M I N U T E S

 

Joint Elected Officials

Eugene City Council/Springfield City Council/Lane Board of County Commissioners

McNutt Room—Eugene City Hall

APPROVED by Board of Commissioners 9/3/2008

 

May 13, 2008

Noon

 

EUGENE CITY COUNCILORS PRESENT:  Betty Taylor, Bonny Bettman, Jennifer Solomon, Mike Clark, Alan Zelenka.  Councilors Andrea Ortiz, Chris Pryor, and George Poling were excused.  

 

SPRINGFIELD CITY COUNCILORS PRESENT: John Woodrow, Christine Lundberg, Hillary Wylie, Anne Ballew, Joe Pishioneri, Dave Ralston.

 

COMMISSIONERS PRESENT:  Faye Stewart, Bobby Green, Peter Sorenson, Bill Fleenor, Bill Dwyer.

 

 

1. JOINT ELECTED OFFICIALS MEETING:

Discussion of Inter-Jurisdictional Priorities      

 

A. Call to Order – Three Governing Bodies

 

Commissioner Stewart opened the meeting of the Lane Board of County Commissioners.  He welcomed his colleagues to the Joint Elected Officials meeting.

 

Her Honor Mayor Kitty Piercy opened the meeting of the Eugene City Council.  She stated that councilors Ortiz, Poling, and Pryor would not be present.

 

His Honor Mayor Sid Leiken opened the meeting of the Springfield City Council.

 

 

B.                 House Bill 3337 and

C. Eugene-Springfield Transportation System Plan (TransPlan)

 

Commissioner Stewart stated that since the last meeting of the Joint Elected Officials he had met with the mayors, city managers, and city staff of the jurisdictions.  He asked Springfield City Manager Gino Grimaldi to provide a brief update regarding the status of House Bill (HB) 3337. 

Mr. Grimaldi recounted that the three local governances and state agencies were involved.  He said they had discovered the issues to be complex.  They had found that the issues touch each other in many ways, having significant impacts on the Metro Plan.  He related that staff had made good progress in sorting them out and had begun work on putting together a draft work plan to be ready for review in September.

 

Eugene Councilor Bettman surmised that there would be no public involvement in the construction of the work plan.  Mr. Grimaldi responded that this would be up to the elected officials.

 

Councilor Bettman noted that contained in the Planning Issues/Land Use  section of the memorandum were the words ‘land use assumptions’ and questioned what those were.  Planning Division Director for the City of Eugene, Lisa Gardner, explained that staff from all three jurisdictions had identified the elements that the three would have to coordinate at this point.  She said they were trying to map the work plan, calendar it, and put the decision points in place.  She anticipated that until September they would work to develop those specific elements to provide a foundation for the discussion.  She underscored that at this point the discussion focused at a high level on what the processes and outcomes were. 

 

Councilor Bettman averred that tying it to land use assumptions made it a land use process.  She observed that staff had been working on this for six months and was saying that there would be no initial scope of work, or timeline, until September, and in this time there had been no public process.  Ms. Gardner responded that no decision-making opportunities or strategies had been proposed.  She stressed that they had been working closely with the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) staff and with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) staff to determine what it meant to be compliant with the TransPlan.  She said until those specific pieces had been identified, assumptions were unknown and there was not yet a need for public involvement. 

 

Councilor Bettman asked about HB 3337.  Ms. Gardner replied that Springfield had been working on this for a longer period of time, while Eugene had only been working on this issue since January.  She stated that one of the goals of the regional coordinating effort was to understand what parallel paths there were for the two cities and to allow each city to work at its own pace while figuring out what opportunities there were for coordinated problem solving and decision points.

 

Councilor Bettman opined that it was difficult to understand how this would work out given that the City of Springfield had begun work on the process, while the City of Eugene was still trying to figure out what the process would be. 

 

Eugene Councilor Clark appreciated the work staff had been doing on this.  He shared concern about waiting until September.  He asked staff to consider looking at ways that a report and initial assessment of the process could be provided sooner than September.  He was concerned that the City of Eugene might be strained in reaching its deadline.

 

Eugene Councilor Zelenka echoed those comments.  He wanted to see the Joint Elected Officials reconvene prior to the summer break regarding this item. 

 

Eugene City Manager Jon Ruiz agreed to work on this.

 

 

D.                 Public Safety: Short-Term Remedies and Long-Term Solutions

 

Commissioner Stewart stated that he had provided a presentation to the Eugene City Council and the Eugene Budget Committee regarding the Lane County budget process.  He asked the County’s Intergovernmental Relations Manager Alex Cuyler to provide an update regarding federal funding.

 

Mr. Cuyler reported that the news from Washington, D.C. was not favorable.  He related that there was dissent about bringing a supplemental bill forward.  He said so far there was no Secure Rural Schools reauthorization as a one-year effort in the House supplemental bill, but there was a Senate effort to move a bill forward as part of the President’s war funding package.  He stated that the President had been adamant about establishing a ceiling for that bill and it was unlikely that he would sign the bill presented to him.  He expected that this would start to move very quickly given the time.

 

Commissioner Stewart reviewed the funding issue.  He stated that the County was working on getting funding reauthorized by the federal government.  He stressed that at this point the only chance the County had to get its budget back in order lay in the emergency supplemental bill for war funding.  He asked County Administrator Jeff Spartz to provide an update on the budget process. 

 

Mr. Spartz reported that the current fiscal budget was funded at $540 million and the proposed budget for next year would be $455 million.  He stated that this was approximately an $85 million reduction, but $20 million of this was a change in the way the State funded certain services.  He said the effective impact to the County budget was approximately $65 million, with the areas most severely affected being public safety and human services.  He listed some of the proposed cuts as:

·                     A substantial cut in the number of jail beds funded

·                     A reduction in staff and attorneys in the District Attorney’s (DA) office, which would reduce the County’s ability to prosecute serious misdemeanors and a number of felonies

·                     A reduction in youth services, especially in secure beds and treatment programs

·                     A reduction in the methadone program

·                     A reduction in funding for the Buckley House

·                     A reduction of support for the Human Services Commission (HSC)

·                     Reductions in the Public Health Department, which will be running at the minimum allowed by state law

·                     A reduction in veterans’ services

·                     Elimination of County extension services

·                     Elimination of funding for animal control services

 

He stated that this would provide a balanced budget for approximately three years but then the County would face another round of cuts if it could not find additional funding for support services within this time. 

 

Commissioner Stewart recommended that the Joint Elected Officials hold a conversation on short-term remedies first, and then a discussion on long-term funding strategies.

 

Commissioner Sorenson said it was important to look at the General Fund budget reductions going forward and to think about it as a shared responsibility.  He observed that the City of Eugene had planned to transfer $1.5 million from its capital budget to its road fund to address its backlog of maintenance and preservation issues and Lane County had money in its Road Fund and needed General Fund monies.  He suggested the two jurisdictions discuss a funds “swap.”  He also wondered if the City of Springfield would consider engaging in this kind of a trade.  He acknowledged that this would not solve the budget problems.   

 

Mayor Piercy noted that the City Council meeting from the previous evening had deliberated over its direction to the Budget Committee. 

 

Mr. Ruiz related that they had discussed several high priorities for the City of Eugene.  He stated that maintaining the Buckley House funding was a high priority, as was allocating some City budget funding to the DA’s office and jail beds.  He said animal control was a public health and safety concern.  He noted that they had also discussed adding four or five new police officers.  He added that the City of Eugene was concerned about equity; it did not want to be placed in the position of paying for services for another jurisdiction.  Regarding animal control, he said they wanted to ensure that in addition to taking a look at the current provision of services through the County, they worked with non-profit agencies to figure out the best way to provide animal control services in both the short- and long-term. 

 

Mayor Leiken remarked that over the last several years Commissioner Dwyer and he had compared budget notes.  He said usually Commissioner Dwyer asked what he could do for the City of Springfield, but he predicted the tables would turn for the coming budget cycle.

 

Mr. Grimaldi said Commissioner Sorenson’s suggestion was worth discussion.  He stated that the Springfield budget issues paled in comparison with the County’s budget woes.  He related that Springfield was not without its challenges as it had two fire stations that had to relocate and had to find the resources for this.  Additionally, there was fire apparatus which needed to be replaced and a jail projected to open which would take resources that were not yet fully identified.  He stated that one area to look at as the area moved forward was the entire public safety system to see if some economies of scale could be attained.

 

Commissioner Stewart asked when Springfield’s budget process would be complete.  Mr. Grimaldi replied that they projected it would be wrapped up that night.

 

Mr. Ruiz stated that the Eugene Budget Committee would end its budget process on May 21 and the budget was on the docket for adoption on June 9.

 

Eugene City Councilor Taylor approved of Commissioner Sorenson’s idea.  She did not think the City of Eugene had a budget surplus in any fund, but if the City could help the County’s budget and still have its budget for city roads this could benefit both jurisdictions.

 

Councilor Bettman called the co-deployment agreements between Springfield and Eugene public safety entities “problematic.”  She averred that efforts to expand the Springfield Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) would increase the need for services.  She did not believe the three-percent cap on the property tax increases would cover this.  She did not want to see Eugene taxpayers and ratepayers “subsidizing the massive expansion” of Springfield’s UGB.  She was also concerned when hearing people discuss economies of scale.  She felt this meant merging public safety of the cities and this would cause Eugene to lose its jurisdictional authority over its police and fire departments.  She opined that Eugene’s departments would no longer be able to have policies that reflected the community. 

 

Councilor Bettman related that the council had discussed reciprocity extensively in its meeting on the previous night.  She asked if the $37 million in the County’s Public Works Reserve Fund included the $9 million from the State.  Public Works Director for Lane County, Oliver Snowden, replied that it did not include the Senate Bill (SB) 994 money from the State.  He said the County would not receive the $9.9 million from the bill until November 1, 2008.  He related that the Road Fund money was subject to Article 9, Section 3(a) of the Constitution.  There was an exception to this that had arisen from SB 808 that allowed Douglas and Lane Counties to use a portion of its timber receipts for sheriff’s patrol on county roads.  He explained that a transfer of $1.5 million had been made from the County Road Fund to the Lane County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) in the past year and in the next year’s budget for the traffic team.

 

Councilor Bettman declared that the City of Eugene was in the county and its roads were county roads.  She asserted that any road repair done on city roads was a benefit to the county.  She ascertained from Mr. Snowden that there was no legal constraint on a potential swap between Lane County and the City of Eugene. 

 

Mr. Snowden related that one thing the County hoped would be brought before the legislature in the coming year was a look at the utility’s free use of county road rights-of-way.  He said the County would like to see legislation passed that would allow remuneration for the use of this right-of-way.

 

Councilor Bettman remarked that it would be “nice” if the County also adopted Systems Development Charges (SDCs) for transportation.  Mr. Snowden replied that the County was looking at SDCs for a reimbursement basis in the rural area.  He stated that they were in the process of hiring a consultant to help put this together so that if the County wanted to expand it to include inside the city limits, they could do that as well.  He noted that such SDCs in the rural areas would not bring in much revenue because there was not much development there. 

 

Councilor Bettman averred that there were projects such as the Chad Drive project that were building new capacity and were using money that could be “freed up” for other purposes if there had been SDCs.

 

Commissioner Fleenor stressed that collaborative efforts were welcomed by the County.  He hoped the cities could work well with the County in the coming years.  He pointed out that Lane County was not just islands of municipalities in the rural areas, everyone was interconnected.  He underscored that no one could say if an animal taken off the streets was from Eugene or another jurisdiction.  He believed that everyone needed to look at the situation from a countywide perspective and he wanted to encourage as much cooperation as possible. 

 

Commissioner Stewart expressed appreciation for the thought that had gone into both the Springfield and Eugene budget processes.  He asked if money exchanged in a swap would be stipulated for Eugene services only. 

 

Councilor Taylor said an even trade of money should be unstipulated.

 

Mayor Piercy said this had been considered in a preliminary discussion but had not been vetted by the City’s Budget Committee.  She stated that the City of Eugene understood it was a city within a county.  She felt these challenges were providing the opportunity to improve services. 

 

Commissioner Sorenson, seconded by Commissioner Dwyer, moved to direct the County Administrator to work with the cities of Eugene and Springfield on an intergovernmental agreement for the possible transfer of road funds to the cities in exchange for a like amount of general funds.

 

Commissioner Dwyer agreed that this was a creative way of looking at funding but he was not certain whether it would be perceived as subterfuge.  He underscored that the County contained 1,430 miles of roads and 400 bridges.  He stated that it might seem like there was a surplus in the Road Funds but he cautioned against being “too creative” with that money.  He stressed that the County was obligated to maintain its roads.  He noted that there was no countywide gas tax, the money that had come from the legislature would sunset after the present year, and the money from timber receipts for the LCSO would sunset in 2013.  He declared that everyone lived in the community together and there were no boundaries for “crooks.”  He averred that Lane County had become “easy pickings” because criminals know they can not be prosecuted for crimes.  He was glad to see everyone working together to bring “some semblance of sanity” to the present system, which seemed to favor the criminal.

 

Commissioner Green stated that for over 15 years Lane County had been a good partner in sharing Road Fund dollars with all of the cities, with Eugene receiving the “lion’s share” of it.  He noted that the City of Eugene had received those funds with no strings attached, with only the stipulation that the money was to be used on roads.  He said while the Joint Elected Officials could draft a resolution for an exchange of funds it would not be able to bind future boards or councils. 

 

Commissioner Green suggested that jurisdictions take a look at the true cost of services.  He felt the County had been doing the “yeoman’s work” around those services.  He acknowledged that the City of Eugene had been a good partner in human services, but pointed out that the majority of youths held in the County-funded juvenile detention facility were residents of the City of Eugene.  He wanted to further discuss the systemic problem of paying for the true costs of services.  He believed this would be a different conversation.   He asked the cities to keep in mind that historically the County had “always been at the table” for Road Funds.  He said if it had not been for County Road Funds, the community would look different in terms of development.

 

Councilor Fleenor supported the concept behind the motion on a temporary interim basis.  He observed that the County was at 20 percent compliance in terms of licensing.  He believed that if the shelter achieved the national average of 80 percent compliance it would be self-funded.  He hoped an effort could be made to market licensing in order to increase compliance.  He agreed with Commissioner Dwyer that the Road Fund money would not carry the County forward for long.

 

Mayor Leiken asked Springfield City Manager Grimaldi to comment on the motion.  Mr. Grimaldi responded that discussion of the motion was worthwhile.

 

Springfield City Councilor Ballew said the City of Springfield did not have a lot of money, but the council was supportive of the County and appreciated that it was in “dire straits.”

 

Springfield City Councilor Ralston was willing to have the conversation, though he was not sure whether the City had money it could use for such a swap.

 

Commissioner Sorenson felt this was an opportunity to get a conversation going with potential to do something tangible.  He underscored that any agreements made between jurisdictions would be vetted among their respective elected officials.

 

Springfield City Councilor Pishioneri liked the idea.  He suggested that the public safety money could be applied to the inmate road crew. 

 

Commissioner Dwyer commented that Councilor Pishioneri’s idea sounded good, but there were complications.  He said the main complication was that the County’s contract with public works was such that road money could not be used without their consent.

 

Commissioner Green reiterated his concern about the true cost of services.  He asked the County Administrator to provide that data to the Commission before it approved this idea.  He said until true costs had been considered this move could cause more damage than good.

 

The motion passed unanimously, 16:0.

 

Councilor Bettman suggested they look strategically at the programs that would be cut or reinstated.  She said they should look at how to preserve the highest risk programs.

 

Commissioner Dwyer said this seemed sensible.  He acknowledged that each community had its preferences in terms of what it deemed important and suggested that, like adopting a highway, the communities adopt a program.  He averred that he did not care which one the jurisdictions adopted, they should just “adopt one.” 

 

Commissioner Fleenor observed that the County had performed a zero-based budget process.  He stated that it had funded the programs that were state and federally mandated and had run out of money.  He said this was why the commissioners were asking the cities to adopt a program.

 

Commissioner Dwyer related that the State would be willing to take on some of the services but it would bill the County for those services.  He said if the County could not pay its bill, the State would then withhold other sources of funding such as gas tax money.    He added that the State would charge more than the County to provide the services. 

 

Commissioner Faye Stewart provided an opportunity for public safety representatives in attendance to speak.

 

Lane County Sheriff Russ Burger underscored the difficult time the community was facing.  He stated that 48 jail beds would be available for local offenders in the proposed budget.  He did not think people grasped what was being considered.  He encouraged those present to watch the evening’s budget presentation as they would attempt to “paint a picture” of what the cuts really meant to the community.  He said from his perspective the cuts that the County was facing in public safety would translate directly into human suffering.  He suggested that if any programs were added back  they should go to public safety first. 

 

Eugene Police Chief Bob Lehner related that the proposals that had been discussed by the council were targeted toward what happened if the system fell apart.  He underscored that continuing on the present course meant the system would fall apart.  He declared that the increase in victimization would be intolerable.  He felt the need for a long-term discussion on this was obvious.  He said they should not forget that the most critical drop in services would be at the end of May, and he predicted that by the very next day there would be dangerous offenders loose in the community; repeat offenders would cease to be prosecuted, and victimization of area residents would increase to an intolerable level.  He stated that this was the City of Eugene’s immediate focus.  He felt the conversations with the City’s counterparts in the County had been fruitful. 

 

Springfield Police Chief Jerry Smith was not convinced the public understood the numbers.  He related that two weeks earlier Springfield Police had arrested two men for ambushing a third man and shooting him in the head.  The victim survived.  He stated that a few days later the Springfield Police were notified that the two perpetrators were being considered for release because of capacity issues.  He remarked that the jail was at 90 beds at present, but to only have 48 beds was not really a jail.  He predicted that the budget cuts would impact the citizens of both Eugene and Springfield. 

 

Springfield Fire Chief Dennis Murphy said the role of the Fire Department was to avoid unnecessary duplication and to focus on performance.  He stated that the public expected the departments to ignore geo-political boundaries.  He remarked that when one is in a serious accident, one does not notice within or outside of what boundaries the accident has occurred.  He explained that the ambulance service operations of Eugene and Springfield covered approximately 2,000 square miles of central Lane County and both cities provide urban fire protection.  He stressed that the departments had more than 50 years of seamless service delivery with the best interest of the citizens in mind.  He believed they had achieved extraordinary things, adding that the area’s approach had been nationally acclaimed.  He agreed that care had to be taken so that no jurisdiction subsidized another.  He said the departments monitored the data, i.e. the number of fire calls in Eugene and in Springfield.  He underscored that as the departments plan their growth it is with these numbers in mind.  He averred that they functioned like an extended group without limiting the jurisdiction of Eugene over its fire department and Springfield over its fire department.  He felt they were delivering services on the economy of scale that people want and expect from local government.

 

Lane County District Attorney Doug Harcleroad said he had worked in the public safety system for 33 years and it was under more stress now than he had ever seen it.  He underscored the importance of taking imminent action to correct the situation.  He suggested the jurisdictions knock out some kind of agreement in time to rescind layoff notices.  He felt there were so many good programs it would be easy to pick out some to support.  He believed that collapse was coming soon and something would have to be done for the long range public safety of all of the citizens. 

 

Commissioner Stewart thanked everyone for their ideas.  He sensed that there was some hope that they could save some things.  He said it would not be possible to save the whole system as it was not possible to replace the entire $20 million that would be cut from the General Fund.

 

Springfield City Councilor Wylie clarified the Buckley House figures in the handout:  1,310 people receiving services had come from 5,000 admissions.  She stated that over 1,300 people had been provided detox services. 

 

Commissioner Stewart asked for suggestions on how to address this in the long term.  He wanted to form a working group that included elected officials and representatives from each body.  He believed that such a group would be best served by including managers and administrators, fire chiefs, police chiefs, the sheriff, the DA, and someone from the court system.

 

Councilor Bettman suspected that this would become a special district, which could be a regional government entity.  She believed this would create a taxing authority with no direct representation and opposed this. 

 

Councilor Ralston said they needed to attack the source of the problem by increasing revenue.  He believed this could be accomplished by increasing logging and figuring out a different way to spend the dollars that were available.

 

Commissioner Sorenson thought getting people together to talk about public safety was a good idea.  He noted that the Public Safety Coordinating Council (PSCC) was such a legally mandated group.  He recommended that they invite the PSCC to provide an update to the Joint Elected Officials and that they give the PSCC input.

 

Councilor Taylor averred that more money was needed.  She felt that there were already too many committees and commissions.  She said they needed to look at whether they were still effective and whether there were some they could do without.  She noted that the Eugene City Council held among its long-range goals that they would seek fair, adequate, and equitable financial resources.  She did not think they had ever “gotten around” to discussing other resources and funds.  She thought a County income tax could have been a good idea, if it had been “progressive.”  She opined that it had been “regressive.” 

 

Councilor Wylie stated that she represented Springfield on the PSCC.  She indicated her willingness to work within that body or to serve on another body.  She was interested in how they could improve the economy of scale and location.  She felt the police representative and sheriff had been thinking about these issues for a long time.  She thought they should allow them to brainstorm as the time had come to be visionary.  She averred that they needed to move “some of the turf stuff” out and start thinking about the citizenry. 

 

Councilor Clark concurred.  He was not sure he would support a special district, but he admired what the fire chiefs had done.  He thought it could serve as a model of cooperative agreements cross-jurisdictionally. He supported looking into the more creative agreements that produced economies of scale.  He did not believe, however, that economies of scale would get them there.  He differed with Councilor Bettman as he would congratulate the City of Springfield for having the “wisdom to look long-term” and expand the tax base.  He proposed they look at cooperative regional approaches to expansion of the tax base.

 

Springfield City Councilor Woodrow supported the idea of the police chiefs, sheriff, and DA working together.  He believed this would be beneficial in the long run.

 

Commissioner Green was not certain he would support another work group.  He believed the citizens wanted the elected officials to be more united in whatever they did.  He declared that they had a working group and it was at the table.  He suggested that they might want to invite the police chiefs, fire chiefs, DA, and county assessor to join them.  He said he was willing to meet and have a discussion as often as was necessary, but citizens wanted them to come up solutions upon which they could agree.  He stressed that they all served the same constituency and it was incumbent upon the elected officials to provide services in a meaningful way.  He said when it came to roads and public safety, the people really did not care whose street it was, they wanted the road fixed or they wanted someone to show up when they had been victimized. 

 

Councilor Ballew observed that the fire agencies had been a good model of how jurisdictions could function together.  She noted that all of the deputies had to spend time at the Lane County Jail and suggested that police officers from Eugene and Springfield could work shifts there.  She thought that would increase the hours people were available to work at the jail and it would provide the benefit of training for new officers on how to deal with criminals. 

 

Commissioner Fleenor recalled that there was a saying that one should not “waste a perfectly good crisis.”  He said the law enforcement system had to be the right size from “start to finish.”  He averred that they needed a countywide solution.  He supported establishment of a task force to look at public safety, crime, and justice.  He acknowledged that the citizens had voted down 13 bond measures and suggested that they incorporate more citizen involvement. 

 

Councilor Pishioneri agreed with Commissioner Green and Councilor Clark.  He did not think they needed to form a group other than the one that was present.  He found it interesting that they were only just now feeling a sense of urgency.  He stressed that it would be up to the elected officials present to take action, adding that he would not want to pass on such a dire situation to future councils and commissions.  He emphasized that the County was very close to a state of emergency.

 

Councilor Zelenka agreed with concerns expressed around the formation of a special district.  He said the issue the County was facing stemmed from the fact it was receiving less money from the federal government. He felt the choice was whether to provide less service or to create more revenue.  He thought it was incumbent on this group to come up with ideas for which the electorate would vote.  

 

Commissioner Dwyer commented that no matter what they did at this point, they were “damned.”  He said the wolf was not at the door, it was “under the bed having puppies.”  He stated that the County could not manufacture money.  He averred that they lived in a skeptical community, but the skepticism arose from the way the government was funded.  He remarked that the government said it would not give the County money, and the County said it would not receive money, and then, at the last minute, federal timber funds would come through.  He felt this supported the public’s view that the money was there all along.  He agreed that there were some creative things they could do, but he said until enough people were victimized and did not feel safe in the community, and enough people realized that the County could not provide services because they cost money, and until these people were willing to pay for services, the service would not be there.  He stated that government was a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week job, and was costly, and if people were not willing to pay for it, they would “get the kind of government they deserve.” 

 

Springfield Councilor Lundberg believed that the jurisdictions were good at working at cooperative agreements.  She said this was a long-term discussion and should be worked on by the Joint Elected Officials because they represented the citizenry.  She suggested, given the size of the list, that they take on a couple of things at a time.  She stated that they needed to get the County, within which everyone resided, through this funding situation.

 

Mayor Leiken commented that Sheriff Burger had made a profound statement and Commissioner Dwyer had echoed it.  He agreed that the public did not understand what they were facing.  He averred that the numbers were clear.  He said the vast majority of the public were good people, but at this point the area was getting a lot of import from other areas.  He felt Lane County had become a target for criminals.  He noted that even with the jail constructed in Springfield, the area would still be short by about 500 jail beds.  He hoped that the Joint Elected Officials could come up with ideas to combat the situation.  He added that he would like the state legislators to attend the next meeting.  He liked the idea of having the PSCC involved in the discussion as it included citizen members.

 

Mayor Piercy had a strong desire for the whole group to be in the conversation.  She supported the idea of inviting the state legislators to the table.  She felt they should do what they could and they also needed to work with the legislative delegation.  She agreed they were facing a crisis and expressed a willingness to continue to be part of a Joint Elected Officials discussion on this.

 

Commissioner Stewart said Commissioner Sorenson would give the final statement in the meeting.

 

Commissioner Sorenson thanked the City of Eugene for the opportunity they might have to exchange the City’s General Fund dollars for some of the County’s Road Fund dollars.  He reiterated his suggestion that the City of Springfield consider doing something similar.  He added that he would not support creation of another PSCC.  He recommended that the elected officials get a report back from the PSCC and continue to meet as Joint Elected Officials.  He thought it had been a worthwhile meeting.

 

 

E. Adjournment

 

Commissioner Stewart thanked everyone for a productive meeting.  He said the short-term proposal could be a step in the right direction.  As for the long-term, he suggested that another meeting of the Joint Elected Officials be held in June.  He wanted to bring back a proposed long-term direction for public safety for discussion.

 

Commissioner Stewart adjourned the meeting at 1:47 p.m.

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

Jon R. Ruiz

 

(Recorded by Ruth Atcherson)