BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'

REGULAR MEETING

July 7, 2009

1:30 p.m.

Harris Hall Main Floor

APPROVED 7/21/2009

 

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.

 

9. PUBLIC WORKS

 

a. FIRST READING & SETTING SECOND READING AND PUBLIC HEARING/Ordinance No. 2-09/In the Matter of Amending Chapter 13 of Lane Code to Revise and Add Definitions and Provisions Pertaining to Lawfully Established Units of Land, Partitioning Land, Property Line Adjustments and Validation of Units of Land (LC 13.010, 13.030, and 13.450) (PA 09-5350) (Second Reading & Public Hearing July 21, 2009).

 

Lindsey Eichner, Land Management, reported that this is in response to Board direction on processing proposed amendments given to staff.  She indicated that they were drafted partially by Land Watch and Goal One Coalition along with other private land use consultants and attorneys.

 

MOTION: to approve a First Reading and Setting a Second Reading and Public Hearing for Ordinance No. 2-09 for July 21, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Fleenor SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 5-0.

 

b. FIRST READING & SETTING SECOND READING AND PUBLIC HEARING/Ordinance No. 3-09/In the Matter of Amending Chapter 14 of Lane Code to Revise Land Use Permit and Zone Change Application Review and Appeal Procedures (LC 14.100, 14.110, 14.300, 14.400, 14.500, 14.510, 14.515, 14.520, 14.525, 14.535 and 14.600) (Planning File No. PA 09-5351). (Second Reading & Public Hearing July 21, 2009).

 

Deanna Harris, Land Management, explained that this was similar to the other ordinance.  She stated it was at the direction of the Board.  She noted at this point the primary author is Jim Just from Goal One Coalition.  She added that the interested parties are Lane County Homebuilders Association and Lane County.  She stated that she has not received any comments.

 

MOTION: to approve a First Reading and Setting a Second Reading and Public Hearing for Ordinance No. 3-09 for July 21, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Fleenor SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 5-0.

10. CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD

 

Letter from Senator Wyden

 

Sorenson indicated the Board received a letter from Senator Wyden dated June 21, 2009.  He thought the Board should send Senator Wyden a letter similar to the one they sent to Congressman DeFazio.  Sorenson wanted this brought back as a board order in two weeks authorizing the sending of the letter.

 

11. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Dwyer announced that he celebrated his 54th wedding anniversary.

 

Fleenor announced that the Heceta Self Storage Facility will have a grand opening celebration on Friday.

 

Sorenson said they received a memo from Justice Cynthia St. Clair.  He said a board order was with the memo.  He asked if they needed to take any action.  He reported that yesterday he met with a group called the Applied Solutions Coalition, a group of county commissioners throughout the country that have worked together on the shared goals of energy independence, job creation and climate solutions.  He said they worked on getting federal matching funds for up to 50 percent for projects that address broadly integrated system solutions to create new jobs while reducing environmental impacts.  He stated that he received a note of appreciation from the ACTSO nominees.

 

Handy announced there would be a McKenzie River Clean up on July 11 and on July 18 the Siuslaw Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation is holding a basin wide river clean up of the Siuslaw River.

 

Stewart reported that tomorrow he will be late; as he has an emergency meeting he needed to attend.  He announced that July 10 was the start of Bohemian Mining Days Festival.  He said he will be in the parade on July 18 and he asked the Board to participate.  He reported that yesterday he toured Serenity Lane.  He said they were in the process of a new capital campaign to locate on 15 acres they bought in Coburg.  He announced on July 14 there will be a Department of Forestry Eastern Lane tour of the district that he will be participating in to show the implementation of SB 360 and how the Firewise Program will be implemented.  He announced on July 22 he will be attending the Umpqua RAC Meeting.

 

12. OTHER BUSINESS

 

Extension Sex Offender Conflict Issue

 

Sorenson indicated that the Board received an e-mail concerning the location of two important County programs at the Lane County Fairgrounds and the building the Extension Service has occupied for some time.  He said the e-mail stated there is a sex offender program that operates near there.  He understood there were plans to move the program.

 

Rob Rockstroh, Health and Human Services, reported the sex offender program has been at the Fairgrounds for 15 years.  He noted there is a separate entrance.  He reported that there have never been any incidents in the 15 years the program has been there.  He added during the Fair, they close the program down and staff takes vacation.  He said there was a bigger issue around the Charnelton building.  He said if they go to the building, there would be separate entrances but there are many more children and families at the Charnelton Building than there would be in the front office space for Extension.  He noted they would be moving to Charnelton a year from July.  He didnít think it would be risky.  He added they reviewed options but most wouldnít work.  He didnít think it was right to move clients if they were going to be moving in a year.

 

Fleenor thought they were looking at moving them to the Community Corrections Center on the second floor.  He asked if they could be relocated there permanently and spend the money they would have for the remodel of Charnelton to be put it in the Community Corrections permanent relocation.

 

Rockstroh said the Community Corrections Center was designed to be a therapeutic building.  He didnít know the complications around the facility.

 

David Suchart, Management Services, said he spoke with the Sheriff about the Community Corrections Center and the Sheriff said he would offer it up only temporary.  Suchart said the Sheriffís plan is to eventually open the Community Corrections Center for its original purpose.  Suchart indicated that currently they have contractual issues around Charnelton Place.  He said they canít pull the money out to put it into another spot without some difficulty.  He indicated they are designing the building for certain purposes.

 

Fleenor asked if they could discuss with the Sheriff a lease to amortize the cost of any capital improvement and in the event he gets the Community Corrections Center open, the sex offender program would find a new home.

 

Suchart thought it was possible.

 

Richardson reported that she got a tour of the building.  She added that if they were going to do anything long term with the Community Corrections Center, they would also have to do remodeling for the first floor. She reported that there are four other sex offender treatment programs located next to pediatrician and dentist offices.  She said Lane County is not doing anything differently than what is already taking place.

 

Russ Burger, Sheriff, recalled that yesterday he became aware of the issue and the potential need for space. He asked his staff about the upstairs at the Community Corrections Center on a temporary basis until the permanent location at Charnelton was available.  He said Captain Hooley will do an analysis on what it would take to make it useable for that purpose.  He added that there are issues with air conditioning.  He said most of the facility does not have air conditioning and it gets between 95 and 100 upstairs in the facility in summer.

 

Fleenor asked if Burger saw any improvements that were made to that facility to allow them to transition the program to the Community Corrections Center while they are waiting until next July.  He asked if those improvements would be beneficial as they move forward and if they do vacate the facility and he uses it, if he would be able to refund some of the capital improvement money

 

Burger reported that they pay over $800,000 per year out of their budget that goes into the facilities fund.  He indicated that the facility was already being depreciated for that purpose.  He wanted to see the Community Corrections Center opened for its intended purpose.

 

Fleenor wanted to see some information on this to see if they could make this happen.  He said the community was anxious with the current arrangement.  He thought this could be a win-win for everyone.  He wanted to look at the funding requirements to move this forward.

 

Burger indicated that he would be willing to make the space available.

 

Stewart recalled that five years ago he did an orientation with the 4H and this topic came up during.  He wasnít opposed to looking for another location, but he was at ease with the current situation.

 

Sorenson was open to the impact of the move.  He asked who would be affected adversely.  He wanted to find out what it would cost.

 

Rockstroh didnít want to incur the costs of moving people twice.

 

Handy wanted to know what the citizens wanted with regard to the move.  He asked if one location was safer than another.  He asked if they move if they could cause a problem.  He didnít see that there was a problem where they are currently located.  He wasnít interested in moving just to move.

 

Dwyer agreed with Handy that he wasnít interested in spending money to move for the moveís sake. He indicated that they have already taken adequate protection at Charnelton.  He commented that the sex offenders have been located at Extension for years.  He thought the Charnelton building was the appropriate location.

 

Stewart agreed with Dwyer that there was no concern about Charnelton.

 

 

13. COMMISSIONERSí BUSINESS

 

a. DISCUSSION/Process for Board Consideration of Revenue Measures in an Environment of Diminishing Resources.

 

Sorenson explained that this was a continuance for Board consideration of revenue measures.  He commented that with diminishing resources, they need to narrow down to a process by which the Board would consider using their power to refer items to the voters of Lane County to raise funds for County programs.  He recalled that the Board had two prior work sessions. 

 

Sorenson stated that the public retains the right to initiate legislation.  He noted that the power of the people hadnít been used in the past 20 years to bring a ballot measure to the Lane County ballot.  The Board wanted to make sure that whatever measure is put forth, it is drafted competently so it is clear what policy choice the voters are being confronted.  He said the Board doesnít want to spend the money to go out to the voters to put a measure before the voters.  He wanted to do this in a planning horizon where the community and organizations feel those ballot measures represent a policy choice a significant number of people will want to pursue.  He thought they should look for the threshold of the community interest before they consider putting something before the voters.  .

 

Dwyer didnít think the system was broken and he was not prepared to fix it.  He commented that what was broken was that whatever the Board does, if one or two commissioners go out and bad mouth what the Board had done, the measure is doomed.  He said that was indicative of some of the past measures.   He said he will be careful what he supports whether it is brought by the Board of the people.  He commented that the initiative system is there and he would be willing to work to make it better but he wonít give up his responsibility and the fact that something by the citizens doesnít mean he is committed to it.

 

Fleenor stated this was about something moving forward to get the voters to voting yes.  He said they should find out what was going on to allow the County to pass measures from 1980 to 1997 because from 1990 to 2007, nothing passed.  He thinks they have changing demographics.  He also thought there might be voter confusion.  He said they should look at how they represent the people and not about individual preferences.  He said if one commissioner doesnít like a measure the majority passes, they shouldnít be bad mouthing the measure, and they should remain neutral.  He thought with a hybrid process, with a citizen initiative and the Boardís ability to refer might help break the series of failures where they get buy in from the public.  He wanted a new way to communicate with the citizens and to help solve the challenge.

 

Handy commented that it was helpful that citizens have understood that the County doesnít have the money and whatever they do; they will have to partner with different people to get things going.  He asked how they could jumpstart the process to encourage those across the community.  He was cautiously optimistic that this process will yield a hybrid process.

 

Stewart noted the past ballot measure of 2006 was left off the list.  He recalled that Terry Smith, Eugene Police Department, worked on the 2006 ballot measure and he was instrumental in getting all the information.  Stewart said Smith has analyzed all election results.  Stewart thought they should get a summary to pass out to the Board because the work had already been done.  He thought this should be a priority and that they recognize the budget process and the hard times.  He said they know the timber payments are reducing and this would be an opportunity to enhance the County revenue with different measures.  He said they need to dedicate time and put together an effort to find a solution.  He thought they should work with the three other County elected officials. He also wanted to work with the other cities.  He thought they should allocate a day a month to assess how they are going to replace the revenue.  He added that when they believe they have a potential solution, they need to educate the voters because they have never been able to have a united measure and that should be the goal.  He indicated that there are other ways to generate revenue that they hadnít explored. He said they need to start with the Board and bring in experts.  He commented that it will take time and he didnít think they could put on a ballot measure in November.  He wanted to put the effort into it.

 

Sorenson stated that they have to be careful to use the Boardís power to take a measure to the public.

 

Anette Spickard, Assessor, explained that in her role of assessor, she answers questions and works with local taxing districts.  She said if the Board needs time to crunch numbers and a development process to come up with a measure, she could help with the numbers and analysis.  She said if the Board is looking for a local option levy or pursuing a property tax  measure, there are pros and cons.  She added that if they are looking at forming a taxing district, the measures can only be placed on the May or November ballots.

 

Fleenor asked if there was compression with levies versus bonds.

 

Spickard explained that a bond is for construction purposes.  She added that bonds are outside of the Measure 50 cap.  She indicated for a regular levy or local option levy, for Measure 5 compression for any individual property, the total amount of tax could not exceed $10 per thousand combined or $5 for education.  She noted the numbers she calculated were based on if a levy had been in effect on the October 2008 tax roles.  She commented that establishing a new tax district is more difficult before it could be put on the ballot.  She indicated that they would need to get approval of all the cities and that was part of a roadblock in the past when the Board talked about a special district.

 

Dwyer stated they needed to keep things clean.  He said he would want a five year serial levy with clear goals, dedicated to jails, prosecution, Sheriff patrol and juvenile justice.  He wanted to create a criminal justice serial levy.  He also wanted a split rate where people in the rural districts buy patrol and jails and the people in cities would not pay for patrol.  He didnít want to tax people twice for the same service.  He thought it would need to be performance based.  He wanted check in points that they were meeting their goal.  He thought if they could show they were successful over a five year track record then they could go back for the levy again.  He said they have to quantify what the cost of each item is annually and cumulatively and what the cost would be for a resident inside a city not subject to patrol and what the cost would be outside the city.  He said they have to state what the annual cost would be per year for a taxpayer with a $150,000 home.  He thought they could increase other treatment programs and have serial levies for the jail, prosecution, Parole and Probation.  He thought enough people would support the process.  He added that a three year levy with performance goals would be accepted by the voters.  He stated that he has supported every levy.

 

Alex Gardner, District Attorney, agreed with Dwyer that it is important to have a united Board.  He commented that if a commissioner is out in public stating the measure is bad, then people think there is no crime problem and people wonít vote for it.  He said the principle challenge is to show the public need   He recalled that Mayor Piercy was supportive of the proposal of the PSCC. He thought the cities of Springfield and Eugene will agree to fix the system.  He stated it has to be clean.  He said there is merit to having a narrowly targeted measurer.  His concern was they were previously candid about saying a balanced system works best.  He commented that if people understood the magnitude of damage to public safety, he believed they could get people to support the entire process.  He said the public hasnít been invited to participate in solutions in the past.  He indicated that solutions have to come from the public and they need public buy in.  He didnít know why everything had failed in the past. He thought mistrust was a significant issue.  He said the voters still think government has money.

 

Russ Burger, Sheriff, stated that there is no need to change the system but how they approach the voters needs to change.  He said whatever they do needs to be simple and narrow focused.  He said they need to put together a public safety funding advisory committee with citizens that is broad based, balanced and have people on the committee who have energy who want to find solutions,.  He said the committee could come back to the Board with their recommendation and then everyone needs to get behind making it happen.  He stated that it will take everyoneís effort.  He said they need to find a long term solution.  He added that they need to find a vehicle to get them out of this situation to move them forward.  He said it canít come from elected officials; a citizen group needs to review it.

 

Sorenson asked if a proposal emerges from the discussion when it should be put in front of the voters.

 

Burger thought 2010 would be aggressive.  He said they have to determine the best vehicle and bring this to the Board of Commissioners.  He reiterated a successful measure would be narrowly focused and easy for the public to understand what they are buying.

 

With regard to a timeline, Sorenson said they will have to see if the economy improves and what the public wants the Board to do.  He said they want to be responsive to public concerns. 

 

Burger indicated hurdles to overcome and establishing permanent districts has to be a discussion about funding by the advisory committee.  He said they need to put weight on the recommendation.  He indicated that they will be able to consider all variables and whether it is a five or three year levy.  He added that they need to have the opportunity to do due diligence to find out what is best.

 

Sorenson asked if public safety would incorporate ambulances.

 

Burger indicated that it could be a part.

 

Sorenson noted that in making the timeline from July 2009 to 2010, they should consider all ideas but have the public look to a specific proposal as early as possible.  He indicated at some point they need to settle on a proposal and give it time so any bugs could be worked out.

 

Burger thought if they were able to get a group of people together early this month, that by the end of the year they could have a good handle on a vehicle, what is included and getting it out to the public.

 

Spickard said depending on when they would want the revenue to begin flowing, if it is a property tax; they only set the tax roles in October.  She added if nothing is passed by the voters before September of 2010, it wonít get onto the records until after October 2010.

 

Fleenor thought a review of what had happened in the past was a good idea.  He wanted to build a data base as they move forward. He thought it was something they could assist with as they were waiting for the grass roots groups to come together, using County resources for the common good.  He wanted to see it developed over the next few months.

 

Sorenson hoped they could get direction the next time.  He thought having more statistical information would be helpful.  He wanted the Sheriff to ask Terry Smith for information.  He also thought that Elections could take a look at these measures and other public service measures outside of public safety.

 

Spartz commented that some voters feel there was a bait and switch with the supplanting of funds.  He said there is a perception there were ballot measures when there were adequate funds.  He commented that they need to be careful what the Board considers. He said they could present the levy only as a back up tax.   He indicated that if there are adequate resources, the levy would only be there if they had no other source of revenue.

 

Richardson said what she heard about the supplanting issue is the voters would have to be assured the money is going where it is and no other money was being taken from other areas. She added that they have to create a committee to come up with the best way for a money measure.  She wanted to work with the group early on so what they see is something legally feasible.  She wasnít sure there will ever be a citizen group working by themselves to bring something forward.

 

Handy wanted another work session to talk about the make up of the committee, for them to have buy in and trust.  He said it was important that stakeholders are involved.

 

Stewart agreed with Burger to put together a citizen group.  He said this is complicated and they need to make it simple.  He indicated that a lot of work has been done in the past four years.  He suggested gathering up everything that had been done to be reviewed to see if they need more information.  He recommended asking past employees about what might exist for archives.  He thought it was a good starting point to pass off to a new group.  He recalled that they went down the path of income tax and found out there were discrepancies in PERS and they couldnít change it.  He added that there are lots of pieces that could have a major affect.  He said they need to get materials out, ask information from past employees and then they could have a Board retreat to give ideas to the group.

 

Sorenson said the Sheriff should contact Terry Smith for additional information.  He indicated that Richardson would contact Elections to get a print out of all past money measures.  He said that Cuyler will contact AOC for five successful measures about public safety.  He indicated the information will be brought to the next work session.

 

Fleenor thought it would be a good idea to put everything on the website so they have a history of all the discussions and handouts so future generations can look at it.

 

14. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660

 

None.

 

There being no further business, Commissioner Sorenson adjourned the meeting at 4:35 p.m.

 

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary