BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'

REGULAR MEETING

August 18, 2009

10:00 a.m.

Harris Hall Main Floor

APPROVED 9/16/2009

 

Commissioner Pete Sorenson presided with Commissioners Bill Fleenor,  Rob Handy and Faye Stewart present. Bill Dwyer was excused.  County Administrator Jeff Spartz, County Counsel Liane Richardson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.

 

1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA

 

None.

 

2. PUBLIC COMMENTS

 

None.

 

3. COMMISSIONERS' RESPONSE TO PUBLIC COMMENTS AND/OR OTHER ISSUES AND REMONSTRANCE.

 

Fleenor said he traveled to Monterey Bay.  He commented that the Monterey Aquarium is incredible.  He hoped Eugene could learn a lesson from them.

 

Handy went to Klamath Falls.  He reported that they had a Project Homeless Connect and they modeled it after Lane County.

 

Sorenson recalled in the 1940’s President Harry Truman suggested that America would be a better country if they had a single payer system of health insurance so everyone in the country would have the same benefits for health care as social security recipients.  He said they are now faced with a country that is being crushed by health care costs.  He hoped congress would consider a single payer option and if they don’t include a single payer of their main method of reforming health care, he hopes they include a public option.  He announced that Congressman DeFazio is having a meeting in Eugene.

 

4. EMERGENCY BUSINESS

 

None.

 

5. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION

 

a. Announcements

 

Spartz  said he received a letter from the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association.  He noted at their annual meeting they evaluated regional information systems.  He indicated that Lane County’s system was one of three systems that were recognized from around the country.  He said Lane County tied for second.

 

b. REPORT BACK/County Website Redesign.

 

Spartz said they recognized that Lane County’s website was somewhat obsolete.  He added that it was busy in its format and hard for people to follow through and the search function did not work well.  He indicated that they wanted to add automatic translation of text.  He said surveys were conducted by department heads about what features they wanted.

 

Amber Fossen and Jim Marks, Information Services, gave a presentation of the new website design.

 

6. MANAGEMENT SERVICES

 

a. REPORT BACK/Energy Bonds by Bond Counsel.

 

Harvey Rogers, Bond Counsel, reported that he has been bond counsel for Lane County for over 30 years.  He noted that HB 2626 was enacted by the 2009 legislature and it is intended to be a comprehensive tool kit to allow the Department of Energy to provide low cost loans to businesses and homeowners.  He added that it would finance facilities that reduce power need and in a way where the power bill would go down at least the amount it cost to finance the asset.  He said it is a no net increase financing system.  He added that HB 2626 added to it, Section 75, another bill the governor sponsored that allows cities and counties to finance energy improvements and to improve local improvement assessments to secure those loans. 

 

Rogers said they want to make a low cost loan.  He said they would need to add up the cost of getting a hold of the money and the cost of making a loan and administering the loan program and the loan default rate. 

 

Rogers said that Section 75 would let the County borrow the money at rates the County gets and loan the money out. He added that the County would repay the County’s borrowing from the loan repayments it gets from its citizens.  He thought the best way for the County to fund the loans was for someone to give the County a grant, so they could loan the money and there are no costs associated with the grant.  He noted that the city of Portland is operating a pilot program in connection with the Department of Energy  using block grant funds to make those kinds of loans.  He said if the County has to borrow the money, then the cost of borrowing depends on credit quality and whether or not they could get a special tax break.  He explained the way the Board is proposing to borrow for other projects is to pledge the County’s full faith and credit.  He said it means the County promises to pay back the money from everything they have.  He added it is the strongest promise the County could make unless they went to the voters.  He indicated that the Oregon Constitution has a prohibition on lending of credit.  He said that meant they cannot do full faith and credit borrowings to loan money to businesses but they can do it for individual homeowners.  He explained that currently Lane County is borrowing money by issuing tax exempt bonds.  He said that tax exemption means the investor doesn’t pay federal income tax on the interest payments they make and it saves two percent per year. He stated currently the IRS and Congress do not let them borrow on a tax exempt basis to make loans for weatherization and renewable energy.  He said the County cannot directly access tax exempt financing. 

 

Rogers noted there is another option created by the federal stimulus bill: a tax credit bond or qualified energy conservation bond.  He said if an investor purchases one of them, they get a tax credit for owning the bonds.  He added that type of bond would give zero interest expense because the purchaser of the bond will be wholly compensated for owning the bond by getting the tax credit.  He said there is currently no market for tax credit bonds.  He explained that for a qualified energy conservation bond they need to have an allocation of authority.  He indicated that it is divided up and the County should get between $2 million and $3 million of the allocation.  He said it needs to be done proportion to population and that is being done by the Oregon Department of Energy.  He said they need to use the money before the next calendar year.  He said it would be a way of providing cheap financing for this type of loan program if the tax credit bond market recovers.

 

Sorenson asked why they couldn’t go ahead issuing energy bonds.

 

Rogers said what is missing is a clear understanding that they could deliver loans at an acceptable rate.  He said the only models he had seen rely on substantial subsidizes.  He added that is how the Department of Energy is intending to implement HB 2626.  He noted they got $625,000 out of lottery funds and they are looking to attract grants seeking money from the federal government.  He said the Department of Energy can issue state general obligation bonds.  He added that they would have to be taxable bonds because there is no exemption available.  He noted that people believe the loan rate they would deliver (without a substantial subsidy) would be unattractively high. 

 

Rogers thought the right thing to do is to keep a close eye on the Department of Energy to see what they do and be prepared to act early next year.  He thought that would give time for the tax credit bond market to recover.  He said it would take the County from a 4.5 percent interest rate to date to a one percent interest rate.  He thought that was enough of a savings to give a real advantage when they go to market.  He added that the Department of Energy can achieve economies of scale and it has highly rated general obligation bonds it could issue.  He thought it was possible that they would implement a program the County could participate in to get money to citizens and they could offload some of the labor.

 

Stewart wanted more research before they go forward.

 

Fleenor said it sounded good on paper, but it would not work unless there was a public subsidy. He was skeptical about the efficacy of the program.  He wanted to look at the net gain for society.  He commented that some part of government will be deprived revenue because the tax savings has to be taken from another program.

 

Sorenson asked what the next steps were to keep moving this forward.

 

Rogers recommended that the County call the Department of Energy asking for a pilot program to be implemented in Lane County.  He said they have lottery money from the legislature to get started.  He noted the County has a tax credit bond allocation they might be able to put to use.  He  indicated that the city of Portland is working with them on a program in the city. He thought the Department of Energy could pay for development costs.  He noted there is a December 1 deadline for filing for federal stimulus grants that could be applied for purposes like this.  He thought the County could also apply for a grant.  He indicated that they currently do not have a successful model.

 

Stewart said with the Southern Oregon Renewal Energy group that has been put together, they are trying to form a collaborative where six counties would work together on issues like this.  He noted that St. Vincent de Paul has low interest loans to invest in their houses.  He thought they could use them as a model for the energy program and go out for community development block grants.  He commented that there is more power in numbers.

 

b. ORDER 09-8-18-1/In the Matter of Awarding a Contract for Phase 3 of the Performance Contracting Program to McKinstry Essention, Inc., as the Energy Services Company. (ESCO) for the Design and Construction of Energy Saving Projects at the Lane County Adult Corrections Facility to Include the Steam Conversion Project.

 

David Suchart, Management Services, stated that this was the third time this was brought before the Board.  He said they completed the project development plan ordered by the Board. He requested to move onto Phase 3, the design and construction of the project.  He added the final phase is where they monitor what happens afterwards.  He added that it is a longer process.  He noted this is a 14 month program and they completed the project development plan.  He said it has been reviewed by staff at Adult Corrections.  He added the one change was the courthouse piece having to be delayed a year because of the inability to monitor steam over the last 50 years in this building.  He reported that they have received money from the state to offset part of the program and they were looking for other funding programs.  He asked for approval to move ahead. 

 

Fleenor asked if the bond goes above 5 percent for Suchart to come back to the Board to let them know.  He wanted that stated in a board order.

 

MOTION: to approve ORDER 09-8-18-1 with the inclusion that it will not exceed 5 percent and if it does, then they will come back to the Board.

 

Fleenor MOVED, Handy SECONDED.

 

This item will be brought back tomorrow under 6 b after the board order is changed.

 

7.  COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS

 

a. DISCUSSION/Representative Arnie Roblan’s Response to Good Governance Letter.

 

Arnie Roblan, State Representative, District 9, discussed the past legislative session.

 

b.  PRESENTATION/Working for You Video.

 

8. CONSENT CALENDAR

 

A. Approval of Minutes:

July 21, 2009, Joint BCC/Planning Commission Work Session, 5:30 p.m.

July 21, 2009, Joint BCC/Planning Commission Public Hearing, 7:00 p.m.

August 5, 2009, Regular Meeting, 9:00 a.m.

 

B. Health and Human Services

 

1) ORDER 09-8-18-2/In the Matter of Adding a Total of .50 Temporary FTE for the Human Services Commission with Federal Recovery and Reinvestment Act Funding.

 

C. Management Services

 

1) ORDER 09-8-18-3/In the Matter of Adopting a $1.00 Fee to be Deposited in the County Clerk Fund. (244) That Applies to Each Document Subject to the $15.00 Oregon Housing and Community Services Department Fee Required by ORS 205.323(1)(C).

 

D. Public Works

 

1) ORDER 09-8-18-4/In the Matter of Authorizing an Underground Utility Easement Over a Portion of Glenwood Central Receiving Station Property, More Specifically Described as Tax Lot 300 on Map 17-03-33-44.

 

2) ORDER 09-8-18-5/In the Matter of Initiating Proceedings to Withdraw County Road Status. (But Not the Public Road Status) of a Portion of Barrett Creek Lane. (County Road Number 2277), Located in the Northwest One Quarter of the Southeast One Quarter. (NW1/4 SE1/4) of Section 34, Township 18 South, Range 12 West of the Willamette Meridian (18-12-34-42).

 

3) ORDER 09-8-18-6/In the Matter of Setting a Public Hearing for the Naming of Spindrift Way, a Private Road (17-12-25 & 36).

 

4) ORDER 09-8-4-9/In the Matter of Entering into a Maintenance Services Agreement with the Oregon Department of Transportation. (ODOT) in the Not-to-Exceed Amount of $314,000 for Two Years to Chip Seal Approximately 44 Miles of State Roads and Authorizing the County Administrator to Sign the Agreement.

 

E. Youth Services

 

1) ORDER 09-8-18-7/In the Matter of Ratifying the Application to the Oregon Department of Education 2009 School Food Service Equipment Assistance Grant and Appropriating $17,500 in the Revenue and Expenditures to Special Revenue Fund 260 for the Lane County Department of Youth Services and Delegating Authority to the County Administrator to Execute the Grant Modification.

 

MOTION: to approve the Consent Calendar.

 

Fleenor MOVED, Handy SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 3-0 (Stewart excused).

 

9. COUNTY COUNSEL

 

a. Announcements

 

None.

 

10. PERFORMANCE AUDITOR

 

a. Announcements

 

None.

 

11. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Sorenson announced the Lane County Fair begins today.  He noted that the Lane County Fair receives no general fund property tax dollars from Lane County government.  He noted that Chris Edwards will be submitting his resignation to the Speaker of the House and Secretary of State on his house seat on September 2.  He added that would trigger an appointment process by the Democratic Party nominating convention.  He thought when the candidates come to the Board that they all are present and the Board could get a rotating set of responses. 

 

Fleenor said the commissioners will serve pie and ice cream to seniors at the Fair on Thursday.

 

Stewart attended the AOC Summer Water Summit Conference.  He also attended the Western Forest Leader Coalition Drafting Committee, to draft a paper about the threats to private forest from federal policy.  He said he has to engage the 17 states and counties to get their feedback and items of concerns that might pose a threat to private forests. He invited the Board to have a meeting at the H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest up the McKenzie.  He said he would forward the information to the Agenda Team.

 

Sorenson asked about the next steps for a discussion on energy.  He said they should formalize the fact that they are going to get the state agency director to the Board.

 

Fleenor recalled that Mr. Rogers recommended working with other jurisdictions who are in advance of Lane County, to have a conference or video teleconference session with those people.

 

12. CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD

 

None.

 

13. OTHER BUSINESS

 

None.

 

 

There being no further business, Commissioner Sorenson adjourned the meeting at 2:40 p.m.

 

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary