BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'

REGULAR MEETING

February 11, 2009

following HACSA

Harris Hall Main Floor

APPROVED 3/18/2009

 

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

 

1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA

 

The Housing and Community Service Agency meeting was cancelled.  There will be an Emergency Business item for Assessment and Taxation..  There is an order title change for 4.b 2).

 

2. PUBLIC COMMENTS

 

Jim Gillette, Eugene, asked the Board if they had comments to make to him while he was present.  He said people told him the use of his word ďextortionĒ was strong.  He said he was accused of something that when the fine started, he was no longer guilty of, but the County didnít come out to make the check. He said he was never given a hearing because he couldnít raise $12,000.  He didnít know why the County wasnít interested in his property.  He thought the board was letting him down.  He asked to be shown where he is wrong.  He said he was screwed out of $16,000.  He stated that he is in compliance and he wants the Board to stop the second case. He has faith in the Board to do the right thing.

 

Jim Wilcox, Eugene, Director, Bike Lane Coalition, said that he went to the Roads Advisory Committee meeting.  He was advocating for cycling for the public benefit.  He said they believe that cycling has public health benefits, reducing obesity caused by a sedentary lifestyle. He added the economic benefits allow dollars to stay in the County that would have gone through purchasing fuel and helping with the global responsibility to protect the planet.  He noted there will be money coming from the economic stimulus package and some will be of interest to cyclists.  He said they can keep their members and interested parties informed about County projects. He said they could offer services to provide a County page regarding cycling.  He asked if there were tourism dollars that could be applied to road improvements for cycling related tourism. He asked what connection there is with County tourism and cycling.  He said they wanted to offer consultation on the Harlow Road development.  He thought if the County was going to take Territorial Road, it would be a good opportunity to enhance it as a great place to ride.  He said they could increase tourism dollars.

 

Warren Weisman, Eugene, wanted the Boardís cooperation on a deadline they are facing to get the appropriation request put in by Friday for the Lane Renewable Energy Complex.  He noted that it is a $200 million appropriation.  He said if they miss the deadline, they canít do apply it for FY 2010.  He said the project would involve 125 FTE.  He said the money could change the corner on climate change and they could do it in an environmentally sound manner.

 

Terry McDonald, Eugene, distributed information regarding a plastic bag proposal.  (Copy in file).  He commented that plastic bags are a nuisance.  He added that they are being banned because they have little recycling value and end up on the land.  He thought the best way to address this issue is to ask for a ban across the board.  He said it levels the playing field for industry and business because then no one can use the product and it allows the public to come up with a different solution to the problem. He said it would be a win for the public, a win for the environment and it would make sure industries and businesses who are putting the bags out would be on a level playing field against each other.

 

Bob Cassidy, Eugene, recalled that the Board had previously received comments from the committee that was appointed and the complications put in the proposal raised numerous questions of possibilities of making this happen.  He suggested something simplified and clean to be dealt with on a simplified matter.  He stated it is estimated between 400 to 700 plastic bags are used per family per year.

 

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

 

Dwyer commented that Gillette uses a poor choice of words when he says ďextortion.Ē  Dwyer said it was not productive to ask for peopleís help and then call them extortionists.  He asked Gillette to refrain from making comments.

 

Fleenor attended the Economic Forecast.  He said the economist left them with a sense of gloom and doom.  He noted the population moving to Oregon is going down and should reduce unemployment because the real estate market in California has collapsed and people canít sell their homes and move to Oregon.  He stated there is a large inventory of houses in Oregon that will take years to sell.  He thought it would take about 18 months before there was any economic turnaround.

 

Sorenson was happy to see the proposal about plastic bags.  He thought it could deal with the immediate problem they see in terms of trash.  He thought they should have a work session if they could get enough commissioners to support it.

 

Handy liked Wilcoxís ideas about Territorial Road.  He appreciated Weisman bringing this item before the Board but he wonít make a motion because it is complicated.  He wanted to lend his personal support.  He didnít want to jeopardize what the County had already done in this appropriation cycle.  He believed in what Weisman was doing.  He thought the plastic bag issue needed to be looked at sooner than later.  He encouraged them to work with the business community to move the issue forward.

 

Stewart asked Richardson to send a letter to Jim Gillette.

 

Richardson indicated the letter has been sent out to Mr. Force, Gilletteís attorney.

 

Stewart thanked Wilcox for his testimony.  He indicated that a majority of Territorial Road is in his district and he is interested in seeing the road improved because it is dangerous. He said it is his goal to see the road improved for tourism.

 

4. CONSENT CALENDAR

 

A. Approval of Minutes:

June 6, 2007, Regular Meeting, Following HACSA

December 10, 2008, Regular Meeting, 9:00 a.m.

December 17, 2008, Regular Meeting, Following HACSA

January 13, 2009, Joint Elected Officials Meeting, 12:00 noon

January 27, 2009, Work Session, 9:00 a.m.

 

B. Public Works

 

1) ORDER 09-2-11-1/In the Matter of Setting a Public Hearing for the Purpose of Hearing Objections to Final Assessments for the Replacement of the West Fork Coyote Creek Bridge on Biggs Road (a Local Access Road).

 

2) ORDER 09-2-11-2/In the Matter of Appointing One Member to the Roads Advisory Committee for the South Eugene Represented Position.

 

MOTION: to approve the Consent Calendar as amended.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Fleenor SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 5-0.

 

5. EMERGENCY BUSINESS

 

ORDER 09-2-11-5/In the Matter of a Refund to Kinder Morgan Energy Partner in the

Amount of $238,227.67

 

MOTION: to approve ORDER 09-2-11-5.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 5-0.

 

6. COMMITTEE REPORTS

 

a. ORDER 09-2-11-6/In the Matter of Adopting Positions on Legislative Issues During the 75th Legislative Session

 

Alex Cuyler, Intergovernmental Relations Manager, reviewed the positions on legislative issues. (Copy in file).

 

Dwyer wanted to know who attended the Legislative Committee Meeting and how they reviewed these issues.  He wanted to know who supported and who opposed the bills and he wanted that with information in each of the bills for the future.  He wanted Cuyler to put in bold caps what his recommendation is.  Dwyer said he had problems with some of the bills because he didnít get an opportunity to have a discussion about them because the process has changed.  He said the old process worked and now it comes straight to the Board. He commented that it was hard to get a feel as to what is going on.  He didnít think this process was in the publicís interest.

 

Fleenor admitted that this was a new process and they are trying to work through it.  He thought it was in the publicís interest that they talk about the bills in public versus in a conference room without any type of public observation.  He thought there was room for improvement.  He asked if they could drop any of these issues because they werenít specifically related to the County.  He commented that HB2229 was probably the biggest issue coming before the legislature that would have a direct impact on the County. He thought they should support it with prejudice instead of monitoring.

 

Cuyler wanted guidance on number 2, 7,  10, 9, 8, and 21.

 

Sorenson agreed with number 2 to monitor the big look.  He thought for number 3 that they should send a letter to the local delegation emphasizing how the funding for elections is tied into the recording fee issue.  He thought issue 6 was a large item and he would change it to monitor.

 

Handy was interested in facilitating a process for rural reserves.

 

Spartz thought it was too late to have a bill drafted and submitted for rural reserves.  He thought they could look for an opportunity to help improve an existing bill.

 

Stewart  recalled that he was in Salem yesterday and they had discussions with legislators regarding HB 2436.  He didnít get any sense they would be successful.  He said they tried to make the point that they needed fees to collect as they canít do anything at Lane County for nothing.  He thought the legislators might look at the bill closer but he wasnít too optimistic that there would be a change.  He agreed being active with number 2.  He wanted to make sure that Kent Howe, Land Management, was involved and be prepared to make suggestions.  He supported number 6, dealing with annual sessions.  He indicated that it will take a vote of the citizens, but he thought in these times they need people working on the economics at the state full-time, not once every two years.

 

Dwyer had problems with number 18.  He added that he had problems with number 17, relating to the Sheriff.  He didnít think they should go against the peopleís will.

 

Sorenson favored monitoring number 2.  He agreed with supporting number 7 and 8.  He agreed to monitor number 9.  With regard to 10, he supported the beer tax He wanted to send a letter on HB 2436 with the emphasis that if the state does not provide them with sufficient funds to conduct elections, that they will be unable to do it in a quality way.

 

Handy wanted to see more work on HB 2436.  He wanted to see the beer tax move forward.  He wanted to look for a place to attach rural reserves.

 

Stewart supported Cuylerís recommendation except for number 10.  He also supported HB 2461 for prevention of alcohol and recovery.

 

MOTION: to give direction that they monitor number 2; number 6 is changed from oppose to monitor; number 7 oppose; number 8 support; number 9 monitor; number 10 from monitor to support; and number 21 from support to monitor.

 

Fleenor MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.

 

Dwyer wanted to amend  that they monitor number 18.

 

Fleenor amended, Stewart SECONDED.

 

Fleenor wanted to amend number 11 to change from support to monitor and item 17  from change to support to monitor.

 

Stewart SECONDED.

 

VOTE; 5-0.

MOTION: to direct Cuyler to inquire to the legislative delegation as to utilizing a committee bill to mirror as to what is happening with the metro area in Portland and reserves, to find a vehicle and to have it introduced.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Fleenor SECONDED.

 

Stewart understood that it requires that if a rural reserve is created, an urban reserve has to be created in conjunction.  He was not optimistic that would place because all of the conversations he has had toward land use, will not be supported by the city of Eugene.  He thought if they needed support by the city of Eugene that they would be wasting their effort.

 

Sorenson asked the County Administrator to send an e-mail to the other jurisdictions so they know Lane County wants to take action to get a rural reserves bill.

 

VOTE: 4-1 (Stewart dissenting).

 

 

7. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION

 

a. Announcements

 

Spartz reported that the Conference Committee of Congress arrived at the amount of $789 billion for a stimulus package.  He recalled the Board asked him to query Eugene and Springfield to see if they had any interest or funds available for potential swaps of road funds for their use of general funds.  He said as of yesterday John Ruiz, city of Eugene,  thought there was a possibility that some money might be available if the Board is interested and he would know this Friday.  Spartz commented that for every dollar they get out of Eugeneís general fund,  they are giving up the future in the road funds.

 

b. PRESENTATION/Working for You Video.

 

c. DISCUSSION/County Administrator's Recommendations for Mid-Year Service Restorations.

 

Dave Garnick, Budget and Financial Manager, recalled that Spartz recommended the addition of about $485,163 of additional services from crisis food and shelter to Parole and Probation and resource development positions.  He indicated that was out of a larger request from the department directors.  With regard to the forecast update, Garnick stated that if the services were approved for the five months of 2009, the $485,000 would be annualized and cost approximately $1.1 million for next year if they continued all the services. He added if they did nothing else but the ones Spartz recommended and with the timber money they will be receiving over the next four years, they should go for four years without having to make any reductions.  He added at that time the timber money and any excess cash would be gone that would be above their prudent person reserve.  He said because of the structural deficit, they would start to make annual reductions again at that time.

 

Sorenson commented that there is concern on the Board that their funds are not doing well.  Indicated that they have service reductions, and they are still working with the union.  He thought it would show that things are getting worse.  He wanted to know which items had leveraging. He didnít want to leave any money out if there was a possibility to get some kind of match

 

Garnick reported that items 4 and 5, would generate an additional amount to add a FTE caseworker and a FTE case manager for the basic health safety for adults with disabilities.  He noted for number 3, Search and Rescue, they anticipate that it will be moved and be paid out of Title III funding instead of the general fund.  He indicated that frees up $60,888 of general fund.

 

Sorenson asked if they approved items 3, 4, 5 and 8, if they would net about $15,000 to the general fund.

 

Garnick indicated that it would net $15,000

 

Fleenor wanted to wait a couple of weeks before he makes any decision. He didnít think they had all the information to make a decision today.  He wanted to understand all of the different variables and principles involved.

 

Handy wanted to get more of a certainty as to where the bottom is for them as they move forward to try to sustain service.  He asked what they thought would be collected from property taxes in this cycle.   He thought it was important to keep people in their homes.  He wanted to see more budget detail with the programs and departments and the cost per unit of service.

 

Fleenor commented that if they pay down more debt, they could free up money that could go back into the general fund.

 

Handy thought they should have a different approach because they have questions about debt, bonds and restricted money.  He thought they should look to citizen members to get details of the budget.

 

Stewart thought they should move forward and consider the additional adds:  the 84 beds in jail and to protect services from cuts from the budget.  He was willing to make a commitment to find a new revenue source.  He said they need to prepare for the next budget.

 

Fleenor stated that the debt reduction is stable and they know what it is.  He said they tried 13 times for new revenue sources and the citizens gave them a directive to live within their means.  He said he wonít be using a ďwhat ifĒ scenario in making his budget decisions.  He said they need to deal with money because every year they will eat away at the timber money.

 

Handy said they need to focus on FY09/10.  He said instead of the supplemental stage, he was concerned about the tax collection ratio and the projected AFSCME contract.   He thought they could be looking at a worst case scenario.

 

Stewart thought carbon offsets could work to get revenue and he thought there were other options.  He was willing to give up one year of stability.

 

Fleenor wanted to establish a process where local community activists could petition the Board of Commissioner to put a measure on the ballot.  He wanted to come up with a process that is fair and consistent.  He thought that was a revenue enhancement mechanism that comes from the grassroots.  He commented that anything the Board tries to do now will be looked upon unfavorably.

 

MOTION: to approve number 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8.

 

Stewart MOVED, Fleenor SECONDED.

 

Spartz reported that the net impact draw to the general fund is $29,435.

 

Fleenor reluctantly supported this.  He wanted to amend the motion that it didnít  exceed $30,000, as a cap.

 

Stewart accepted the amendment to the motion.

 

Handy said he saw other programs as important.  He commented that the ad hoc needs based is not right.  He wanted to see them slow down and find out the cost per unit of service to have a tool to see if it projects out.  He wonít support the motion.

 

Sorenson didnít want to push a decision on the Board and force a divided vote.

 

Stewart withdrew his motion, Fleenor withdrew his second.

 

There being no further business, Commissioner Sorenson recessed the meeting at 12:00 p.m.

 

 

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary