BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'
May 5, 2009
Commissioner Pete Sorenson presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bill Fleenor and Rob Handy present. Faye Stewart was excused. County Administrator Jeff Spartz, County Counsel Liane Richardson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were present.
11. PUBLIC WORKS
a. REPORT BACK/Land Management Budget.
Marsha Miller, Public Works, said they are here to discuss items related to Land Mangement and Waste Mangement. She indicated that two of the items are reviews of the Land Management Fund specifically and the solid waste fund. She noted the other two items are related to the current status of Land Management and the potential for revenue support.
Miller stated that Land Management is not able to continue the basic level
of services without financial assistance. She
added that even though they reduced staff
by 50 percent, they are not able to recover their costs through fees.
She said the division needs assistance. She
explained that the Land Use Code is out of date and it is cumbersome.
She added that it needs to be revised and streamlined, but there are no
resources to do the work. She said
that land use and permitting processes need to be re-engineered but there are no
resources to do that work. She noted
the current fees in Land Management are high and some services can be supported
with permit fees. She said services
like customer service, long range planning, public information requests,
response to citizen requests, board requests, enforcement and appeal processing
are not feasible services to recover with fees.
She indicated there are currently no counties or cities in the state of
Oregon currently recovering all of the costs for planning services through fees.
She noted that most of the counties in
Matt Laird, Land Management, said the question is should
b. REPORT BACK/Land Management Fund.
Tanya Heaton, distributed and discussed Land Management Fund spreadsheets. (Copy in file).
c. REPORT BACK/Waste Management Fund.
Heaton distributed and discussed Waste Management Fund spreadsheets. (Copy in file).
d. DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE
DIRECTION/Waste Management Revenue Support to Land Management Division for
Long-Range Planning and Citizen Permit Fee Reductions.
Fleenor stated that the Board
requested that Public Works, Land Management and Waste Mangement come to them
and give ideas on how they can improve efficiencies and effectiveness of their
Land Management Divison in a period of financial uncertainty and provide some
financial certainty with areas of Land Management that have not been properly
funded for many years. He wanted to
know how they can have a Land Management Division that is more customer service
oriented. He thought this was a long
term vision with a short term launch.
Spartz said they want to better
locate Land Management and they think Delta is a better location for most
customers. He said if they could
find a source of money, to automate systems so they are doing less paperwork and
the customer could do much of the work over the internet.
He added the issue is how to finance the necessary activities that they
can not fairly charge for fees.
Miller said they have a desire to
improve customer service but the barrier has been funding.
She indicated the policy decision is up to the Board to find a
sustainable funding source and to make them as efficient as possible.
She commented that funding and closing the gap in a sustainable way is a
Fleenor thought there is a link
between Land Management, Waste Management and long range planning.
He thought they have an opportunity to restructure how they are financing
long range planning by incorporating the fee into their garbage costs.
He wanted to look at nuisance site clean up and waste diversion
opportunities they created last year when they increased the tipping fees.
He wanted to review what was the waste diversion relative to the new
reality they are in. He said the prioritization needs to be focused on
preserving the general fund for essential public safety issues and public health
and using other enterprise funds to sustain services.
Handy asked if there was a minimum
requirement in the state statutes for a County to fund Land Management Division
Laird said all of Land Managmenet
is currently at the minimum staffing to maintain state mandates.
He added that Land Management is having difficulty maintaining those
mandates currently and they continue to have difficulty.
He said with building and sanitation, Lane County doesnít have to
provide those services, (the state could provide the building program services)
but it takes four years to get out of the agreement.
Richardson said there are five or
six various requirements that Land Management have to provide.
She doesnít know if they would run into the same problem as they did
with Assessment and Taxation, where the state threatens to take it over and then
charge the County where they would be paying
Miller said on the building permit
side, (because they are a contract agent through the state building codes
division) as a County they could say they would not do those services, but it
would take several years to get out. She
added the state would turn the services bck to the County to do because they
donít have the resources to do it and charge back.
Sorenson asked when the Board
would receive these proposals.
Miller said the Board could move
forward to take actions. She thought the one issue is sustainable funding.
Sorenson indicated that they are
not in a position to give any money out of the general fund.
He said they want to explore the idea of increasing the garbage fee.
He asked what kind of proposal Miller could put together.
Miller said she could come back to
the Board with a proposal that would have more definitive factors within 30
Dwyer said there hasnít been
money for long range planning. He
said there has to be a nexus from what they tax and what they do.
He said the fact that everyone builds a house and creates garbage is not
a reason to tax people for something that is not related to garbage.
He commented that garbage is a diminishing return.
He said they have to be careful to tie a fee to something that
diminishes. He said they
have to quantify how many people and what they expect them to do.
He said they have to think about what resources they have now and the gap
and find a fee that has a nexus between what they do that is fair and practical.
Fleenor said they have an
immediate urgency. He asked how they
are going to keep Land Management funded for the short term and for their
$450,000 request from the general fund that will come at another programís
expense. He thought they could
look at existing revenue funds they created prior to the economic meldown that
might be better diverted in the short run to help Land Management.
He thought keeping Land Management where it is is better than nothing,
but they have an opportunity to move Land Management to
Delta, incorporate electronic programming opportunities to increase
efficiencies that will drive down costs for permits and inspections.
He wanted to reconsider on a one time basis transferring a portion or the
nuisance site clean up and waste diversion to help backfill the general fund
request and as they move forward to examine using some of that to help fund long
range planning. He said if they are
going to see a significant price increase in two or three years, he wanted to
capture it early. He thought July 1,
2009 would be a good starting point for a nominal price increase of four or five
percent over a five year period. He
also wanted to add another dollar per ton tipping fee to see what it would cost
to sustain long range planning with the assumption that all building inspection
permits would be at full cost recovery.
Handy agreed with the
consolidation of Land Management at Delta blending Land Management with Waste
Management. He wanted it to move
forward with the beginning of the fiscal year.
He wanted to send this matter to the Resource Advisory Committee to get
ideas on the issues and what the next general idea of a nexus fee might be.
He said it was important to find a balance between development and
planning that they are missing.
Sorenson said they heard concerns
about the proposals on people who are coping with the garbage they are
producing. He wanted a concept that
would lower the fees on indivivuals because of the recession.
Fleenor wanted to look on an ongoing basis how much it would cost to have a modest staff for long range planning. He asked what the cost would be for at least 2 FTE compliance officers to fund off of an additional fee yet to be determined by July 1, to go into increasing the tipping chargers over a five year period. He wants to have this defined with the staffing necessary to do code changes to make sure they are in compliance on a long term basis.
Miller thought she could get back
to the Board in two to three weeks with more definition around the things that
were raised and some options for what it would take to provide services, the
code revisions, dealing with the long range planning issues, the two code
compliance positions and the electronic file conversion.
She heard there is interest in looking at the tipping fee and accessing a
portion of the money already in the fund for nuisance abatement and diversion
programs and looking at tapping some of the future tipping fee or an increase.
12. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660
Per ORS 102.660 (2)(h) fur the purpose of discussing potential litigation.
13. OTHER BUSINESS
There being no further business, Commissioner Sorenson recessed the meeting into Executive Session at