BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'
March 21, 2007
Commissioners' Conference Room
Commissioner Faye Stewart presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bill Fleenor, Bobby Green, Sr., and Peter Sorenson present. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
2. PUBLIC COMMENTS
Michael Wallach, Florence Veteran’s Park, said he is the commissioner for the Veteran’s Memorial Park Commission in Florence. He indicated they are a 501 (c) (3) organization. Their goal is to build a veteran’s park in Florence. He said the park is being built in Old Town on the river near the ocean. He said they are breaking new ground with the park because their memorial wall will be dedicated to all veterans and all active military personnel who have honorably served in the United States armed forces. He added it is also for those who could not be on any walls. He noted the veteran doesn’t have to be a Lane County or Florence resident to be on the memorial wall. He said it is a community-minded project with emphasis on historical, educational tourism, and economical benefits for the community--as well as the County. He asked for the Board of Commissioners’ political and moral support. He wanted to contact all representatives and senators regarding the project. He said they want to get state, federal and private funding. He said having broad based community support would help them get more support financially from the different entities.
Tom Schneider, Eugene, said he lives in an established neighborhood and they have improved their park. He indicated there is a section of about three and a half blocks that has sidewalks missing and there is no area on either side of the street to walk safely to West 11th. He said the worst of the areas have deep ditches in front of Section 8 housing that Sorenson indicated was a Lane County Commissioner’s area of concern. He said he brought the concerns to the city and they are planning to build a small section of sidewalk on the other side of the street. He said it was an unsafe area and had been that way for a long time. He said the city told him this was a County lane.
Sorenson wanted to find out if this was a County or city road
Dwyer stated he never heard about this at the MPC. He said the city should have exacted the improvements from the developers for the safety requirements necessary for traffic. He said this is in the city and not in the County.
Green was familiar with Acorn Park. He noted there was a memo from Mayor Torrey from 2004. Green said the road could have been approved during the time the city had a sidewalk program. He said people object because it comes as a form of an assessment. He said the city missed those opportunities and it was neglected. He said he would contact the engineer for the city to find out how it stands.
Sorenson asked Van Vactor if he could send a letter to Snowden regarding the status of the street to verify that it is indeed a city street, not a County road. He also asked Van Vactor to contact the Housing Authority to see if any safety problems were reported.
David Force, indicated (regarding Jim Gillette’s foreclosure case), the Circuit Court and Court of Appeals had concluded that the fines against Gillette were legitimate because they affirmed the foreclosure, but that was not what happened. He indicated that when the fines were originally assessed. Gillette did not have the cash to pay the fines within 30 days (under the ordinance, a pre-condition of contesting them). He said, as a consequence of Gillette not paying the money, Judge Rasmussen in the Circuit Court concluded regarding the foreclosure suit by the County, that Gillette could not produce evidence showing that he had in fact not violated the County ordinance because he couldn’t afford to appeal. He tried to convince the Court of Appeals that the inspector for the County testified in the foreclosure suit that in fact no inspection had been made after Gillette asked the County to inspect and show he was in full compliance with the order to remove the mobile homes. He said the County now has a legal right to seize his property.
Curtis Williams, Eugene, spoke on behalf of Jim Gillette. He indicated that some of the fines were the result of paintball games. He stated he leased property from Gillette and ran the paintball games. Williams said he operated the paintball games on June 8 and on June 18, Gillette received a fine that he was operating paintball games. Williams noted in Lane Manual Section 184.108.40.206, the person who actually committed the violation is the responsible party. He thought he should be fined for operating the paintball games, not Gillette. He thought Gillette was wrongly accused of this fine. He added that after Gillette received the letter, they did not operate anything again.
Chris Orsinger, Eugene, represented Friends of Buford Park and Mt. Pisgah. He urged the Board to maintain stable funding for the Lane County Parks Division. He indicated that since 1990 Parks had no general fund revenues and has depended on the car rental tax for some degree of stability in its funding. He noted there is a proposal that the car rental tax be transferred to the general fund He said they had just learned about the proposal and their Board hadn’t had a chance to analyze it. He said they have been bringing in $250,000 per year as resources to the park in terms of park enhancements. He added they have been bringing close to $100,000 in volunteer in-kind resources. He said they were concerned about getting staff in place to review projects and provide proper Lane County oversight. He asked if the Board had to take away car rental tax that they replace it with transient room tax.
Don Ward, Eugene, stated he was a former compliance officer with Lane County. He urged the Board to look at the Compliance Department. He commented that the appeals process is set up where people have to come up with a great deal of money before they are able to appeal a violation that may have been corrected. He commented that Gillete’s situation was a good example. He added there is concern with selective enforcement and inconsistencies within the department. Ward commented that Gillette is in compliance but is faced with foreclosure. He thought it was inconsistent.
Ann McLucas, Eugene, said she was present at both of the Gillette hearings. It was her understanding that the Sheriff’s Sale was going to be postponed until Gillette was in compliance, and then a settlement hearing would be held. She said last Wednesday neighbors came in without any compliance hearing happening first. She said at the latest inspection he had showed compliance in every respect except for an application for an agricultural building that was turned down. She said the County sat on the application and Gillette could have used that time to bring the building into compliance. She said the latest complaint about the agricultural building was not from a neighbor but from a transient who stayed briefly on Gillette’s property. She thought he was fined unfairly without a proper hearing.
Jim Gillette, Eugene, asked if the Board could delay the Sheriff’s Sale. It was his impression that it would be put off because he was almost in compliance. He indicated he is in compliance except for one building. He said he could take care of it within a week or two. He wanted an agreed settlement hearing on the fines. He commented that he never knew about his fines.
Rick Geoffroy, Eugene, stated he has been doing most of the work for Gillette. He said they are on compliance with everything. He noted that everything was completed except for one building. He said he is the caretaker on the property. He thinks what is happening to Gillette is unfair.
Michael Smith, Eugene, stated he is a volunteer for the Human Rights Party of Oregon. He hoped they would remove the Sheriff’s Sale for Gillette. With regard to the referral to the ballot of the income tax, he didn’t know if all the signatures were verified. He opposed the Board referring it to the ballot without it being on the agenda or publicly noticed. He also opposed the charter amendment being on the ballot without a public hearing.
Sorenson said he spoke with Elections and they confirmed the necessary signatures were met prior to the Board referring this. He added the Board does not require having a hearing on a charter amendment to go to the voters. He commented the Board had satisfied legal procedures.
Tom Reid, Eugene, spoke on the food tax. He distributed another version. (Copy in file). He thought an income tax was not a good tax. He thought a restaurant sales tax was fairer. He thought they should offer the restaurant sales tax along with the income tax to let the voters decide. He thought the public would vote for this.
Sandra Culver, Walton, spoke about her coffee cart, and said she had opened it three summers ago. She stated that customers requested a coffee cart and her disabled daughter could run it. She wanted to continue with her coffee cart.
Jerry Culver, Walton, stated he is an owner of Morning Glory Farms. He commented they are hard working people trying to make a living, but are being singled out by code enforcement. Referring to the coffee cart mentioned by Sandra Culver, he said they didn’t think it would cause problems. He said he didn’t get complaints from neighbors, but was told by [Lane County] Compliance that they had to shut down. He commented that the law could be interpreted in many ways and they think they are right.
Fleenor stated this was not complaint-driven, but a compliance officer citing the cart for being out of compliance.
Mike Reeder, Eugene, said he represented the Culvers. He said he is attempting to help them along in the process. He noted in this case there was no neighborhood complaint, and the neighbors frequent the roadside stand which the Culvers had made as an attractive place for people to stop on their way to the coast. He said the Culvers are hardworking people. He was interested in people being allowed to do what the code allows them to do. He asked the Board to provide a solution in which the Culvers don’t have to spend money and resources. He said the Board could tell County staff not to pursue an enforcement action unless there is a complaint by a neighbor, and then investigate the complaint. He suggested amending the code to specifically allow, or they could interpret it to allow, coffee at a roadside stand.
Carole Grappo, Santa Clara, expressed disappointment that the Commissioners pushed through the income tax measure. She said the Board chose not to have a voter’s pamphlet and they said no to public debate. She said she was going to file a formal complaint to the state authorities of what she termed a breach of the Board’s ethical responsibilities to the people and the Constitution. She opposed putting the tax measure on the May ballot. She thought it should be moved to September or November so everyone understands the consequences if it is passed. She said the amendment creates a bureaucracy.
Diana Robertson, Eugene, urged the Board to pass the no kill neuter adoption philosophy resolution that “will send a clear message to LCARA that we want innovative no kill programs at LCARA that will not cost the taxpayers any money and will help to save lives.”
3. CONSENT CALENDAR
A. Approval of Minutes: None.
B. Health and Human Services
1) ORDER 07-3-21-1/In the Matter of Ratifying the County Administrator's Decision to Sign a Contract with McKesson in the Amount of $405,288 and to Extend the Wellpartner Contract Until December 12, 2008; Revising the Contracted Amounts to $101,500 and $292,000, Respectively.
C. Public Safety
1) ORDER 07-3-21-2/In the Matter of Delegating Authority to the County Administrator to Execute Amendment 1 to the Inmate Pharmacy Services Contract Between Diamond Pharmacy Services and Lane County.
D. Public Works
1) RESOLUTION AND ORDER 07-3-21-3/In the Matter of Setting a Public Hearing for the Renaming of a Portion of Airport Road (Co. Rd. 618), to Old Airport Road (17-04-05 & 08) (Public Hearing: May 2, 2007, 1:30 pm).
MOTION: to approve the Consent Calendar.
Green MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.
4. EMERGENCY BUSINESS
5. COMMISSIONERS' REMONSTRANCE
Fleenor indicated that last week when they had the work session on the roads CIP, he noted the next day he received the minutes from the Roads Advisory Committee who had a motion regarding a particular project they discussed and it was not made available to them until after their work session. He asked if staff was aware that the Roads Advisory Committee’s recommendation was opposite to how the vote went. He asked why this wasn’t brought to their attention. He said if they are going to have committees, they would want to know what the recommendations are in a timely matter. He wanted staff to bring a topic being debated to let the Board know to put it into their deliberations.
Stewart indicated that information was included in Fleenor’s packet.
Stewart announced that a member of the Vegetation Management Committee, Douglass Moser, had passed away on March 4. He added that Moser had also served on the McKenzie Watershed Council. Stewart said he was on the committee with Moser, who was a welcome addition. Stewart recommended making a $100 contribution to the Institute for Regenerative Agroforestry in Moser’s name.
MOTION: to send a $100 contribution to the Institute for Regenerative Agroforestry in Douglass Moser’s name.
Stewart MOVED, Fleenor SECONDED.
a. ORDER 07-3-21-4/In the Matter of Recognizing April 2-8, 2007 as National Public Health Week.
Rob Rockstroh, Health and Human Services, distributed information on the infant mortality rate. (Copy in file).
Stewart read the resolution into the record.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 07-3-21-4.
Dwyer MOVED, Fleenor SECONDED.
7. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS
a. REPORT/Extension Service Quarterly Report.
Charlotte Riersgard, Extension Service, presented her quarterly report. (Copy in file). She indicated in the weeks to come they will continue to educate their clientele and the general public about the impact of the program areas and informing them about the links between the County’s general fund, public safety and Extension. She noted that recent media coverage has generated questions for them at the Extension Service about how Extension is funded, what program areas they have, who they reach and if they were in danger of going away. She said they will continue to deliver clear information.
Fleenor hoped they could provide ongoing funding for the Extension Services forever. He said that is his goal.
b. ORDER 07-3-21-5/In the Matter of Urging a Field Burning Ban in Oregon.
Sorenson recalled that last week the Board referred this to the Legislative Committee. He said they wanted a resolution that would urge the State of Oregon to ban field burning. He noted in the resolution they had last week, that there was no mention of the legislation that Rep. Holvey introduced and since the time they wrote the resolution, the bill was introduced. He asked Legal Counsel to include the bill number HB 3000.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 07-3-21-5.
Sorenson MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.
Dwyer said they reviewed the resolution at the Legislative Committee. He said they amended it to include Representative Holvey’s bill. He thought this was beneficial, health wise.
Fleenor supported it.
Stewart supported it. He hoped in the future when they see opportunities to provide options for people, that the Board consider helping in those efforts.
c. DISCUSSION/Request for a Letter in Support of the Florence Veterans Memorial Park Project.
Fleenor brought this at the request of the Veteran’s Memorial Park Commission. He said they want a letter of support for the Veteran’s Memorial Park in Florence. He said it is a 501 (c )(3) organization. He thought the Board should support this.
MOTION:: to send a “To Whom it May Concern” letter supporting the Veteran’s Memorial Park in Florence.
Fleenor MOVED, Sorenson SECONDED.
Sorenson amended the motion to send a letter to the congressional delegation and a “To Whom it May Concern” letter to use to send to groups.
Fleenor accepted that modification.
Green asked if this letter was asking the congregational delegation to provide funding or help to find the money. He asked if the money needed to be identified.
Fleenor indicated that this could be for any funds available.
Green asked that, before the letter was signed, that Tony Bieda, Intergovernmental Relations Manager, review it.
Dwyer wouldn’t support a resolution if the group was going to write a grant and ask Lane County for the money.
Sorenson commented that signing a letter didn’t mean they were committing any Lane County dollars.
Fleenor amended the motion to give the letter to Bieda to make sure it’s in the correct format.
Sorenson suggested rolling this item until the next meeting and putting it on the Consent Calendar so they could get the best direction. He added they could approve the “To Whom it May Concern” letter as it is drafted.
8. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION
Van Vactor announced that they hired Jim Gangle for help with the income tax. He said that Dave Garnick, Budget and Financial Planning Manager, met with David Crowell, who will be chair of the Budget Committee. Van Vactor said because of the complexity of the budget, he recommended moving the start date up. The first meeting will be on April 26, 2007, a down week.
b. DISCUSSION/Redirecting Discretionary Funds (Car Rental Tax, Transient Room Tax).
Van Vactor indicated that when they have reductions, they look to the Strategic Plan for guidance. He said it states in the Resource, Planning and Allocation Section, Section D that the following principles will apply if reductions are required because of cutbacks: to the extent possible, across the board cuts will be avoided and reductions will be made on the basis of established criteria. He said before cuts are made in critical public safety services, the County will consider possibilities for redirection of revenue that supports other services. He said during the Management Team process, they were attempting to save as many critical life safety services as possible and they weren’t able to do that. He noted at one point their goal was to keep a portion of the jail open for local offenders. He said when they reviewed the requirements of the Strategic Plan, they asked if there could be any discretionary revenue that could be redirected. He said they focused on $900,000 that flows to the Parks Division in car rental tax. He said that was one of the few revenues not prescribed by the Oregon Legislature or federal government in terms of how it should be spent. He noted that transient room tax has to be spent on tourism related services. He suggested not taking the full amount from Parks, but to restore $500,000 by taking $200,000 from transient room tax that normally goes to CVALCO and $200,000 to the fairgrounds. He said Parks perform a tourism related service, and meets the permitable services for transient room tax. He indicated it is going to be in the proposed budget and it creates a difficult issue for Parks. He indicated it is difficult to close a park in the middle of summer, and part of what they discuss is the need (from a strategic managerial point of view) to start the process of not opening some parks. He said that led to reductions and they would need to start the reductions in Parks Division to produce the savings that are required, as early as April 15. He said Parks will eliminate eight positions. He indicated in the proposed budget they only make a recommendation but it goes to the Board for final action. He said even under Budget 1 they have a reduction. He indicated they are finding that across the board reductions are hitting some departments unevenly. He added even if they get Secure Rural Schools funding, but the income tax fails, they should take a smaller amount of the TRT from Parks to save some of the public safety services. He noted that was in the Strategic Plan
Garnick distributed information about the Community Correction Act dollars. (Copy in file). He indicated the departments have already built in several million dollars worth of community corrections dollars into the budget. He said if Title 2 and Title 3 go away, that money would not be available for distribution. He said what is left for flexibility of revenue is the car rental and transient room tax. He said this year because they are facing the large reductions, Management Team thought all programs were worthwhile but with the small amount of money they have wouldn’t solve all the problems. He indicated that Option 1 took $400,000 that was proposed for reallocation to Parks. He said it would mean a reduction of about $21,600 for special projects, tourism and museum, $150,000 for the CVALCO contract and $184,000 for the fairgrounds. He said Option 2 is in the event the Budget Committee didn’t want to allocate any of the reductions to the museum, they could allocate $21,600 to all the other programs. He indicated Option 3 deals with just the special project and rural tourism. He added all special projects would be Option 4.
Garnick explained that with the Olympic Trials coming in 2008, the TRT is expected to grow at 9.5 percent through 2008. He said if they did an across the board cut for TRT, it wouldn’t be as big a hit as it appears. He spoke with Warren Wong, Fairgrounds and Kari Westlund, CVALCO and their recommendation was Option 1.
Sorenson asked if the Parks Advisory Committee was in agreement.
Winter said the Parks Advisory Committee was informed and provided recommendations for the closure and reduction schedule and some of the considerations before the Board. He added the Parks Advisory Committee did not comment on the Management Team’s recommendation to reallocate the car rental tax out of the general fund and swapping it with TRT.
Dwyer commented that Option 1 was the most reasonable.
MOTION: to move Option 1.
Green MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.
VOTE: 4-1 (Sorenson dissenting).
9. PUBLIC WORKS
a. ORDER 07-3-21-6/In the Matter of Amending Chapter 18 of the Lane Manual to Modify the Lane County Parks Fees (LM 18.110, 18.115 and 18.135)
Winter indicated if the car rental tax is redirected, they would be challenged. He said they have withdrawn Budget 1 and have submitted Budget 2 and it didn’t include the considerations discussed today. He indicated the closure and reduction schedule assumes the full redirection of the car rental tax with the TRT offset.
Winter said Lane County Parks has a number of fixed costs, including 55 percent for labor. He noted that both items went to the Parks Advisory Committee and they unanimously recommended approval of Option 1. He added they had gone to Finance and Audit and they recommended that it go to the full Board.
Winter explained that besides labor costs, they have 40 percent in fixed costs including mandated services, parking fees, Marine Board assistance for ramps and picnic reservation sites. He said in putting that into Budget 2, they arrived at $610,000. He said they will look at layoffs occurring around April 15, with others taking place May 15. He said they would realize a reduction in Park staff of 50 percent.
Winter indicated if the car rental tax is redirected and TRT is swapped in, closures of the park would occur. He added they could look at slowly reopening areas and charging parking fees.
Sorenson asked why they were taking money away from Parks.
Winter said the Management Team recommended that they look at the reductions due to loss of Secure Rural Schools Act funding. He said they recommended the Board redirect car rental tax into the general fund with the TRT swap.
Garnick explained that even if they receive the Secure Rural Schools funding, they still have a $3 million reduction. He indicated this was a way to bring more money into the general fund to restore services.
Green asked about the intent of the car rental tax.
Van Vactor said one of the implications of the proposed budget is to redirect the revenue that would trigger the need for Parks to start to close down. He said it impacts citizens and employees. He said the Board could do something different but he wanted to let the Board know about this.
Dwyer said they can’t delay the decisions, they need to give direction. He supported the swap of funds because it is an allowable use. He indicated Parks is not a general fund recipient and this would allow the Parks to continue to operate.
Winter indicated they were going to make parking fees required at all Lane County Parks for the full year. He added they are going to raise fees at Camp Lane to $9 per day. With regard to contracting parks clean up, he said they were exploring the potential of a McKenzie River access user fee for future implementation. He said they currently have hosts, caretakers and volunteers at parks. He indicated that they work in exchange for a campsite to help maintain the parks. He said they set aside $10,000 in the budget. He said if they contract out they would be able to add some additional funding that could accelerate their ability to restore capacity or open parks. He said if they can’t contract out minor maintenance, it would perpetuate their inability to restore the Parks to capacity. He stated that under the collective bargaining agreement, they had notified the bargaining unit of their intent to contract out. They had responded to them in a 14-day time limit and have exercised their right. He added that they have 90 days to finish the process. He said there was a possible additional opportunity for commercial guides to conduct a commercial business. He said other counties have a three percent access fee that guides would pay for the use of their boat ramps. He said they will explore that and seek further direction from the Board.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 07-3-21-6.
Fleenor MOVED, Green SECONDED.
Sorenson was against this as the purpose of the car rental tax was to assist in the operation of the Lane County Parks. He said Lane County gets 3 million visitors to the parks and by this action, it will set up a public hearing on changing the ordinance. He said it was important for Lane County to provide as many public services as efficiently as possible to balance the budget. He said this is taking money from Parks and from a specific law they passed that the Board had in place because of other needs. He didn’t think they should take $500,000 from Parks.
Fleenor was in favor of doing this as a process of moving the budget forward.
Dwyer supported this as they don’t have any other money that could qualify.
Green supported the motion.
Sorenson asked if this passes how many parks will be open.
Winter responded they have approximately 46 facilities that are open today. He added of the 71 properties, some are dormant. He said they will have about 17 parks operational on the coast and 11 locations elsewhere.
VOTE: 4-1 (Sorenson dissenting)
b. ORDER 07-3-21-7/In the Matter of Contracting Limited Parks Mowing and Cleanup, and Directing Staff Exploration of Potential McKenzie River Access/User Fees for Future Implementation.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 07-3-21-7.
Fleenor MOVED, Green SECONDED.
VOTE: 4-1 (Sorenson dissenting).
c. THIRD READING AND DELIBERATION/Ordinance PA 1240/In the Matter of Amending the Eugene-Springfield Metropolitan Area General Plan (Metro Plan) Land Use Diagram for Property Within the Coburg-Crescent Subarea of the Willakenzie Area Refinement Plan, Amending the Corresponding Willakenzie Area Plan Land Use Diagrams, and Adopting Savings and Severability Clauses (City of Eugene, File No. PA 06-6742, Huntington Crossing) (NBA & PM 2/7/07 & 2/22/07).
Stephanie Schulz explained that the Eugene City Council deliberated on March 12 and voted 6-1 to adopt the amendment with one absence.
MOTION: to adopt Ordinance PA 1240.
Green MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.
Dwyer didn’t agree with the City of Eugene.
Fleenor asked what would happen if Lane County didn’t vote on this.
Vorhes said since this is a Metro Plan amendment, it calls for identical action by both entities before it goes into effect. He said if there is a disagreement, it goes to MPC to try to resolve the policy differences of the two elected bodies called to act on this application.
Van Vactor recalled in the past it had worked effectively as sometimes MPC will form a committee and they will meet one on one and come up with some amendments to take back to their government bodies.
Green supported this. He said the applicant made the application according to the plan and any citizen could initiate the action. He said there was no one who spoke in opposition. He noted there was no requirement for a master plan to make this happen. He said the Planning Commission approved this. He added based upon the criteria, the applicant met the test. He agreed that the MPC has not done what they had in the past in terms of coming to resolution and it is no longer a resolution body, it is a transportation body. He said in order to change the bylaws, they need to have a majority of each representative body.
Dwyer recalled there was a notice that some of the people who were opposed couldn’t attend and there was a request to leave the record open and it wasn’t left open.
ROLL CALL VOTE: 4-1 (Dwyer dissenting).
10. CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD
Letter From the East Lane Soil and Water District
Stewart said they received a letter from the East Lane Soil and Water District. He said they directed Van Vactor to draft a letter in response. He asked if the response was appropriate.
MOTION: to send the letter.
Dwyer MOVED, Fleenor SECONDED.
11. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
12. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660
Per ORS 192.660(2)(e) for the purpose of deliberation for property negotiators.
13. OTHER BUSINESS
There being no further business Commissioner Dwyer recessed the meeting at 11:50 a.m.