LANE COUNTY BUDGET COMMITTEE

Thursday May 3, 2007

5:15 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.

Commissioners’ Conference Room

APPROVED 4/30/2008

 

Chair Crowell presided with Budget Committee members Scott Bartlett, Bill Dwyer, Bill Fleenor, Bobby Green, Sr., Denis Hijmans, Mary Ann Holser, Tony McCown, Peter Sorenson and Faye Stewart present.  County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, Budget/Financial Planning Manager Dave Garnick and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.

I. COMMITTEE BUSINESS

Garnick distributed additional information to the Budget Committee.  He  indicated the governor’s budget is smaller.  Garnick explained their budget is closer to $5.1 million in reductions even if Secure Rural Schools Act funding comes in.

Budget Committee Minutes of April 26, 2007.

 

MOTION: to approve the minutes as corrected.

 

Stewart MOVED, Green SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 10-0.

 

II. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES

 

Rob Rockstroh, Health and Human Services, explained they went through a complicated process for the priority list.  He stated his budget is $170 million without any flexibility.  He indicated they have 60 programs with 60 different revenue sources.  He reported that LCARA was being transferred into his department.  He explained even with the cuts from the general fund (where he receives $4 million) he has no money to move around. 

 

Rockstroh reported his proposed budget for Budget 1 is almost $107 million.  He said his FTE is 312, for a total number of 425 employees, with people working extra help and less than full time.

 

Karen Gaffney, Health and Human Services, said their mission is protecting health, safety and well being in the community.  She noted they have public safety and public health components.  She stated they are responsible for services in the community that no one else is picking up.

 

Rockstroh hoped the governor’s budget was realistic.  He said Lane County has less people under felony supervision than the rest of the state.  He thought it could be because they are processing fewer felonies and it means less money to Lane County.  He didn’t know what would happen to the budget of Public Health. 

 

With regard to proposed Budget 1, Rockstroh explained there would be a $380,000 cut.  He said they went back to the Strategic Plan and reviewed each service.  He indicated there would be six cuts.  He was concerned about cutting alcohol and drug detox and treatment because sobering up is not a treatment issue and alcohol and drug monies cannot be put into it.  He indicated that DA court evaluations would be cut.  With regard to the Human Services Commission, he reported there is a $30,000 cut for case coordination for 362 kids and 282 households.  He added the impact to Developmental Disabilities is $9,200 for professional consulting.  He noted the reduction in Public Health is in extra help.

 

With regard to Budget 2, Rockstroh said they used the prioritized list.  He would retain only four services in his department.  He added 17 services would lose their entire general fund in Lane County.  He said it would be a 66 percent reduction. 

 

Rockstroh explained that H&HS was not paid by the state to do any misdemeanant work.  He said there is mandated sex offender treatment for offenders through the system.  He said it would eliminate a third of the treatment capacity.  He indicated there is a $73,000 reduction for children with developmental disabilities in crisis situations.  He noted another cut is for adults with severe mental illness for a $583,000 reduction and is part of the old Sheriff’s levy.  He said there would be no support for family violence abuse, for a battered womens’ shelter or support for WomensSpace.  With regard to WIC, they currently have 8,325 clients on the list and with a match from the state, they would lose half of their clients.  He reported the Community Health Center would lose $56,834 and is already strapped because they are not getting the community partnerships and Medicaid that were expected.  He noted they have to generate $250,000 in community partnership money.  With regard to drug detox, he indicated they would lose $507,000.  He said if they don’t have the Sobering Station, people would go back onto the street.  He stated that it would impact the police.  He was told the Sobering Station would cease to exist with their cut.

 

Rockstroh reported adults with developmentally disabilities will take a $30,000 cut.  He said the money they put in leverages money from the state. He said funding for the homeless and at-risk youth is reduced by $74,000.  He thought there could be some money for it from the city, but the County would be out of it.  He said it would eliminate services for 230 youth.  He reported meals to the elderly and people with disabilities in the rural areas would be 2,000 fewer annually.  He noted Veterans Services would lose $89,000.  He said with regard to critical life, health, and safety, Veterans Services doesn’t get to that level. He indicated psychiatric hospitalization would be cut by $140,000.  He commented that the state was not paying fairly.  He thought they could be entitled to more money.

 

Holser asked if the state was tightening its funds.

 

Rockstroh said they are not seeing cost of living increases from the state.  He said when there are increased costs of six percent a year, and revenues are at three percent a year, his department is getting further behind.  He commented that the money the state is providing is inadequate to do the job.

 

Sorenson asked what the FTE in Rockstroh’s department is between now and July 1 with Budget 2.

 

Rockstroh said there is 325 FTE and it would go down to 313 FTE.

 

Fleenor asked how close they were to losing public health agency authorization with respect to retaining WIC.

 

Rockstroh said the Board is the local public health authority.  He said if the Board wants to retain public health authority, they would have to do core services.  He said the IGA in the language does not define WIC as a core service.  He said if they want to lose WIC, they would have to send everything back.  He said they would either have to find $300,000 more to do WIC or they would have to give it back to the state.  He suggested going to the governor’s office to discuss this matter.

 

Green asked how Parole and Probation and Domestic Violence supervision doesn’t fit the critical life health and safety criteria.

 

Rockstroh said they could push it up higher on the list.  He said the misdemeanant level was not as critical as the felony level.

 

Doug Harcleroad, District Attorney, recalled when Parole and Probation was not a County responsibility.  He said when the Board received it they knew there wasn’t going to be any general fund money. He said they held to that policy except for domestic violence cases.  He thought Parole and Probation was critical health, life, safety.

 

Bartlett asked what percentage of the County’s general fund for WIC would be cut.

 

Rockstroh said 100 percent of the County’s contribution would be eliminated.

 

Gaffney corrected the amount of FTE cut to 27 reduced in Budget 1.

 

Sorenson asked why Budget 2 was keeping 256 jail beds and wiping out WIC and supervision for Domestic Violence, Extension and LCARA or programs with matching funds.

 

Rockstroh said jail beds are most of the County’s general fund.  He said if they want to hold a felon or domestic violence abuser accountable, they need jail beds.  He said they hope to get them in treatment, but some people don’t get better.  He said Health and Human Services is broader than the public health aspect.  He said they work with abuse and neglect and that is why they need some jail beds.

 

Van Vactor indicated that the 1,400 offenders under supervision go to less than 300 under Budget 2.

 

Sorenson asked if they take people out of the jail and there won’t be services in the community, what would be the best use of the dollars.

 

Rockstroh said even though jail beds are expensive, the part they have discretion over would be better prioritized when accounting for risk.  He commented the highest priority violent people still need to be locked up. 

 

IV. DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS

 

Ollie Snowden, Public Works, reported the Road Fund has $59 million and of that going into the fiscal year there is a $34 million balance.  He said without Secure Rural Schools, under Budget 2 they would draw the fund down to $15 million by the end of the fiscal year.  He reported that of $36 million in the Solid Waste Fund, there is about $15 million in reserve and the contingency accounts.  He said they are concerned about some of the level of the reserve accounts and they will be coming back to the Board to discuss the increases for the Solid Waste Fund.  He said they have about $8.5 million in the motor and equipment fund reserve and contingency.  He reported that Land Management was stable except for the loss of video lottery dollars.

 

Snowden explained for Budget 2 for the Road Funds, there will be no Secure Rural Schools funding and without that they fall back to the existing formula of between $1 million to $2 million.  He said they expect about a $20 million loss. He added that they are proposing about $8 million in service reductions.  He said that would mean in Public Works they would be reducing 43 FTE.  He said they are taking 58 positions out of the road fund. He indicated four of them would transfer into Land Management and ten positions are in the Sheriff’s Office.  He reported they are proposing to fund the full range of road maintenance services through October.  He noted for operations and preservation they will draw the fund balance down to $12 million and they would expect $8 million in reductions in FY 08/09 without additional revenue. 

 

Snowden indicated they used the Strategic Plan specific to the road fund.  He said the road fund priorities are operations, maintenance and preservation of the existing County road system.  He said it will receive the highest priority and the activities should be funded by user fees from the state highway fund and timber receipts.  He added that timber receipts beyond those needed for operation, maintenance and preservation should be used to fund modernization projects and revenue sharing.  He recalled that last fiscal year they eliminated 12 positions out of the engineering series and most of those were due to a reduction in their capital projects from future years.  He added that they are reorganizing the department so that the engineering group of employees will not focus just on roads, but they will expand their focus to include solid waste activities at Short Mountain Landfill and offer their services to other local government agencies who might want to contract with them for design or field engineering services.  He noted the lowest priority is the County City Road Partnership payments.  He added those contracts will expire on June 30, 2007, but the cities had already received the last OTIA III pass through payment in October 2006 and the payments went to the cities in February 2007.

 

Snowden explained  with regard to the Strategic Plan priorities, there is a transfer of two planners from road fund to the Land Management.  He said under this proposal, the Public Works contribution to LCOG, Forest Trusts Lands and LRAPA would be eliminated.   He noted there are 7 FTE from the Sheriff’s Office that support the Inmate Road Crew or $1.1 million per year and when that program was created, there was contract language with the 626 Labor Union that says if there is any reduction in 626 staff, (through attrition or elimination because of the money that goes to the inmate work crew), the inmate work crew has to go away.  He said that would be eliminated under Budget 2.  He reported they currently have six Weighmaster positions and under Budget 2 they will eliminate three positions.  He said at this point they have about $5 million in reductions. 

 

Snowden proposed reducing road maintenance and preservation services on the local roads.  He said if they had to reduce their maintenance efforts, they would keep it focused on the collector and arterial system.  He said that would result in a number of road maintenance reductions.  He explained the idea would be to keep the road open to traffic so if there was a storm event they would be there to open it.  He added they would continue to stripe it and sign it from a safety standpoint, but that is all they would do.  He commented that over time the road will fall apart and many of the local roads would be turned back to gravel.  He said it would result in a reduction of $8 million in services. 

 

Snowden indicated that even if they get a one year extension to Secure Rural Schools, they will be looking at a reduction in many of the services.  He said when they put the list together they considered that even if the County is not doing any maintenance on the County road system, they still own the roads. 

 

With regard to Budget 2, Snowden reported they would have 14 layoffs on July 1, one on September 1 and the majority would be October 1.  He indicated there would be full maintenance service through the summer months and it buys them more time for Congress to act in the event they get a Wyden-type proposal.  He added it gives them a chance to see what the Legislature does in Salem.  He reiterated the loss of 43 position reductions with four to be moved to other funds.  He said they would use $12 million of their fund balance this year to extend services, including road maintenance on collectors and arterials and their preservation program but it does not include the capital program.  He added that would be an additional draw to the fund balance.  He said they need additional state and local revenue immediately if they don’t get Secure Rural Schools funding.  He added there is no single revenue source that could replace Secure Rural Schools.  He noted a proposal in Salem is a $350 million package including a ten cent per gallon gas tax and an increase in vehicle registration fees from $27 per year to over $100.  He said if that passes, Lane County’s share would be about $10 million.

 

Snowden said Budget 3 is in development.  He said they are going to have to continue refining service priorities that are above the line, and Budget 3 would eliminate some positions.  He commented with Budget 3 if they get the Wyden amendment, they expect it to provide three years of relative stability in the road fund and by keeping the stability, they would have to draw the fund balance down.  They would need state or local avenue within three years to prevent further service reductions.  He added if they receive a one year extension, all it does is to delay most of the cuts and it would be the same as Budget 2.

 

With regard to the Parks and Open Space Fund under Budget 2, Snowden reported Parks will lose car rental tax.  He indicated it is a net reduction of about $500,000 after being replaced by transient room tax.  He added that the transient room tax going to Parks has to be used in a way to promote overnight stays including Camp Lane and the campgrounds.  He said despite other parks closures, they have to keep the campgrounds open.  He reported with Budget 2 they would be losing 7 FTE by May 15.  He indicated there would be a year round parking fee for all open parks and possibly use contract labor for minor maintenance to keep some parks and day use areas open.

 

Snowden stated that one time revenues for Budget 2 includes a campground development grant of $500,000 from state parks.  He said if they get the grant it will be used to remodel the Armitage Campground.  He added they have about $66 million from timber sales and the second Glenada payment is $448,000.  He noted the anticipated foreclosed property sales are $278,000.  He explained that this money is restricted to certain uses, but in the past the Board had given the direction that the one-time money is not to be used for operation and routine maintenance.

 

Snowden indicated the parks set for closure under Budget 2 include Ada Park, Orchard Point day use area, Perkins Peninsula (but the boat ramp is still open) Blue Mountain Park, Cinderella Park, LeSelles Stewart Park, Richardson Park day use area, Siuslaw Falls, Zumwalt Park (will be closed except for the Country Fair) Vaughn Park, Wildwood Falls and they are proposing closing the Whitley boat landing.  He added they would have service reductions on Oceanwoods, Clear Lake Dunes, Baker Bay day use area, Mt. Pisgah and the Rock Dock.  He noted that all of the open parks would have a parking fee imposed.  He said this would go into effect on June 1, 2007.

 

Snowden reported the Land Management Fund is in a stable position and they are not proposing any fee increases, but there will be increases on the Surveyor’s portion.  He noted the Economic Development Standing Committee did not authorize the request for $170,000 for long range planning.  He added it would result in the loss of two long range planner positions.

 

Holser asked how much was needed in reserve.

 

Snowden responded it would take about $12 million for operations and preservation and another $8 million drawn down for IGA’s they already have in place and for capital projects.  

 

Holser asked if there was a level of reserve they would have to replace.

 

Snowden said they need about $7 or $8 million for a prudent person reserve to include money for retiree medical benefits and seasonal fluctuations. He added they need a road emergency  reserve to be able to hire contractors to make repairs.

 

Fleenor left at 7:30 p.m.

 

Snowden suggested if they have to continue to make further cuts, that next year they would be stopping all maintenance on local roads.  He said those would be local access roads, which are problematic.

 

Bartlett asked why they couldn’t make Perkins Peninsula a revenue generated park.

 

Todd Winter, Parks, said they used to have 24 seasonal positions.  He indicated after these cuts, they will go to four positions.  He said they have two people to take care of things from the top of the McKenzie River, all the metro area, south to Baker Bay and two employees located in Florence.  He said whatever resources they had left needed to be directed to the two campgrounds and Camp Lane.  He said they asked the Board to look at contracting out for minor maintenance.  He reported Local 626 filed a demand to bargain. He said there are issues of controlling the areas at night and the safety issues with trees.  He said they don’t have the labor or the money to clean bathrooms.  He indicated if there are after hours partying and vandalism, they will gate the parks.

 

Stewart asked what type of damage Winter predicted in closing the Parks.

 

Winter replied the damage is an unknown.  He said they know they will experience after hours activity.  He said there are bonfires that damage parking lots and destruction to some of the buildings.  He said what they need to maintain the parks to keep them open is $510,000.  He said they had already been heavily cut.  He indicated this was a 35 percent reduction of the overall budget and representative of 50 percent reduction in staff.  He noted the other 45 percent of their funding is in fixed costs.  He stated it will cost them money to close and to reopen parks.

 

Green asked if there would be any savings in not having leaf pickup, as it is not something they are required to do.

 

Snowden said it gets into the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System.  He indicated they made a commitment to continue with those types of activities. 

 

Bartlett asked if they could explore signs stating dogs must be licensed at entrances of several parks.  He thought it could be good environmentally.

 

Snowden said they would look into it.

 

Winter indicated they have brochures about LCARA at the fee booths.

 

Howard Schussler, Public Works, indicated that signs are frequent targets of vandalism and they can’t use road fund money for signs.

 

VI. ADJOURN

 

Chair Crowell adjourned the meeting at 8:00 p.m.

 

 

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary