LANE COUNTY BUDGET COMMITTEE
Tuesday May 13, 2008
Chair David Crowell presided with Budget Committee Members Scott Bartlett, Bill Dwyer, Bill Fleenor, Bobby Green, Sr., Denis Hijmans, Alice Kaseberg, Tony McCown, Peter Sorenson and Faye Stewart present. County Administrator Jeff Spartz, Budget/Financial Manager Dave Garnick and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
I. COMMITTEE BUSINESS
Sorenson reported that city councilors from Eugene and Springfield and the Board of Commissioners met today. He said there was a discussion on the City of Eugene’s budget. He said they are suggesting in their budget that $1.5 million of general fund money be used for a capital investment fund transferred to the city’s road fund. He recalled that the Board of Commissioners adopted a motion directing the county administrator to meet with the city manager to discuss the County using $1.5 million of County road funds that would be deposited in the city’s road fund. He added in return the city would deposit $1.5 million of general fund money into the County’s general fund.
II. OVERVIEW OF TOPIC PUBLIC SAFETY SERVICES
Spartz explained that it was a difficult budget to put together. He said that everyone in the community recognizes that public safety is one of the primary roles that any government fulfills. He said due to the huge drop in the general fund (most used to support public safety) they ended up making dramatic cuts, especially in jail operations. He said they are currently operating at 151 beds for local offenders and under the proposed budget; they will only have 28 beds available. He said it means there will be individuals who should not be on the streets, but in jail awaiting trial, who will be out on the street making the community less safe than it is today. He reported that the Sheriff will experience a loss of other key personnel including detectives. He indicated there will be a reduction in the rural patrol program. He commented that it will be less safe in rural Lane County and the Sheriff will have difficulty responding to serious problems in the community.
With regard to the District Attorney’s office, Spartz said budget reductions will create a loss of several key prosecutorial positions and their support staff. He said it means the bulk of non-person felony offenses will not be prosecuted and it is likely that almost all misdemeanors will not be prosecuted. He added that it will create additional problems in the community. He stated that was what they were able to do with the money available.
Spartz indicated they would not be able to operate the Forest Work Camp and they would lose 100 beds. He added that those people would be released. He noted they will lose 63 of the 90 beds in the Community Corrections Center.
Spartz reported the cuts for Health and Human Services include the methadone treatment program that has proved to be effective for addicts trying to rehabilitate themselves. He indicated the sex offender treatment programs will reduce their services by 16 clients and Buckley House will be discontinued. He added they would discontinue detox for about 300 more. He indicated that some of those patients would end up in the hospitals, being a burden in the community and others will end up in jail because the police have no other place to take them. He said they will eliminate the contract for residential drug treatment for 15 supervised female offenders and outpatient treatment for 17 offenders.
With regard to Youth Services, Spartz reported that they will not have 90 day secure inpatient treatment for 80 high risk patients with serious background offenses. He said they would have no intake at their secure juvenile facility from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. and they will lose 50 percent of secure custody placement resources for youth. He commented that those programs can be effective. He indicated that they are creating the next generation of adult criminals by not being able to deal with the kids as juveniles.
Russ Burger, Sheriff, reported that the Sheriff Department would need about 320 people to adequately staff their Patrol Division and Police Services to provide 24/7 patrol. He noted that would provide 20 cars per shift and they would have a full and complete records dispatch, transport, court security and civil component. He said currently they have limited court security in Lane County. He commented that given the number of events occurring in courthouses across the country, they need to find a way to address the issue. He added that a good system would have a fully functioning investigative capacity with about 25 detectives. He said that is what it would take to investigate all of the crimes that are being committed in the community. He indicated that 11 resident deputies were the most they ever had at one time. He commented that resident deputies are the essence of community policing as they know who the trouble makers are in the community and they can solve problems before they get out of hand.
Burger stated the system today is bad. He said they have a total of about 80 staff in their Police Services Division. He said they run two to four cars per shift on patrol. He said they have calls pending all of the time. He indicated they have four person crimes detectives with 16 to 20 cases open all the time. He added they are violent assaults, robbery, rape, kidnap, arson and child sex abuse cases He noted under the no renewal budget, they will have no resident deputies and they will have restricted service to outlying areas. He commented that they have areas of the County that never see a Deputy Sheriff drive by. He noted under the No Secure Rural Schools Budget they will have 51 staff and they will become reactive. He said they will have to rely on their uniformed staff to conduct investigations and it will take them away from patrol, further limiting their responsibility. He added that they will have severely limited response countywide. He said they will have a four hour gap where there will be no deputies available to respond to calls for service.
Burger reported in 2005 they had 680 applications for a concealed weapons permit, in 2006 they had 811 applications, in 2007 they had 950 applications and they have already issued 400 applications this year. He estimated the amount will be over 1250 permits by the end of the year. He noted that last Friday the Sheriff’s Office set a record by issuing 16 permits on that day. He added that one in ten residents in the Santa Clara area have a concealed handgun license.
Burger reported that there will be impacts under the proposed budget to their partners. He said they will have a reduced presence and they will not be able to assist for help. He noted this year for the Rhody Festival in Florence their appearance will be limited. He said they will have a request to other agencies to help them out. He indicated their detectives work closely with other agencies to solve crimes and with their being down to two detectives, it will impact their ability to do that. He said they will have further delayed responses to the community. He noted currently their average is 12 minutes per call and it will get worse. He added they would have reduced hours at their central reception area and they might end up having to close during mid-day to make sure people get their breaks per the contract.
With regard to Corrections Divisions impacts, Burger reported in 2007 they conducted a program bed study at the jail and based on historical demands (including length of sentence, time from arrest and number of defendants for alternative programs,) they determined they need about 1,600 jail beds to service Lane County’s population and they need 660 beds for alternative programs. He said the program in a good system would never have to release a person who was a high risk of danger to the community. He said currently they have less than 20 percent of what is needed for jail beds. He said they have 93 beds for local offenders and they have less than half of what is needed for minimum custody alternative programs including the Community Corrections Center, the Forest Work Camp, electronic surveillance, the Sherman Center and the adult work crew. He said under the proposed budget, they will have less than 16 percent of what is needed and they will lose a third of their staff from the Sheriff’s Office.
Burger reported that their releases into the community will more than double. He said there would be a higher risk of danger to the community. He indicated that they will have longer waiting times for officers booking people into the jail because they have reduced staff and it will take time away from patrol. He said there is nothing to sanction the prisoners and there is nothing to hold offenders accountable. He added that the failure to appear cases will go up. He indicated that they are going to have more mental health releases into the community.
Burger indicated that the State of Oregon has the fewest police officers per capita of all 50 states. He said the number of police officers Lane County has is lower than the State of Oregon average. He commented that two officers per thousand people would be a benefit in Lane County.
Stewart asked if between Lane County and the City of Eugene’s budget they could add back to a level 4, for an additional 48 beds, more than what is planned. He said if the Board could find an additional $946,000 then they could add 35 additional beds over and above that amount.
Burger indicated that would be correct. He recalled that once they received the proposed budget from the County Administrator, they developed a target number and an organization that made sense, given the amount of money they thought could be available. He sent a letter to the Budget Committee dated April 25. He said the plan they have includes keeping the contracts with Veneta and Creswell, continuing Search and Rescue and Emergency Management in a combined program, Marine Patrol, and the 48 jail beds. He indicated that they were able to find a way to fund it for six months. He asked that the Budget Committee consider allowing them to do it in addition to what they are proposing. He said they could go to a resident traffic deputy model and put two deputies in the Florence area, two in southern Lane County and two in western Lane County, strictly dedicated to transportation safety and available to respond to 911 calls. He added they could use the same model for the Traffic Safety Team, with their funding the operation by enforcement action and an additional option to be considered.
McCown asked if a Metro Police Force had been explored.
Burger indicated that he and Chief Lehner had discussions about that possibility. He noted the subject had come up at the Joint Elected Officials meeting. He indicated that it is time to have a more in depth conversation to see if there are opportunities for efficiencies between agencies. He recalled that the City of Corvallis and Benton County went through the exercise and they determined where there were opportunities for efficiencies by combining the two organizations, they couldn’t get the political will of the two governing bodies to unite. He said if they are going to have a discussion on the Metro policing concept, he said they have to have the elected officials all in agreement .
Green asked what the true cost per day was for providing beds for Eugene offenders.
Burger said they have to run a book-in operation and they can’t refuse prisoners. He added that it is a cost that cannot be avoided. He reported that they have several million dollars they have to pay in County overhead for Information Services. He said those fixed costs don’t go away if they have one person in their jail or if it is completely full. He said they have to look at the marginal cost of adding additional capacity. He noted if they remove the fixed costs, is only $63 per day and the contract also pays for part of the fixed costs. He said the fuller the facility is, the less it costs per person to run.
Sorenson asked if they could put an additional $1 million in the Sheriff’s Office budget, what the Sheriff would recommend the committee fund.
Burger said he wanted to fund patrol and jail.
Bartlett asked how resident deputies are funded.
Burger asked Judge Carl at the Oakridge Court, if the traffic fines generated by one position would be enough to support that position. Carl said he didn’t know but he would try to figure it out. Burger recalled they had a deputy who was a resident deputy assigned to Oakridge and he has since moved. Burger said the deputy worked on Highway 58 two days a week and on Highway 126 east corridor the other two days of the week. Burger reported the deputy’s activities on Highway 58 into the Oakridge Justice Court generated about $78,000 in revenue, two days per week. He figured they could get close to it. He added a lot of it is driven by other calls for services. He noted about 30 percent of their time is dealing with priority one and priority two calls. He commented that a lot is driven by the amount of crime committed in the community, but a resident deputy might reduce the crime.
Green asked about the inmates in the Forest Work Camp.
Burger said they are eligible for capacity based release and for furlough. He said with the layoffs on May 29 and the closure of the facility, they couldn’t let everyone leave. He indicated that they began ramping down the process last week. He said they have contracts for adult work crews from the Forest Work Camp to clear right of way for ODOT and in order to maintain that contract, they have to have inmates available for the program. He indicated that they furloughed 30 inmates.
Green asked at what point the County will be in jeopardy of not meeting the mandates they have set by state law.
Burger responded that they were in jeopardy with the proposed budget. He said they are mandated to do Search and Rescue and they found a way to continue it. He added that Lane County is mandated to do Emergency Management and they found a way to continue that. He said they have to run a jail and the real issue is community safety. He commented that in theory they are meeting their minimum mandates but they are not meeting the standard for the community for public safety.
Alex Gardner, Deputy District Attorney, indicated that their operation relies on the Sheriff for them to get their work done. He said if they can’t get someone to Court, then the system doesn’t work. He said the Board asked for a comparative analysis. He noted that Douglas County has 287 jail beds and they don’t participate in SB 1145 anymore and they don’t have the burden Lane County has in housing all of the state offenders. He noted there are 105,000 people in Douglas County. He said they have less than one-third of Lane County’s population and three times the jail capacity Lane County has today. He said in the absence of SB1145, it is almost enough to meet their need. He said if they multiply their present capacity by nine, he said they could almost be where they want to be with jail capacity. He said if they compare themselves to Maricopa County in Arizona, they would have about 1,000 people in hard jail beds and another 100 in the Forest Work Camp. He said if they don’t have a correction system, the District Attorney’s office will never be able to function normally. He added that they feed the correction system by putting the people on supervision. He noted that there are nine police agencies doing business in Lane County. He said if they doubled the sworn staff at every one of the agencies, they would be almost average. He commented that Lane County worked its way into last place during the good times. He said it will be hard to recover.
Gardner said a good system would be 91 employees He said by full prosecution, they would be able to review every case and support investigation to the extent necessary. He added that they would make better decisions and fewer mistakes. He said by improved victim support, they would have a 24/7 victim’s response team.
Gardner reported the medical examiner’s officer is within the District Attorney’s office. He said with a 24/7 operation, 5 FTE is needed for every position that is staffed. He noted they are performing a 24/7 response with two deputy medical examiners and extra help staff. He said it is not as professional as it could be. He proposed having 3 FTE.
Gardner said they are not prosecuting every case and their investigation is often incomplete. He recalled in 1981 they had less than half of their present volume and had 11 full time investigators. He noted that today they have one investigator in the criminal division and one in support and enforcement. He said it has an impact on their ability to do follow up. He said what is proposed is the loss of four more Deputy District Attorneys. He said they assume 2,000 hours of work from each Deputy DA per year or 8,000 hours of lost time. He said their people work longer than that but at a loss of 8,000 hours, they have to cut 2,000 cases out of the system. He said they have already cut the lion’s share of the misdemeanors out of the system that are non person misdemeanors and it leaves them with the lower level felony cases like car theft, residential burglaries and identity theft. He indicated those cases generate the bulk of the supervision volume in the County.
Gardner explained that for funding for the Community Corrections, as their percentage of offenders shrinks, their share of the money shrinks and the Deputy DA’s contribute the most to the case load. He noted that 74 percent of the population supervised by their Parole and Probation officers is for non-violent felonies. He said they could lose 74 percent of $10 million per year. He said cutting a few hundred thousands out of their office cost the County over $1 million per year.
Gardner said if they have to lose four Deputy DA’s out of the lower level felony volume, the cases that would go away are the lower level drug cases that don’t generate prison sentences. He noted approximately 65 percent of the felony crime problem is drug related. He commented that if they do nothing with the early drug cases, in addition to attracting more of the organized crime element, they will see more violent crime. He noted most people who commit crime are from out of state. He said these criminals know about Lane County’s circumstances. He said they will lose prosecution for meth cases, car thefts and identity theft. He indicated that more people are applying for concealed handgun permits. He stated the community already has a reputation for vulnerability among the criminal population. He said they are down to 17 DA’s in the criminal division and they will lose their Victim Assistance Coordinator and other staff. He recalled in 1981 there were 81 DA’s in the criminal division and 11 investigators. He noted to make the adjustment and the case load for the population that has increased by 60,000, they would have to hire over 40 Deputy DA’s and they would have to hire over 20 investigators. He stated that it is not a new problem.
Stewart said there is some interest between the City of Eugene to come up with enough money to fund a couple of District Attorneys and support staff. He added that Doug Harcleroad might be able to fund additional positions. He asked if that would bring them to a point where they would be able to continue to prosecute the felonies to receive funds and not jeopardize the funding they are receiving from the state.
Gardner responded that it would not be enough to prevent any adverse impact. He said there will still be cases they can’t take. He said the reason they have lost $1 million per year is because they have already gotten to the point where they can’t do the work as well as they should. He said they could do work and make up most of the deficit they are most concerned about. He said it would continue to cost the County a lot of money if their office isn’t staffed.
Health and Human Services
Rob Rockstroh, Health and Human Services, explained that supervision and treatment is a combined unit of Parole and Probation and alcohol drug offender services. He commented with a good system they would have 55 Parole and Probation Officers or 62 felons per person. He said if they had that amount, it would be effective supervision for offenders including domestic violence and sex offenders and they could have immediate response to non-compliance including sanctions. He said under Parole and Probation Services to get successful, they have to have both supervision and treatment services. He said sure swift sanctions work. He said they are making sure people are staying compliant with treatment. He said they are trying to enforce restitution to victims.
Rockstroh said what they currently have is 40 Parole and Probation Officers and they have already compromised supervision. He said there is a delay on sanctions and they have an erratic monitoring of treatment and they have compromised victim support. He said there isn’t enough supervision with the ration of 85 offenders to one.
Rockstroh explained the budget will no longer stay in his department, it will go to the Sheriff’s Office on July 28. He said the new supervisory team will discuss the supervision of misdemeanants based on risk because there is little or no accountability.
With regard to alcohol drug offenders services, Rockstroh said it is the internal Lane County support system that does methadone treatment, court ordered evaluations, sex offender treatment and contracts for treatment for offenders. He said a large part of the system is funded through the Oregon Health Plan and he doesn’t control that money. He noted for a good system, they would evaluate, refer and closely monitor all cases. He said they would try to work at getting access for treatment. He commented if they can’t get access to treatment, it is hard to hold anyone accountable. He indicated that they already have delayed reporting to the court. He said if they can’t do the evaluations; the court may make an inappropriate placement. He said they cover the indigent sex offender. He said there will be no monitoring for DUII offenders. He said there would be longer waiting lists, limited community education and no detox at the Sobering Station. He said he can’t use alcohol and drug money on it. He said other cities take these types of patients to the emergency room and it is expensive. He added that social detox is cheaper. He commented that his systems are not as impacted as others because he doesn’t have any County general fund.
Department of Youth Services
Lisa Smith, Department of Youth Services, reported that they are the only provider of County juvenile services. She said they are a blend of corrections, probation and treatment. She said they receive 3,000 to 4,000 criminal referrals per year ranging from minors in possession to rape and assault to murder. She noted that at any given time there is approximately 450 youth on probation in Lane County. She said if they had a good system, they would have 21 beds of residential, alcohol and drug treatment and 21 beds of residential shelter. She said they would be utilizing 64 detention beds that would serve 1600 youth annually. She indicated that they would have increased security within their facility with central control and they wouldn’t require keys to operate their state of the art facility. She added that they would have sufficient probation staff to provide accountability and reaffirmation services. She said that is not the system they have. She noted that the lack of central court is always an issue in their annual independent detention facility audit.
Smith explained that they currently have 70 staff and that is below where they were in 1980. She said they have reduced AOD treatment down to eight beds for boys only. She said the have no shelter beds and previously had 16 but they had lost the state funding. She added that they have 16 detention beds for 500 youth admitted annually. She noted they still do not have central control and have 16 secure treatment beds or 80 youth admitted into the Phoenix Program annually. She recalled there was a policy decision in 2006 to convert 16 beds of detention to the secure treatment model, based due to a lack of state beds and reduced treatment resources in the community. She explained that by converting 16 detention beds to the secure treatment program, they took advantage that kids could stay longer in the Phoenix Program because in detention they are capped at eight days for a youth that is adjudicated. She said they could keep kids up to 90 days. She added that youth who are in the secure treatment program qualify for the Oregon Health Plan and all the medical costs Lane County was incurring for the kids in the detention program. She said they were able to utilize federal reimbursement dollars through Title 19 Medicaid or a 40 percent match on those dollars. She said it helped them absorb a cut and it provided needed services. She explained that the Phoenix Program has been in operation for over two years and they are already seeing a 74 percent reduction in reoffending with the kids and they are the highest risk kids their system has.
With regard to compromised supervision, Smith reported that they have fewer counselors, more serious offenders, fewer treatment resources and they will have no response for first time offenders.
For the no Secure Rural Schools model, Smith said they were not able to achieve self-sufficency for the Pathways Program and they are looking at eliminating it. She indicated their secured capacity will be reduced to 16 beds. She said there will be no accountability for many juvenile criminals due to diminished resources. She commented that a corner stone of the juvenile justice system is to intervene early and establish and enforce limits. She commented that probation violations become meaningless in the system. She said they have less time with youth and fewer resources to work with. She said the community service program will be cut by 85 percent. She indicated there will be the elimination of the juvenile forest crew. She recalled in 2007 they paid out $19,500 in restitution to victims of crime in kids working on the juvenile forest crew. She noted that 500 hours of job skill training will be gone. She added in addition to the supervision that was provided to the youth, they don’t have adequate staff with the kids and it is gone. She said they will have no custodial intake from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. with the exception of the most serious crime. She noted that post adjudicated youth cannot be held longer than eight days. She indicated the juvenile offenders will not receive mental health services as part of the Phoenix Program.
Smith explained that Looking Glass, Youth and Family Services and the Center for Family Development will be in a diminished capacity to work with the kids. She noted they are limited to 33 beds with the Oregon Youth Authority to send the most serious kids they have. She said Pathways would close and it would mean that 37 high risk boys with significant drug and alcohol issues won’t be treated. She noted there are no sobering stations or detox programs for youth in Lane County and a lot of the time their detention program had served that purpose. She commented that everyone in the public safety service is doing the best job they can with the limited resources. She commented that some of the things they need to be doing they won’t be able to do including things that are mandated.
Stewart asked if the Board could come up with additional funding, what Smith would recommend adding back to the program to have the most effect. He asked if the Board could come up with $471,000 if she would recommend the Phoenix Program. He asked if that added back the Oregon Health Program.
Smith explained that the Phoenix Secure Treatment Program is recognized by Medicaid Title 9 as being eligible for behavioral rehabilitation dollars and youth in the program qualify for the Oregon Health Plan.
Doug Harcleroad, District Attorney, commented that this is the worst budget in 24 years for public safety. He said they don’t have 24/7 patrol and they have less than 100 jail beds. He said the Forest Work Camp closes in two weeks. He said they don’t have 16 juvenile detention beds, in the Phoenix Program. He indicated they will have no residential treatment for kids and there might be no prosecution of non-violent crimes in Lane County. He noted the drug court closes. He said they are pushing 85 on supervision. He said they should be going after gang and domestic violence problems. He said they have no money. He suggested taking every penny out of the budget they can for public safety. He said the public safety system currently is described as weak, anemic, inadequate, pathetic, a disaster and in collapse. He indicated that portions of the child advocacy program will end under this system. He commented that the system depends on one another. He asked the Budget Committee to save the programs in a small way and bridge it for about a year where they will actually be able to fund public safety and the citizens will get is a solid system.
III. PUBLIC COMMENT
Quinn Strahon, Eugene, said needs are shelter, food and clothing. He said several counties are actively recruiting law officers. He said it was a bad situation the way things are going with Lane County.
Marsha Dyer, Eugene, spoke about the Phoenix Program. She stated her granddaughter made several poor decisions and because of the system the way it is, she was never held accountable until she reached the Phoenix Program. She said she had seen a great change. She said her granddaughter has learned not to make compulsive decisions. She is having an affect on her sisters. She said she is being held accountable for everything. She said the younger they can get them and the more intensive the program can be, the more opportunity they have to make a meaningful contribution to a community. She commented that it is discouraging to be a citizen of Lane County.
Judge Darryl Larson, Eugene, recalled in 1993 he convinced people in the criminal justice system that they should be looking at a Drug Court. He said they started operations in October 1994 and after 14 years of operations, they can positively say that the Drug Court has been a success. He said it has saved the taxpayers money, saved the court time and has better outcomes including reduced recidivism with drug addicted offenders than any other criminal justice programs. He said the latest long term research on drug courts suggests that Lane County’s Drug Court has saved the local taxpayers at least $542,000 per 12 month period and saved an average of $2,328 per year for each participant compared to the cost of dealing with the offenders in the business as usual system. He said in the 14 years Lane County’s Drug Court has been operating, it has saved local taxpayers $7 million. He said Drug Court will likely have to cease operations due to its inability to get participants from the criminal justice system because of the DA’s office situation. He suggested talking to the cities and looking at the budget as a package to see if there is a way to put in enough prosecution behind the District Attorney’s office to allow them to prosecute some of the property offenders and drug offenders who could go to the Drug Court system. He indicted the Drug Court system has accountability and it gets great results.
Kathy Brodkorb, Eugene, supported public safety. She suggested looking at different budgeting and possibly getting rid of budgetary law. She asked the Budget Committee to quit holding public safety hostage to get more tax dollars for all of the other programs. She said they have to fund public safety like Elections. She thought a public safety measure would pass if it was strictly public safety. She said the Board should do mandated items first and then do what is ethically and morally good for the community.
Rose Boyer, Eugene stated she was a 2000 Drug Court graduate and she stated the program works. She said she is getting a degree in psychology. She reported that she has had nine years of sobriety and she is active in her children’s lives.
Doug Mitchell, Eugene, stated he is a Circuit Court Judge and he has been the Drug Court Judge. He commented that Drug Court brings resources into Lane County and it is not funded by the County. He said over $300,000 comes from the criminal justice system. He noted there are grants that go into Drug Court. He added the drug court participants are legally on probation. He said the program’s only overhead is the District Attorney providing those people who can participate by being able to prosecute the drug crimes.
Annie Rexford, Eugene, talked about Search and Rescue. She stated that eliminating funding would hinder Search and Rescue to keep volunteers highly trained to all SAR members. She said it would eliminate their ability to maintain vehicles and equipment that are essential for any search. She stated that over the years their program has served the citizens of Lane County in a professional and trained manner. She commented to cut funding would put their SAR funding at a risk for losing high caliber services they offer. She said since the County is required to have a Search and Rescue Program in some capacity, she urged the Budget Committee to fund the current program.
Jason Dummer, Junction City, stated he appreciated working with the professionals and asked for the budget committee’s support because they need it.
Kelly Gould, Eugene, stated he is a Deputy Sheriff. He described the people who they are letting out of jail. He stated that public safety is a priority and it needs to be all the time.
Marilyn Martin, Eugene, stated that the Drug Court saved her daughter and her family.
Mitch Swartz, Eugene, Department Youth Services, says he helps provide services for the Phoenix Program. He said the Phoenix Program serves the high risk offenders. He said the loss of the Phoenix Program means the County would be losing a nationally recognized program that has been demonstrated to be highly effective by an outside evaluator. He said the Phoenix Program has produced remarkable results. He noted there has been a 74 percent reduction in recidivism and it is a family based program. He said they treat kids and their families and they have a 90 percent engagement rate of families. He said in the last 27 months there has not been one incident of physical restraint in the program. He said they have reduced the use of medication by 80 percent from four years ago.
Katie Vaughn-Kelso, Eugene, said she is a Behavioral Support Specialist who works for the Center for Family Development. She indicated that she has been working in the Phoenix Program for the past 18 months with both boys and girls. She said it is her job to help them develop coping skills they need to be successful after they are out of the Phoenix Program. She added that they follow them into the community to continue helping them be successful when they are back to the situations they were in before. She indicated that she has been working with some of the kids for a year after they get out of the program. She said young people can make the changes they want in their life. She thought this has been a fabulous program.
Kayla Hughes, Springfield, stated she graduated from the Phoenix Program last year. She said before she went into the Phoenix Program she had been using meth and living on the street. She said she feels like she owes the Phoenix Program her life. She said she has been clean for a year and has been off probation for five months. She didn’t think it was fair that the Phoenix Program goes away.
Nicole Miller, Springfield, said she has been working in the Phoenix Program in a variety of capacities since it began three years ago. She said she has been working with the highest risk youth in the community. She noted that the Phoenix Program has given girls the opportunity to explore career paths and post high school options. She indicated that they have begun a cooperative fundraising initiative called Girls Rule that has used art samples from girls in the program to create merchandise to raise money for further treatment opportunities. She stated that she has witnessed change and goal setting in the lives of their residents and their families. She said losing this program does not mean just losing services, it means losing change.
Amber Murray, Eugene, commented that all of the County’s services are critical to the well being and safety of the community. She said she coordinates the Domestic Violence Council and there is a dangerous risk posed to the safety of the community by domestic violence perpetrators. She noted there are 350 people who are being supervised due to the violent acts they committed against their intimate partner. She added that the budget is set to reduce the supervision of the 350 people and it will be eliminating evaluation to treatment. She commented that putting people at needless risk is not a responsible option.
Kathy Jensen, Oakridge, said she is part of Search and Rescue who gets called out to look for people. She commented that due to the amount of specialized work done by the volunteers, the County is getting tremendous value for their money. She asked the County and state to support the SAR staff.
Amy Hill, Eugene, said she is a Juvenile Probation Counselor at Youth Services. She said she works with Pathways and Phoenix Programs that are being slated for cuts. She said the kids they work with are not only high risk offenders, but they are the kids of Lane County. She said they need these programs to make possibilities a reality. She said if they don’t address the problems Youth Services is facing around budget cuts, they will never get to the next steps. She added that all the kids will be involved with the Sheriff and in jails. She commented that this is the community’s problem.
Laurie King, Springfield, stated her son graduated the Phoenix Program last year. She said because of the Phoenix there was change in her son’s life and with their family. She appreciated everyone in the whole system. She encouraged the Budget Committee to keep the program.
Eric Lackie, Eugene, said that he has been a therapist in the Phoenix Program since its inception. He said the students are happy and able to work with families and their skills in celebrating successes.
Tim Thoren, Springfield, stated that he participated in two search and rescues saving the lives of others. He commented that John Miller, Sheriff’s Office, is effective in coordinating searches. He stated that without Search and Rescue they would be destined to fail. He said that County residents will get lost and citizens deserve the program. He urged the Budget Committee to support it.
Chuck Hardy, Junction City, stated he is a Deputy and Vice President of LCPOA. He indicated that his current assignment is at the Forest Work Camp. He said the inmates at the Forest Work Camp are salivating over the prospects and the job opportunities they oversee for themselves. He said whether they get Secure Rural Schools funding or not, they still have to prioritize services. He thought it was important that the safety of the men and women of Lane County is the first priority. He thought whatever amount they could squeeze would help so none of the inmates get released.
Jessica Kieras, Eugene, said she works as a therapist in the Phoenix Program. She commented that the program is working because the youth feel people care about them. She said the kids wan to make changes in their lives.
Laurie Monico, Springfield, supported Search and Rescue. She said she has been a volunteer for over 20 years. She said there are other volunteer groups that work with Search and Rescue. She said the commitment of the groups is extraordinary with members volunteering hours to organizing and training and assisting on search missions. She noted in addition to their time commitment, Search and Rescue makes a significant sacrifice by providing their personal gear they use in training and on the search mission. She said with the hiring of John Miller as search coordinator, an effective search team has been coordinated. She asked the Budget Committee for the continuation of funding for Search and Rescue.
Maryanne Reiter, Eugene, said she is the training director for Eugene Mountain Rescue. She said in the last five years Eugene Mountain Rescue volunteers have put in 20,000 hours of community service. She said they believe in the service of finding people. She encouraged the Board to support Search and Rescue for Lane County and the rest of Oregon.
Patti Gutharie, Eugene, reported that she is a nurse at the Phoenix Center. She said she created the volunteer dental clinic. She said the dental clinic has provided $40,000 in dental services. She said it was a savings to the OHP Program where these costs may have come from, but the kids wouldn’t have had access to the dental care in any other setting.
Mike Larrabee, Junction City, said he has worked for the Sheriff’s Department for six years. He appreciated the two commissioners who showed up at every employee meeting they had. He asked where the other three were during that time to address public safety. He said they need to look at the infrastructure. He said there hasn’t been an effort to take care of the money.
Cheryl O’Neill, Junction City, said she is the Executive Director of Women Space. She said there is a problem with domestic violence in Lane County. She said they had a good system ten years ago to respond to domestic violence but it has been cut every year. She hoped that when they make cuts that domestic violence is kept in mind in the system. She reported the reoffense rate is high with domestic violence.
John Aarons, Eugene, Department of Youth Services, said he has worked for Lane County for 24 years. He said he realized the decisions in front of the Budget Committee are difficult but he said it is a systemized effort to be effective and efficient and to focus on whatever resources they have on high risk youth at the right time with the right amount in specific ways.
Greg Rice, Eugene, thanked Green and Stewart for taking the time to talk to them at the jail. He asked the Budget Committee to think about the ramifications because it puts the community at risk. He said they need to live within their means and to take priorities. He said priorities should be public safety, not homes for cats and dogs or parks. He said those are luxury items.
Ken Major, Springfield, said he has been with the Sheriff’s Office for 20 years and he works with inmates. He said the inmates are afraid they are going to get ripped off by other criminals.
David Hinkley, Eugene, thought they should use transient room tax to fund Search and Rescue. He said unless they could fund something to bring it up to a good standard, not to do the service at all. He commented that either public safety is important or it isn’t. He said if they can’t fund it adequately, then don’t fund it at all so the public could deal with it. He stated that nothing is being funded adequately. He said until they make this a crisis the public understands, they won’t do anything about it. He said they can’t run a county on $1.27 per thousand assessed value and until the public understands and does something, they will be in the same boat next year.
Steve Sieczkowski, Eugene, recalled seven years ago they were presented with a money measure. He said last year they got Secure Rural Schools. He said there is money in the general fund. He said the County knew this situation was coming but nothing was done about it. He thought public safety was important.
Josh Foster, Eugene, commented that no individual is more important than the other under the umbrella of public safety. He said it is a matrix and it is important that each part works with every other part. He said public safety should be the last thing that is cut from the budget.
Pat Fagan, Eugene, said he is a therapist. He said he is concerned about the possibility of the termination of the Phoenix Program. He said it is highly effective and highly praised and imitated by other communities. He commented that it was a great tool for the prevention of crime and family disintegration. He thought prevention opportunities were a huge gift and Phoenix was a place of prevention.
Andrea Larson, said she has been a Deputy Sheriff for 21 years. She stated that the commissioners have held the County hostage. She said before they can think of having the public support County law enforcement, the Board will have to support the Sheriff or it won’t happen. She said don’t make promises they don’t intend to keep and if they say they are going to do something, to follow through with it.
Judge Cynthia Carlson, Eugene, said she was the Drug Court Judge for one year. She stated that drug use is related to about 85 percent of the crime that occurs in Lane County. She commented that they are at a place of crisis and the system is breaking. She said they have been cutting over the years and there are no magic solutions. She said they need to do something together.
Matin Waechter, Springfield, encouraged the Board to support the Phoenix Program. He said the Phoenix Program is a blend between County employees and a non-profit agency. He commented that both organizations bring something to the table. He said it has gone from a corrections model to a treatment model. He commented that the cost of this program may be more cost effective over time.
Jason Miller, Springfield, said if and when the programs get cut, bad things are going to happen. He said they might get the federal timber money and he heard if the federal government is only going to give it for one more year, they were going to shore up other budgets. He said if they get the timber money for one more year to fund public safety.
Steve Van Dyke, Eugene, stated he has been working at the Department of Youth Services for the past six years. He said he has seen youths’ lives positively changed by the progress they have made by following the Phoenix Program. He said youth are excited by the support and encouragement they receive and the skills they are learning every day. He said youth get it as they are empowered to become productive citizens of Lane County. He stated that the close of the Phoenix Program would be a loss to Lane County and he hopes it can be avoided.
Bruce Engeman, Lost Creek, said he is a member of the Sheriff’s Mounted Posse. He said as a member of the posse, he supports the Sheriff and Search and Rescue.
Gordon Gill, Eugene, Deputy Sheriff, said if the Board cuts public safety that is proposed and Public Works would remain in tact and when they decide that asphalt roads and weeds are more important than public safety, the Sheriff won’t come out if there are crimes.
Martin Starr, Eugene, Department of Youth Services, said he does assessments on high risk kids. He commented that closing the residential programs for kids in Lane County breaks the system. He said the kids have to go somewhere and if there isn’t a residential place to keep them safe, they get referred to outpatient treatment and they get pushed to a lower level of treatment. He said no one is being treated at the level they need to be treated. He supported the Phoenix Program as they need that level of support.
Tom Speldrige, said he works for the Sheriff’s Office. He said government is supposed to protect the people and the most important way to protect the people is through public safety.
Miranda Hoberg, Springfield, said her husband works for the Sheriff’s Department and got to keep his job. She said with the cuts made there will be a skeleton shift and the community won’t have services during the night.
IV. Next Meeting
Jennifer Inman, Senior Budget Analyst, distributed information for Thursday’s meeting.
Stewart wanted to add five resident traffic deputies and the money would be paid for by Public Works through the timber revenue for a total of $725,000. He said that would generate between $400,000 and $500,000 and it could generate more money. He wanted to add the Phoenix Program back. He said to find a place to reduce funds, he proposed the commissioners offer to take a five percent pay cut and he wanted to restructure their individual commissioner expenses to lower them from $10,635 to $1,000 to pay for incidental office expenses such as the telephone and they start a board travel account that would have $10,000 to offer the opportunity to make approved appearances. He said it would generate $61,000, but it signals to the community and employees that this is a serious situation that if they can’t start at the top to look for places to take the situation seriously, then he didn’t know where they would start. He wanted to relieve OSU Extension Services’ rent for one year through parking fees and one time reduction in the general reserve, to give them the opportunity to function for awhile. He understood that money would come back to the County threefold. He thought the commissioner money could be applied to Health and Human Services for detox. He said it would offer back treatment programs. He added that the City of Eugene is finding ways to help fund jail beds, the District Attorney and for animal services.
Hijmans asked if it is a general policy to allow the cities to buy specific services like two attorneys in the District Attorney’s office or if they were going to take the position the money they gave to the County will be spent under the County’s priority system.
Spartz responded that if the cities were offering to buy services under a contractual arrangement, (where it is only money being transferred from the city to the County) they would be entitled to specify if they were purchasing services. He added if the County was to transfer some road funds to the city that they could use for roads and the City of Eugene would transfer a like amount into the general fund, he said that would be spent on County priorities. He added there is some political consideration involved and that money would have to have an impact on Eugene.
He noted the latest proposal form the Eugene City Manager was a $4.5 million swap to be spent over two years. He said it would be $2.25 million per year.
Stewart thought the City of Eugene was going to ask that the money go for jail, prosecution and detox.
Spartz said the committee would have to determine if that was appropriate.
Dwyer thought they should take the city up on its offer.
Bartlett said they needed to avoid reducing the stipend the commissioners have to use for staff, travel or training.
Green said he didn’t remember the conversation about the amount transferred as $4.5 million. He said that was not the message given by the council. He thought that was the direction the city manager wanted to pursue. He thought the direction from the council was that they wanted to be able to purchase those services for the citizens of Eugene in the system like the Buckley House and the District Attorney. He thought they should look at the demographics of Youth Services. He noted that Lisa Smith has data where it shows a vast majority of the kids are coming from the City of Eugene and not outside the metro area. He thought they should look at that for cost for services. He thought they should start with the youth.
Chair Crowell adjourned the meeting at 10:00 p.m.