M I N U T E S

 

Joint Elected Officials

Eugene City Council/Springfield City Council/

Lane Board of County Commissioners

Eugene Public Library – Bascom Tykeson Room

100 West 10th Avenue, Eugene

APPROVED 7/21/2009

 

June 1, 2009

5:30 p.m.

 

EUGENE CITY COUNCILORS PRESENT: Andrea Ortiz, George Poling, Betty Taylor, Alan Zelenka, Mike Clark, Chris Pryor, George Brown, Jennifer Solomon.

 

SPRINGFIELD CITY COUNCILORS PRESENT: Hillary Wylie, Joe Pishioneri, Dave Ralston, Terri Leezer.

 

LANE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS PRESENT: Faye Stewart, Peter Sorenson, Bill Fleenor, Rob Handy, Bill Dwyer.

 

ALSO PRESENT: Mayor Kitty Piercy, City Manager Jon Ruiz, City of Eugene; City Manager Gino Grimaldi, City of Springfield, Jeff Spartz, Lane County.

 

ABSENT: Christine Lundberg

 

 

Ms. Piercy called the meeting to order at 12:01 p.m.  She proceeded to review the agenda for the benefit of those in attendance.

Ms. Piercy noted the absence of Springfield Mayor Sid Leiken.

I.                               METRO SUBCOMMITTEE REPORT

Mr. Stewart provided a brief history of the Metro Subcommittee as well as an overview of the group’s membership and goals.  He noted that the subcommittee’s first meeting had taken place on April 13, 2009 to discuss annexation policies, concerns with the Metro Plan’s description of urban services, concerns with perceived citizen disenfranchisement, concerns with jurisdictional autonomy, and concerns with the dispute resolution process with respect to the area Metro Plan.  Mr. Stewart further noted that the April 13 meeting had also addressed County concerns regarding the regional coordination of public safety and regional economic development which had been raised during the March 3, 2009 JEO meeting.

Mr. Stewart commented that the April 13 Metro Subcommittee meeting had also weighed the costs and benefits of proceeding with or without the current Metro Plan guidelines.  He stated that staff had presented further information in that regard at the May 7, 2009 Metro Subcommittee meeting where they had also presented information regarding potential revisions to the current Metro Plan.

Mr. Stewart stated that the Metro Subcommittee had determined that proceeding without the Metro Plan would be prohibitively expensive to Eugene, Springfield and Lane County as it would require each agency to draft and execute separate work plans.

Mr. Stewart proceeded to brief the elected officials regarding the staff revisions and other alternatives to the Metro Plan.

Mr. Stewart reported that after further discussions regarding the staff recommendations the Metro Subcommittee had met on May 27, 2009 to agree on a recommendation to bring before the JEO.  He stated that the Metro Subcommittee had unanimously agreed to recommend the staff revisions to the Metro Plan and which called for the development of a work plan, timeline, cost estimate and implications for specific changes to the Metro Plan based on recommendations from each jurisdiction.  He further stated that the proposed revisions to the Metro Plan would address those items of concerns that had been discussed at the April 13, 2009 Metro Subcommittee meeting as well other items of concern from the various jurisdictions.

Mr. Ralston noted that there were elements of the Metro Plan that served as ideal groundwork for development as well as other issues regarding wastewater and transportation planning in the community.  He commented that while the City of Springfield desired a certain amount of autonomy with respect to its urban growth boundary expansions, it made sense to carefully revise the Metro Plan in order to determine an efficient course of action that would benefit all of the jurisdictions involved.

Ms. Ortiz agreed with Mr. Ralston’s comments and felt that a carefully revised Metro Plan along the lines of what had been recommended by the Metro Subcommittee and staff would be a good way to meet the needs of the various jurisdictions.

Mr. Clark agreed with the assessment of the Metro Subcommittee that proceeding without a Metro Plan would be prohibitively expensive and time consuming to all three jurisdictions and stated that he was happy with the results of the Subcommittee meetings and the staff input.

Mr. Stewart noted that Springfield Council Christine Lundberg had indicated that she agreed with Mr. Ralston’s assessments of the Metro Plan and felt that the needs of the City of Springfield would be adequately addressed by a carefully revised Metro Plan.

Mr. Handy thanked the staff and Betsy Shepherd for their efforts regarding the Metro Plan revisions.  He hoped that the revisions would allow the issues of representation/annexation with Eugene and rural reserves with Springfield to be adequately addressed.

Mr. Handy was concerned that the JEO had not been given the opportunity to review the results of the analyses of the Metro Plan that had been prepared by attorneys from the three different jurisdictions.

Mr. Handy thanked Mr. Stewart for his efforts on behalf of the Metro Subcommittee.

Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy officially convened the Eugene City Council meeting at 12:20 p.m.

Chair Pete Sorenson officially convened the meeting of the Lane County Board of Commissioners at 12:20 p.m.

Springfield City Councilor Dave Ralston officially convened the meeting of the Springfield City Council at 12:20 p.m.

Mr. Stewart, seconded by Mr. Clark, moved to approve the Subcommittee’s recommendation and begin the process to revise the Metro Plan by developing a work plan, timeline, cost estimate, and implications for the specific changes to the Metro Plan based on the recommendations from each jurisdiction.

Mr. Stewart, responding to a question from Ms. Taylor, noted that the revision process described by his previously stated motion would be carried out by staff members from all three jurisdictions who would then return to the JEO with further information and a draft work plan.

Mr. Stewart, responding to concerns from Mr. Ralston that his motion did not sufficiently reflect the recommendations of the Metro Subcommittee, withdrew his previously stated motion with the consent of the second.

Mr. Steward, seconded by Mr. Clark, moved to direct staff from Lane County and the cities of Eugene and Springfield, to develop a work plan that included the timeline process, cost estimate and implications for specific changes to the Metro Plan that included but were not limited to the following:  a) Overarching policies that identify and address regional issues; b) Policies that allowed for individual retirement plans for Eugene and Springfield to address jurisdictional specific issues; c) Adjustments to the Metro Plan boundary and text to address jurisdictional issues arising in the urbanizable area and the area outside the urban growth boundary; and d) a dispute resolution process that reflects the changes described in a - c.

Mr. Ruiz, responding to a question from Ms. Ortiz, noted that the Eugene city staff concurred with the recommendations of the Metro Subcommittee.

Mr. Stewart, responding to a question from Mr. Fleenor, commented that the staffs of the three jurisdictions would be taking separate action with respect to any annexation issues involving Santa Clara.

Mr. Handy noted that the language of the Metro Subcommittee recommendations had been revised to better address the concerns of Lane County with respect to issues such as rural reserves and annexation.

Mr. Clark commented that there had been several robust discussions within the Metro Subcommittee regarding the concerns of Lane County and other related municipalities.  He felt that the discussions and the resultant recommendations would allow each of the jurisdictions to propose productive solutions.

Ms. Piercy called for a vote on Mr. Stewart's previously stated motion.  The motion passed unanimously, 21:0.

 

II.                            ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SUBCOMMITTEE REPORT

Mr. Ruiz gave a PowerPoint presentation concerning Regional Economic Development entitled "Our Next Economy" for the benefit of the JEO and noted that at their March meeting the JEO had directed the EDS examine regional economic development efforts with respect to:  1) the efficient and productive utilization of federal ARRA stimulus funding within the community; 2) the programs, plans and policies of local government jurisdictions; and 3) an exploration into the principal factors of the "Next Economy."

Mr. Ruiz noted that the basic framework of the Next Economy as described in his presentation would allow the EDS to continue its examinations within a technical advisory group which was comprised of community stakeholders and which would also help the JEO to determine the best course of action with respect to regional economic development.  He further noted that the EDS would conduct a summit in September or October of 2009 to further determine the support structures that would be needed to support elements of regional economic development opportunities.

Mr. Ruiz, referring to his presentation, noted that the EDS had stated goals of the creation of twenty thousand new jobs in and around Lane County by 2020, a reduction of local unemployment to or below state average, and an increase in average annual wages to or above state averages.

Mr. Ruiz proceeded to describe the principles of the Next Economy as reflected in his presentation and the agenda item summary materials.

Mr. Ruiz noted that the EDS was seeking the agreement and consent of the JEO on the next steps of the subcommittee's work regarding the goals, principles and metrics of the Next Economy.  He hoped that the next steps of the EDS would involve input from the broadest sectors of stakeholder groups within the community.

Mr. Fleenor supported the work of the EDS recognized the benefit of the subcommittee's examination of the Next Economy but hoped that any strategies regarding regional economic development would come with measurable results and a resultant re-focusing of economic development efforts.

Mr. Clark appreciated that conversation surrounding regional economic development efforts that had been initiated by the EDS and staff and hoped that those conversations might result in actionable economic development strategies as soon as possible.

Mr. Pishoneri and Mr. Sorenson concurred with Mr. Clark's comment.

Mr. Brown noted he was pleased to see a unification of efforts among the three jurisdictions participating in the EDS.

Ms. Piercy maintained that although there was a strong desire for immediate action among the JEO that regional economic development efforts were not completely static at present and that the recommendations of the EDS represented a more focused, three-pronged approach to economic development.

Mr. Ruiz, responding to a question from Mr. Poling, noted that the technical advisory groups that would be advising the EDS and the JEO would most likely be comprised of representatives from the Lane Work Force Partnership, the University of Oregon, and the local Chambers of Commerce.  He noted that the technical advisory group would also eventually be expanded to include input from community members, business leaders and a broader cross-section of stakeholder representatives.

Mr. Dwyer suggested the Lane Metro Partnership would be an effective resource for the EDS' technical advisory group and felt they could provide invaluable input on ways that regional economic development might be enlarged and expanded.

Mr. Poling expressed he was happy to see that the EDS was not overly focused on any one particular industry with respect to regional economic development planning.

Mr. Pryor hoped that regional economic development strategies would be carefully planned and thoughtfully maintained in order to protect the economic viability of the region.

Ms. Taylor asked to see a list of those representatives and stakeholder groups that would be participating in the EDS' technical advisory group.

Ms. Taylor suggested several local industries that might benefit from regional economic development efforts.  She further noted that she opposed the enterprise zone and any strategies that would provide tax breaks to businesses in the area.

Ms. Solomon hoped that the EDS's technical advisory group would include a significant number of private sector business representatives that could focus on the creation of jobs within the private sector.

Ms. Ortiz hoped that the strategies recommended by the EDS and their technical advisory group would focus on the creation of new jobs throughout the region.

Mr. Handy felt the EDS' examination into the elements of the Next Economy struck at the core of the need for significant changes in current regional economic development strategies and methodologies.

Mr. Stewart noted from his experience as a recent member of economic development committees that it would possible to implement strategies recommended by the EDS relatively quickly.  He agreed with Mr. Dwyer that the Lane Metro Partnership might serve as an effective resource for the EDS.

Mr. Dwyer excused himself from the JEO meeting at 12:59 p.m.

Mr. Brown hoped that whatever industries were encouraged under any development strategies suggested by the EDS would be relatively stable and non-volatile.

Ms. Wylie felt it was important for the three jurisdictions, both collectively and individually, to remain vigilant and alert with respect to regional economic development.

Ms. Piercy noted that she had recently spoken to Jack Roberts and members of the Lane Metro Partnership and further noted that they had not perceived any conflicts with proceeding as the EDS had described.  She noted that while an organization such as the Lane Metro Partnership might serve as an effective economic development tool, it was important to remember that the JEO served primarily as policy makers and not implementers of any adopted economic development strategies.

Ms. Taylor elaborated upon her earlier comments and hoped that any new jobs created as a result of the EDS recommendations would pay a living wage and would not negatively affect the environment.

Mr. Clark commented that the EDS' role was primarily to explore how effective collaboration between the three jurisdictions might lead to more productive partnerships with private industries in the region.  He added that the EDS also endeavored to identify any existing or potential barriers to positive economic development.

Mr. Fleenor, seconded by Mr. Pishoneri, moved to 1) approve the framework, goals, principles and metrics presented in the agenda item summary and 2) direct the Joint Elected Officials Economic Development Task Force and staff to bring a recommendation for economic opportunity areas to the September JEO meeting and hold and Economic Summit in October of 2009.

Mr. Ruiz, responding to a question from Ms. Solomon, confirmed that a discussion regarding economic barriers and the technical advisory group's investigations regarding the same would be included as part of both the September JEO meeting and the October economic summit.

Mr. Handy suggested that Lane Microbusiness representative Shawn Winkler Rios and local entrepreneur Caroline Cummings be involved with the EDS' technical advisory group in some capacity.

Ms. Piercy, responding to a question from Ms. Taylor, confirmed that the motion under discussion only provided for approval of the EDS plans and concurrent staff direction and did not represent any adoptions or revisions of specific economic policies.

Ms. Piercy called for a vote on Mr. Fleenor's previously stated motion.  The motion passed unanimously, 20:0.

III.                         AMBULANCE TRANSPORT SYSTEM TASK FORCE UPDATE

Ms. Piercy excused herself from the meeting at 1:07 p.m.

Eugene Fire/EMS Chief Randy Groves noted that there existed a structural funding problem for the ambulance transport system of the three jurisdictions that had been brought on by recent reductions in Medicare/Medicaid reimbursements as well as by certain personnel issues.  He noted that the three jurisdictions of Eugene, Springfield and Lane Rural Fire /Rescue District were seeking a collaborative solution to the problem since the ambulances of one jurisdiction frequently crossed into the ambulance service districts of the other two.

Chief Groves provided a brief overview of the ATSTF membership for the benefit of the JEO and noted that they had been meeting biweekly since April 6 with the goal of finalizing a series of solutions to be considered in addressing the ambulance funding problems no later than June 8, 2009.  He noted that the task force's next steps would be to conduct a certain number of community input forums in coordination with local medial outreach efforts.  He further noted that the task force was expected to return to the JEO with further information sometime in July.

Springfield Fire & Life Safety Chief Dennis Murphy reported that the funding solution options currently under consideration by the task force included ambulance rate fee increases, redirections of general fund support, membership investment initiative programs such as FireMed, outsourcing non-emergency calls, and lengthening ambulance response times.  Chief Murphy noted that the outsourcing of emergency calls and the lengthening of response times had been considered non-viable options by the task force.

Chief Murphy commented that the task force hoped to receive direction and input from the Springfield and Eugene City Councils, the Lane Rural Fire/Rescue Board as well as the Lane County Board of Commissioners before each of their recesses.

Lane Rural Fire/Rescue Chief Dale Borland thanked the members of the task force and support staff and hoped that they would be able to return to the JEO and their respective member agencies with viable solutions in the near future.

Ms. Taylor noted that the City of Eugene had been historically opposed to any special taxing districts that might be used to increase taxes in the area to address the ambulance funding problem.

Chief Murphy, responding to a question from Ms. Taylor, commented that the task force had been exploring the use of mobile health service resources in order to reconfigure some levels of non-emergency ambulance and non emergency first response services in order to provide for better and more affordable care.  He further commented that mobile health services might take some of the stress off the 911 call systems.

Chief Groves, responding to earlier comments made by Ms. Taylor regarding the use of special taxing districts, noted that while the use of such districts had not been unanimously supported by the task force there had been enough interest in that strategy to warrant further investigation.

Mr. Clark stated that he would not be in favor of creating special taxing district to deal with the ambulance funding problem but felt that more detailed information regarding such a strategy would be warranted.

Ms. Solomon stated that the Eugene City Council had discussed the use of special taxing districts before regarding different issues and that while such strategies had been generally unsupported it would be advisable to continue the discussion regarding them.

Mr. Handy responded to Ms. Taylor's earlier comments and noted that the list of potential solutions brought forth by Chief Groves was by no means indicative of the degree of support for any of those solutions.

Chief Groves, responding to a question from Mr. Zelenka, noted that the public safety consulting firm Emergency Services Consulting International (ESCI) had been consulted by the cities of Eugene and Springfield to evaluate opportunities for delivering services cooperatively up to and including a full merger of the two fire departments.

LCOG Government Services Director Byron Vanderpool, responding to a request from Mr. Zelenka for clarification regarding the process by which special taxing districts were created, noted that the creation of such districts were the purview of elected and not appointed officials.  Mr. Vanderpool proceeded to give a brief overview of the mechanisms typically used to create special taxing districts for the benefit of the JEO.

Mr. Clark, seconded by Mr. Fleenor, moved to extend the JEO meeting by an additional ten minutes.  The motion passed unanimously, 20:0.

Mr. Ralston maintained that raising taxes would provide only a temporary solution to the ambulance funding problem and that more comprehensive revenue-generating solutions would need to be explored.

Mr. Handy excused himself from the meeting at 1:33 p.m.  Mr. Fleenor subsequently recognized that there was no longer a quorum from the Lane County Board of Commissioners.

Ms. Wylie felt it would be important for the jurisdictions to keep their options open in order to fully address the long-term ambulance funding problem.

Mr. Pryor appreciated the work that had been done by the task force and felt that other options would need to be explored in greater detail in addition to further exploration regarding the use of special taxing districts.

Ms. Ortiz thanked Chief Groves, Chief Murphy and Chief Borland for their work on the task force and felt that the ambulance funding difficulties were likely to worsen in the future.  She encouraged the task force and the JEO to thoughtfully consider all of the options being presented.

Mr. Stewart thanked the task force representatives for their presentation and looked forward to further information regarding the ambulance funding issues.

Mr. Zelenka and Mr. Ralston adjourned the JEO meeting and their respective council meeting sessions at 1:37 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

Jon Ruiz

 

(Recorded by Wade Hicks)