BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'

REGULAR MEETING

March 4, 2009

1:30 p.m.

Harris Hall Main Floor

APPROVED 3/18/2009

 

Commissioner Pete Sorenson presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bill Fleenor and Rob Handy present.  Commissioner Faye Stewart was excused.  County Administrator Jeff Spartz, County Counsel Liane Richardson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.

 

11. PUBLIC HEARINGS

 

a. PUBLIC HEARING /In the Matter of Providing an Opportunity for Testimony on the List of Project Priorities for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 Funding, as Adopted on January 28, 2009 by Board Order 09-1-28-18.

 

Celia Barry, Public Works, recalled that the Board previously took action on January 28, 2009.  She asked the Board to take testimony on the board order that included transportation priorities for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the economic stimulus money for transportation.  She asked the Board to affirm the priorities they adopted.  She indicated that there is now new money to consider for one other project. 

 

Barry said on January 28, the Boardís priorities amounted to $6 million including Clear Lake Road, Marcola Road, River Road area collectors, 23rd Street in Springfield, the Harlow Hayden Bridge Road Project and the Coast Guard Road intersection in Florence.  She said on January 28 they asked the Board to take action to meet an ODOT deadline for submitting information about their priorities.  She said since then, legislation has passed and as of yesterday, the amount for Lane County it is $1.7 million.  She noted the amount for the Central Lane Metropolitan Planning area organization area is $6.6 million; for Cottage Grove: $202,000; Florence $201,000; Junction City: $113,000 and statewide they received $330,902,389.

 

Barry explained that the legislation requires the state to obligate 50 percent in 120 days.  She said the money that needs to be obligated in 120 days was expected to only go to state projects.  She indicated that the local allocations they have received must be obligated by April 1, 2010. She said that ODOT is imposing a more stringent deadline of December 2009 because they donít want Lane County to lose the money.  She indicated that the money has been approved by the Federal Highway Administration for expenditure and it means all survey work, final plans and specifications have to be completed and reviewed.  She added that since it is federal money, it has to meet FHWA environmental requirements.  She said that limits the projects to preservation where there are not a lot of environmental issues, controversy or other complications. 

 

Barry indicated that yesterday ODOT announced that the Oregon Transportation Commission had only approved $122 million of their state proposed projects.  She indicated that left another $68 million for locals to compete.  She said in order to compete, they have to have an application by Monday and they need to show the County could obligate the money by June 17, 2009.  She said there is an EWEB bike path that is County owned land.  She noted that EWEB has an easement over it.  She indicated that it is paved and  in poor condition.  She added the project is on the MPO list of priorities as a Springfield project.  She said if it were upgraded, Willamalane would agree to take it.  She said the County would have to sign the application because it is County owned land. 

 

Barry reported that with the Countyís list of six projects, everything is likely to get some money except for Coast Guard Station Road.  She said they are checking to see if they can compete for new money for that project.  She added that if the Board affirms the list today, they could possibly get it funded.  She indicated that the cost of the Willamalane project is $250,000 and it would free up an allocation from the MPO.

 

Handy asked what other projects would get funding if Willamalane is not funded.

 

Barry responded that there were two successful Eugene projects that received the money:  Westmoreland Bike Path and Train Depot Improvements.

 

Sorenson asked if there was a work group in County government looking at the topic of how to implement the federal stimulus package.  He asked if they were at a point to have a countywide or community wide effort.

 

Barry said there has been no group assembled.  She wasnít aware of how the money was flowing out of the state except for the transportation aspect.  She said that Alex Cuyler,  Intergovernmental Relations Manager, collected lists throughout the County and they sent them to their lobbyists.  She hadnít heard about any countywide process being offered.

 

Cuyler said he has been in touch by e-mail with department directors to offer assistance related to the economic stimulus funding.

 

Handy said he was disappointed that some materials he asked for about wages and jobs for projects were not available.  He commented that it was important that the community be able to look at projects and jobs attached to the projects.  He asked how the Crest Drive overlay funding would work and if they could partner with the city of Eugene.

 

Barry said if it is on the Countyís list then it is a County road.  She said they would have to decide which projects they want to take off the list and they would have to submit a prospectus.  She didnít know if they could get the information together in time for Crest Drive.  She added that it could mean they wouldnít get their full allocation as a worst case scenario.  With regard to collaborating with the city of Eugene, she said that Eugene did not submit Crest Drive as a priority for their list.  She wasnít sure Eugene was looking for collaboration on that project. 

 

Handy said if the city wants to partner with them with regard to Crest Drive, that they are being transparent and getting information out.  He wanted to make sure they can get web information onto the web as soon as possible.  He wanted equity and fairness around how jobs are awarded to contractors and how they address females and minorities.  He asked for a summary of issues.

 

Richardson stated that there have been many lawsuits since 1989. She couldnít find a current one in Oregon claiming that Oregonís DBE policies are violations of civil rights.  She said there was a case out of Washington State where it was found that federal law was constitutional but it wasnít constitutional regarding transportation and that study needed to be done.  She said since it was in the Ninth Circuit Court, it applied in all states.  She couldnít find anything currently fighting Oregonís process in declaring a business as a DBE.

 

Commissioner Sorenson opened the Public Hearing.

 

Bob Keefer, Springfield, reported that he had been reviewing the stimulus bill for opportunities for Willamalane.  He indicated that they have several projects that could work within the EWEB bike path.  He noted the bike path runs through north Springfield from Pioneer Parkway to 31st Street.  He recalled that in 1978 the County built the facility and in 1983 closed the park system and laid off all staff.  He said since that time the County had not maintained the facility.  He thought it was a liability for the County.  He offered that if the facility was brought up into good shape that Willamalane would take over management and maintenance of the facility.  He added that they could inherit something that was dilapidated.  He said with the funding they would be receiving he asked the Board to support staffís recommendation to allow the County to sign for the grant application to the state and take it out of the new round of projects.  He explained that the project needs to go this summer and it will not require any more than clean up and concrete work.  He said it is ready to go and meets the criteria of being in an economically distressed area.  He added that they would be willing to help manage and write grants so it could be submitted on Monday.  He said the city of Springfield was also interested in it because it is an important transportation corridor and something inside the city.  He said it will also meet neighborhood needs.  He commented that this is a great project and one that is worth the Boardís support.  He asked the Board to support staffís recommendation and allow this to free up MPO funds for other projects in Springfield.

 

Desiree Moore, Eugene, asked if there would be an opportunity for collaboration between public and private funds around housing on foreclosures.

 

Thomas Brandt, Marcola, stated that everyone who travels Marcola Road often knows there are soft spots on the road.  He thought the road should be looked at and prepared better so spots donít reappear. He commented that they need passenger rail.  He thought money spent on rail would be for future generations.  He said they need to have people movers into town.  He stated that they have to watch how and where the money is spent.

 

There being no one else signed up to speak, Commissioner Sorenson closed the Public Hearing.

 

Sorenson asked what the timeline was for submittal of projects.

 

Barry responded that ODOT asked them for information last week to confirm what the project list was.  She said ODOT wanted the information immediately.

 

Richardson said she saw an e-mail and it said if they donít have a final answer to ODOT by this Friday, it will not be included in the first batch of funding.

 

MOTION: to move the projects including the Willamalane project as long as it doesnít jeopardize another project.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Fleenor SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 3-1 (Handy dissenting).

 

Handy explained that there is pressure with deadlines.  He said they are worthy projects and they will do well in the community.  He said they need to know the details about where the jobs are going and how much the jobs cost.  He thought they could do better.

 

 

12. COUNTY COUNSEL

 

a. Announcements

 

Richardson said because there was turnover of staff throughout the County doing contracts, they did contract training countywide last Friday, hoping to alleviate problems.  She said they are putting resources into long term risk reduction.

 

13. PERFORMANCE AUDITOR

 

a. Announcements

 

Fleenor asked about the status report on A 87.

 

Bolinger indicated he will be reporting back on March 18.  He added that IT, Finance and the Sheriffís Department were working on it.

 

14. COMMITTEE REPORTS

 

a. ORDER 09-3-4-10 Adopting Positions on Legislative Issues During the 75th Legislative Assembly.

 

Cuyler reported that he worked with staff and the Board to develop issues they wanted to take to Salem to resolve.  He recalled that there were four issues and as of the close of business on Monday, they have five bills in place.  He added one bill got split into two.  He said they will be seeking hearings for those bills to move them through the process. 

 

Cuyler recalled the last time he was in front of the Board he brought the operating principles that were adopted during the Consent Calendar today.  He explained that it was his attempt to respond to concerns he had heard the Board discuss regarding the procedures they were following.  He said since the time the principles were discussed, there were instances where individual commissioners have taken positions on bills or trying to influence things in Salem that he was unaware of.  He thought the field burning issue was going to be discussed during the meeting today.  He indicated that there are two competing bills and the Legislative Committee worked to come up with recommendations but the Board had already taken a position.  He stated that makes his job more difficult.  He said they have to have a procedure to follow and he didnít want individual commissioners to go against what the full Board had wanted.

 

Sorenson discussed Cuylerís handout. (Copy in file). Number 1, they opposed,  Number 2 they supported,.  Number 3, they supported,.  Number 4, they monitored.

 

Richardson explained that by supporting the Senate Bill and not the House Bill, it undercuts the program that Mike McKenzie-Bahr is working on.  She noted that HB2183 supports his study.  She didnít know if the Board was aware and if they wanted to consider changing their position on the resolution.

 

Sorenson disagreed with Richardson. He stated that McKenzie-Bahrís program is  economic opportunity funded by the Oregon Department of Agriculture. He said it was related but not on whether or not there was a ban on field burning.  He wanted McKenzie-Bahr and Vorhes to send an e-mail to the Board on that topic. Sorenson said it could affect them, but a bill regarding air quality is a separate topic than a program funded by the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

 

Sorenson reported Number 5, they supported; Number 6, they supported; Number 7, they changed from oppose to monitor; Number 8, they supported; Number 9, they supported; Number 10 they supported; Number 11, they monitored; Number 12, they monitored; Number 13, they supported; Number 14, they supported; Number 15, they supported; and Number 16, they supported.

 

MOTION:  to approve ORDER 09-3-4-10 with the following modifications:  Number 3 from monitor to support, Number 4 moved from support to monitor, Number 7, moved from oppose to monitor, Number 12, moved from monitor to support.

 

Fleenor MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.

 

Handy wanted to add SB29 about the instant runoff voting.

 

Sorenson wanted the Legislative Committee to consider SB29 and bring it back.

 

Cuyler said they took a position in the first Legislative Committee meeting during the session to say monitor.  He noted there was specific language relating to the costs and how they might be reimbursed.  He noted the bill that was split dealt with elections and they tried to deal with the cost.

 

Handy asked if they waited two weeks what the pros and cons would be.

 

Cuyler responded that the position they took was to monitor with the proviso about the specific section related to costs being reimbursed from the cities.

 

Dwyer stated the process is to go through the Legislative Committee. 

 

Sorenson asked Cuyler to bring back SB 29 in his report (and their previous position) so they can discuss it after Cuyler and the Legislative Committee meet so they can forward a recommendation.

 

VOTE: 4-0.

 

Sorenson believed that each of the elected officials has certain rights to express their point of view on federal, state and local matters.  He said when they express their views they need to be careful to distinguish their views from themselves, separate from the County.  He added that appointed officials need to make it clear that when they are on County business they are expected to support the Countyís position on matters but they are also free to express their views on their own time.

 

Handy thought the process was working well.  He said any conversation he has had regarding where the Board of Commissioners weighed in and where he stands is separate

 

Fleenor concurred with Sorenson and Handy.  He said it is about resource allocation and taxpayer money.  He said they donít want all of the department heads, staff or other elected officials expending County resources representing their different positions in Salem or Washington. 

 

 

15. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION

 

a. Announcements

 

Spartz reported that the Board had attended an ambulance advisory meeting.  He indicated that there was a request  to have the Commissioners serve on the Board.  He indicated Stewart was willing to serve but they needed another commissioner.

 

Sorenson asked the commissioners to send an e-mail into the Agenda Team and they will process the request. 

 

Spartz reported that National Government Week is coming up.  He indicated that half of the money coming out of the federal stimulus package will be awarded on a competitive basis.  He said unless he hears otherwise, he is going to propose that they look at putting one or two positions into next yearís budget for people who know how to acquire those funds.  He reported that at this point, the relationship with the advisory committees have been going well.

 

b. DISCUSSION/New General Fund Forecast Tool.

 

Dave Garnick, Budget and Financial Manager, gave a presentation of the new software the Budget Department will be using.

 

c. ORDER 09-3-4-11 Allocating General Fund Reserve Dollars to Public Safety Programs to Offset Fourth Quarter Reductions in State Funding.

 

Sorenson recalled that yesterday the Board took action on a motion that Stewart made, Handy modified and the Board adopted unanimously.

 

Garnick indicated that if the Board takes action today, it would give them direction to include it in the next supplemental budget.

 

Sorenson read the board order into the record.

 

MOTION: approve ORDER 09-3-4-11.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Fleenor SECONDED.

 

Dwyer supported the order but he thought they should have given the Human Services Commission more money. He said they are going to have to revisit this issue because the numbers are mounting.

 

Fleenor commented that this was a matter of necessity as a result of cutbacks from the state with the current budgeting year.  He indicated that this was backfilling programs they had already appropriated revenue from the state that is not showing up.  He said it is not a restoration of programs but a preservation of programs.  He thought they should look at other programs that are impacted negatively by the stateís downturn in the economy and the collection of income tax.

 

Handy said he was committed to having a realistic common sense approach to the budget to make sure that Lane County doesnít go off the cliff.

 

VOTE: 4-0.

 

Sorenson recalled that when they voted yesterday that Stewart expressed his support.

 

 

16. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Handy commented that with the grim news and the unemployment rate heading toward 11 percent, he was reminded that with the entrepreneurial spirit that they have in the community, that necessity is often the mother of invention.  He said in the midst of the 80ís he started a business.  He commented that small businesses are the backbone of a good local economy.  He announced a University of Oregon program helping business to save money and reducing their carbon footprint.  He indicated it was a 10 week commitment.

 

Fleenor stated that the country just passed a milestone; 3.2 percent of all Americans are either in jail or under supervision.  He indicated that it is an epidemic and they need to take on the problem.  He commented that what they are doing is filling jails but not helping fellow Americans.

 

Dwyer thought they needed reform on how they treat criminals.  He commented that  necessity is the mother of invention but it is difficult when so many people are competing against each other.

 

17. CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD

 

None.

 

18. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660

 

None.

 

19. OTHER BUSINESS

 

Letter about Hanford Nuclear Reservation

 

MOTION: to send the letter.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Handy SECONDED.

 

Dwyer said they need to protect the water resource and the health of the state.

 

Handy said the comment period will close.  He said the issue that impacts the County is the significant amount of truck traffic and train freight going to Hanford that will be traveling through Lane County from around the country.  He stated that they have to have a preparedness plan about how this would impact their public health and safety.

 

Fleenor said if they donít work with the nuclear energy partnership, the question will be how secure plutonium is in the other countries and if the materials could be used for the processing and development of nuclear weapons.  He was not in favor of nuclear energy, but if they are going to be doing this, they need to think about the unintended consequences.  He supported sending this letter but he wanted to make sure that what happens anywhere in the world with nuclear materials has an impact on Lane County.

 

Sorenson said the issue of transporting nuclear material through Lane County is a big issue.  He said it comes up with rail, highway and other contexts.  He thought it was something for local governments to weigh in on.  He thought they should send the letter.

 

Fleenor said there was no reference in the letter about waste being taken through Lane County.  He wanted to state that the Board is against the sending of nuclear waste across Lane County.

 

Sorenson said he wanted a paragraph that stated as members of the Board of Commissioners they strongly oppose the shipment, reprocessing or storing of nuclear waste in our community.

 

Dwyer said they should say they oppose any future shipments of these kinds of waste or expanding waste through Lane County to make it clear they are opposing this.

 

Spartz recommended saying that they were against high level nuclear material across or through Lane County

 

VOTE: 4-0.

 

There being no further business, Commissioner Sorenson adjourned the meeting at 4:45 p.m.

 

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary