BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'

WORK SESSION

February 17, 2009

1:00 p.m.

Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue, 2624 Hwy 101, Florence

APPROVED 4/15/2009

 

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

 

1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA

 

Item 4 d. will be a city of Florence EPA grant.

 

2. PUBLIC COMMENTS

 

Hans Radtke, Yachats, stated he is a national resource economist.  He noted the fish  economy on the coast is $5 billion.  He said the marine reserve is a purchase of insurance.  He was in favor of marine reserves because it is a unique area.  He was worried that if they donít have marine reserves and get into endangered species, they would lose the marine stewardship that would allow them to market.  He was in favor of the governmentís process of a marine reserve.

 

Larry Brammer, Florence, stated that he has been working at a local hospital.  He moved to the area because of the oceans and beaches.  He said the ocean looks beautiful but underneath is where the problem is occurring.  He supports OPAC and the marine reserves and the area on Cape Perpetua.  He thought this was a once in a lifetime opportunity and wants the Boardís approval.

 

Paul Englemeyer, Ten Mile Creek, distributed materials and a map of the network approach. (Copy in file).  He indicated that the letter from the Siuslaw National Forest talked about transition from a single species management to a  more ecosystem approach.  He talked about the Siuslaw National Forest around Ten Mile Creek Wilderness and the marine reserve concept.  He said the site is moving forward and they need to do further analysis.  He indicated that there is a need for the Boardís support to move the resolution forward.

 

Jane Meyer, Florence, supported the network of marine reserves that links California and Washington.  She supports the Cape Perpetua proposal.  She said reserves need to be large enough for protection of species to recover.  She indicated that two small reserves are all they need.

 

Melonie Rollin, Swiss Home, said she has been active in the Florence community for the past year.  She commented that people are concerned and want to see fishing coming back to Oregon.  She wanted a long term plan to make sure the waters stay beautiful.  She wanted continued meetings with the Port.

 

Richard Palmer, Westlake, stated that he surfed all his life and has lived  near the ocean.  He said that he watched Florence go from logging and fishing to a tourist and dune buggy resort town.  He thought the marine reserves would bring things back in line.  He commented that the ocean is disappearing rapidly and he hoped the Board sees the importance to give this serious consideration.  He stated that if greed flourishes and there is no stronghold, they will be sorry.

 

Amber Buckwald-Tucker, Dunes City, stated she is a teacher.  She urged the Board to support a system for the marine areas on Oregonís Cape Perpetua site.  She said they need to protect the area in order for it to be replenished.  He wanted the Board to let Salem know they support the Cape Perpetua site.

 

Diane Baileff, Florence, said she belongs to Surfriders and supports Cape Perpetua and the system of marine reserves.

 

Jon Tipple, Florence, stated that he is an active surfer and realist.  He noted that there is a treasure trove of natural resources between Heceta Head and Cape Perpetua.  He said this was a chance to create a marine reserve.  He commented that for sustainable fishery they need to be monitoring and managing existing fish stocks and a larger marine reserve was the only way to do it.

 

Phil Brubaker, Mayor, City of Florence, hoped the Board will support a water testing program to help with the aquifer .

 

Cathy Koehn, Fall Creek, wanted to help Oregon maintain a good image.  She said being sustainable, protecting the environment and advocating for reserves is what a majority of public wants.  She said that up to 60 percent of ocean fisheries are depleted.  She said the future depends on tourism.  She stated that they need a scientifically sound system of marine reserves that link to a broader national network on the coast.  She thought that was the best way to protect ocean fisheries.  She wanted Lane County to lead the way for sustainability for national resources.

 

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

 

Fleenor commented that there is little separation between the coastal and undersea wildlife. He said it is a continuum and they have to be careful when they regulate one portion, that it doesnít have a negative impact on another portion. He said they need to look at the economy long-term for help for their society.  He said they need citizen engagement.  He recalled that last week the Board asked for public input so they can make good decisions on what the local public wants to see them do.  He encouraged the jurisdictions to go forward.

 

Sorenson appreciated the warm welcome at the High School and Middle School.   He thought with marine reserve, that they need to get the legislature passing a marine reserve concept and Lane County could be the leader to designate marine reserves up and down the Oregon coast.

 

Handy doesnít want to repeat the cycle of what happened with cod fish being devastated in the Atlantic.  He was impressed with what was happening in Oregon.

 

Stewart commented that this made sense to make it work.  He was cautious to listen to everyone in a process and wanted to make sure they donít move too quickly.  He was supportive of recommendations to the state.

 

Dwyer thought it was good to have sanctuaries they can go to.  He was concerned about sport fishing.

 

4. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS

 

a. DISCUSSION/Citizen Initiated Tax Measures.

 

Sorenson wanted citizens to contact the board regarding what they think would be a good idea for a tax.  He stated that the public has a right to refer something to the ballot.  He wanted the Board to show a level of political support for the proposal.

 

Dwyer commented that citizens donít need the Boardís permission for a tax initiative  He didnít think the initiative process was broken and he didnít think they needed to do anything with the process.

 

Fleenor noted on page 3 of the draft, there was a proposal trying to do a hybrid between the state and county.  He wants a grassroots process where the people get the idea of a tax increase.  He said they will use County resources once it has been shown political mass has been established.  He stated that they donít want to stand in the way of any grassroots organization.

 

Sorenson said it was possible for voters to initiate tax measures.  He thought they needed something between the rule where the Board could enact an ordinance and ordinances the public could initiate.  He wanted to find out the number of registered voters needed.

 

Handy commented that there have been problems with ballot measures from the top down.  He was interested in the hybrid approach.  He was also interested in having public hearings.  He wanted to partner with the public and build trust so people trust government.

 

Stewart wasnít opposed to the effort, but he was concerned.  He didnít think it was practical for the citizens to raise $100,000 in a three month period of time.  He didnít think this would be a fail safe effort.  He indicated that there was already an initiative process.  He doesnít think they need to move this forward.  He doesnít want to go back dealing with an income tax.  He is concerned that people are reading this as the Board wanting to put on another tax measure.

 

Dwyer didnít want to see a group of people putting in money to raise taxes.  He stated that is not how the process works.  He said for a petition, they have to get registered voters and they have to quantify the amount of signatures.  He commented that most people live out of the County or are not registered when they sign a petition.  He indicated that every time Board mentions a tax it gets shot down.  He thought this was well intended but he didnít want to put requirements on citizens when they have the Oregon Constitution.  He took exception to this.

 

Fleenor commented the numbers they need are not solid, they were just suggested.  He explained that they were talking about the concept of doing something different.  He thought they could get a grassroots group like the OSU Extension Service.  He thought it could be a sliding scale based upon the amount of money they raise.

 

Sorenson asked how many valid signatures of Lane County voters could trigger an initiative petition system computed in the Oregon Constitution. He asked for the usual error rate for the number of signatures submitted in previous initiatives at the state level.  He asked how much money was spent in support of failed and successful ballot measures in Lane County.  He asked what the reasonable amount of signatures was to have voters show they were serious.  He asked what the suggested amount of money should be put up or pledged before it triggers Board work.  He asked what they thought was reasonable to get the project started.

 

Handy stated that it was important to have good information to make decisions.  He asked if they had good enough information to make a decision.

 

Vorhes responded that there are resources where they could find out most information and answers to some of the questions.  He thought there might be some financial data involved, but he didnít know how much work it would take.

 

Handy asked if the County government could help write an initiative and then there could be some degree of confidence that it would move forward.

 

Vorhes thought there could be some assistance with drafting an initiative to achieve intended outcomes.  He didnít know how much the County could do in drafting the measure and at what point it could be seen as the County proposing the initiative, not the citizens.

 

Stewart said it was all about education and informing the citizens what they can and canít do.  He asked why they should make the process harder than the current process.  He said it appears if citizens file on what there intent is, gather signatures and if they get 10,000 signatures, the Board could write the legal parts.  He didnít see the benefit in doing this.

 

Dwyer said his gut feeling is that there is a conflict when the government tries to delve into the citizensí process.  He added that the process has worked for 105 years.  He didnít think the past income tax was a mistake, he said it was leadership.

 

Fleenor requested staff to provide the following information:  the sampling process to validate signatures; dates and timelines in other legal departments for the process for 2009/2013, provide previous countywide data and total expenditures over the last 15 years to determine minimal criteria.  He wanted to know about generalized cost accounting.

 

Sorenson agreed with Fleenor.  He said this is making it easier for the public.  He wanted to know how much was spent on the Extension Service and Public Safety in 06/07; 04/05 and 07/08.  He also wanted to know the expenditures for the cities of Springfield and Eugene ballot measures and timeline if they would want to put on a tax measure for 09/13.

 

Handy wasnít interested in making things harder, he wanted to make things better.  He said if it doesnít make things better then he wonít support it.  He wants to support a grassroots group.  He said in the current budget they donít have money and the Extension Service needs money. He asked how they fund things that everyone wants.  He was looking to explore ides.

 

Stewartís concern was the cost of all the things being requested to be researched.  He said the Board wasnít willing to adjust the supplemental budget and failing needs, but they were willing to spend money to do research on the initiative or hybrid process.  He wanted to know how much money they were really spending.

 

b. ORDER 09-2-17-1/In the Matter of Amending the Good Governance Board Order.

 

Sorenson said this would allow the public to present a three minute public comment via audio or video tape.  He asked the public to send their comments in.  He commented that meetings could be contentious and time sensitive. 

 

MOTION: to approve ORDER 09-2-17-1.

 

Fleenor MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 4-1 (Dwyer dissenting).

 

c. RESOLUTION 09-2-17-2/In the Matter of Supporting Increasing the Oregon Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

 

Dwyer thought this was a good idea.  He thought whenever they could help people, they should.  He indicated that they need to educate people to get jobs so they are productive and pay taxes and.   He indicated that this is to help people out of poverty and to use some resources to better educate them.

 

MOTION: to approve RESOLUTION 09-2-17-2.

 

Fleenor MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.

 

Handy indicated that the United Way helps poor people pay their taxes.  He indicated that many families are not taking advantage of this.  He was supportive of this resolution.

 

Stewart explained that the Earned Income Tax Credit is set up at the United Way to help people claim some of the earning income tax credit.  He indicated there was $20 million in Lane County where people werenít taking advantage of the credit.  He was supportive of the resolution.

 

VOTTE: 5-0.

 

d. City of Florence EPA Grant

 

Sandra Belson, city of Florence, reported that the Siuslaw Basin was one of the most abundant in the Pacific Northwest for historic salmon levels.  She indicated that the Siuslaw is at one percent of historic salmon levels for the Coho.  She said that indicated the lower Siuslaw River watershed health has degraded and restoration is needed to improve conditions.  She was concerned about the sole source aquifer.  She indicated that it is the only aquifer designated in the state of Oregon that is susceptible to surface contamination.  She stated that Heceta Water District and the city of Florence get their drinking water from the aquifer. She stated that they want funding through the EPA to look at ways to improve the watershed.  She said they want to use the funding and County staff to have the Board participate in the Heceta Water District for surface and groundwater monitoring and testing.  She recalled that the Heceta Water District voted unanimously to participate.

 

Vorhes indicated that they are moving this item for discussion today.  He added that it was set for tomorrow.  He wasnít sure what specific action was needed until he met with Belson today.  He said the request is to approve a letter.  He wasnít sure what it committed Lane County to do without an in-depth review.  He didnít know about the staff effort to see what the County is committing to.  He didnít know if there was a match required.

 

Belson responded that a match is required but they were not counting on Lane County.  She said they are structuring it so the County is reimbursed for staff time up to $50,000.  They didnít expect the County to commit to anything over $50,000.

 

Dwyer thought they should roll this until tomorrow afternoon.  He said they couldnít act prematurely.  He thought they needed more time for staff to review this.

 

MOTION: to roll this matter until tomorrow.

 

Fleenor MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.

 

Fleenor recommended the chair sign the  letter and that it doesnít get mailed until the Board takes a vote tomorrow.

 

Vorhes said if the Board and Chair sign tomorrow, they could get a PDF version to the city for the grant application.  He said they need to have something that reflects the level of Lane Countyís commitment.

 

Handy asked why it was unique in Oregon.

 

Belson responded that the EPA gave it a designation of a sole source aquifer.  She indicated that 60 percent of all drinking water comes from one source.  She added that it is hydrologically connected and that makes it vulnerable for contamination.  She said the sand allows quick percolation into the aquifer and it is a shallow groundwater table.

 

Fleenor stated that he was supportive of the concept team with all jurisdictions participating.  He indicated that it will show cooperation and a higher level of trust.

 

Handy was supportive of the protection and restoration including low impact development and environmental incentives.  He was supportive of the proposal.

 

VOTE: 5-0.

 

There being no further business, Commissioner Sorenson recessed the meeting at

3:00 p.m.

 

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary