Harris Hall Main Floor
Commissioner Pete Sorenson presided with Commissioner 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. ADJUSTMENTS TO
Jim Seaberry, Eugene, said he was given information by the Larsons for a private road called Hodson Lane. He was asked if he would supply copies of information to the city manager of Eugene and he did. He noted the Larsons are citizens of Lane County, not a citizen of the city of Eugene. He thought this obligation was with the commissioners. He said the city is denying things that are for the County.
Mia Nelson, Lowell, discussed the budget. She said it didn’t make sense to her that Congress won’t extend the payments for the Secure Rural Schools money. She thought they needed to look as destitute as possible so they can get another hand out. She said there is no guaranty there will be any Secure Rural Schools and they shouldn’t rely on the federal government. She found an October 18 Oregonian article where it shows most counties in Oregon are planning on saving their Secure Rural Schools money. She asked staff to check with the other counties as they go through their budget process to see if they are still planning on saving SRS money. She asked the Board to do the same with some of the money.
Ruth Duemler, Eugene, commented that education has continually been cut and it is time for tax reform. She said she was sorry to see that two of the commissioners were risking more cuts in education and health services by saying they should go ahead with the jail beds. She said they have to be patient and wait until the state comes out with their budget and then they will know how much money to include for jail beds as well as money for Health and Human Services and education. She heard there will be $12 million cut from the state budget. She said the Health and Human Services building provides a great deal for the community and they are cut at every turn. She commented that tax reform has to happen in the community so they can have a just and fair tax system. She stated that city and county workers are paid twice as what teachers are being paid. She commented that education and Health and Human Services is just as important as jail beds.
Caroline Reilly, Eugene, said she was concerned about the direction of the community. She said there is a downward slide of the social fabric of the nation. She voted for change in November. She said they can’t keep investing in the military prison culture that supports violence and a punishment only strategy. She said they want investments in prevention, education and treatment that address people’s problems appropriate to their circumstances. She stated that for every dollar invested in schools, there is a seven dollar return. She added for preschools, it is a $16 to $1 return in reduction of crime, unemployment and school dropouts. She asked why Lane County wants to open more jail beds. She said she has more fear of swine flu and whooping cough. She wanted to invest in Public Health instead of jails. She supports the Budget Committee’s plan to wait to fund additional jail beds until more is known about the legislature’s funding of social services.
RESPONSE TO PUBLIC COMMENTS AND/OR OTHER ISSUES AND REMONSTRANCE
Dwyer didn’t think that Duemler was right in singling out two commissioners. He said education is important but it is not one of the roles of County government. He stated that Lane County is a general purpose government that does not have education as one of its purposes. He said the federal act gives them money for education to pass through to the Lane Education District. He said prevention programs are important, but he thought people who are victimized need to have some protection too. He commented that without sanctions it is open season for Lane County. He said people all over the United States know about the condition in Lane County and they are migrating here. He stated that he doesn’t want to live in a county that encourages perpetrators and criminals to come because there are no sanctions. He said they have the means to provide for human resources and the public safety. He indicated that he intends to spend the money and be prudent with the reserves and meet his obligations to provide for seniors and others who are important. He stated that he had always been an advocate for the poor, infirmed and elderly. He added that he is not going to abandon his responsibility to the people who are being victimized because they don’t have the courage to fund the jails.
Stewart commented that it is disheartening to hear the comments made. He supports education 100 percent. He added that he sits on the South Lane School District Budget Committee. He said they don’t have word from the state as to what their budget is. He recalled at their budget meeting they were told the Community Correction funds will be held close to whole. He added the cuts being projected by the state are not as severe to the critical services that they provide as people believe them to be. He supported additional funding for Commission on Children and Families to fund prevention programs and programs for youth. He led the charge to help the Human Services Commission with additional funding and funding for swine flu. He commented that because he supports the critical services they provide, he is asking to spend $3 million of the $20 million in reserves to fill a great need.
Handy was disappointed in his colleagues who want to marginalize people who want to come out and testify in public. He said they have additional roles as commissioners that when they sign off on urban renewal districts and enterprise zones there is a direct subtraction from school districts and other entities that are not able to collect the money.
Fleenor doesn’t think it is useful for them to lash out against each other. He said he is trying to be reasonable and understanding and acknowledge the difference of opinion. He said when they make decisions; it should be made upon sound logic, not impassioned feelings.
4. COMMITTEE REPORTS
a. REPORT/Legislative Committee.
Michael McArthur, AOC, reported that AOC conducted a survey over the state of findings of financial health of the counties. He indicated that it will be issued next Monday. He discussed what other counties were doing and discussed video lottery funding.
Alex Cuyler, Intergovernmental Relations Manager, gave a presentation on what he knows so far about the state budget. (Copy in file).
There being no further business, Commissioner Sorenson recessed the meeting at 12:00 p.m.