation on the Office of the Sheriff. (Copy in file.)

 

Captain Denis Ewing gave a presentation on the Police Services Division. (Copy in file.)  He commented that Oregon has approximately 1.7 officers per thousand, while Lane County has 1.2 officers per thousand.  With regard to field services, he noted there was a drop in calls for service from 04/05 because the Traffic Safety Team was not fully staffed in 2004 and part of 2005.  He said that Coburg discontinued dispatching services with the Sheriff’s Office in July 2005 and in 2003, they started mailing out complaint forms because they knew they couldn’t make every call.  He added in 2004 they sent out 619 forms and in 2005 they sent out 1,400 forms.  He noted they have 19 deputies covering 24/7 or two to three per shift.  He commented with the limited resources, they could only cover the most heinous of crimes.

 

Captain Kevin Williams said his staff is responsible for assessing, placing and managing the defendants and offenders in the Sherman Center.  He added that they have a partnership with Lane Community College for corrections education.  He commented that many people need education in order to be successful.  He said they are working on Phase 3 at the DOMC to do a scientific assessment to determine what it is the inmate’s need so they can assist them to modify their behavior or to be successful once they are released.

 

Williams explained a lot of people get released from jail.  He said it is through release agreements and capacity based releases.  He noted from March 1, 2005 to the end of February 2006, they released 28,179 inmates.  He added many were on release agreements and were supposed to show up in court.  He noted that 3,481 decided not to return to court and warrants were issued for their arrest.  He indicated that last year there were 14,373 inmates booked into jail.  He said that 25% of the people booked into the jail in one year were released.  He noted the average daily number of inmates is under 96.   He added they have an electronic surveillance program for people who are about to transition into society.  He indicated they have to pay rent in order to live at the jail to pay for court ordered restitution.  He said they work in the community during the day and at night they are in the jail.

 

Williams reported that last year they had 1,086 people sentenced to community service and they had a 60% success rate.  He said some went to Goodwill to provide community service.  He commented that there was room for improvement.

 

Williams stated in the jail they serve over 620,000 hot meals every year.  He said they have one staff person that oversees 13 inmate workers to prepare the food.  He added they are also washing 280 tons of laundry per year.

 

Williams noted that over half of the people that come into custody indicated they were under the influence of drugs, alcohol or both at the time they committed the crime.  He added that hundreds of inmates are withdrawing from alcohol or drugs while they are in custody.  He said that 852 times last year they had to have suicide watch on the inmates.

 

Williams explained that currently at their main jail they have 375 beds that are available.  He added at the Forest Work Camp they have 100 beds and at the Community Corrections Center they have 116 beds.  He said they have a total of 591 spaces for inmates.  He said they have video cameras in the jail because they want to demonstrate what they are doing and to protect taxpayer dollars.  He added that they want to reduce liability.

 

Williams indicated that he met with the U.S. Marshal’s Service and his staff.  He said they assessed their inmate population and advised him that there are more terrorists in the Lane County Jail than any other custody facility in the United States.  He said they have anarchists, terrorists, eco-terrorists, murderers, rapists, pedophiles and the gentleman who started the Marion County Courthouse fire.  He said they are housed in Lane County because of the professionalism of the operations.

 

With regard to what they could be doing, Turner indicated they need to have their own public information officer.  He added they need a dedicated probation officer and full-time data analyst, a centralized software program and a centralized software program that tracks training activities.

 

Ewing explained their intent is to respond to every call.  He said they received 90,000 calls for service in 2005, and 1,860 calls were either priority one or two.  He said their average response time is 14.5 minutes.  He indicated that there are many computer crimes and ID thefts, but people crimes are more important to them.

 

Williams indicated that the third floor of the jail is closed and they would need 16 Deputy Sheriffs to re-open it.  He said according to the Oregon State Sheriff’s Association, the goal is 2.5 beds per thousand.  He said based on the 2004 U.S. Census Data, Lane County needs 829 beds, but they currently have 591 beds available. He said they need to have a facility modification for food services.  He said they have to reduce the ration of inmate workers to staff, as it is currently one employee to 13 inmates.  He said they need more dryer and storage capacity.  He added they need an x-ray machine to research things that are coming into the facility.  He stated they need a medical remodel, as they cannot permit inmate confidential medical information to be disclosed to other inmates or people who don’t have a need or right to know.  He added that they need a generator replacement and have critical needs to make things more secure.

 

Burger commented that they are holding the most dangerous offenders in custody, responding to every crime and investigating every crime they can.  He said they are planning strategically for an uncertain future.  He said they are holding more offenders accountable via the Sherman Center.  He said he holds his work force of 385 employees to the highest standards.  He said they work with other agencies.  He said they are working on grant opportunities and working with partners to leverage resources.  He said they are doing the best they can with what they can but are still not meeting the needs of the public they serve.  He commented that a public initiative is long overdue.  He said they have a needs problem.  He said they couldn’t get community support if they don’t meet the public’s expectations and they can’t meet the public’s expectations without community support

 

Holser asked if they get the public safety initiative passed if they would have resident deputies.

 

Burger responded that as a result of the public safety task force effort and their recommendation for a $24.5 million fix, he said included in that would be 10 resident deputies that would be spread throughout Lane County.  He said it would reduce response time in the outlying areas.

 

Stewart asked why they don’t charge inmates.  He thought there could be an opportunity to make it happen.

 

Burger indicated they had an item that they took to Finance and Audit Committee to start charging inmates who have the ability to pay for medical services.

 

Rick Schulz, Sheriff’s Office, commented that Lane County is one of the few counties in the state that doesn’t charge their inmates, but there is not a lot of money that could be raised.  He said it would help with the medical problems, but not help the funding.

 

Burger commented that they could not charge inmates who are pretrial that had not been sentenced.  He said they have to weigh those costs.

 

Crowell asked what it would cost to open 96 beds at the jail.

 

Burger said the cost is 16 FTE which is approximately $1,000 to outfit per FTE per year and $4,000 per year to feed and clothe the inmates.  He thought it was about $1.1 million total.

 

McCown asked what it would take to run the INET again.

 

Burger responded their contribution to INET was one detective when it closed.  He said at one point there were three detectives.  He said if they are designated as a HIDA county, they will have to reform the task force and that is their goal.   He said they would have to have one detective assigned.   He noted that there is a grant of $200,000 that could be used for the cost of the position.

 

III. DISTRICT ATTORNEY

 

Garnick reported that the District Attorney’s budget for next year is $8.4 million of which 92% is in the general fund and the balance is in special revenue and liquor law enforcement. He added that $6.1 million of their budget is discretionary revenue.  He noted that next year they will have a total of 71 FTE, down one from the current year and there are no major changes, adds or reductions and no adjustments were requested.

 

Laurel Lee McKee, Family Law, said they have 13 FTE in family law of which four are lawyers.  She said they are located in the Mental Health Building.  She said they are continuing to collect child support, collecting $20 million this year.  She said they continue to provide cost effective services.  She noted that for every dollar they spend, they collect almost $13.00 in child support for the families of Lane County.  She added that they continue to leverage Lane County dollars.  She indicated they are 66% funded federal match for reimbursement of expenditures.  She said based on performance criteria, they could earn up to 100% of the incentives for performance criteria. McKee indicated their caseloads have stabilized.  She said they have 5,200 caseloads per year with about 1,250 cases per attorney.

 

Ray Broderick, Child Advocacy Center, reported their mission is to lessen the trauma for children involved in the criminal justice system who are reporting sexual or physical abuse or domestic violence.   He indicated that they interview children.  He noted that last year the Child Advocacy interviewed 651 children and he personally interviewed 415 of the children.  He indicated that they videotape the interviews for people who need to make investigation and judgments about what the children are saying. He indicated that they work with all the law enforcement agencies in the County.  He said they review the cases that come through the center every second week.   He commented that domestic violence cases are one of the most dangerous cases that law enforcement can go to.  He commented if they could intercede in the courts and have follow-up education of domestic violence victims, they could help the need.  He said they started in 1995 with 167 cases to 2004 with 651 cases.  He indicated they never had more than five FTE and they are down to four.  He expected that to go down.  He said it doesn’t cost the general fund or law enforcement agency anything.  He stated they pick up the full cost by a combination of state offender fines and grants.

 

Frank Ratti, Medical Examiner, stated the medical examiner investigates death.  He indicated that it is a medical examiner system that is based on the premise that scientific and medical experts are best equipped to investigate the cause and manner of death.  He noted Lane County has had a medical examiner office since 1973.  He explained the medical examiner has joint responsibility with the County District Attorney to investigate all non-natural and unattended deaths.  He said the office has been most historically related to the Sheriff’s Office and Health Department.  He said the primary work of the office is individual case investigation.  He said an ongoing function for the medical examiner is preparation for disaster.  He said the Lane County medical examiner participates with all other agencies in response to disasters.  He added the medical examiner also participates in a statewide program to recognize and diagnose early fatal cases of emerging infections that could be bioterrorism.  He stated that Lane County provides a deputy medical examiner position to receive calls and respond to death investigations.  He said there are 3,000 deaths in Lane County each year.   He said the medical examiner’s office is notified in about 1,000 of them.

 

Ratti indicated the Lane County medical examiner budget provides two full-time medical examiner positions and a part–time temporary position to receive calls and respond to death investigations.  He added that Lane County government has a contract with Sacred Heart Hospital to provide morgue and autopsy service.  He said the morgue has existed at Sacred Heart Hospital facility for more than 30 years.  He said the budget also provides for other professional services.   He noted the Clackamas County medical examiner’s office is a close Oregon comparison population in Lane County.  He said Clackamas County’s caseload is 25% fewer than Lane County, but the budget is 20% greater.  He added that Clackamas County is smaller in geographic size and they employ three times the investigators and use the Oregon State medical examiner facility for office and autopsies.   He asked that the budget for the medical examiner be maintained in order to maintain the minimum quality of service.

 

Alex Gardner, District Attorney’s Office, reported the overall picture in Lane County with crime is not good.  He said meth is a problem and they don’t do anything with the people they arrest and prosecute.  He commented that women are more likely to get raped in Lane County than in New York or Los Angeles.   He said there is a direct relationship between police officer density and crime rate.  He said if they would have more police, they would have less crime because there is a suppression effect of having them around.

 

Gardner reported they are down to 22 lawyers in their criminal division and many are relatively young.  He said they have hired 20 lawyers since 2000.  He said they always have new people who are in the process of being trained.  He commented they are not as efficient as people who had been doing the job for awhile.  He noted Lane County has a caseload that is 65% higher than the average in the Oregon prosecutor’s offices and they are 12% to 15% higher to the next closest competitor, Marion County.  He said they have had eight homicides since last fall that contributed to their workload. He noted they have made changes in the system that had improved their efficiency.  He commented that they are not lodging approximately 10,000 in the jail as a result of various policy changes.  He indicated that Oregon now averages less than 20% of the average sentence per felony in the United States.

 

Doug Harcleroad, District Attorney, indicated that they are working on the public safety initiative.  He commented that they are not doing everything they should be doing and it is like living on the edge.

 

IV. YOUTH SERVICES

 

Garnick explained that Youth Services’ department budget is $9.9 million of which 75% is in the general fund and 25% in special revenue.  He added that $6.2 million is discretionary money.  He said the department met their general fund target.  He indicated that they have 67.5 FTE and the major change in the current year is the loss of a number of grant dollars.  He said they had to reduce their budget by over $1 million.  He said they had no add packages or other adjustments.

 

(The Budget Committee met as a sub-committee.)

 

Lisa Smith, Director, Youth Services, reported the 2005-2006 year had been one of change and challenge for the department.  She noted they have had the continued erosion of funding at all levels.  She said they had the successful implementation of the Phoenix Secure Treatment Program, the MLK Culinary Arts Program and the successful piloting of the MLK Medical and Veterinary Technician Program.  She said they continue with the challenge of only 16 discretionary detention beds to serve all of Lane County.

 

(There was a quorum present.)

 

Smith reported that the Department of Youth Services is the sole juvenile justice agency for Lane County.  She said they deal with all youth referrals for law violations.  She said the budget is comprised of approximately two-thirds County general fund and one-third state and federal funding sources.  She said they work closely with the DA’s office, law enforcement, schools and Oregon Youth Authority.  She indicated their services include detention, secure treatment, probation, drug testing, education, psychological services, medical and dental services in detention, job and life skills, program evaluation and case management.

 

Smith reported they continue to struggle with the 31-bed Oregon Youth Authority cap.  She said they have 44 fewer state beds than in 2001.  She said in the juvenile justice system, they are limited to 31 youth for all of Lane County at any given time, based entirely on budgetary constraints, not any need formula.  She noted they had seven shelter beds for boys and zero for girls. She said they continue to struggle with waiting lists for their limited drug and alcohol residential treatment.  She said they have no residential services for girls on campus so they have to compete with beds at Willamette Family Treatment.  She said they are seeing increases in youth using methamphetamine and mental health and medical needs in detention.  She noted they are constantly matrixing the youth out into the community.

 

Smith said a majority of her funding is grant funding but it is activity specific and it is time limited and they always end.  She noted in the next year Youth Services will be concluding five federal grant and one state grant for a reduction of over $1 million.  She recalled that some of these grants had been with Youth Services for over ten years.  She reported that some of the things grants had paid for were treatment, drug testing, transportation, staff, indirect cost, materials and supplies, fleet services and parent education.

 

Smith stated that Youth Services met their budget target but cannot maintain their status quo service level.  She added their future is more uncertain with the Secure Rural Schools Act up in the air.

 

Smith said they are only reducing 4.4 FTE.  She said she is not reducing 12 FTE because they found a way to increase revenue.  She said they couldn’t do it into the future.  She said in 2003 the Board of Commissioners allowed Youth Services to retain $100,000 of excess lapse funding as a strategic investment in developing the Phoenix Secure Treatment program and they used 16 of their 32 detention beds. She said it allows youth to receive treatment in a secure custody environment. She said the Phoenix Program allows Youth Services to receive the federal behavioral rehabilitation services dollars.   She said for 2006/2007, they anticipate reimbursement of about $388,000.  She commented that the dollars are not without risk.  She said federal dollars are always at risk for reduction in the federal budget process.  She added these dollars were recommended for elimination in the President’s recommended budget.

 

Smith noted they are going to implement supervision fees for youth and families.  She said it was a new area and they don’t know how much labor will be involved in collecting.  She didn’t know how successful they would be.  She said they eliminated 4.4 positions, including a part-time medical assistant, two juvenile counselors, a senior counselor and an accounting analyst.

 

Smith reported that status quo for Youth Services means operating under need.  She said they have experienced staff reductions year after year.  She commented that juvenile referrals were done both locally and nationally.  She said because of all the reductions in resources, more high-risk youth are remaining in the community than ever before.  She said they transferred the 16 out of 32 discretionary detention beds into secure treatment beds.  She noted on any given day, two to four youth are matrixed out of detention or 1,000 per youth per year matrixed into the community because they don’t have sufficient capacity.  She commented that it affects every part of their system.

 

Smith indicated she used Lane County and DYS’s Strategic Plan for allocating resources.  She said they looked at increasing revenue where applicable.  She said it will require maximum efficiency and some luck that the federal government won’t alter the funding model.  She said they are identifying and recovering user fees.  She commented that the fees would not represent a full cost recovery, but an incremental step for those who benefit from the service to pay for the service.  She said the positions they eliminated did not represent waste.  She stated that by eliminating the nurse position, they now have one nurse, which means less time with patients and more time with paperwork.  She said they discontinued juvenile counselors who were housed in the schools at Westfir, Lowell, Pleasant Hill, Junction City, Blue River, Mapleton and Marcola.  She noted they only have one person who is responsible for all financial matters at Youth Services.  She said they are doing more with less and it is tougher.

 

Linda Wagner, Youth Services, reported they served 2,600 referrals for a cost of about $3,500 each.  She discussed the data that she had collected on re-offenders. (Copy in file.) She commented they are making a difference with chronic offenders.  She said when they use what works, they could make a difference, document it and be accountable for those public funds and reducing victimization in the community.

 

Wagner thought the crime rates could go up.  She thought there could be more episodic and horrific crimes.  She said they have reduced resources.  She noted they have at least 125 kids staying in the County without the sources that they know works.   She said the kids are committing more severe crimes.  She said that meth makes the crimes with juveniles worse.  She noted that 35% of teenager juvenile offenders are using meth.

 

There being no further business, Chair Crowell adjourned the meeting at 9:35 p.m.

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary