BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
December 3, 2008
Commissioners' Conference Room
Commissioner Faye Stewart presided with Commissioner Bill Dwyer, Bill Fleenor, Bobby Green, Sr., and Pete Sorenson present. County Administrator Jeff Spartz, County Counsel Liane Richardson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
There will be correspondence to the Board for LRAPA.
2. PUBLIC COMMENTS
Warren Harper, Junction, City, said he is present on behalf of the Harper family. He said they came to the Board last month to try to get an exemption off of farm use of a bridge they put in for logging. He indicated they went through the correct process initially and then the County said they needed a permit. He added that the bridge has been used for logging. He has observed the loads going across with no problem. He wanted to use the bridge for farming. He said the access to their farm was changed due to the river. He said they have a verbal commitment from neighbors to allow them to go through their property and it is a long way around and difficult. He said they canít raise the kind of crops they want to raise because it is hard to get in and out.
Carol Berg Caldwell, Eugene, said she appreciated the budget meeting. She said there was a survey some time ago that was taxpayer funded by the County that dealt with public safety. She said it showed that 67 percent of respondents preferred more focus on crime prevention and social services with only 17 percent for hard jail beds and more deputy hires. She was concerned the County was ordering these surveys that arenít valid or implemented in tax measures.
Neil Freedman, Mayor of West Fir, indicated they didnít know the results of their election until November 24. He said he won the mayorship by one vote, 53 to 52. He wanted to know what is going on with the quiet zone. He wanted the Oakridge Police Department to be a depository for unused pharmaceuticals but nothing has happened. He announced they are having a bridge lighting on Saturday at 6:00 p.m.
Ann McClucas, Eugene, said she had lunch with Jim Gilletteís lawyer, David Force. She said they came up with an idea for resolving Gilletteís case without costing the County or Gillette more money. She said Force proposed meeting with the Board in Executive Session along with Marc Kardell so both sides could be heard in a rational way.
Jim Gillette, Eugene, commented that his last court session had at least 20 errors from the County judge. He said it will be remanded back to him. Gillette said he wants a hearing. He said if he wins the other case he has no other justification except for a letter that Jane Burgess sent him. He said that fire arms training is not illegal. He stated that he wants to settle this with the County. He said he wants to turn his land into a park. He stated that this is an aggravation and it is keeping him from progressing. He wanted an Executive Session with both lawyers.
Zachary Vishinoff, Eugene, distributed an article from The Register Guard about costs going up with the basketball arena. He thought the County should get involved and put it to the voters.
3. CONSENT CALENDAR
A. Approval of Minutes
B. Public Works
1) ORDER 08-12-3-1/In the Matter of Setting a Public Hearing for the Proposed Vacation of a Portion of West Boundary Road (Co. Rd. 360, Blakely Road), Located in the Southeast One Quarter of the Northwest One Quarter (SE 1/4 NW 1/4) of Section 14, Township 19 South, Range 1 West of the Willamette Meridian, in Lane County, Oregon (19-01-14-24).
2) ORDER 08-12-3-2/In the Matter of Revising the Current Load Posting on Earnest Covered Bridge (State Bridge ID No. 39C176) Located at MP 0.04 on Paschelke Road with a 9-Ton Weight Limit for All Vehicles and the Load Posting on Mosby Creek Covered Bridge (State Bridge ID No. 39C241) Located at MP 0.20 on Layng Road With an 8-Ton Weight Limit for All Vehicles.
MOTION: to approve the Consent Calendar.
Green MOVED, Sorenson SECONDED.
4. EMERGENCY BUSINESS
5. COMMISSIONERS' REMONSTRANCE
6. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS
a. Commissioners' Attendance at Senior Holiday Dinner.
Stewart reported that the Board of Commissioners is hosting a holiday dinner on December 25. He added that they are looking at acknowledging that this will be the 30th year. He aid if any Board member was going to attend to serve food at noon.
Fleenor indicated that he will do it.
Stewart thought he might be able to attend. He added they will be serving over 650 dinners.
Dwyer recalled that for the past eight or ten years he has been buying turkeys for Food for Lane County. He reported that last year they set a high benchmark. He said there was $27,000 for Christmas Turkeys. He commented that hunger is at an all time high and he will make an effort to try to feed as many people as possible. He said he would appreciate any discretionary funds. He reported that they fed 3,200 families last year.
Stewart indicated that he will help out.
7. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION
b. PRESENTATION/Working for You Video.
c. DISCUSSION/Time Management Sales.
Richardson said they were informed that the Countyís Time Management Program (the way they currently allow employees to sell) wasnít in sync with IRS rules. She said they have developed a plan that will comply with the IRS rules and still allow employees to sell time management.
8. PUBLIC WORKS
a. ORAL REPORT/Bag Fee Proposal.
Sarah Grimm, Waste Management, gave a report on implementing a bag tax. (Copy in file).
Fleenor asked for this to come back for further discussion.
b. DISCUSSION/Land Management Financial Update.
Marsha Miller, Land Management, reported that the Land Management Permit Fund is an enterprise fund that is fully supported through fees. She noted in the first quarter of this fiscal year, they had seen significant reduction in the revenue between 30 and 50 percent. She said the programs are completely dependent on the economy. She commented that they couldnít have predicted the current economic crisis they are in. She added that looking at building and planning programs across the state, there are very few who can fully maintain themselves. She said the current situation they have in Land Management is not attainable. She noted budget law does not let them deficit spend. She stated they are in a situation where they have to take significant reductions in the area. She said the reductions will impact AFSCME, Admin Pro and non-reps. She added that without additional funding or some type of bridge funding, the impacts will be devastating. She was seeking direction on how they should move forward.
Matt Laird, Land Management, stated that Land Management is in financial trouble and heading toward difficult times. He said they are in a national recession and a lot of their problems have to do with the building industry. He recalled that last year Land Management budgeted for reduced permit volumes for this year. He added it was balanced by implementing significant fee increases in hopes that would provide enough revenue to sustain their current operation. He said they knew at that time they would have to watch the first quarter of this fiscal year. He said it was apparent the numbers were falling short of the target that would be needed. He said management has tried to control costs by not filling vacant positions. He stated it has not been enough to overcome the lack of the permit revenue. He commented that they didnít foresee the lack of the banking industry. He noted Land Mangement administration is also down 40 percent. He indicated the total Land Management Division shortfall is projected at $2.5 million. He commented that with these impacts, they cannot continue with business as usual, even with a worforce reduction of 40 to 50 percent of all positions. He stated the budget will not balance without some type of additional funding. He stated that all programs within Land Management Division will be affected and will significantly alter the way they currently do business. He added it will have impacts on the hours of operation, permit processing timelines and customer service in general. He noted under the Boardís direction, staff in Land Management Divission has worked hard in the last few years to increase their customer service level. He urged the Board to try to find a way to maintain as many employees as possible by developing some type of creative financing to sustain the division until the economy picks back up.
Tanya Heaton, Public Works, discussed Land Managementís budget. (Copy in file).
Fleenor thought Option B looked good and he said they need to be careful and see how things play out and try to maintain a skeleton of an operation, maintaining the building permit and inspections. He was willing to take the risk, knowing they might have to take the money out of the general fund.
Sorenson thought they should authorize $283,000 from the solid waste fund and $475,000 from the general fund and then come back in two months to give a report back on whether they could make the transition of the planning function off the general fund.
ORDER 08-12-3-4/Providing Direction to Public Works Land Management Division for Revenue and Expense Reductions and Authorizing an Interfund Operating Loan from the Solid Waste Disposal Fund to the Land Management Fund in an Amount Not to Exceed $283,000; and Authorizing a Transfer from the General Fund Service Stabilization Reserve to the Land Management Fund in the Amount of $475,000.
MOTION: to approve Option B for ORDER 08-12-3-4.
Sorenson MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.
Green asked what this would look like for the general public.
Laird explained that even with Option B, it would be an over 50 percent cut in personnel. He will drastically alter work flow in the Land Management Division. He indicated that turnaround times will be impacted.
Sorenson wanted to begin thinking about how to react to downsizing. He wanted a report back on the possibility of a general fund assist to the planning effort. He wanted to work on the overall fees in the department. He thought they could possibly consolidate Land Management and Waste Management.
Stewart stated that he has worked hard the past four years to improve processes with permits. He said they are asking to make a large cut and he thought they could be out of compliance.
Fleenor commented that they are dealing with a difficult financial circumstance and they donít know how long it will take. He wanted to be cautious. He didnít know if they could continue to fund employment opportunities for some of their employees, to retain them at the expense of eroding away of their strategic reserves. He said if they pass Option B, they will be below $40 million. He added that this will also have an impact on next yearís budget and they will have more layoffs. He commented that they have to protect the core interest of the County first.
Green urged the Board not to put this back in the general fund. He encouraged the Board to maintain core services. He said the Board is going to have to discuss where the money is coming from. He asked if customer service was a priority, who will be there to provide the service.
Fleenor said for the amount of money they are talking about digitizing documents, it could be put into public safety and buying back jail beds. He said to him that is more important. He thought they should step back and reassess how they are thinking in terms of promises in the future. He thought Public Works should think about reorganizing and minimizing. He thought if they looked at the number of cubicles in this building that are vacant as a result of having 2,000 employees down to 1,300, he thought they could bring all of the Delta Complex here with regard to personnel. He agreed for Public Works to come back in a month to see how they are going to approach this. He wanted to know if they are going to continue to add long range planning as part of the building permits even though they may transition over to the general fund. He also wanted Waste Mangement to consolidate into Land Managmeent and into Resource Manaement. He indicated that he would support this motion.
Sorenson wanted a report back in two months. He said they have to be able to make decisions prior to the budget in July. He liked the Land Managemnet and Waste Management consolidation. He also wanted enterprise fund increases.
Green commented that they should not add services to the general fund until it is stabilized and to make a commitment in advance. He thought it does a disservice to the other departments competing for general fund dollars.
Stewart stated that he wonít support this. He thought there were others areas they could have reductions. He hoped they could generate jobs. He added that they need to keep people upright instead of getting rid of them.
VOTE: 3-2 (Green, Stewart, dissenting).
Fleenor thought the vote was difficult because they didnít have many options. He added that if they delay doing anything, they will go further in the hole. He stated that this was to stop the bleeding today.
Stewart thought they could have looked at Title III money. He thought the decision could have been made next week. He also thought there was economic development money that could have been used.
Heaton reiterated that they will do a board order that confirms the reduction. She said they will authorize a loan in the amount of $283,00 and bridge funding from the general fund in the amount of $475,000. She said that they will all be in the supplemental budget on December 17. She added that they have to do a reduction of force paperwork and meet with staff about the result of this discussion. She indicated they will start working on the items that Sorenson and Stewart identified. She said they have Title III projects that Stewart wants them to look at and a project of scanning.
c. ORDER 08-12-3-3/In the Matter of Delegating Authority to the City of Westfir to Allow the City to Pursue the Establishment of a Train Whistle Quiet Zone for Crossing Number CF-583.80 (ODOT)/766237 (USDOT) on Winfrey Road.
Ed Chastain, Public Works, explained that this is to assist West Fir in the establishment of a quiet zone on Winfrey Road at the Union Pacific Crossing. He said it is the main line that comes through Eugene. He reported there are 28 trains a day. He noted that Westfir is in a canyon and the noise is amplified by the surrounding environment. He said this assists them by delegating authority for them to ask to go through the Federal Rail Administration Rule to establish a quiet zone.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 08-12-3-3.
Dwyer MOVED, Fleenor SECONDED.
d. FIRST READING AND SETTING SECOND READING AND PUBLIC HEARING Ordinance No. PA 1254/In the Matter of Amending the Rural Comprehensive Plan to Redesignate Land from "Commercial" to "Residential" and Rezoning that Land from "RC/RCP, Rural Commercial" to "RR-5/RCP, Rural Residential;" and Adopting Savings and Severability Clauses (file PA 07-5485; Oregon Land LLC). (Second Reading: 12/17/08, 1:30 p.m., Commissioners' Conference Room)
MOTION: to approve a First Reading and Setting a Second Reading and Public Hearing for Ordinance No. PA 1254 for December 17, 2008 at 1:30 p.m.
Dwyer MOVED, Fleenor SECONDED.
9. CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD
Letter from LRAPA
Stewart thought they should have the director of LRAPA and DEQ at the next meeting.
Sorenson asked if there was any other partner besides Springfield making a similar request.
Stewart recalled that last year they funded $45,000. He commented that if there is no energy to continue the IGA, there has to be a letter sent by Decmeber 31 to LRAPA indicating that next year Lane County wonít participate. He added that Lane County is still obligated to pay the $45,000.
Letter to Jeff Merkley
Stewart indicated he has a letter drafted by Alex Cuyler to Senator Elect Merkley. He asked if it met board approval. He said it is to congratulate him on his success in gaining office.
MOTION: to send a letter to Jeff Merkley.
Sorenson MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.
10. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
Stewart announced that the O & C annual meeting is on Friday and this Board has three votes. He and Fleenor will be there. He asked if any other members were going to attend. He said if not, then he needs a proxy for him and Fleenor to attend.
MOTION: to move that Fleenor and Stewart share proxy votes.
Dwyer MOVED, Fleenor SECONDED.
12. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660
Per ORS 192.660 (2)(h) for consulting with counsel on litigation and (2)(d) for deliberations.
13. OTHER BUSINESS
There being no further business, Commissioner Stewart recessed the meeting into Executive Session at 2:50 p.m.