BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'

PUBLIC HEARING

June 16, 2009

6:00 p.m.

APPROVED 4/14/2010

 

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. PUBLIC HEARING/FY 2009-2010 Budget.

 

Dave Garnick, Finance and Budget Manager, gave a presentation on the Municast.

 

Russ Burger, Sheriff, commented that he understood the Boardís fiscal concerns and the fact that they donít know what will happen in the future.  He didnít think the future looked as bad as it possibly could.  He stated that they have to use the federal timber funds to refund the cuts that were made to Public Safety last year.   He added that potential future payments could be at risk.  He indicated that it is not just a Lane County issue; it could impact billions of dollars for Oregon .  He said that Public Safety in Lane County is so far behind their needs that it is a safety issue.  He indicated that there are over 250 jail beds in Lane County but they canít afford to staff them.  He commented that Lane County would be in better shape if they could just take care of the capacity.  He said he hadnít heard anyone discuss a long term solution.  He stated that they have to find a solution for the long term so they donít have to keep revisiting this and they can keep everyone safe.

 

Alex Gardner , District Attorney, commented that even if the Commissioners were to add back the 84 jail beds, it would bring it only up to 25 percent of Oregon ís jail capacity per 1,000 criminal offenses.  He indicated that each bed has a significant impact.  He said the first 84 beds would allow the County to retain all of the Measure 11 offenders and 70 percent of the most violent felony offenders.  He said they still have a lot of work to do.  He noted the Board doesnít have the money they need to fix the system.  He said they will have to find a solution.  He was committed to working with everyone to find a solution that is acceptable and adequate.

 

Dwyer reported that if they fund the jail beds they will have three years of stability.  He said they need to meet their responsibilities to the people.  He stated that they have the resources to open the jail, but what they donít have is the will on the Board.

 

Fleenor noted that Public Safety is an essential ingredient to the community.  He said they are all struggling, trying to make it happen.  He said they are concerned about the long term funding of the programs, including the 84 jail beds.  He asked what mechanisms they could tap into that would help them reduce the risk of moving forward.

 

Burger responded that in the past there had been discussion about service districts, putting in some permanent funding. He commented that if they are planning on moving forward for any tax measure, it needs to be narrowly focused.  He thought the easiest way was a local option levy.

 

Gardner stated that he has long recognized that Lane County doesnít have enough revenue to do what needs to be done and what the citizens expect.  He was concerned about the publicís willingness to support this.  He stated that he would support a levy that the public would choose to support.  He didnít think anything could be done prior to November.  He also had concern about supporting a measure that would still leave them short of minimum staffing.  He wanted to fund more than the 84 jail beds.

 

Handy stated that he was looking forward to adding 84 beds, but also adding an additional 72 beds.  He said there is no disagreement with the Board that they have to add capacity in the jail.  He asked how they can afford the beds.  He also asked when they will run out of money and how to come up with a long range plan. 

 

Burger responded that within the jail they have two housing units currently vacant. (The north annex houses the 84 beds and there are 72 beds in the east annex, for a total of 156 beds.  He said they could take the intake center with 35 beds, and open either of the other housing units, but the daily cost per bed would be higher, as they would get the economy of scale, the larger the capacity.   He added that there are 90 beds in the Community Correction Center that are vacant. 

 

Stewart recalled the last budget cycle was difficult for them to manage.  He said they had to cut $16 million out of the budget to balance.  He said as they received the Secure Rural Schools funding, they wanted to be diligent about adding back county services and revenue.  He indicated that they have spent months gathering all the information they can.  He stated the time is now and they need to make decisions and do the best they can with the information they have.  He commented that they have to work hard to find a long term solution for County services.  He said they have potentially four years of stability.  He believed that they will have to work hard in the next few years looking for solutions including going to the citizens about fixing the revenue problem they canít solve.

 

Commissioner Sorenson opened the Public Hearing.

 

Bob Avery , Eugene , represented Fundthejail.org.  He said thousands of people have supported their efforts and hundreds have signed their petition since Friday.  He indicated that this effort came together when the Board failed to agree to fund the jail beds and refused to use the federal safety net payments for their intended purpose.  They urged the Board to spend the monies for the purpose they were intended: public safety.  He said they have heard from Wyden, DeFazio and other legislators that if the Board does not spend the safety net money where it is intended, it will be ďdifficult to get reauthorization.Ē  He said the legislators made it clear the Board was not at risk of the $3.2 million for jail beds, but they are risking the entire future of the safety net payment program.  He commented that it will result in a drastic reduction of services, or more dramatic tax increases.  He urged the Board to do the right thing for Lane County and fund the jail.  He urged the Board not to make any further cuts in the law enforcement system.

 

C.T. Fulkerson, Eugene , said he is a member of the Lane County Animal Service Advisory Committee.  He commented that LCAS and the advisory committee had done a wonderful job this past fiscal year in developing programs that have resulted in a dramatic drop in the euthanasia of adoptable and treatable animals.  He wanted to continue the progress in the new fiscal year.  He asked the Board to approve their budget as submitted and if the state revenue cuts are minimal, that they provide additional funding to employ a full-time vet and certified vet technician.  He stated that consideration should be given in the immediate future to construct a new or remodeled animal shelter.

 

Robert Emmons, Fall Creek, thanked Sorenson, Fleenor and Handy and the Budget Committee for funding County services with caution.  He believed the most effective way to reduce the prison population and to stop the revolving door is to have preventive services that strike at the root of crime.   He said unless and until the County sufficiently supports deterrents through juvenile, mental health and rehab programs and until serious steps are taken locally and nationally to curb overpopulation, there will never be enough jail beds or money to hire personnel to oversee them.  He commented that citizens of Lane County will be adequately served only if considerably more money is budgeted for their constituent services aids.  He said their hard working commissioners should not have to reach into their own pockets like Bill Fleenor does to better serve the citizens of Lane County . He thought the Board should discontinue membership in the Association of O & C Counties.

 

Jim Babson, Lowell , commented that everyone wants service from County government, but when the money is not there, everything canít be funded.  He said history has shown that most Lane County residents will not support increased taxes to pay for services. 

He appreciated the Board being fiscally responsible.

 

Carol Berg Caldwell, Eugene , stated that more people are now engaged seeking solutions and people are realizing they need to find a mix of programs:  the jail, crime prevention and social services.  She commented that all of these will work to improve public safety.  She indicated she would support jail expansion if it didnít reduce funding for crime prevention and social services.  She noted that every dollar spent for crime prevention saves seven dollars in jail costs.

 

Alice Davenport , Eugene , indicated that in the past year Lane County Animal Services had improved its level of service in its public safety responsibility involving animals.  She urged the Board to support Lane County Animal Services.

 

Kerry Ferguson , Eugene , stated that the Sheriffís has made his observations known. She thanked Dwyer and Stewart for their comments.  She said while violent criminals have been let out of jail early, they have raped and robbed citizens. She asked how many citizens would need to be raped and robbed before the Board would listen.  She said they are ruining the lives of many people while this is happening.  She said until there is a decent level of public safety in their community, no discerning businessperson will want to locate here.  She commented that now is the time to put the jail beds to use and to protect the citizens.  She stated that protecting the citizens is their first duty.  She asked the Board to fund public safety first.

 

Victoria Doyle , Cottage Grove , commented that over the past 40 years she has seen the community and crime grow.  She didnít think they were funding the necessary tools that law enforcement needs to address the growing problems the neighborhoods are facing.  She commented that as commissioners it is their obligation to support law enforcement.  She added that it shouldnít be a partisan issue.  She didnít know at what point members of this board opted to side with the criminals and not law enforcement.   She didnít think the Sheriff should have to look at a list of criminals to decide which ones to let out because of space constraints.  She said the community is tired of the repeat offenders being released within 24 hours or less to offend again.  She asked the Board to fund the 84 beds to help the officers protect them.  She asked what legacy the Board wanted to leave for the children, a county where law abiding citizens canít enjoy parks because they are afraid of being mugged or killed. She stated  the Board needed to do the right thing.

 

Hal Reed , Eugene , stated that he has spoken to the Board twice previously about the responsibilities of the elected officials.  He believed the first priority of local government is to provide a public safety system that will ensure the safety of the citizens and visitors.  He didnít believe the Board could ignore the testimony.  He believed the Board has the responsibility to open the beds.  He added if they donít, it will come back to haunt them personally.

 

Fred Hamlin, Eugene , hoped the Board is listening this time.  He commented that the Board had the largest crowd they ever had.  He asked the Board to fund the beds now.

 

Courtney Campos, Eugene , said on January 14 her stepson was shot and killed in Lane County and the man who shot him is free.  She said he was arrested on April 27 and spent seven hours in jail before he was released.  She asked the Board to do something before it happens to their family members.

 

Scott Bartlett, Eugene , stated that he is on the Budget Committee and he has voted for more Sheriffís budgets than anyone in the room.  He recalled during the last Budget Committee meeting the vote was 6-4 to put the jail beds aside.  He made a motion for a compromise and it would have passed, but only Bill Fleenor voted for it.  He said the motion was to fund the jail beds starting January 1 and to prohibit any County commissioner assistants to be authorized until that time. 

 

Paul Conte, Eugene , said taking the $1 million into account offered by the city of Eugene , the additional $500,000 coming in from O & C and the $400,000 that could be saved by not funding additional support items by the commissioners.  He said the decision the Board faces on reopening 84 jail beds boils down on whether to spend just $1.3 million of the $13 million surplus over and above the prudent person surplus the County will have.  He stated that the County is not facing a fiscal crisis over the next two or three years and the Board has ample surplus to be both fiscally conservative and to help protect the County residents.  He said there are two questions a commissioner must ask to allow the public safety system to continue its collapse while the criminals stroll out the jail with a big high five.  He asked if the shortage of available jail beds is a  serious risk to the community or not.  He stated there is widespread agreement among law enforcement professionals, treatment providers, judges, state and congressional representatives and other people that the answer is yes, there is a serious risk right now.  His commissioner and the other two who oppose jail bed funding have yet to identify a single local person with experience or knowledge relative to this issue who doesnít believe the shortage is critical.  He asked what the plan was for a sustainable public safety system. He said not funding the jail beds is not a plan, it is a delay.  He asked the Board what solution they proposed  that would work in four years if the jail beds arenít funded that couldnít be done in three years if the jail beds were funded.  He recommended paying attention to the people and open the jail beds now.

 

Rita Castillo, Springfield , said she is a volunteer at LCAS.  She asked the Board to continue to fund animal services at the current level as they had agreed to do.  She commented that she has seen much improvement in the past three years.

 

Deb Frisch, commented that the elected officials donít listen to what the voters are saying.

 

Tab Davis, stated she is a resident of rural Lane County .  She asked the Board to fund the 84 jail beds now, with no strings attached.  She didnít want anymore new committees. She said as a voter, she would not vote for any measure as long as the Board was in charge of where the money went.  She stated the voters do not trust them.  She told Fleenor that she doesnít trust him.  She said there is a room full of people here who are demanding the Board fund the jail beds now with no strings attached.

 

Leila Trope, Springfield , said she is in support of the jail beds.  She commented that they canít take law enforcement into their own hands.  She asked what the citizens were willing to sacrifice.  She said the citizens are not willing to give up safety. 

 

Cindy Eastburn, Eugene , said she is a taxpaying citizen and is in support of the jail beds.  She stated the Board needed to listen to the people as it is their responsibility.

 

Ruth Duemler , Eugene , thought everyone would like to see the 84 beds open, but asked at what cost to society.   She said the County is scraping the bottom, because most people would rather not pay taxes.  She asked how many people would support more taxes for jail beds. She said it is an expense when the County puts something on the ballot.  She said that money also needs to go to human services.

 

Chloe Propp , Eugene , said there is frustration at the revolving door of the jail.  She stated when the Board voted not to support the jail beds, but decided to allocate funds for assistants, she said that was the straw that broke the camelís back. She said that made her volunteer to fund the jail beds.  She said the first obligation of the County is to protect the citizens with public safety and without the jail beds there is no protection.  He requested the Board restore the beds to help slow the revolving door at the County jail.

 

Jan Wilson, Eugene , agreed with the remarks on shelters for the homeless and pets.  She said they have to increase income so people can afford essential services. She commented that they are the only state without a sales tax and they have bankrupted schools.  She asked the Board to discontinue the funding for O & C County dues.

 

Marion Eddie , Eugene , supported the Board having top funding for public safety. She thought the maximum number of beds should be funded.  She noted that public safety is the Countyís number one responsibility and she urged them to change the budget to first fund public safety and not fund anything else until public safety is funded first and make the necessary cuts elsewhere.

 

Bill Eddie , Eugene , supported full funding of the jail as a minimum goal for the Board of Commissioners.  He thought they should be doing much more to provide excellent public safety.  He indicated that Oregon now stands at 12.4 percent unemployment but they show little desire to use resources or attract new business that would employ citizen.  He commented that high unemployment is a breeding ground for high crime.  He believed people who are gainfully employed are less likely to have criminal behavior and all levels of government in the state should be working hard to attract businesses in Oregon . He said it seems the only businesses doing well in Lane County are gun shops and burglar alarm  installers that show the high level of instability in the County.  He commented that it is time Lane County make public safety the number one priority.  He urged the Board to fund the jail fully and enlarge it if necessary.  He thought they should be able to advertise Lane County as being the safest place to raise a child in the country.

 

Steve Siecauski, said he lives in the Bethel area.  He said he has become President of the Lane County Public Safety Political Action Committee.  He said the 84 jails beds are a small portion to a larger problem.  He said there is money for three years for SRS to fund the jail beds.  He said he would dedicate his time to help the Board solve the problem. 

 

Mia Nelson, Lowell , said she didnít care about the jail beds.  She cared about the Board not being able to agree on what they should do about the financial crisis.  She wanted to know what the rest of Oregon is doing. She didnít like that the commissioners who voted for assistants were being criticized.  She said she feels safe and didnítí know why others donít.

 

Darreyl Davis , Cheshire , asked the Board to fund the 84 beds.

 

Greg Rice, Veneta, stated the Board needs to fund the 84 beds. 

 

Andrea Larsen, said the Board has a moral and ethical obligation to protect the citizens of the County.  She commented the commissioners are elected officials and are no different than the Sheriff.  She stated as easily as the commissioners were elected, they could be voted out.  She asked the Board to fund the beds and put the five deputies back on patrol.  She said they need to re-connect with the people of Lane County and resident deputies can help to do that.

 

Duncan Murray , Eugene , commended Dwyer and Stewart for supporting the first responsibility of government at any level, public safety.  He said they realize that people come together and form governments not to organize fairs, or give County employees or themselves raises, but to keep the citizens safe.

 

Chuck Moss , Santa Clara , asked for increased jail beds and continued membership in the O & C Counties.   He was against the addition of administrative positions and not opening jail beds.  He was also against holding $3.2 million out of the budget to save money. 

 

Mike Tayloe , Springfield , thought the PSCC should work together to fund not just 78 jail beds, but to fund the whole jail.  He said their population has 1,600 people who should be in jail beds and that is the number they should have.  He said they have a structural deficit no matter what they do.

 

Garry Williams, Cottage Grove , Mayor of Cottage Grove,  urged the Board to reconsider the decision that was made by the Budget Committee regarding public safety funding and the O & C membership and personnel staff funding. He indicated that the primary responsibility of counties is to provide law enforcement.  He added that as a result of the Countyís inadequate funding of public safety in Lane County , citizens are being burdened by the impact financially and their health and safety is jeopardized.  He added the Countyís poor level of funding increases costs for communities within the County.  He noted the city of Cottage Grove will increase jail space from four cells to eight cells and it costs the city of Cottage Grove a budgeted amount of $156,000.  He added costs for the operation of the jail have increased.  He wanted to make sure the services that are important and essential to the community are continued.  He wanted to forego other expenditures to make sure that those services that are important and essential to the community are continued.  He thought it would be difficult to support the effort to get federal funding when a major partner in the United Front effort, the County has demonstrated a complete disregard of Congressí intended use of the funding the County has received.  He thought if Lane County was going to find any solution to the reduction of O & C funding, they need to continue to participate with other O & C counties to seek that solution through participation through the O & C Association.  He thought volunteers should be used to fund Commissionersí assistants as they arenít  needed.  He didnít think it is fair that the citizens of the County should have to carry the burden of additional citizens while the Board makes their workload lighter by hiring the unnecessary assistants.

 

Lindsay Haskell, Cottage Grove , commented that the Countyís refusal to fund public safety is impacting the citizens of Cottage Grove .  He asked the Board to fund the jail beds.

 

Pat Patterson, Cottage Grove , said there was legislation that went to Washington , D.C. to get money to support services.  He encouraged the Board not to take monies from law enforcement for personal activities like administrative costs.  He wanted the Board to use the money for the jail beds and give them the attitude that they are respected in the community.

 

Russ Pgage ,   Junction City , thinks he is more important than pets.  He commented that they are not the most important thing in the world.  He said public safety is important to him.  He said he feels safe when he is in his RV in Arizona and the Sheriff has his inmates in a tent jail.  He asked to fund public safety and to think outside the box.

 

Mindy Gould, Eugene, asked the Board to fund the 84 jail beds with the federal money as intended and within next three years figure out a permanent solution.

 

William Wise, Eugene , Director of St. Vincent de Paulís First Family Center , said they need help to balance the community needs.  He asked to keep the budget allocation for human services allocated by the Budget Committee.

 

Minalee Saks , Eugene , Birth to Three, thanked the Board for the allocation for the Department of Children and Families at a time when Healthy Start is being cut at the state level.

 

Claire Davis , Eugene , discussed Healthy Start.

 

Helen Watson, Eugene , supported Healthy Start.  She said Healthy Start works.  She thanked the Board for the allocated funds.

 

Elaine Bryson , Vida, thanked the Board for the allocation for the Department of Children and Families.  She explained that the small funding they receive from the Department of Children and Families over the past two years have been leveraged for over $100,000 in grants and other funding for their district to provide funding that their district can no longer afford to do.

 

Gloria Griffiths , Mohawk Valley , said she is the Family Center and homeless coordinator.  She thanked the Board for the allocation of funds for social services and the Family Resource Centers .  She indicated that the dollars will help with cut backs that have taken place at the state level.

 

Kimberly Shore , Santa Clara , said she hired Fleenor to do a job and he is not doing it.  She stated that he needs to fund the 84 jail beds as it is vital to the community, safety and well being and he needs to listen to what the citizens have told him.

 

Brian Begnaud , Santa Clara , urged the Board to restore the cuts to the Sheriffís Office and the Lane County Jail.  He said to listen to others in the public safety community and the County Administrator and County Counsel .  He said to listen to the people who elected them.  He said look and listen to the victim of the brutal crimes that have been committed by criminals that have been allowed to leave the jail.  He recalled the Board received the money last year, but they didnít restore the cuts.  He commented that they have the resources for three years of stable funding and they should work to get permanent funding.  He didnít think the Board could go wrong by funding public safety and the jail beds.

 

Sandra Masset., Eugene said she supported public safety.  She stated that the real question is quality  of society they want.  She added that if they donít have the rule of law and people donít obey the law, then the people who want to live in an environment that is safe will leave and the people left will not want to pay taxes.  She commented that no one will come to the area to start a business.  She said if they donít have the rule of law then they have nothing.  She asked that that be put on the top of the list.

 

Jorge Navarro, Eugene , said he is the Executive Director of Centro Latino Americano.  He said he is also a representative of the Human Services Network.  He commented that the decisions the Board makes will impact the County for years to come.  He said none of the social services and public safety function independently.  He said that social service agencies donít provide services to the community in a vacuum, they collaborate.  He appreciated the Boardís support for social services.

 

Gail Moore , Elmira , requested the Board restore funding to the Sheriffís Office and the District Attorneyís office for the 84 jail beds.  She thought their focus should be on finding long term solutions for public safety.  She said based on the testimony tonight there are passionate people who care about Lane County and its future.  She encouraged the Board to tap into the resource and begin working with the Sheriff, District Attorney and the public to secure a long term funding source for public safety.

 

Linda Kostier , Eugene , said she is the screener for the Healthy Start Program.  She indicated that she goes to the hospital and meets with first time families.  She indicated that there has been an increased need with the economy and some of the results have been evident in how parents are able to take care of their new babies.

 

Joanne Stanley , Eugene , said she is an employee of the Lane County Sheriffís Office, but she was speaking as a citizen.  She learned that much of law enforcement in Lane County is an integrated system of judges, courts, prosecutors, police and the Lane County Sheriffís Office.  She said they use evidence based practices to sentence offenders appropriately.  She said the jail is a major cornerstone that holds the law enforcement system together.  She added that it affords the ability to hold dangerous pre-trial and sentenced offenders and to sanction those offenders that do not complete their sentences and programs for Parole and Probation.  She stated the Board has been given all the information from the Sheriff, the District Attorney, the public, the media and other politicians, but she commented that the Board still balks about opening the beds.  She said the Board has been speaking with anger and defiance and she believed the Board feels threatened by the law enforcement community.  She stated that these people are not the Boardís enemy.  She said the Board needs to let go of their defiance and anger because they are part of the system and it is their duty to serve and protect.  She asked the Board to fund the jail beds and open them now.

 

Rose Wilde, Eugene , said she served on the Budget Committee.  She stated that Lane County ís assessed value is around 60 percent of real market value, as a result of statewide legislation that was passed by the voters.  She noted they tax at $1.28 per thousand dollars of the assessed value in Lane County .  She added that Clackamas County charges $2.25 per thousand of assessed value.  She commented Lane County pays less taxes for the same value of a house than in Clackamas County .  She indicated the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners has 2.50 FTE ís and the Lane County Board of Commissioners has none.  She stated the issues of jail beds and commissionersí assistants are connected.  She said she had yet to hear a good compromise but thought there was one they could get to.  She supported Human Services.

 

Debra Hoberg, Florence , asked the Board to fund the 84 beds. She wanted her voice heard by all of the Board.  She heard Fleenor say that only 35 citizens contacted him to say they wanted jail beds.  She didnít think that was true.  She thought there were many more who wanted jail beds.  She added that she was concerned about the total lack of public safety in Lane County .  She indicated there was a lack of officers on the road to protect the citizens.  She commented that they have no law enforcement in western Lane County and they need officers to protect them.

 

Eric Van Houten, Eugene, explained that the Human Services Network is a collaboration of over 50 organizations representing the County from Oakridge to Florence , Junction City to Cottage Grove .  He said it plays an integrated role in serving the communityís most vulnerable populations.  He indicated there is a common theme: increasing demand for services from not only individuals and families who have been surviving on the edge for years, but from a new group of individuals.  He said they are families who have done everything right but to no fault of their own, are finding themselves needing help.  He commented that the service levels proposed by the HSC staff are intended to maintain the capacity of services for this network of agencies during this time of unprecedented demand for help.

 

Chuck Hardy, Cottage Grove , said he is a former deputy with the Lane County Sheriffís Office.  He said he was hired back as a temporary employee to be a caretaker at the Forest Work Camp while it is vacant.  He thought the commissioners should come down to the jail to monitor the release center to see who is inappropriately being sent back into the community prematurely.  He thought the new office assistants that were going to be hired could free up extra time so the Board could attend.  He hoped the Board will do the right thing.

 

Rich Glessner , Santa Clara , supported the 84 beds as they are desperately needed.  He commented that action speaks louder than words and he asked the Board to put their money where there mouth is.

 

Mike Fleck, Cottage Grove City Councilor, spoke as an individual.  He said he understands serious cuts.  He said the Board was looking at either three or four years of maintaining services.  He thought they needed to work together to get broad support.  He asked the Board to make a good faith effort by opening the 84 jail beds.

 

David McBee , Springfield , thought to some of the Board it wasnít worth it to protect 84 additional victims of violent crimes.

 

Mike Clark, Eugene City Council, commented that the system for holding offenders accountable in Lane County is fundamentally broken.  He wanted to help fix it.  He indicated that every decision has a cost.  He heard the Board say they wanted to wait to see what the state does first before a decision is made.  He thought the cost they are talking about will be too high.  He thought the value of having an additional year with the choice of being more fiscally conservative is outweighed by the need for real personal safety by spending the money they have and having three years of financial security.  He urged the Board to restore the 84 beds as a down payment on their obligation to provide the citizens of Lane County with a functioning jail system.  He commented that the Board shouldnít talk about what they canít do and should talk about what they can do.  He wanted to help the Board get them to where they should be.

 

Jared Mason Gere, Eugene , represented the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce.  He understood that they are in the midst of a dire situation.  He said the situation calls for more than 84 beds.  He noted that local businesses are being impacted by their local crime problems.  He commented that it is hurting their local economy.  He said with the unpredictable revenue structure, it is hard to determine when they will have money.    He asked the Board to work together and reinstate the 84 beds.  He said the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce is committed to help finding a solution.

 

Thomas Brandt , Marcola, said if there was something that explained to citizens on the ballot  regarding  paying for jail beds, everyone would vote for it.  He said they should let the people know what the money is being spent for.

 

Betty Snowden, Eugene , recalled that a criminal had murdered her brother.  She stated that criminals donít stop at one crime.   She commented that if the 84 beds are not restored, another woman will be raped, another child will be kidnapped, another dead person will be found or a senior citizen will be victimized by a home invasion.  She said people want to feel safe but they donít.  She asked the Board to stop the drama that was not needed.  She said the Board heard the compassion of people not feeling safe.  She asked the Board to fund the 84 jail beds now. 

 

Charles Fowler, Eugene , asked the Board to fund the 84 jail beds with the money that is available.  He said they can spend the next three years to find permanent funding.  He added that even if the funding is not found, they will at least have three years of 84 beds.  He hoped funding will be found.  He said he will vote for taxes to fund public safety as he has in the past.

 

Randy Prince, Eugene , said there are some accountability issues involved.  He said the tax system that caused this crisis was irresponsible and designed at the state level.  He added that it gave too much money to the cities and too little to the counties. He stated that it is time to correct the mistakes.  He said the Board needs to work on a strategy for permanent funding.  He thought the Board should reject the dependence on the timber economy.  He said the Board needs to look for solutions.

 

Graham Lewis, Eugene , commented that it is time to start looking outside of the box with public safety. He said they should stay focused on the present and solve the future problems in the future.  He thought the Board was playing safe with public safety and it was not working.  He said they need bold new ideas.  He commented that if the Board canít find new ideas among themselves to fund public safety as well as Human Services, then to ask the public.  He said many thought the County was being irresponsible when they voted down the public safety assessments several years ago.  He said if the Board asked the public to step up now, they will.  He stated that the public would pass a sales tax if it meant it was for public safety.  He thought the commissioners could get office assistants who were volunteers.

 

Steve Marshall, Springfield , said he was present because he believed his voice needed to be heard.  He commented that he didnít feel safe for his children.  He indicated that there is a registered sex offender who lives near his neighborhood by a park.  He didnít know what it would take for the Board to listen to the public.  He stated to the Board that if they donít vote for the 84 jail beds, they would be voted out of office.

 

Carolyn Ashton, Eugene , said she is with 4H Youth Development Faculty Program at the OSU Extension Service.  She acknowledged and thanked the Board for their support of the OSU Extension Service over the years. She indicated that the Extension Service will work hard to find alternative funding sources in the months ahead and hoped the Board would help make the transition successful.

 

Judi Beard Stubig, Eugene , indicated that she has been a long time resident of Lane County .  She said she is a property owner, taxpayer and a voter.  She added  her voice about the importance of public safety.  She asked the Board to listen to the passion that took place tonight and the pleas of the constituents.  She said they want safety for their families.  She wants Lane County to be a safe place.  She asked the Board to respond to them.  She said she sent three e-mails to Handy and she expected one of them to be returned as he promised her during his campaign for commissioner.  She expected him to listen to his constituents.  She wanted more safety in the community.

 

Mora Dewey, Cottage Grove , said she had concerns about O & C Counties.  She thought it was a secretive organization.

 

Matt Keating, Eugene , said he is a community organizer and a student at Lane Community College .  He said the Board deserved alternative funding ideas.  He applauded the Board for their adequately funding the District Attorney to increase prosecution capacity, for funding communicable disease nurses during the Swine Flu epidemic and funding Development Disability.

 

There being no further business, Commissioner Sorenson adjourned the meeting at 8:55 p.m.

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary