BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'

WORK SESSION

January 13, 2009

2:00 p.m.

Springfield City Hall, Jesse Maine Room, 225 Fifth Street, Springfield

APPROVED 2/13/2009

 

Commissioner Peter Sorenson presided with Commissioners Bill Fleenor, Rob Handy and Faye Stewart present. Bill Dwyer arrived at 2:45 p.m. County Administrator Jeff Spartz 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 complemented Sascha Cosio for todayís event honoring Martin Luther King.  He hoped it would become an annual event.

 

Handy thanked Sorenson for the event.

 

Sorenson thought the Martin Luther King program was successful, as the speakers were excellent.  He thought they should put the program on again next year. He added that next year he wants to involve the Diversity Committee and the Commission for Human Rights in the planning.  He wanted the agenda team to have a report back in July to begin the process of planning another Martin Luther King event.

 

4. WORK SESSION

 

a. What is Lane County's Role in Local Economic and Community Development?

Part One: Overview 

Presenters:

Chuck Forster, Director, Workforce Partnership

Shawn Winkler-Rio, Executive Director, Entrepreneurial Development Services (eDev)

Mike McKenzie-Bahr, Lane County Community and Economic Development Coordinator

 

Discussion:

What can Lane County do to help our economy?

 

Sorenson thought Lane County should participate in a job summit, as economic problems are grave.   He wanted to partner with other agencies, calling it the Lane County Job Summit. He also wanted to pursue the idea of issuing revenue bonds; borrowing on the premise that revenue would be generated from the investment they make.  He wanted to fund a summer youth jobs program. He thought money could be used to help landowners make investments in their property.  He said they could fund a loan program to allow people to borrow money to put water systems in their homes.  He noted that urban people spend a lot of money on energy to heat their water.  He indicated that the state, SUB and EWEB have incentive programs.  He indicated that Lane County has about 100,000 acres of private forestland.  He added that the lands are owned by older owners who are not investing on those lands.  He thought Lane County could issue revenue bonds and take out leases on private land with landowners.

 

Fleenor recommended bringing in entrepreneurs to help address them.

 

Dwyer commented that revenue bonds sound good but they are more complicated and need a revenue stream.  He added that if the bonds have not been paid back, there is no revenue.  He thought things would get worse before they get better.  He stated that education is key for a high wage environment.   He said they canít be competitive with foreign programs. He said they need a policy where if they ship American jobs overseas, they should be taxed instead of rewarded.  He added that they have to bring jobs back by giving incentives. He thought they should pick industries that have the best bang for the buck.  He noted that most people pay $10 of $11 per hour, not livable wages.

 

Handy said they have to re-localize the economy. He thought the County could grow the economy from the inside out.

 

Stewart didnít think there was one fix.  He recalled that 1500 jobs were lost in the past six months and people need to find jobs.  He thought they needed a strategic plan for the  stimulus package to decide what they need to focus on.  He commented that they might have health care jobs but they donít have an education component to figure in training.  He didnít want to bring in people from other areas to get the jobs.  He thought high schools could teach more skills so students could have an opportunity to go to work and further their education.  He asked why they canít find out what local companies need to find larger parcels of land to move onto. He questioned whether they could move forward with newer technologies. He commented that sometimes there are places where government has to take the lead.  He shared concerns about bonding and making payments.  He thought the best way to protect lands is to make them reasonable. He asked what they could do to promote the efforts of farming.

 

Spartz commented that there was no magic in the ideas presented but there was some risk.  He stated that risk is investing money in people who are entrepreneurs.  He said they have to come up with a creative mechanism to do bonding and satisfy the conditions of the market.  He added that they canít sell bonds unless the bondholder makes the investment.

 

Dwyer stated that the new River Bend facility needs to have a teaching hospital. He thought something should be facilitated between Sacred Heart and OHSU.  He commented that there is an aging population in the community and whatever they could do to facilitate the concept at the local level or through the legislature would give them an immediate bang for the buck. 

 

Sorenson wanted to follow up on the job summit idea.  He supported investing economic development dollars in high priority items like summer jobs and high wages in the medical field.  He wanted to pursue existing revenue streams that could pay back revenue bonds.

 

Handy commented that there will be a need for medical education in the future. He liked the idea of using bonding as value added for residents and businesses that could benefit from savings for energy.  He thought they needed to be ready to go forward with a stimulus package.  He wanted to know what the role of the state economic vitalization team was.  He wanted to make sure Lane County was on line for what ever was coming up in the future.

 

Stewart believed that they need to put together a strategy toward a comprehensive strategic plan in working with their partners and other agencies.  He asked if Spartz could spend time working in bringing together people to work on the plan.  He wanted to see them spend the energy in laying the groundwork for the future.

 

Fleenor said they have to take advantage of what they have today and making it into a success.  He said they have entrepreneurs anxious to go forward but they are lacking the education.  He recommended getting a key speaker like Phil Knight to show that there is an opportunity to start companies.  He said they need to be optimistic and assertive to put together the best team of entrepreneurs they can. He wanted to put together a summit to train other entrepreneurs. He thought that could set the stage for success.

 

Sorenson recommended having a joint meeting with the Lane Workforce Partnership.

 

5. OTHER BUSINESS

 

Stewart reported that Alex Cuyler, Intergovernmental Relations Manager, was contacted by DeFazioís office to remind the Board that DeFazio had received $2.5 million earmarked for Northwest Container, a multi-modal site for loading trains and trucks.  DeFazio stated that earmark is in jeopardy.  Stewart didnít know if they could capitalize on the earmark to put together a multi-modal site.

 

6. EMERGENCY BUSINESS

 

None.

 

7. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660

 

Per ORS 192.660 (2)(d) for the purpose of deliberations with labor negotiators.

 

 

There being no further business, Commissioner Sorenson recessed the meeting into Executive Session at 4:35 p.m.

 

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary