BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'

REGULAR MEETING

September 24, 2008

following HACSA

Commissionersí Conference Room

APPROVED 10/22/2008

 

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

 

1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA

 

There will be an Emergency Business Item.  There will be a report in the afternoon about Secure Rural Schools.  Fleenor wanted to add under Commissioners Business helping LCAS with a no-kill conference in Eugene.

 

2. PUBLIC COMMENTS

 

Ann McLucas, Eugene, distributed a letter. (Copy in file). She commented that if the Countyís purpose in fining people is to get compliance, then fining them excessively, and not granting hearings are counter productive.  She said that Jim Gillette has been in compliance for months and he under protest has paid a fine to prevent foreclosure and he still has not had a proper hearing on either case.  She asked why the County or Gillette were spending more time or money in a mistake he didnít make

 

Jim Gillette, Eugene, said he has comments from people and some are nasty.  He said that Lane County has a bad reputation among builders as the worst place in the state when they have to deal with government.  He wanted the Board to take more direct supervision.  He thought the Board should fix the problems in Land Management instead of having problems explode.  He asked why staff is out to do things to people instead of helping people.  He commented that the people downstairs are heartless.

 

Len Leslie, said he is attorney and represents ten residents of Green Gate Road.  He recalled that within the past couple weeks they filed a lawsuit.  He said it was precipitated by three developersí stated intention to place a gate across Green Gate Road.  He stated that the lawsuit alleges they donít have the right to do that because it is a public road and they have obtained the right to use the road because it was used as the sole needs of access for the residents for decades.  He indicated that tomorrow there will be a hearing for a preliminary injunction.  He noted that if their relief is granted, the court would order the developers not to place the gate across the road while the lawsuit is pending before it is resolved.  He said this is the neighborsí only source of access and they have been using it for the past 50 years in its current location.  He commented that there will be substantial hardship to the neighbors if the gate is locked.  He added that many have serious health problems and the locked gate has the potential of causing them harm.  He noted the response they have received from the other side is that there has been an offer to give the residents keys so they would have to unlock the gate.  He noted for some of the residents it is a hardship because they are elderly.  He added they are insisting the residents sign a waiver that would relieve them from liability if they cause injury to the residents.  He noted the waiver they were asked to sign would be giving up their legal rights to use the road.  He asked the Board give their consideration so they can present this to the court for hearing tomorrow.  He asked the Board to adopt the resolution as drafted with the idea that as the situation evolves and there are changes that they might communicate those changes to County Counsel.

 

Dwyer commented that the Board has a long history of protecting the publicís right to use public roads.

 

Leslie commented that the residents were being held hostage because there is a dispute between the developers and Dunes City.  He indicated that the developers are trying to force the issue by putting a gate across the road.

 

Bill Kloos, Eugene, stated that he represents a subdivision in Dunes City.  He noted the staff report suggests that this road was gated.  He indicated a gate has been installed but it has not been closed.  He said the gate has been installed at the north end of the developed road.  He added that the purpose of the gate is to keep people with pick up trucks (who want to pull wire out of the subdivision infrastructure) off the property until the subdivision goes to the public.  He said they are stuck with valuable infrastructure in the ground and they are wide open to the public.  He said they donít propose to gate the 24 foot right-of-way.  He said for the road that is improved adjacent to the east, a gate has been installed but it has not been closed and locked and will not be closed and locked until the fire department says it was okay to do it.  He added that every resident that needs to get through the gate will have a key.

 

Dwyer indicated that putting up a gate requires a facility permit and he didnít recall any requested.

 

Kloos stated there is no part of the gate that is in the footprint of the 24 foot 1940 gated right-of-way.

 

Mike Farthing, Eugene, asked the Board to adopt the resolution.  He added it is a simple resolution and the Board is affirming what the Board did in 1940,  they established a necessity, known as the Gateway Road.  He believed that this is a public road because case law states that it is.  He added the road was moved early on slightly into the configuration on the map and that configuration has been there since 1953.  He explained that public prescriptive rights have arisen through the publicís use of that road.  He said they offered to not file for an injunction if the developers would agree to leave the gate open while their lawsuit went forward.  He said the reason the developers put the gate up was to strong arm their people to change their position on the extension of the plat.  He said they are trying to close a public road that has been around for 60 years.  

 

3. PUBLIC HEARINGS

 

a. PUBLIC HEARING AND ORDER 08-9-24-1/In the Matter of Adopting the FY 2008-2009 Supplemental Budget 1, and Making, Reducing and Transferring Appropriations.

 

Christine Moody, Budget Analyst, reported that they are required to have a Public Hearing when a change in a fund is by more than ten percent.  She indicated that this is the first supplemental for FY 08/09.  She stated that it involved changes in grant revenues.  She added there is a change in the road fund and the state revenues anticipated.

 

Green asked about the projects from state revenue and if it was short of what they projected.

 

Tanya Heaton, Public Works, responded that last year they projected the highway fund to be about $15 million for 08/09.  She said they ended 07/08 with $13.5 million.  She said in looking what the economists were saying about state revenue she made a $2 million reduction.  Her concern going forward is even though she had made the reduction, they are now coming in five percent less than 07/08.  She indicated that she might have to come back in December and make another $1 million reduction.  She explained that it is their main operating revenue for this year.  She said with the $2 million reduction, she was able to balance by moving their fund balance up because they sold LTD land.  She added that they finished 07/08 $1.5 below what they budgeted for.  She thought it might come in between $12.5 and $13 million

 

Sorenson asked when the department would approach a zero balance.

 

Heaton indicated that they would need to make changes in their operation in the 09/10 budget cycle.

 

Commissioner Stewart opened the Public Hearing.  There being no one signed up to speak, he closed the Public Hearing.

 

MOTION: to approve ORDER 08-9-24-1.

 

Green MOVED, Sorenson SECONED.

 

VOTE: 4-0 (Dwyer out of room).

 

4. CONSENT CALENDAR

 

A. Approval of Minutes:  None.

 

B. County Administration

 

1) ORDER 08-9-24-2/In the Matter of Approving Extensions for Projects Under Title III of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000, P.L. 106-393 for FY 08-09.

 

C. Public Works

 

1) ORDER 08-9-24-3/In the Matter of Awarding a Professional Services Contract to EGR & Associates for Environmental Consultation Services and Authorizing the County Administrator to Execute the Contract WM 08/09-05.

MOTION: to approve the Consent Calendar.

 

Fleenor MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 5-0.

 

 

5. EMERGENCY BUSINESS

 

ORDER 08-9-24-5/In the Matter of Supporting the Public Use of Green Gate Road

 

Marc Kardell, Assistant County Counsel, said this was brought forth as Emergency Business because Tom Drechsler, Land Management, was subpoenaed to be at the preliminary hearing tomorrow morning.  Kardell  thought it would be appropriate for the Board to pass a resolution prior to Drechsler testifying in court.  He commented that there are rights people have when they travel a right-of-way and it is the only way to access.  He recalled that the road was paid for as part of the gateway process in 1939 and the Board of Commissioners and the court approved the road on January 8, 1940.  He added that and as far as they can tell, it is in the same location.

 

MOTION: to approve ORDER 08-9-24-5.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Fleenor SECONDED.

 

Dwyer thought history was clear and what the developer was trying to do was an exaction.

 

Fleenor concurred with Dwyer.  He said if the basis for the owners of tax lot 1400 is to protect their private property during development, he believed there were other options available like a solar powered electric gate with a key pad.

 

VOTE: 5-0.

 

6. COMMISSIONERS' REMONSTRANCE

 

None.

 

7. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS

 

a. REPORT/2010 Census.

 

Gladys Romero, Census Bureau, reported the U.S. Census Bureau is required by the Constitution to conduct a count of the population every ten years.  She indicated they have been doing that in the years that end in zeros since 1790.  She noted that more than $300 billion per year of state and federal funding is allocated to communities and decisions are made on matters of local and national importance based on the census.  She said the census data determines how many seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives and the redistricting of state legislators and city councilors.  She said the Census Bureau will be hiring thousands of people to complete the job.  She requested that the Board of Commissioners issue a proclamation in support of Census 2010 and that a Complete Count Committee is formed of neighborhoods and representatives of the community.  She said this region consists of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Northern California.  She added that they will hire approximately 600,000 people.

 

b. REPORT/Extension Service Quarterly Report.

 

Steve Dodrill, OSU Extension Service, reported that as of last night, they found out the Family Community Development Program had a portion of its programming suspended.  He indicated that the volunteers have come together to raise adequate funds and put together a business plan to bring the program up and running again.  He noted that they are working with LCC and Willamalane Park and Recreation District to start offering classes through their entities. He said with the reduction they had in staffing, the partnerships are allowing them to continue to expand education into the community.  He indicated that they donít have a lot of the support staff to do registration and collection of money and marketing.

 

Dodrill stated that they have a budget crisis.  He said there are issues that everyone in the County will have to face.  He said they sent letters out to the users of the programs summarizing the budget situation.  He indicated that they had a 25 percent reduction in staff as of June 2.  He said they have gone through a 14 percent reduction in hours.  He noted the forestry program was suspended and they had to have reduction in the areas of  4H and horticulture.  He said they are looking for stable funding in the long run.  He said they are doing fundraising and all of the volunteer groups have fundraisers.  He added that they are pursuing grants.  He noted that in this economy fundraising is not going to be the answer.  He said they will continue with the fundraising efforts but they will have to go after soft money.  He said they have to increase fees across the program areas for classes.  He commented that some of the increased fees have created a drop in participation.  He said community partnerships are another way to deal with the loss of staffing to move forward.  He noted that they moved to an automated phone system because they donít have a receptionist in the front office and people donít like getting a recording.  He said they are looking at the potential of a levy with other groups in the community.  He said they are also looking for a service district.  He said they are trying to engage the community and volunteers to get people involved.  He said a way people could help is to check out their website for a listing of classes, as it helps to recover costs.  He said it could also expose people to Extension if they havenít been a part of it before.  He added that they are working with the OSU Foundation with people in Lane County.  He asked the Board to remember them if the timber money comes through and know they are trying to get to 2010 where they will need stable funding in place so they could move ahead.

 

Fleenor asked if they thought about consolidating Extensions across the state.

 

Dodrill indicated other counties either are in good shape or some have passed a service district.

 

Dwyer commented that the Extension Servicesí needs are more now than they ever have been.  He said while the services are diminishing, the needs are increasing.

 

Stewart said that he sees OSU more important than ever.  He said society is changing with the influence of fuel prices.  He saw things going full cycle, with going back to be more self-sufficient locally.  He said he will try to help keep OSU.  He said they need to be looking for long term solutions.

 

c. REPORT/Forest Land Special Assessments.

 

Samantha Schrillo, Eugene, stated she was present on behalf of Roy King and all the citizens who signed the petition.  She said they requested a recalculated and updated tax expenditure report to consider the current tax relief granted to industrial forest owners in Lane County and the revenue lost to Lane County from 1999 to 2007 by the cancellation of the harvest privilege tax.  She said based on research by Roy King, ODF, the reason for timber and harvest tax subsidized expenditures appear to be discouraging mature harvesting.  She noted the total private timber harvest while declining since the last 1950ís has been at sustainable levels through the past decade.  She added that since 1989, industry on the west side harvested about 43 million board feet per average acre from 57,000 clear cut acres and in 1999 the figure was 28 million board feet per acre from 75,000 clear cut industrial acres.  She said younger trees are being cut on industrial lands.  She stated that 1999 was the last year harvested acres were reported and now only the harvested volume is recorded. She asked why harvested acres were no longer recorded.  She asked if ODF assumptions might be incorrect.

 

Norm Miller,  Timber Tax and Property Tax Deferral Programs, State of Oregon,  reported that he has been involved with the timber tax program since 1985.  He gave a power point presentation.  (Copy in file).

 

Miller said someone asked what happened with forestland tax revenues over the change in forestland tax.  He said the agency tried to put together some data that showed what happened.  He said there is money that goes into a state fund and is distributed statewide to school districts and community colleges. He said with local governments, it has to do with money collected through the property tax and put back into the property tax system.  He said the privilege tax that was in place looks at how much tax was paid on forestland and the offsets involved.  He noted with local government and the privilege tax (the last year it was paid was 1999) there was $23 million.  He added that $4 million in tax from the forestland property tax went to schools.  He said with the local government there was $6 million in taxes paid in 1999 and since there is no longer a privilege tax, the amount goes down to $2 million by forestland and $6 million was offset.   He said as the offset is changed over time, the impact on the local government tax rate has remained the same: the budget minus the privilege tax amount and the effective rate is what is calculated.  He indicated that has change and the impact on local governments is that they are actually getting more money than they were under the other program.  He said currently schools are getting $10 million statewide from the property tax.  He added the local government money also went up.

 

Stewart asked what made the change in the tax revenue collected from 2000 to 2003.

 

Miller said it is because the privilege tax went away.  He added that the privilege tax was collected more than the property tax that wasnít being paid that makes the impact bigger.  He said he gets to see the forest industry over the entire state and he was concerned about what he sees in Eastern Oregon.  He said people are coming in from out of state buying forestlands that donít know the economics and management.  His fear is that people will find out the reality of the cost of managing forestland and the only answer is to get out.

 

Dwyer said when it comes time to harvest people need to pay taxes.

 

Sorenson asked what authority County government has to influence or change the method by which Lane Countyís forestland is managed and administered.

 

Miller responded the conversation needs to take place with the Department of Forestry and it needs to go through the legislature.  With regard to the tax expenditure report, a copy is on the website and available on the Department of Revenueís website under publications.  He noted the question about harvested acres is with the Department of Forestry.  He added that it is about being able to get accurate information to be able to be able to publish the report 

 

 

d. DISCUSSION/Potential Ballot Direction/Ballot Measures.

 

Fleenor put together a spreadsheet and distributed it regarding ballot measures.  He noted there was unanimous support for Measure 56. He noted that Measure 56 amends the Constitution and provides that May and November property tax elections decided by a majority of voters voting, removes the double majority.  He said that Measure 59 creates an unlimited deduction for federal income taxes on individual taxpayersí Oregon Income Tax returns and there was opposition. He noted that Measure 61 creates mandatory minimum prison sentences for certain theft: identify theft, forgery, drugs and burglary crimes.  He said that was a no.  He said Measure 63 deals with a building permit, exempts specified property owners from building permit requirements for improvements value under $35,000 and it was a no.  He noted the others were split with no consensus.

 

Stewart took the position the ones he didnít believe had direct relationship to county business he chose not to make a re commendation at this time, but it didnít mean he didnít support the ones already made.

 

MOTION:  to prepare a resolution that indicates the Board majority affirms in the positive Measure 56 and opposes Measures 58, 59, 60, 61 and 63.

 

Fleenor MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 5-0.

 

 

e. Support for LCAS

 

Fleenor stated that he had been asked by members of the LCAS Advisory Committee to bring this forward.  He said it is a request for financial assistance by the Board of Commissioners to help defer the cost of a Pacific Northwest No Kill Conference featuring Nathan Winograd.  He noted the proposed audience would be all animal control agencies, non-profit groups, rescue groups and private citizens to learn about saving lives of animals.  He said the conference will be a full day and the proposed ticket price of $35 will cover the meals.  He said the cost is $4,500 for Winograd to come to Eugene including his plane ticket.  He noted that the Greenhill Board of Directors decided not to participate because they have a no kill shelter. He asked Greenhill if they could pitch in a few hundred dollars.  He asked the Board if they could put in $1,000 of commissioner contingency money to be used to purchase Winogradís airfare and to pay for his overnight housing and meals.  He added that the rest of the money would be collected from private donors or other agencies and Greenhill.

 

Dwyer didnít think it was appropriate as they have already funded this once.  He said all the groups should take complete control over it..  He was glad Winograd was invited but wanted others to pick up the tab.

 

Fleenor recalled that LCAS has allocated $10,000 for inserting a flier into the Assessorís billing statement and that is not taking place.  He thought the $1,000 of that money could be used.

 

Dwyer didnít agree.

 

MOTION: to ask the County Administrator to come back at the next meeting with a recommendation or options on how to find the necessary funds to assist in this effort.

 

Sorenson MOVED, Fleenor SECONDED.

 

Green didnít support the motion.  He said they have supported the effort in the past. He asked how much Winograd was contributing toward this.  He asked if Winograd was giving a good rate.  He said they learned a lot when he came before.  He stated that they were already moving in that direction.  He questioned what more they could learn that hadnít already been articulated.  He said there has been a lot of energy spent by this Board to implement some of the strategies in his recommendations.  He learned from the people promoting this that it wouldnít cost the County any money.  He said it has cost the County a considerable amount of money.

 

Stewart was not supportive.  He said they are in the midst of moving forward with his recommendations and they are being implemented.  He said unless staff makes the recommendation that they need money for Winograd to come out to reassess and make recommendations, he was against it.

 

Sorenson withdrew his motion and Fleenor withdrew his second.

 

Green commented that if the effort for Winograd was to come and train the trainers, the people who really want him to come and support what he is doing could do it themselves.  He thought Winograd coming back out was duplicative.

 

Sorenson commented that there is controversy associated with animal services.  He said it is an important agency with the County and when they see citizens come forth to look at how other public and privately administered animal facilities are trying to solve the problems that they should lend their support to try to work with them.  He didnít think the Board wanted to do this and he said it wasnít a good idea to not do this.

 

Green asked the record to reflect that he disagreed with Sorenson.  He said they have made every effort to adopt the no kill recommendation by the task force.  He said it wasnít true that the Board wasnít interested in this.  He said they should get the other cities to buy into the philosophy to help defray some of the costs.

 

f. Secure Rural Schools.

 

Alex Cuyler, Intergovernmental Relations Manager, reported the Senate spent the day debating.  He said today the House split the bill into three parts and is in the process of voting on each of the three parts.  He said there is an alternative minimum tax, a tax extender and a part which is the Secure Rural Schools renewal and reauthorization.  He said in the house version of the bill, Secure Rural Schools was not included.  He said there was a vote today and Rep. DeFazio voted against it.  He indicated that the bill came out of Ways and Means.  He said the President told the Senate he would sign House Resolution 6049 when it hits his desk.   

 

8. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION

 

a. Announcements

 

None.

 

9. CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD

 

None.

 

10. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

None.

 

 

11. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660

 

None.

 

12. OTHER BUSINESS

 

There being no further business, Commissioner Stewart recessed the meeting at 12:05 p.m.

 

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary