LANE COUNTY BUDGET COMMITTEE

Thursday, May 7, 2009

5:15 p.m.

BCC Conference Room

APPROVED 2/2/2010

 

Chair Alice Kaseberg presided with Budget Committee members present:  Scott Bartlett, Bill Dwyer, Bill Fleenor, Rob Handy, Denis Hijmans, Cindy Land, Peter Sorenson, Faye Stewart and Rose Wilde present.  County Administrator Jeff Spartz and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.

 

I. CALL MEETING TO ORDER

 

Chair, Alice Kaseberg called the meeting to order.

 

II. COMMITTEE BUSINESS

 

Approval of Minutes of April 30, 2009

 

MOTION: to approve the April 30, 2009 minutes.

 

Fleenor MOVED, Land SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 10-0.

 

Review of Materials

 

Jennifer Inman, Senior Budget Analyst, reviewed errors in the forms.  She indicated that there was $150,000 to the better of the general fund.  She reviewed other forms in the packet. (Copy in file).

 

III. YOUTH SERVICES

 

Lisa Smith, Director, Department of Youth Services, explained that the department is the only one in Lane County that offers juvenile justice services. Smith indicated that with large revenue variations from state and  federal revenue loss, two grant losses are ending this year. She noted that one was an Oregon Youth Authority Gang Grant for $95,000.  She indicated that another loss is a grant through the Oregon Department of Children and Families for a gender specific challenge grant for girls in the juvenile justice system for $20,000.  She added they had carried over $107,000 from a Serbu endowment and they wonít have that this year.  She anticipated a loss of U.S. Department of Labor grant for $777,000 that would pay for the Martin Luther King Educational Center vocational training, the Culinary Arts and the computer and Vet Tech Programs.  She hadnít received word if that was going to be renewed. She indicated that state funds help pay for the cost of detention and intensive probation service to help maintain the close custody caps.  She stated at this point she believed there would be cuts for basic service and diversion of $224,648.  She added the cuts would include funds to pay for treatment, polygraphs for sex offenders and wrap around funds for youth for about $15,300.  She said for juvenile crime prevention, the reduction in state funds for foster care and the MLK program will  be reduced by $171,936.  She indicated there would be a revenue decrease of $1.4 million from the state and federal sources.  For expenses, she indicated their utilities were up 25 percent because they run a 24/7 operation. She noted that materials and services were up four percent and the County indirect was up 11.3 percent from two years ago.  She added that personnel expenses were up six percent.

 

Smith indicated that they have made cuts of $24,000 in their gang grant to provide minority services in the 07/09 biennium.  She recalled in the 08/09  the state courts paid for a security screener. She said to deal with their budget, they reduced that person to half time.   She indicated there was a $30,000 unexpected expense for video cameras. She added that they are also losing video lottery dollars of $120,000.  She noted there is a loss of  a total $1.5 million for vocational, a loss of a minimum of  4 FTE or six percent of total staff.  She added they have 17 fewer FTE now than they did in 1980 when they handled 800 referrals.  She noted they now have 4,102 referrals in 2008 with fewer employees.

 

Smith explained that if the $224,000 in state funds is not covered by the general fund, they would be closing 50 percent of detention beds to eight beds.  She said they would have to reduce staff and they would no longer be in compliance with Oregonís Detention Standards.  She noted they have 400 admissions per year in detention and it would go down to 200.  She indicated they would have to reduce their security scanner,  and they would have no one to do it.  She stated that it was an unacceptable situation.  She noted there is a court order and policy issue from  July 1998 stating all persons shall go through the screening process and they are currently not in compliance.  She added that the Lane County Internal Auditor has spoken about his concerns of security. She indicated that $50,000 would allow them to have a full time screener. She noted that if the Phoenix Program is not funded, 60 to 80 high risk youth would not receive intensive treatment and they would lose federal behavior service leverage in the amount of $361,000.  She added if Pathways is not funded, they would lose the ability to house 24 to 32 high risk boys with residential alcohol and drug problems of $199,000.  She commented that any significant reduction to the DYS budget could result in is a loss of the Serbu endowment of $82,000 every year for the Rap Court.

 

IV. ASSESSMENT AND TAXATION

 

Anette Spickard, Assessor, reported that they have 60 FTE, and that has been the same for the past several years.  She indicated there is no change proposed for next year.  She noted the main increase in expenditures is the cost in the increase in personnel.  She added that 54 of 60 employees are covered by AFSCME and the increases are from the contract.  She noted that the overall increase for personnel changes is $482,000.  She indicated that she worked hard in other areas of the budget for the reductions.  She added she cut expenditures to save the County money and saved $72,000.

 

Spickard indicated there are no reductions slated for their department.  She noted there are other revenue sources that are tied to Assessment and Taxation that come into general expense.  She said there is an adjustment in pass through as a result of a decrease in recording fees occurring statewide.  She added that next year in the proposed budget there is nothing in the federal or state budget that affects their budget.  She estimated that from the fiscal office there could be a 30 percent reduction spread across all 36 counties and Lane Countyís reduction would $188,000, but it hasnít been reflected yet.

 

With regard to areas where changes would have an impact, Spickard reported there is a relationship to qualify for state funding and meeting minimum requirements.  She noted that the County qualified for between 20 and 25 percent to be paid for grant leveraging.   She said they spend $6 million on operations and they bring in $31 million for the County.

 

V. HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

 

Rob Rockstroh, Health and Human Services, reported they have over 100 revenue sources.  He said they are going to receive ARRA money. He said that there is an increase of $831 million to Medicaid to the state. He said that the Community Health Center has entitlement money.   He said the bulk of the funding is from federal and state dollars.  He gave a Power Point presentation and discussed the impacts. (Copy in file).

 

 

VI. DISCUSSION

 

What is considered significant when it comes to keeping the Serbu grant?

 

Smith responded that there is specific language for a maintenance of effort.  She explained it was designed to prevent the County from supplanting the grant.

 

In the reading material, there is research based evidence.  Give examples of scientific good or best practices that you use.

 

Smith responded that they follow evidence based practice based on SB267.  If there is efficient use of state money, they want better use for County money.  She explained that evidence based practice for juvenile delinquents emphasize cogitative skills.  She noted their whole staff was trained and they reviewed curriculum with youth through Pathways, the MLK programs, the Phoenix Program and, Thinking for a Change.  She added that Pathways Drug and Alcohol curriculum is research and evidence based and effective with delinquent youth.

 

Any possibility of evidence based practices drawing down costs?

 

Smith believed in doing the right thing with the right youth and not wasting resources by doing effective assessments at the front.  She stated that it drives costs down, using precision in determining who gets what services and when.

 

How many children are abused and what is being done about the problem?

 

Smith responded that she didnít have the dependency cases, as it is not an area they work with.

 

What currently happens when minors get a citation for minors in possession a second time?

 

Smith explained the first time they come in they are referred to the diversion program: to Looking Glass or other providers for drug and alcohol treatment. She indicated for the second time, they have consequences rendered along with drug and alcohol assessment.

 

What is science behind evidence practices based on double blind random and are the peers reviewed?

 

Smith said peers are reviewed on a variety of analysis.  She said kids get treatment and they would find a like jurisdiction.  She said it is an analysis of all studies and what is most effective.  She added that there are 250 individual studies.

 

What impact does evidence based practice in DYS  prevents adults versus the rationale of juvenile halls of the past?

 

Smith noted with Lane County they have the ability to track youth in the adult system.

 

Could you give a report on the characteristics of young people released because there is a cap. What is the cap?

 

Smith reported that the DYS detention is limited to 16 beds.  She added that anytime more than 16 offenders come in, they have to let someone go.  She said it is determined by the type of crime and risk in the community.  She indicated the total bed capacity is for 96 beds and they are only operational for 32:  16 for the Phoenix Program and 16 for detention. 

 

Could you give two services or programs in the department to be most likely to prevent or reduce crime?

 

Smith responded that all programs work to prevent or reduce crime.  She said it has to do with case management of what the counselors do.  She indicated the program services are to keep kids on the right track.  She noted for the Phoenix Program they are getting kids on meth who are getting sober and they also have family treatment that deals with family issues.  She commented that in the MLK Center there is a connection between meaningful employment and the impact on recidivism and developing a work ethic.  She noted that behind the detention facility is a garden and the kids work it and sell the produce at the Farmers Market and the give the food to Food for Lane County.  She said they have horticulture projects growing native species.  She added that they do community work projects and they have culinary arts fundraisers.

 

Do you have a list of all the grants DYS has applied for or intend to apply, the amount, duration and when they would know if they would receive the grant.

 

Smith said she would get back to the Budget Committee.

 

Any potential for Title III funding for Youth Services?

 

Smith indicated that they tried, but it was difficult because of new restrictions.  She added that they were not able to do it.

 

Would you agree when you exceed the DYS cap that any released would be a capacity release as referenced by the adult jail.  Why donít they ever hear about the releases into the community?

 

Smith said they talk about releasing kids all the time and it is not new.  She recalled when they had 32 beds they were releasing kids but they went into the Phoenix Program because of regulations.  She noted that the Phoenix Program leverages dollars and they canít afford to operate the beds.  She said she could provide regular updates on capacity based releases.

 

Bartlett asked if DYS has to sustain cuts, how many fewer clients would she anticipate cutting.

 

Smith said they look at low risk offenders the first time. She added that if it is a larger cut, they would be looking at doing away with half of the term of the Phoenix and Pathways programs.  She stated they are currently at the bottom level.  She said they have sustained cuts through case amendments, but they canít do it anymore.  She said they would have to look into a residential program.  She said you can put a dollar on the impact of recidivism as the cost goes up to the community.

 

How many taxing districts are in Lane County?

 

Spickard said there are 82 districts. 

 

Referring to Hynix, there is a $5 million payment from Hynix that is owed.  Is it factored into revenue projects or is it extra money?

 

Spickard stated that it has not been factored in yet.  She just received notice on April 29, after the proposed budget.  She added that it is just one time revenue.

 

Are you comfortable with IS indirect of $860,000 and the County overhead of $470,000?

 

Spickard responded that her department has the largest data base with the largest server and she is dependent upon assistance from IS.  She indicated that 2.5 FTE are dedicated to them from IS.  She commented that there is no way to get tax statements out timely without their help.  She added that the share of central support fluctuates.  She commented that she has never found mistakes in the indirect cost plan.  She said they make sure everything makes sense.

 

What is the dollar amount of general funding for your department not explicitly mandated by Oregon law?

 

Spickard explained that only a small piece isnít a specific statutory mandate.  She said that is having people at the front counter to answer question and phone calls.  She noted there is no specific state law to require public service. 

 

What is the cost to the County for mailing tax bills on behalf of the 82 taxing districts and is the County reimbursed?

 

Spickard said reimbursement is an indirect cost of the budget and it  is what the state uses to decide how many CFFA or assessor funds are allocated back to Lane County.  She said they get 20 percent.  She doesnít bill anyone directly for mailing.  She noted  page 96 of the budget shows $90,000 in postage with their main mailing in October.

 

What training and travel events are included in the budget and by whom?

 

Spickard reported that she has 22 appraisers and all have a mandatory number of hours of continuing education hours to satisfy their licenses to keep them current.  She added that the bulk is for sending appraisers to local training.  She said they are required to keep education credits current every two years for every appraiser.  She also sends her other staff to training, dealing with other technical issues and they also have to stay current.

 

If the County financial picture worsens, could you reduce your department by 40 percent and what would the reduction be?

 

Spickard responded that the basic model in the state is that property tax is part of state laws and they are run at the local level.  She added that the state of Oregon has through the Department of Revenue supervisory authority to step in if the County is not performing and meeting minimum standards under law.  She noted there is no extra staff to take on work of the counties.  She stated that counties are facing difficulties and the official position is the County certifies on Assessment and Taxation and based on certification qualification for grant funding, the state could withhold the grant and they can withhold cigarette and alcohol monies and bill the County the difference.  She commented that if the Budget Committee and the Board wanted to cut their operation by 40 percent, it wonít meet minimum standards under state law.  She noted the state said if they are unable to come to agreement on adequately staffing the department, the entire department would be laid off and the state would go through the process of re-absorbing the same employees for the state.  She added that it creates union issues and the state would run the office.  She said she would have a budget with a contract with the Department of Revenue but the state would ultimately have authority.  She stated that it is a serious undertaking if the Board wanted to move forward with this.  She commented hat it was an option, but asked that this not take place in the summer or during tax time.

 

What is the hourly rate charged by County Counsel and how is it determined.

 

Spickard responded that they will have to go back to check through the federal indirect plan.

 

As you look at what you spend money on and the statutes, could you be thinking of places to spend the money and is there flexibility?

 

Spickard stated that they always do what they can to get all the building permits, and properties inspected and put on the tax roles. She added that if there are problems, they take care of it.  She said they canít go back to do taxes, they have to get it right the first time.  She indicated that they make sure they take care of all farm and forest special assessments and special treatment properties.  She added they keep all records with the deeds and as they are getting recorded they are getting their files updated to keep the tax roles current  She said they have to make choices on what they can and canít do.  She thought they could always re-appraise areas.  She said they have discretion to do the best they can and sometimes they only have one employee doing the particular work.

 

When you send out the tax statements each year, what is your intent about inserting information about dog licenses in this yearís November mailing?

 

Spickard indicated that she hasnít designed the inserts yet.  She recalled that last year she worked with Karen Gaffney, Health and Human Services and Rob Rockstroh, Health and Human Services to figure out what they could do without costing the County money.  She developed a quarter page and put in a message about dog licensing and promoting online dog licensing.  She added that if the Board wants to use space on the existing insert, she can work that out with Rockstroh and Gaffney. She added she can discuss it if the Board wants to put in a strip of paper regarding licensing.

 

Fleenor stated that he wants to see a separate insert design maximizing dog licensing like they do in Multnomah County.

 

Spickard responded that the property tax mailing doesnít reach everyone.

 

Fleenor hoped they could get a return on their investment.  He wanted to experiment doing it for one year and if it doesnít work out then they can drop it.

 

Bartlett also wanted a separate piece of paper inserted into the tax bill for dog licensing.

 

Spickard indicated that they could do targeted mailings to specific areas of the County and they could create mailing lists.  She noted that they did not incur the $10,000 the Board allocated last year for the mailings.

 

Handy thought this was a good work session item.  He also thought they could include a slip for licenses in the upcoming census.

 

Spickard stated that no one had ever called her from the census office.

 

Do you know when the State Department of Human Services estimates will be known?

 

Rockstroh responded that nothing looks like anything is falling together.  He noted with the Co-Chairs budget, education is predicted to be cut by 22 percent with 13 percent being cut for Health and Human Services.  He added that the Department of Corrections is projected to be cut by $21 million during the biennium.  He thought Parole and Probation and the jail might not exist.  He added that 3,600 people are going to be thrown out of nursing homes because of cut backs to take care of the disabled.

 

Which services are state mandated?

 

Rockstroh indicated that Mental Health and Public Health are mandated.  He said they could have the state bill them and they could opt out but he didnít see a reason to.  He thought the money would come through.

 

What portion of current recipients of the County are covered by OHP Standard and Medicaid?

 

Rockstroh responded that he received documents but disputed their analysis.  He thought some things were calculated wrong.  He said there were some enhancements.  He said $831 million is matched with Medicaid.  He added there wasnít enough money in the general fund against Medicaid.

 

If federal money is up and the state money is down, what is the net result?

 

Rockstroh said the state has a calculation and he believes there is 96 percent of reimbursement.  He thought it was hard to figure out.  He noted there is no enhancement for Mental Health or within any division.  He said he is not seeing Public Health or Developmental Disabilities go up.

 

How much County general fund does Health and Human Services get?

 

Rockstroh said the proposed budget is $4.4 million.

 

Why should group homeowners subsidize the state and county with lower rates.  Supposed we said no.

 

Rockstroh said they pay minimum wages to people.  He noted there are millions in COLA for Mental Health providers that were cut.  He said they have to start to institutionalize people.  He said they have mental illness that is overloading the system.

 

Can you quantify how many citizens will be impacted by cuts and what happens as a result?

 

Rockstroh said they need to think about discretionary immunity.  He said they have to ask the tough questions.  Can they make the choice to cut any services would need to be discussed.   

 

Is Lane Care related to Care Oregon?

 

Rockstroh said Care Oregon is an insurance  company in Multnomah County and Lane Care is managed care for Mental Health.

 

Can you explain why LCAS pays County indirect and HHS indirect.  Is it more than what LCARA paid under Management Services?

 

Rockstroh responded that his department is large.  He said there are costs to run the department. He recalled they used to charge for local administration.  He said if they do administrative services, it is for the entire department.  He said it was a fairness standard.  He stated that LCAS has an indirect charge and they generate more money. 

 

You have stated very specific mandates and how to use the money. Even within mandates, are there choices to make, and how do you choose them?

 

Rockstroh reported that there is a local Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Committee.  He said they are involved in the planning process when the state gives money and how to do some of the work.  He noted that with some flexibility money they could do crisis services, but it is limited.

 

Is the $9.4 million contingency reserve available to the Lane County general fund or are those restricted state or federal funds.

 

Rockstroh said it is a Mental Health organization.  He said it wonít be spent on Mental Health services.

 

Stewart was concerned about the Veterans Services and a possible cut in positions.

 

Steve Manela, Human Services Commission,  indicated that there are ongoing discussions with the governorís office and the legislature about the next biennium money off of the home loan fund for backfilling County Veteran Services offices.  He added there is a discussion at the state level to mitigate should the legislature want to use those revenues they are monitoring.

 

Wilde asked about the status on Crisis Food Shelter and the additional requests 1 and 2 and where they are using funds to meet service requests.

 

Manela explained that they have two pots of money from ARRA funding.  He noted one is for the homeless prevention and Lane County and the city of Eugene get $1.4 million over the next two years.  He added that they had originally put into the budget an add request for services request 1 and 2.  He added the request 1 and 2 service levels are in the budget and funded by the County Administratorís budget.  He noted that Service Level 3 for $166,000 is not funded so they could have a discussion about an IGA.  He recalled this past week he spoke at the city of Springfield Budget Committee and last night with the Eugene City Council.  He said the short answer is both budget committees and councils were interested after he described the cuts from the state.  He wanted to wait to see how the County and community might need additional money to shore up the shortfall in services.  He noted the bigger question is what will happen with all other services that could impact Public Health and safety.  He said he has seen an increase in funding services for the homeless and at risk youth.  He commented that the indicator  is they will see a couple of years of recession and problems with families are getting greater.

 

What is Lane Countyís share.  Isnít it the same as Springfield?

 

Manela said from the general fund, 70 percent of general fund for the Human Services Commission comes from the city of Eugene, 35 percent of general fund to the HSC from Lane County and the balance is from Springfield.

 

Are you comfortable with the indirect of $1.9 million and the County overhead and why is it fair.

 

Rockstroh said it is expensive and they are paying for retirees.  He said if he had to compare it with the city of Eugene, he has more staff.  He indicated that he will defend central support services as necessary.  He said it is the cost of doing business.  He commented that it is hard to do things cheaper because they gave line staff a five percent increase in the cost of living.

 

Describe the lapse rate, who sets it, what it is currently and who achieved it.

 

Garnick said he will send out that information.

 

VII. PREP FOR NEXT MEETING

 

Handy requested  time to include a general round robin of the Budget Committee at the next meeting.

 

Sorenson asked for preliminary general fund sheets.  He didnít know how much was already in the general fund and what is available in the reserve.  He wanted to reserve Tuesday May 19 for the end of the budget process. He indicated they will get some information from the state on May 15.  He thought they might not have all the information by the time of deliberation and they should do the best they can with what they have.

 

Hijmans commented that he spent time on questions and didnít get to find out more about each otherís thoughts.  He liked it better not to take up committee time answering questions.  He thought it was more important to get MuniCast materials.  He wanted to prioritize on how they spend their committee time.

 

VIII. ADJOURN

 

Chair Kaseberg adjourned the meeting at 8:05 p.m.

 

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary