BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'

WORK SESSION

March 3, 2009

2:00 p.m.

Harris Hall Main Floor

APPROVED 3/18/2009

 

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.

 

5. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS

 

e. REPORT/Willamette Basin Climate Study.

 

Bob Doppelt, Director, The Climate Leadership Initiative, reported that they have completed an assessment of the likely consequences of climate change for the Upper Willamette Basin.  He distributed a document (copy in file) regarding the present information around climate change.

 

Roger Hamilton, Government Program Director, gave a power point presentation on the Willamette Basin Climate Study.

 

6. PUBLIC WORKS

 

a. DISCUSSION/Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) Request to Provide a Letter of Support for ODOT Region 2’s Earmark Request Priority, the I-5/Beltline Project.

 

Celia Barry, Public Works, asked for approval for the chair to sign a letter of support.  She indicated that ODOT is pursuing an earmark on Phases 3 and 4 of the I-5 Beltline.  She added that last month the MPO unanimously approved support.

 

MOTION: to have Board Chair sign a letter of support.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 5-0.

 

DISCUSSION Lane Transit District’s Proposal to Allocate a Portion of Surface Transportation Program-Urban (STP-U) Funds for Transit. (PULLED)

 

b. Urging a Field Burning Ban in Oregon.

 

Sorenson recalled that over the past few years the Board had been involved in the aspects of the grass seed industry and the issues created by field burning in Oregon.  He said last year the Board sent a letter to the Environmental Quality Commission asking them to eliminate field burning.  He noted HB528 is in the legislature  regarding field burning.

 

Dan Galpern, Western Environmental Law Center, explained that the bill the Board is being asked to take a position on is SB528 in the Senate.  He added that there is a similar measure in the House, HB2183.  He said HB2183 is sponsored by the governor and it reflects his assessment that field burning needs to end in order to protect public health.  Galpern noted that it phases out field burning in the Willamette Valley over three years.  He indicated that HB528 is sponsored by Senators Prozanski, Morrisette, Walker, Bates, Holvey and Barnhart, ending field burning immediately.  He believed the governor’s proposal was a step in the right direction.  Galpern stated that they support SB528 because it is the only measure  that would afford effective relief to people in the Willamette Valley so they wouldn’t have to suffer through another two years of field burning. 

 

Galpern explained that the risks imposed on residents of the Willamette Valley are significant and they believe this is the time to take the step.  He noted that HB2183 will be before the House Health Committee on March 11 and SB528 will be before the Senate Environment Committee on March 12.  He stated that communication from Lane County Commissioners could be helpful.

 

MOTION: to approve the resolution supporting the ending of field burning.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.

 

Richardson indicated that there is a legislative report tomorrow by Alex Cuyler, Intergovernmental Relations Manager, and she thought it would be helpful if this and the opposing bill are discussed by the Legislative Committee.

 

Dwyer withdrew his motion. 

 

Handy asked about the difference between SB528 and HB2183.

 

Galpern explained that the governor’s bill would phase out field burning over three years.  He added that under SB528, (the measure the law center is supporting) field burning would be ended immediately.  He indicated that under the governor’s bill, the Smoke Management Burn Program would remain with the Department of Agriculture and under SB528, the smoke management program would be removed from the Department of Agriculture and would be placed with the Department of Environmental Quality under the assumption that it is the DEQ that is supposed to be responsible for air quality in Oregon.

 

MOTION: to postpone this item until an appropriate time tomorrow.

 

Fleenor MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 5-0.

 

c. ORDER 09-3-3-2/In the Matter of Relinquishing County-Owned Road Fund Property to the City of Eugene for River Avenue and River Road Pursuant to ORS 271.330.

 

Frank Simas, Public Works, explained that this item relates to the County owned property at the intersection of the Beltline Highway and River Road.  He recalled that in 2007 the Board authorized an intergovernmental agreement wherein a portion of the property was sold to Lane Transit District for continued use as a transit center.  He added that at the same time the Board authorized a portion of the property to be retained to be leased to a private business.   He said in connection with completing the transaction, it was necessary to do a property line adjustment survey.  He added as part of the survey, it was determined that there were portions of County owned property that were not dedicated as public road or street right-of-way, but were in use as public sidewalk and street paving for both River Road and River Avenue. 

 

Simas noted that the area in question is 8,299 square feet.  He recalled that the Board granted an option to Pacific Continental Bank for the purpose of conducting a branch banking facility in November and as part of their due diligence, they met with the city of Eugene.  He said this came up as County owned property along the frontage of River Road and River Avenue.  He added with the County owned property not being dedicated, it could be construed as land locking the property and it has no frontage.  He indicated that in the process of completing the transaction for the sale, once it was determine the property there was not dedicated, Lane Transit District had no interest in purchasing it.  He said at that point they determined it was best to deal with the issue as part of the leasing of the piece being retained. 

 

Simas reported that both River Road and River Avenue are city streets, surrendered in 1987.  He said if this area had been part of the street at that time, it would have gone along with the surrender.  He added that it is standard practice for Lane County to surrender streets when requested to do so by the city of Eugene.  He received a request that they relinquish this area.  He noted this type of transaction is permitted to be completed by ORS 271.330.  He added that it needs to be used as a public purpose for no less than 20 years.  He indicated that the area historically has been maintained by the city and will continue to do so.  He said the transfer to the city is permitted by statute.   He stated that staff recommendation is for the deed to be authorized.

 

MOTION: to approve ORDER 09-3-3-2.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.

 

Handy said as a citizen he was on the River Avenue Redesign Committee.  He said that committee came up with recommendations.  He commented that River Avenue and River Road is one of the most dangerous intersections in the metro area.  He noted with the high school nearby, traffic comes to the intersection and there is a missing piece of signage to direct eastbound traffic through the intersection to turn north and to use Beltline instead of going down River Avenue.  He asked if the County could be involved in working with signage at this intersection that could help with public safety.

 

Marsha Miller, Public Works, said they could make a recommendation to the city about signage and bring it to their attention.

 

Spartz recommended asking the city to do a traffic study instead of asking them to put up a sign.

 

Dwyer amended his motion to include a letter to let the city about the intersection, recommending a sign be placed for the safety of the children.

 

Sorenson asked Miller to draft a letter and work with Handy.

 

VOTE: 5-0.

 

7. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS

 

a. DISCUSSION/State Cuts to County.

 

Eric Schmidt, AOC reported that today the Oregon Senate passed a rebalance of the 07/09 budget.  He added that it is expected to pass the House and the governor said that he would sign the rebalance.  He commented that it will be detrimental to the counties, but it could have been worse.

 

Ann Hanus, AOC, reported that the legislature is to fill a net deficit of $862 million through a combination of budget cuts to agencies and program areas and other fund accounts to help plug the general fund.  She said they made cuts totalling $311 million and swept in other funds of another $83 million.  She added that and they took some of the federal stimulus money for about $400 million.

 

Schmidt noted the original proposal for the Community Corrections grant was about $12.5 million, but it ended up being under $7 million. 

 

Hanus said the cut is for the 07/09 bieunneum.  She said Lane County’s current allocation is $2,651,000.  She indicated with the amount of the grant at $6.9 million, it would mean a $658,000 cut with the April allocation to $1,993,000. or a 25 percent cut in the final allocation.

 

Handy asked about the strategies for using the stimulus money.

 

Hanus said the total for the stimulus is $1.6 billion.  She noted that the governor is going to parcel it out over different years.  She added that the rainy day fund is $365 million and the education fund is $527 million with total state funding of $892 million for reserves or $2 billion to be used for the next biennium

 

Schmdit didn’t know if there was political will to use the rainy day fund.

 

Handy asked about the income when looking at the 09/11 budget and how AOC is going to make a case for Lane County’s needs.

 

Schmidt responded that AOC will make every member of the legislature aware of the County’s situation.  He indicated that the legislature was given a detailed report about the Timber Fund Task Force.  He said it was a valuable resource about the counties’ services and how they are funded.  He said it was important the counties received timber payments and the reauthorization was welcomed, but it was not complete and it doesn’t make the counties whole, it just brings them up to the previous levels of poverty.

 

Stewart asked if Lane County opts out and is down to 27 jail beds, if the state would step up and fund beds from the County.  He didn’t think the state had the funds to rent beds.

 

Schmidt stated that the legislators need to realize what is provided at the county level is more effective than for them to take over the running of the jails.

 

Russ Burger, Sheriff, asked what the projects for 09/11 looked like.  He said they have a shortfall for this biennium.  He said there is a plan for the next fiscal year and the opt out becomes part of the discussion.  He thought it would be bad for Lane County but they need to know where they are going to be next year for Community Corrections.

 

Hanus said the amount for 09/11 was dropped down; with the difference between the government budget and resources at $1.7 billion.  She indicated that it could be reduced by use of the federal stimulus but she couldn’t give the exact amount.

 

 

Schmidt commented that they can’t say for sure but changes in the rebalance could transfer to the 09/11 budget.

 

b. REPORT/Public Safety Briefing.

 

Lisa Smith, Department of Youth Services, reported that they were lucky, given the magnitude of the cuts.  She and Linda Wagner, Department of Youth Services, developed a position  paper using the Lane County DYS cost avoided model to show the efficacy of the basic in diversion funds the counties get to manage the high risk population.  She said their projected cuts went down significantly for what came directly to the counties.  She said the cut to DYS is about $24,000 reduced in their gang grant funds that provide mentoring services to the minority population.  She reported that the funding will be eliminated effective June 1.  She added that the basic services dollars were reduced for Lane County by $12,000, paying for detention services.  She said it means they will put a halt to their mandatory training in blood borne pathogens and CPR.  She added that they will have to closely monitor overtime issues.  She indicated that the diversion services reduction will be $5,000, for staff that does intensive probation services with sex offenders and treatment services for sex offenders and polygraphs.  She indicated that they will focus on scaling back treatment dollars and the usage of polygraphs for the rest of the biennium.  he said they are trying to minimize staff cuts. She noted that a majority of the cuts came in the form of closed custody and community treatment beds. She said they have to manage more with fewer resources.

 

Burger sent the Board a recap of the budget the Sheriff’s Office has faced and how they mitigated each of those issues.  He said the biggest problem they currently face is the $658,000 shortfall coming out of the state of Oregon for Community Corrections they have to make up by June 20, 2009.  He said in order to do that, they have to make cuts to different programs.  He said they have to cut $242,000 out of adult corrections including electronic surveillance community service at the jail and the Community Corrections Center.  With regard to Parole and Probation, he indicated that it is a total of $175,000 and the rest is out of treatment and transition services including sex offender services, mental health services, substance abuse and assessment and evaluation services.  He indicated that the Supervisory Authority Team made a recommendation yesterday and that goes to the PSCC Adult Corrections Committee who makes a recommendation to the full PSCC and then to the Board of Commissioners.  He added that once a decision is made, there is a 10 period to give notice to the subcontractors so they can make reductions as necessary.  He commented that it will disrupt the public safety system significantly.  He said in the Sheriff’s Office they could lose as many as 12 positions in Parole and Probation.  He added that about 1,150 offenders go unsupervised as soon as they do that because they are already carrying twice the caseload for an average for the state of Oregon for Parole and Probation officers.

 

Dwyer asked what the Board could do to help alleviate the problem between now and June 30 and into the future.

 

Burger recommended that the Board fill the gap between now and June 30 so they don’t have to make the reductions.  He added that they don’t know what will happen with the Community Corrections Center during the next biennium.  He said the revenue projections are not good and there will be an impact to the entire state of Oregon with the $3.3 billion cut.  He stated that they need to keep Community Corrections even if it is a reduced amount to maintain control.  He said if it goes back to the state of Oregon, their ability to coordinate and provide the service as a cohesive unit becomes difficult.  He asked for $658,000.

 

Fleenor concurred with Dwyer that they should do whatever they can.  He asked if Lane County could keep the money under its own control and keep as many probation officers as possible.  He commented that probation officers have a good track record keeping recidivism rates down.

 

Burger said it is a policy decision and public safety response that has to be decided.  He said it can’t just be jail or just Parole and Probation, they need all of the components of the system for it to work.  He commented that every segment in Lane County is at such a reduced level that the system doesn’t work the way it should.

 

Handy asked what they could realistically be able to fund in July. He said they need to address real needs now but avoid Lane County going off the cliff by funding things they have no expectation that they can fund in the future.

 

MOTION: to direct County Administrator Spartz to prepare the necessary paperwork to fund the Community Correction Center for $658,034.55 out of reserves.

 

Stewart said this has to go before the PSCC meeting March 30 and then it comes to the Board the first week in April.  He said the Sheriff can’t wait until April to determine whether the Board is going to act on the cuts.  Stewart said the Sheriff has to send layoff notices tomorrow.  He didn’t want to send that message.  He stated that they have to stand up and say those are the services they need to fund to the end of June and to let the budget process determine where the cuts should be after they know about the state funding reductions for the next fiscal year.

 

Stewart MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.

 

Dwyer commented that doing nothing is not an option.  He said they haven’t improved anything, they salvaged a sick system.

 

Fleenor stated that this was backfilling, not an add package.  He said he would support this because it is not going to get any better.  He said they need public safety. 

 

Handy was not comfortable that the $658,000 was as focused as it needs to be.  He was willing to move forward in the next budget cycle.  He wanted to make an amendment to the motion for a possible supplemental consideration tomorrow including $20,000 for DYS and $146,000 for Humans Services along with the Sheriff’s request.  He asked Spartz to find out what it would cost to fund two positions for grant writing development so they could leverage other money.

 

Stewart accepted his amendment.  Dwyer amended his second.

 

Spartz said he would bring this back on tomorrow’s agenda for $814,000.

 

Stewart reported that he will not be at tomorrow’s meeting and he fully supports the action and hopes it passes tomorrow.

 

VOTE 5-0.

 

Fleenor wanted information on Marion County’s probation center and to possibly use Lane County’s DOMC as a good place to put capacity based releases.

 

Burger said he would get information from other counties as models.  He said they need to try to develop the Sherman Center as a clearing house for offenders in addressing recidivism.

 

8. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Handy reported that he attended the NAACP dinner, celebrating 100 years of the organization.  He discussed the difficult problems the students at North Eugene High School encountered.  He said he liked the response of the students.

 

Stewart reported that he would not be at the meeting tomorrow as he had family matters to attend to.

 

Sorenson said he recently took a trip to Washington, D.C. and attended a conference on fuel efficiency and rail economy.  He reported that one train can haul 280 truck trailers or the equivalent of over 1,100 cars in traffic.  He announced at Lane Community College on March 14 the program Girls Rule.  He announced that the Board will be meeting at Centro Latino Americano this evening for a community outreach and dialogue.  He reported that on Friday there will be a Community of Colors meeting at the Atrium Building.

 

Stewart announced that the Row River Water District was notified by the state that they were awarded $ 1 million in a community block grant.  He attended the LCOG meeting to assist to help with the public safety system to find ways to improve it.  He noted that Mayor Brubaker gave a presentation.  Stewart noted that elected officials in different areas recognize the need and when the time is right, the Board will have support from different elected officials throughout the County.

 

Handy noted that the Board passed a resolution regarding Developmentally Disabled Month in Lane County.  He noted there is a display in the front lobby of the courthouse on Developmentally Disabled Month.  

 

 

9. EMERGENCY BUSINESS

 

a. ORDER 09-3-3-3/In the Matter of Appointing Members to Fill Vacancies on the Forestland-Urban Interface Classification Committee.

 

Sorenson reported that the applications are from Keir Miller of Land Management, Bob Kintigh, Steve Woodard and Steve Cafferata.

 

Stewart explained that the Board is being requested to fill three vacancies on the Forestland-Urban Interface Committee.  He believed one of the positions requires a person that lives within the forest and that is met by Kintigh and Woodard.  He thought Kier Miller could be an advisor to the committee and they could appoint the other three.

 

MOTION: to approve ORDER 09-3-3-3 appointing Bob Kintigh, Steve Woodard and Steve Cafferata.

 

Stewart MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.

 

Sorenson stated these would be one year positions beginning today.

 

VOTE: 5-0.

 

11. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660

 

Per ORS 192.660 (L) for the purpose of discussing potential and pending litigation.  Per ORS 192.660 (f) for the purpose of considering information and records that are exempt by law from public inspection.  Per ORS 102.660(2)(d) for the purpose of conducting deliberations with labor negotiators.

 

There being no further business, Commissioner Sorenson recessed the meeting at 5:05 p.m.

 

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary.