BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'

LANE COUNTY METROPOLITAN WASTEWATER

SERVICE DISTRICT BUDGET COMMITTEE MEETING

June 11, 2008

12:00 p.m.

Commissioners' Conference Room

APPROVED 6/3/09

 

Vice-Chair Hilary Loud presided with Committee Members Bill Dwyer, Bill Fleenor, Bobby Green, Sr., Alice Kaseberg and Peter Sorenson present.  Doug Keeler, Tony McCown and Faye Stewart were excused.  County Administrator Jeff Spartz, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.

 

1.      Call to Order.

 

Vice Chair Hilary Loud called the meeting to order.

 

2.      Budget Committee Business

 

a.            Introduction of Service District Budget Committee Members

 

b.         Election of Chair & Vice-Chair

 

MOTION: to nominate Alice Kaseberg as Chair.

 

Fleenor MOVED, Green SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 6-0.

 

MOTION: to nominate Hilary Loud as Vice Chair.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 6-0.

 

c.            Approval of Minutes: June 20, 2007, Noon

 

MOTION: to approve the Minutes of June 20, 2007 with the correction of the spelling of Hilary Loud.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 6-0.

 

3.            Presentation of the 2008-2009 Budget.

 

Dave Garnick, Budget/Financial Planning Manager, explained that the district has fulfilled its original purpose to act as the funding agent for selling bonds to finance a portion of the original wastewater treatment system.  He indicated that the bonds have all been paid off.  He added that what is left is cash that has come in from taxes.  He said as additional tax revenue has come into the district, they try to make payments to the Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission and that was how it was handled in the past.

 

Garnick noted that they have approximately $27,9000 and a portion goes into indirect where they charge to cover the cost of publication, his time and lunches.  He said the money currently available would go into Materials and Services because the Board has asked staff to look at the possibility of what to do with the district in the future.  He indicated staff has come back and talked about dissolving the district and possibly doing something different, but there has not yet been specific direction.  He added they are coming back to the Board before the end of June to report back.  He said they are putting the money into spending authority in the event they have to pay a fee.  He reported that the way the statute reads is if they were to dissolve  the district, they donít have an easy fix.  He said they would have to hold an election of the voters in the district boundaries and  the cost to hold an election could be $25,000 to $30,000.   He said they would have to file for a dissolution that could cost $25,000 with Land Management but they donítí have the money to do that.  He said staff will be recommending the Board through the Legislative Committee seek a legislative remedy that would allow for a simpler  process that does not require an election.

 

Dwyer thought they shouldnít do anything but meet once a  year.

 

Sorenson indicated a wastewater issue within the district is the pollution from the County Fairgrounds into Amazon Creek.  He asked if the district could use any of its assets to help alleviate the problem.

 

Wilson said the district doesnít have much in the way of assets.  She said what the district has is whatever delinquent taxes are paid on the old roles.  She indicated it would take a vote of the people, as they never got a permanent tax rate.

 

Sorenson asked if they amend the agreement to charge fees if they could use the money to deal with the wastewater problems.  He wanted to create revenue to help segregate the rain water from the water that falls on the pavement at the fairgrounds.

 

Wilson said at this point the district has no operational plan or activity.  She added that a County service district for wastewater services could deal with wastewater problems but it would mean completely reconstituting what agreement they have with the two cities for the formation of the Metropolitan Wastewater Commission. 

 

Sorenson didnít want to spend the $27,000.  He thought they should talk about what the district could do with its existing authority.  He said since they do have wastewater problems at the fair and since it already exists and costs more to dissolve it, they would be better off to keep it alive.  He asked if they could impose a fee on the district users to solve the wastewater problem at the fair.  He thought it could be a useful function of the district.

 

Dwyer  thought the concept was interesting but he thought there could be resistance from the cities.  He said if they could define what the problem was and the cost to cure it, they could show the benefits. He stated that there is no risk to the district.

 

Fleenor thought an argument that could be a benefit to the cities would be the concept that much of the stormwater and wastewater commingling takes place upstream from the fairgrounds. He said the infrastructure of the pipes is failing and it is allowing the commingling of the waters that is overcapacity at the treatment plant.  He asked at what point in time the infrastructure would be replaced upstream from the fairgrounds.

 

Dwyer commented that they would have to quantify what it would take to cure it and how the benefit would be to the people who live in the district.  He thought they could have an argument for a small fee.

 

Wilson said the collection system is a city problem.  She said the City of Springfield does the collection system for Springfield and the City of Eugene owns, operates and manages the collection piece for the City of Eugene.  She said the district and the commission control a regional treatment plant.  She said the underlying basis for which the district was formed and the commission operates is to manage the regional treatment piece so problems in collection are city problems.  She said it would take significant cooperation with the City of Eugene for the fairgrounds to manage it as an issue.  She didnít know whether the district would be an appropriate funding mechanism for the problem, but they would need to find the solution.

 

Fleenor thought there was a direct linkage between the size of the treatment plant and the amount of the wastewater going into it.  He said if there was too much going in, they would have to increase the treatment plant to accommodate it.  He thought it would be less expensive to fix the pipes than right size the treatment plant.

 

Sorenson thought they should move ahead with staff work on this. He asked what staff time they could put on this to answer the questions about examples of tangible present day problems that the district could help solve.  He thought it could be a demonstration project of segregating rain water from wastewater, thereby lowering the cost to the commission and to the cities.  He thought if it worked there, then it could work with other large dischargers like shopping centers.  He asked what they needed to do operationally so they could talk about the staff work that has been done and to see what options are available so they move forward.

 

Garnick responded that he and Andy Clark, Assistant County Counsel, will report back to the Board about initial direction.  He said the city, through Angel Jones, sent a letter asking why Lane County continues to annex to the service district when there is no benefit to the people doing that.  He added that the City of Eugene has a separate process and they donít have public hearings.  He said they have an IGA with Springfield and they will continue to do annexations.  He said they could discuss this further when they come back to the Board.

 

Fleenor asked if they should allocate money for consultation or research within the budget.

 

Garnick explained that the money was already budgeted through materials and services.

 

Dwyer thought it would be looked upon as threatening.  He said it would be the membership of the district questioning whether or not there is a better way to segregate wastewater from storm water and how to direct the storm water away from the treatment plant.

 

Sorenson said the district has a purpose and over time, there are new ideas and that the district might have a purpose for solving particular problems.  He commented that a high percentage of Lane County is in the district.  He thought the MWSC would have statistics on what is the total discharge within Lane County and what percentage is the commissionís responsibility.  He thought it could lead to other relationships with public or private sector projects.

 

Spartz commented that if MWMC stands to save operating costs and they could show how they could make a return above their cost of funds by investing in diversion projects,  MWMC might be interested.

 

4.      Public Hearing

 

Loud opened the Public Hearing.  There being no one signed up to speak, she closed the Public Hearing.

 

5.            Deliberations and Action

 

a.         Action Requested: Approve FY 2008-2009 Metropolitan Wastewater Service District Budget and Levying of Taxes in the Amount of $ _________.

 

MOTION: to approve FY 2008-2009 Metropolitan Wastewater Service District Budget and Levying of Taxes in the amount of $0.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Sorenson SECONDED.

 

Dwyer withdrew the motion.

 

MOTION: to table the motion to 12:28 p.m.

 

Kaseberg MOVED, Fleenor SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 6-0.

 

6.            Adjourned 12:30 p.m.

 

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary