BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'

WORK SESSION

September 18, 2007

9:00 a.m.

Commissioners' Conference Room

APPROVED 8/4/2009

 

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

 

None.

 

2. PUBLIC COMMENTS

 

Andy Stahl, Eugene, said about 20 years ago he conceived a strategy for saving the old growth forests of Oregon, Washington and Northern California.  He said he has won every lawsuit that has saved the forests.  He said the BLM assumption that the O & C Act mandates that every acre of timber be logged on O & C lands is wrong.  He stated that it has already been rejected by the courts.  He said in 1990 the Interior Department pursued the same strategy, to go it alone that assumes the O & C lands has such a unique mandate under the law that they could be separated from the National Forest Lands that surround them.  He added that the courts rejected it unilaterally.  He said that in part is what led to the Northwest Forest Plan.  He said the BLM is trying to replicate it once again by taking a ďgo it alone approachĒ to old growth management and spotted owl conservation.  He thought the same result would happen this time and it will hurt the County.  He distributed documents (copy in file).  He indicated the second page is a solution that takes what Commissioner Robertson from Douglas County put forward.  Stahl said Robertson suggested that the BLM lands be separated into two pieces and half those lands be sold and the revenue earned be put into a trust fund from which the counties would receive payments.  Robertson recommended the BLM lands that have already been logged during the last 60 years of BLM management, be set aside in a trust and managed for maximum revenue for the counties.  Stahl said by their calculation, the revenue produced from the timber trust is comparable to what they now get under the Secure Rural Schools extension.  He thought it would be more than the County would likely get under any scenario of re-authorization.  He said Congress will not be as generous with Western Oregon Counties when this bill is reauthorized.  He said their proposal would provide a land base from which to earn revenue, that doesnít include old growth forests, meets the public interest and ensures the County will have a financial future on public lands.

 

 

3. COMMISSIONERS' REMONSTRANCE

 

Dwyer introduced Ernie Calhoun who served with him in the legislature in 1989.  Dwyer noted that Calhoun is now a family law lawyer in Orange County.

 

4. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660

 

None.

 

5. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION

 

a. Announcements

 

None.

 

 

6. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Fleenor announced his Coffee and Conversation at the Rodeo Steak House in Junction City on Thursday at 10:00 a.m.

 

7. CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD

 

Van Vactor indicated there were a lot of e-mails about the Boundary Commission.  He wanted to discuss this tomorrow.

 

8. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS

 

a. WORK SESSION/Advisory Committees.

 

Van Vactor explained that the Board wanted to review all advisory committees, having each commissioner represent a committee member and those five would choose the other two where practical.

 

Children and Families

 

Alicia Hays, Children and Families, reported that they come out of legislation from the state level and they are funded through state funds and County general funds.  She noted that currently they have 21 members and most are commission members.  She commented that they thought the committee needed more people with diverse knowledge and experience.  She noted in statute it requires that they have at least eight members with one lay chair plus two county commissioners. She reported in Marion County they have 36 Commission on Children and Family members; Clackamas County has 17 members; Douglas County has 11 members; Multnomah County has 25 members and Washington County has 15 members.  She said Lane County was in the middle with their number of members.  She said it was practical to have this committee because of the work they do.

 

Fleenor asked how often they meet, how many staff is present on payroll and how often they directly report to the Board of Commissioners with a work product .

 

Hays responded that their full commission meets once per month.  She said staff attends because of the work product.  She encourages staff to attend when they have their full commission meetings.  She said that once a year they bring their work plan to the Board.  She noted they were in the middle of doing their Comprehensive Plan.

 

Dwyer commented that this is a statutory committee and it works.  He said if it isnít broken, they should work to change it.

 

Fleenor said as they go down the path toward major financial changes, in the event they do not receive the Secure Rural Schools funding, they need to think about what expenditures they could jettison.  He said everyone will think that their committee is important, but at some point in time when they are losing money, they will have to take a look at how they will cut money.  He thought committees cost money with staff time.  He asked if staff time would be better spent doing something else or if they should cut the staff time and put that money  into public safety.

 

Hays explained that changing their committee wouldnít do anything for public safety; it would be given back to the state.

 

Stewart thought they were doing a good job of getting a balance represented on the committee.

 

Hays reported that they have about 16 hours per month of staff time in attending the meetings.

 

Sorenson wanted an e-mail sent on the commission and subcommittee meetings.

 

Board of Property Tax Appeals

 

Annette Newingham, Elections, stated this was a mandated committee and the process is in the statute.  She said they are required to have a pool that represents the Board of Commissioners.  She added that they have a pool of non-office holding citizens.  He explained it was changed to two pools statutorily because the amount of appeals has varied over the years.  She indicated that they have made many enhancements to the system to automate the flow of paperwork. She indicated that they try to bring in new people.  She added that they are looking for diversity and for representatives for different parts of the County.  She noted they try to avoid people who have agendas because there is a certain process to go for training through the Department of Revenue.

 

Dwyer asked if money comes with the mandate.

 

Newingham responded that it is part of a grant from Assessment and Taxation. She added that they donít get money in the office, it comes from the Department of Revenue and the County gets it.

 

Sorenson thought this was a model for them to consider for other boards because there is payment, recruitment and people get trained.

 

Green thought they should be asking if they are getting the level of participation by volunteers in Lane County they desire.  He didnít care where the volunteers came from because it was hard to get people to volunteer.

 

Fleenor said they have asked for better representation to get the commissioner buy in to the committees so when the committees do meet and they recommend changes, they pay attention.  He said they need to allow the commissioners to go out into the community to try to recruit people to fill the vacancies.  He said he has been doing that.  He added that if he cannot find someone to recruit, then he did not have a problem getting people from other districts.

 

Dwyer thought there were some committees where they could have five commissioner representatives and two at large members and they have already structured the committees that way.  He said the committees are recruited countywide.

 

Sorenson asked if they could get volunteers to do the Board of Property Tax Appeals if they wanted to keep the $15,000, so they would have the money in the grant to be used for A & T functions.

 

Newingham responded that currently the statute says they are required to pay a stipend to members.  She said they would have to make a statutory change to do that.  She commented that they could lose committee members if they were asked to volunteer.

 

Economic Development

 

Van Vactor explained the Economic Development Standing Committee is Section 3.515 of the Lane Manual.  He said it is a Board created committee at the Boardís discretion. He indicated the current membership is two commissioners, one elected department director or designee, one department director and one lay citizen who is not a vendor.

 

Dwyer commented that this is an important committee and it is strong structurally.  He said they designed it to be performance based.  He said the committee functions well.  He indicated they do request for proposals and rankings of projects.  He added it is funded through video lottery money.

 

Fleenor didnít see any purpose to continue this work session.  He wanted to make a recommendation that they continue the committees as they are..  He wanted to see a form that shows the advisory committee, the staffing, the frequency of meetings, costs in personnel, whether it is statutory and if it is general fund money.

 

Van Vactor indicated that information is in Lane Manual.

 

Sorenson said his question is about geographic diversity on the committees.  He said sometimes staff work yields leveraging of public resources.  He said if that is the case, he wanted to compute the number of hours of staff time that goes into a particular board or committee.  He wanted answers back from staff by an e-mail

 

MOTION: to direct staff to come back with a spreadsheet that identifies the various advisory committees, the geographic make up, the diversity, the cost in personnel, the number of hours of staff time and other direct or indirect costs, whether the committee is required by statute, its legal original, how many are required, the funding: general fund or other, significance of committee, frequency of meeting and the activity level.

 

Fleenor MOVED, Sorenson SECONDED.

 

Green thought they should just ask for a status report that would include the elements that Fleenor was asking for.

 

Stewart indicated there was a booklet that was put together that discusses the information that Fleenor requested.  He noted the only piece of information they havenít received is the geographical diversity of who is on the committee and the funding and time it takes to manage it.

 

Dwyer wanted to know the number of meetings that were cancelled due to lack of a quorum.

 

Stewart said he wouldnít support the motion, but he wanted find out the funding of staff time.

 

Sorenson also wanted to know the staff contacts.

 

Green thought they could ask for the work plan of the committee to see what the end product would be.  He added they could read the minutes and they could become better informed.  He thought these were things the commissioners could do on their own.  He added that could save staff time.

 

Fleenor withdrew his motion.  Sorenson withdrew the second.

 

MOTION: to find out the frequency, activity level, geographic diversity, staff time cost, whether or not it is general fund or other fund and the chair and staff contact information of the advisory committees.

 

Fleenor MOVED, Sorenson SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 4-0 (Dwyer out of room).

 

 

b. ORDER 07-9-18-1/In the Matter of Appointing Three Members to the Community Health Advisory Committee.

 

MOTION: to approve ORDER 07-9-18-1.

 

Green MOVED, Fleenor SECONDED.

 

VOTE 5-0.

 

c. REPORT/BLM Western Oregon Plan Revisions (WOPR).

 

Ginnie Grilley , BLM, gave a PowerPoint presentation on the Western Oregon Plan Revisions. (Copy in file).

 

Dwyer thought they needed to have a balance.  He thought they created the problems themselves by not adjusting the allowable cut.   He didnít want cut and run to be part of their legacy with the federal government.

 

Grilley indicated the allowable cut has been adjusted to reflect the lands that are managed for intensive timber harvest.  She added the allowable cut is not part of the system that is set aside for reserve for conservation of species.

 

Fleenor asked about the time frame needed to revise their plan in the settlement when timber has to be harvested according to the new WOPR.

 

Grilley indicated there was no time certain.  She added in the agreement there is a date they will revise the plan by the end of the calendar year 2008.  She said it didnít give any deadlines for increase in timber harvest.

 

Fleenor asked if taking no action would be consistent with the settlement.  He asked if that could be a legitimate alternative to be evaluated.

 

Grilley said it is an alternative they have evaluated.

 

Dwyer said he uses the forests and he doesnít like what he sees in the forest.  He said each region is managed different. He commented that the Umpqua region was managed better than the Willamette region.

 

Stewart asked about the long term plan if this WOPR moves forward and survives legal challenges.

 

Grilley responded that under Alternative 2, as written, 57 percent of the land in Lane County would be managed for intensive timber harvest.  She said when they sign the plan in summer 2008, they would be required to produce planning documents that would be consistent with the WOPR.  She noted it is a three year cycle to produce the timber sales. 

 

Stewart said he heard this portion doesnít meet the clean water portion of the action.  He asked if the plan and alternative meet all the laws that govern the land.

 

Grilley indicated they are in the draft comment period.  She added if they made a mistake, they want to have public comment to find out they had made a mistake.

 

Sorenson said if they get the opportunity to have the comment period extended, he wanted to be told of it.  He didnít like the plan.  He thought it was overcutting the federal lands and it will destroy the Northwest Forest Plan.

 

Fleenor believed the BLM was doing the best job they can under the circumstances.  He said there are pressures.  He was supportive of new jobs and of a solid economy as they move forward with the challenging revenue and Secure Rural Schools funding.  He said if they go with Alternative 2, they would get $17 million, less than half the current Secure Rural Schools funding.  He encouraged whenever possible, they keep the process transparent and solidly based in peer review science, so as they go forward.  He commented that the citizens of Oregon have a high degree of confidence in the final decision.

 

 

9. EMERGENCY BUSINESS

 

None.

 

There being no further business, Commissioner Stewart  adjourned the meeting at 11:45 a.m.

 

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary