BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'

REGULAR MEETING

April 16, 2008

9:00 a.m.

Commissionersí Conference Room

APPROVED 4/30/08

 

Commissioner Faye Stewart presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bill Fleenor and Bobby Green, Sr., present.  Peter Sorenson was present via telephone.  County Administrator Jeff Spartz, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.

 

1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA

 

None.

 

2. PUBLIC COMMENTS

 

George Goldstein, Swisshome, talked about his property taxes.  He said he filed an appeal and it was rescinded.  He asked why a report was withheld from him.  He said the Appeals Board denied his appeal and he thought the decision was fraudulent.

 

Green wanted the Assessorís perspective to hear the other side.

 

Bob Peters, Florence, discussed Second Avenue in Florence. He said there are 22 properties on the street.  He distributed information (copy in file).  He noted that tax lot 5300 and 5303 ended up in private ownership and the current owner applied for a legal lot verification.  He said it has been public right-of-way.  He added that it is for fire and emergency access and is the only route in and out.  He recalled that he brought this in front of the Board on December 12 and at that time they had appealed the preliminary decision and County Counsel suggested letting the matter run out.  He said they lost on appeal of the hearings officer.  He indicated that the intersection needs to be protected for beach access.

 

Fleenor indicated there were five or six options but only two are affordable.  He said they could have legalization of the road, condemnation or taking the road by declaratory judgment.  He said it was up to the Board to get involved as a County.

 

Wilson thought it was appropriate for staff to bring this back.  She wanted to discuss the matter with Stephen Vorhes and Land Management staff and to bring this back in May.

 

Victor Stathakis, Eugene, stated that this is their 16th year at the courthouse for free speech.  He said the County is cooperating and they have a good relationship with them. He said they do not have a good relationship with the Eugene Police Department.  He wanted a meeting with David Suchart and the Eugene Police Department.

 

Green indicated that Chief Leiner and his lieutenants were open to meeting with him.  He said he would facilitate the meeting with Strathekis.  He commented that the people operating Saturday Market need to work with the police. He noted there is an antagonism toward the police.  He indicated the police are there for security and they make sure the people who come to Saturday Market will have a good experience.

 

Mia Nelson, Lowell, said no one believes that if they use the LCOG study under options 1 and 2 that they would have the same result as Option 5.  She wanted the forecast to be done over.  She commented that she has not been allowed to participate in the process,

 

Fleenor indicated that he spoke with DLCD and he was told the forecast is not a land use decision.  He said they are not required to have public testimony or public involvement, other than what the forecast would be based upon.  He indicated that there was little citizen input.  He didnít think the forecast was written correctly to match Goal 1.

 

Stewart said when Nelson came to them the first time, they asked LCOG to have additional public process and they did.  He said Nelson was allowed to make comments at Lowell.  He said Nelson handed in her letter at the last public hearing and the next meeting the Board of Commissioners held. He understood her frustration but the Board had gone out of the way for public process.

 

3. CONSENT CALENDAR

 

A. Approval of Minutes:

March 12, 2008, Regular Meeting, 9:00 a.m.

March 12, 2008, Regular Meeting, 1:30 p.m.

April 2, 2008, Regular Meeting, 9:00 a.m.

 

B. Health and Human Services

 

1) ORDER 08-4-16-2/In the Matter of Adding a 0.5 FTE Temporary Physician in Fund 286 of the Department of Health & Human Services at the Community Health Centers of Lane County.

 

C. Public Works

 

1) ORDER 08-4-16-3/In the Matter of Authorizing the Appointment of Public Works/Land Management Division as Receiver and Allowing the Expenditure of Waste Management Abatement Funds of Approximately $17,346 to Abate Nuisance Conditions at 26056/26060 Fleck Road, Veneta, Oregon.

 

2) ORDER 08-4-16-4/In the Matter of Entering into a Contract with Morris P. Kielty General Contractors for Public Works Facilities Improvements in the Amount of $130,819 and Authorizing the County Administrator to Execute the Contract.

 

D. Workforce Partnership

 

1) ORDER 08-4-16-5/In the Matter of Re-Certifying the Lane Workforce Partnership Board of Directors as the Local Workforce Investment Board Under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998.

 

E. Youth Services

 

1) ORDER 08-4-16-6/In the Matter of Moving a .48 FTE Community Service Worker 1 Position from Fund 124 to Fund 260 in the Department of Youth Services.

 

MOTION: to approve the Consent Calendar.

 

Green, MOVED,  Dwyer SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 5-0.

 

4. EMERGENCY BUSINESS

 

None.

 

5. COMMISSIONERS' REMONSTRANCE

 

Stewart announced that Ron Pettiti the Mayor of Creswell passed away.  Stewart said Pettiti was a great leader in the community and he will be missed.  Stewart stated that Alex Cuyler, IGA, has a card to welcome John Ruiz, the new Eugene City Manager.  He asked the Board to sign the card.

 

6. RESOLUTIONS

 

a. RESOLUTION 08-4-16-1/In the Matter of Recognizing the 60th Anniversary of the Lane County Law Library on April 24, 2008.

 

MOTION: to approve RESOLUTION 08-4-16-1.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.

 

Stewart read the resolution into the record.

 

VOTE: 5-0.

 

7. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS

 

a. DISCUSSION/Public Health Authority.

 

Green requested that Clyde Saiki and Michael Skeels of the Department of Human Services discuss the Countyís budget situation. He indicated that the County could possibly surrender its Public Health Authority.

 

Clyde Saiki, State Department of Human Services, commented that the best service is provided at the local level because local people know the local issues. He said their approach is if a county is in a situation where they want to have a discussion about Public Health authority, he wants to get with those counties and do everything they can to arrange for the authority to stay at the local level.  He said they want to work with Lane County to either help relieve the administrative burden or streamline things for Lane County to continue to be the local Public Health authority.

 

Green asked what would happen if Lane County surrendered the Public Health authority.

 

Mike Skeels, State Department of Human Services, stated that the state public health system is a shared government arrangement. He indicated that Public Health is a local activity until the County relinquishes it.  He said if the County decides to relinquish it and the state becomes the Public Health authority, they would have to appoint someone to administer and make sure everyone in Lane County has access to Public Health services. He added that they have the authority to bill to recover the costs.  He said this had never happened to the state of Oregon before.

 

Rob Rockstroh, Health and Human Services, said if they surrender animal services and if they donít have an IGA or contract and the same service is picked up, the government agency that picks it up has to guaranty wages and salary for one year. He indicated by law it is considered a transfer, even if the intent was not to transfer  He said if they do the work, they have the obligation to take the employees for a year.

 

Fleenor asked for Skeels and Saikiís recommendation.

 

Skeels commented that Lane County had nothing but bad options. He said whether they cut WIC or family planning, there might be short term savings but he thought ultimately the County would pay later in public safety and special education. He stated that the state would not be taking authority, the County would be relinquishing it.  He said  the state would have the authority to bill as they are required to deliver Public Health.

 

Dwyer said that Public Health gets little of the general fund compared to public safety and most comes through grants.  He said they have a budget crisis and it will affect public safety. He commented that the people in Lane County knew it would affect public safety.  He said they have to figure out how to pay for all of it or give the mandates back to the state.

 

Sorenson asked if they would be better off giving the authority back to the state and bill Lane County or to provide the services to the best of their ability and not getting billed by the state.  He asked what the best decision was on behalf of the community.

 

Saiki said that they have never had a county relinquish their Public Health authority.  He said it would be new ground and there are unknowns.  He believed having the services delivered locally is most effective.

 

Wilson said Skeels made the point that it isnít the state taking the authority, it is the local government giving the authority back.  She asked if the decision by the local authority was that they are not going to fund some pieces of Public Health, what the state would do.

 

Skeels responded that there are five requirements in the statute.  He noted one is that a local Public Health authority must provide services.  He stated that they also have administrative rules that delineate each of the five areas. He indicated that there is nothing in the administrative rules specifically that mentions the current programs.  He said they have worked with the Congress of Local Health Officials and they agreed upon a set of programs that are considered to be the core requirements to be the local Public Health authority.  He said Lane County couldnít selectively give back programs to the state.

 

Wilson asked if there were rules about the state rejecting the Countyís plan and the consequences.

 

Skeels indicated that there is an administrative rules process, but he didnít know the answer.

 

Rockstroh understood they had to do all five elements, even if they went ahead with the proposed $1.2 million. He stated that it is the budget that they believe minimally meets the five program elements that are required.  He commented that if they canít do the five elements, then they have given up the authority.

 

Skeels said when they review the County plan, they donít review how much money is put into it, they are reviewing whether the program elements are there.  He indicated that county health departments are funded in many different ways.

 

Karen Gillette, Health and Human Services, said their staff went through all of the program elements to see what is basic in all programs and they came up with a bare bones budget they could fulfill minimally. She added the annual plan reflects changes from last August.  She indicated some services they will choose not to continue because it is not mandated.

 

Green asked how the state could step up to be a partner.  He asked what the threshold is for the County to provide services and still meet the mandates with limited funding.

 

Gillette stated that there is already a positive relationship with the state.  She said there are many clients they canít serve.  She said they have resources at the state they call for epidemiology.  She said they have to be available 24 hours per day, seven days per week. She said there have been more e-mail sharing and conference calls.  She said they donít travel as much as they used to.  She added they are not doing best practices because there are so many referrals they have to deal with.

 

Skeels said they will review Lane Countyís health plan and will see what they are proposing to do for the next year to fulfill the five requirements.  He if they think there is a problem for Lane County they will get back to help solve the problem.  He said they look at the outputs, not the money in the plan.

 

Rockstroh commented that at the minimum level they would be able to meet the requirements of the state.

 

8. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION

 

a. Announcements

 

None.

 

b. REPORT/Budget Process.

 

Spartz gave an overview of the budget process.  He indicated that the goal of the presentation is to discuss the programming requests, the outcomes expected and the differences between next year and this yearís budget.

 

Green hoped the presentations would be consistent with the budget direction that the Board gave to Spartz with regard to service levels.

 

Sorenson wanted the presentations to be as succinct as possible. 

 

c. DISCUSSION/Internal Auditor Annual Work Plan.

 

Stewart Bolinger, Internal Auditor, reported that Lane Manual requires him to present an annual work plan to the Board .  He indicated that last week he went to Finance and Audit to screen the proposals.

 

With regard to personal property tax payments, Bolinger said the requirements from an internal auditorís perspective is a system of management rules and practices that relate to protection of the Countyís assets, compliance with laws and regulations, efficiencies and effectiveness and accuracy of the record.  He added he then determines what has the greatest significance and risk.  He noted the total dollar impact tends to be the dominant consideration.  He said he checks to see if there is a major compliance risk. He thought there was nothing about the routine operation that would highlight someoneís failure to pay a tax that is due.  He said they are trying to identify how they can have an improved system of controls that could catch that problem.

 

With regard to accounts payable purchase control, Bolinger said he was concerned about what will happen when staffing goes down.  He noted that was already happening in the purchasing area.  He said they used to have someone who did all purchasing and it was more economical.  He commented that accuracy and compliance could come into question with the loss of staff.  He said he needs to find out if the existing control system still works.

 

With regard to Short Mountain, Bolinger stated that they had never audited the payment stream for methane sales.  He noted there is a question whether they are going to terminate that agreement.  He said it was a good time to review how the payments have been calculated with the assets and valuation 

 

With regard to custody controls, Bolinger explained that it was similar to what happened with the Riverstone Clinic last year.  He found control weaknesses but no abuse.  He said because of all the pressure to reduce the budget and change in the County, he did not propose a long time risk assessment and audit claim.  He said as soon as they go through the reductions, he will come back to the Board. He wanted to work on a five year plan.  He indicated he would review the task controls at the Central Justice Court. He said there is a major cash flow and it had never been audited.

 

Bolinger said he has been working with the State Mental Health Department staff in responding to their audit.  He indicated that County Counsel has someone who is working on Lane Countyís response.

 

Stewart asked Bolinger to send him an e-mail with last yearís work plan and the status.  He remembered that Bolinger was going to work on the car rental tax.

 

MOTION: to accept the Internal Auditorís report.

 

Fleenor MOVED, Sorenson SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 5-0.

 

9. MANAGEMENT SERVICES

 

a. DISCUSSION/Potential Uses of One-Time Funds.

 

Kay Blackburn, Finance, recalled that during the goal setting in March, the Board expressed an interest in exploring options for potential uses of one time Secure Rural Schools renewal funds to address the structural deficit by reducing ongoing operating costs.  She noted page 2 (copy in file) is the list of the outstanding liabilities. She indicated the only long term outstanding liability they have they could pre-pay is the retiree health liability that has an estimated balance of $70 million.  She noted the best way to address the structural deficit would be to target the cost that is outpacing inflation at the greatest amount. She said the largest County cost they have is health care. She noted the retiree health care liability represents ongoing health and Medicare insurance for retirees.  She added that they could target that amount but by paying down the retiree health care, they get the benefit of using investment earnings to use the liability and the increasing investment earnings, but they arenít addressing the underlying health care costs.  She noted the only way to do that is through plan design.  She listed different options. (Copy in file).

 

Wilson asked if they were to pay the $15 million into the trust fund, what it would be on their liability.

 

Blackburn said that is an issue.  he stated they are funding the liability by a payroll assessment and they are able to assess grants and other funding sources that come from other agencies because it is a flat percentage on their payroll.  She noted the PERS liability is similar to the retired health liability.  She said if the general fund were to pay down the liability, she didnít believe they would be able to charge a different rate for programs that are funded by external funding sources.  She said in effect, the general fund would be subsidizing a portion of it.

 

Sorenson was in favor of paying down the obligations.  He thought it was the best use of single one time money.

 

Spartz asked if the Secure Rural Schools funding comes, if the Board wanted to invest some of the money for long term expenses.  He asked if they want to make it irrevocable or have a future Board be able to undo it.

 

Stewart said he would be willing to invest some of the money if it could get the County to a point where they are not cutting services and are able to live within their means.

 

Green said they have to still work on options.  He thought even if they got multi-year money, they need to think of a strategy.

 

10. CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD

 

None.

 

11. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Fleenor announced a community dialogue in Junction City at the Rodeo Restaurant.  He said his guest will be Sheriff Russ Burger.

 

Stewart said he served on the Saving American Dream Committee formed by the United Way.  He said they are working on improving people who are falling into poverty and on the verge of homelessness.  He noted one initiative was to improve the earned income tax credit and claim more of the money available for Lane County.  He recalled that this year they had a 25 percent increase of $1.2 million in funds that were brought in.  He announced a candlelight vigil at Wayne Morse Plaza to recognize the victims of violence.

 

12. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660

 

Per ORS 192.660 (2)(d) for the purpose of consulting with labor negotiators.

 

14. OTHER BUSINESS

 

None

 

There being no further business, Commissioner Stewart recessed the meeting in Executive Session at 11:35 a.m.

 

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary