ELECTED OFFICIALS OF
SPRINGFIELD CITY COUNCIL,
LANE COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
SEPTEMBER 14, 2009
BY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS 10/28/2009
joint elected officials meeting with the City of Springfield, City of Eugene,
and Lane County was held in the Library Meeting Room, 225 Fifth Street,
Springfield, Oregon, on Monday, September 14, 2009 at 12:00pm with Mayor Leiken
from Springfield were Mayor Sid Leiken and Councilors Wylie, Leezer, and
Simmons. Councilors Lundberg,
Ralston and Pishioneri were absent.
from Eugene were Mayor Kitty Piercy and Councilors Ortiz, Clark, Brown, Taylor,
Solomon, and Pryor. Councilors Poling and Zelenka were absent.
from Lane County were Board Chair Pete Sorenson and Commissioners Dwyer,
Fleenor, and Handy. Commissioner Stewart was absent.
Leiken opened the meeting of the Springfield City Council.
Piercy opened the meeting of the Eugene City Council.
Chair Sorenson opened the meeting of the Lane County Board of Commissioners.
Economic Development Report.
City Manager Jon Ruiz presented this item.
At the June Joint Elected Officials (JEO) meeting, members approved the
framework for a regional economic development plan that would better position
our regional economy to take advantage of economic opportunities that aligned
with our area’s assets and values. The
JEO Economic Development sub-committee (ED Task Force) that was formed to
oversee the development of this plan worked with the Technical Advisory Group
(TAG), a group composed of key stakeholders in our regional economy, to develop
economic development strategies that would help define the next economy for our
region. The ED Task Force
recommended that the JEO approve the economic development strategies outlined
below to ensure continued and timely progress on creating a regional economic
citizens of the Eugene-Springfield metro area had felt the burden of the
financial crisis more so than in other counties and other states. The decline in local jobs, coupled with an increased demand
for social services, was putting a strain on city, county and state programs.
The Eugene-Springfield metro area unemployment rate in July 2009 was
12.5%, a 6 percentage point increase over the last year, which was slightly
higher than the state unemployment rate of 11.9%.
The decline in the availability of local jobs has put increased pressure
on social services. The number of
cases in the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program for our
local district had increased 18.5 percentage points over the past year.
The number of applications for low-income housing in Lane County in 2008
increased 13 percentage points compared to the previous year.
These programs were indicative that the economic crisis had significantly
impacted our local economy and that the need for a regional, long-term plan was
the March Joint Elected Officials (JEO) meeting, members expressed interest in
holding a Regional Economic Summit to coordinate a collaborative response
to the current situation and formed a sub-committee (ED Task Force) for this
purpose. At the June JEO meeting,
the framework for the development of a regional economic development plan was
approved. The framework for
designing our next economy included the creation of a Technical Advisory Group
(TAG) composed of key stakeholders in our regional economy.
(Attachment A was the member list of the TAG). The TAG developed a list
of strategies and tactics that they felt the region should strategically focus
on to best influence the economic development of our region.
TAG developed the economic development strategies with the following JEO
approved goals and principles as guidance:
2020, create 20,000 net new jobs in the chosen economic opportunity areas;
reduce the local area unemployment rate to, or below, the state average; and
increase the average annual wage to, or above, the state level.
Ruiz discussed the principles developed by those subcommittees.
The principles that will guide
the development of our next economy were discussed at length by the ED Task
– Championing businesses and entrepreneurs that promote a healthy, safe, and
clean community while enhancing, protecting, and making wise use of our natural
Growth – Encourage
a culture of entrepreneurship and re-investment into our local community.
Prepared – Develop
the region’s physical, social, educational, and workforce infrastructure to
meet the needs of tomorrow.
Independence – Promote local businesses and entrepreneurs that
lead our area to a higher level of economic independence and resilience.
Identity – Create
a stronger economic personality that celebrates our region’s attributes and
following strategies developed by the TAG established a vision for how the
governments, businesses, and community members could work together to help the
Eugene-Springfield metro area achieve economic sustainability. They established
a framework for decision-making for community partners within Eugene,
Springfield and Lane County. The goal was to focus on several things that could
be addressed. This was only one part of three for economic development. Create
jobs, support existing businesses (each jurisdiction), and look forward to next
few years. Mr. Ruiz discussed each of the strategies.
Business Retention and Expansion
Support the Growth and Development of Existing Area
Businesses to Achieve Quality Job Creation.
The ED recognized the crucial role existing area businesses played in
sustaining the health of the local economy and in creating job opportunities.
Efforts should be directed at supporting the operating needs of local
businesses as well as meeting their needs for expansion and growth.
Tactic 1: Coordinate public capital and finance
networks within the region to facilitate business access to needed funding for
continued operation and growth.
Tactic 2: Develop or strengthen peer-to-peer
support networks for businesses of any type (start-up, existing, large, small,
etc) for communicating regional information on financing, physical development,
locating, hiring, recruiting, training.
Tactic 3: Assist businesses with site
development or expansion through coordinated multi-agency review of development
permits. Develop methods and policies to streamline the permitting process.
Accelerate the Development of Entrepreneurial
(Defined as those facilities and services present within our region which
encourage the creation of new ventures, and the growth and development of small-
and medium- sized enterprises).
Tactic 1: Increase the
amount of investment capital in our region by leveraging such groups as the
Willamette Angel Conference (WAC), the Southern Willamette Angel Network
(formerly Lane Venture Forum), the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN), and the
investor relations programs led by the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce.
Tactic 2: Expand the
partnership with University of Oregon and Oregon State University in bringing
new technologies and innovations to market.
Tactic 3: Improve
the region’s deal flow for investors by accelerating start-ups that are
growth-ready, and providing educational opportunities for entrepreneurs to
increase their skills.
Train, attract and maintain a competitive workforce
to meet the region’s current and emerging industry needs and stimulate
business development. Foster
a dynamic partnership of education, industry, and workforce development to
forecast, assess and meet the training needs of existing and developing
Tactic 1: Partner with local educational systems
to enhance and align services to prepare local residents with work readiness
skills, including basic math and literacy skills, necessary for success in all
Tactic 2: Convene industry-interests panels to
design and evaluate curricula to ensure that local training programs meet
Tactic 3: Continue to
build a culture that values learning, an entrepreneurial spirit, acceptance and
diversity, and creativity to continue to attract entrepreneurial and innovative
talent to our region.
Increase the ready workforce in Lane County by
expanding access to academic and occupational training for all Lane County
residents, particularly lower-skilled and lower-wage workers. The
ED recognized the importance of a skilled workforce for the prosperity of the
Tactic 1: Connect basic skills training programs
(e.g. G.E.D. preparation and English as a Second Language) to post-secondary
certificate or degree programs.
Tactic 2: Partner with industry and education to
encourage investment in training opportunities for young people, such as
internships and work experience opportunities.
Tactic 3: Support the local recognition of Career
Readiness Certificates, a state-wide testing and credentialing initiative to
enhance workforce readiness.
Land and Physical Infrastructure
Prepare for the Land and Physical Infrastructure,
in a timely fashion, that is necessary to support Business Development and
Stimulate Quality Job Creation. Strengthen the coordination between
infrastructure, planning and investments, land use, and economic development
Tactic 1: Inventory
and evaluate underdeveloped space in an effort to assist business re-locations
in a timely fashion.
Tactic 2: Integrate
opportunistic economic development goals into land use and supply analyses and
Tactic 3: Promote and
build on the Region’s transportation, distribution and logistics advantages.
Tactic 4: Continue to
work with property and business owners to expand, upgrade and construct
Tactic 5: Streamline
the regulatory processes to assist with site selection and development.
Promote Awareness and Advocacy for the Region’s
economic quality of life that continues to support and attract the investment
and innovative and entrepreneurial talent and builds on our dynamic and diverse
Tactic 1: Partner with local business and
economic development organizations to develop and implement an on-going public
relations campaign that will promote the Region's economic identity and
successes, both internally and externally.
Tactic 2: Promote
the Region's strong willingness and ability to mentor and coach entrepreneurs
and businesses, and recognize the successes that grow from within this network.
Tactic 3: Promote and Celebrate the Region’s creative people who find success elsewhere and find bridges for them to contribute back to our community.
Promote the region’s natural and cultural resources to enhance the cultural
tourism within the region.
Continue to support the development of
our wealth generating sectors that have built a strong economic foundation for
our community and have complemented our region’s quality of life, such as:
Support development and growth in
successful and emerging opportunity areas within the local economy:
Advanced Manufacturing (technologically
rich, innovative manufacturing)
University of Oregon / Research &
Tactic 1: Identify
strategies to address unique site and logistical needs of existing and emerging
Tactic 2: Develop
associations or networks among targeted cluster businesses for innovative
networking, information-sharing and to provide opportunities for business
Pursue opportunities to expand and recruit businesses, ideas, and entrepreneurs
into our region that can enhance our existing businesses and community.
next step in the development of the regional economic development plan will be
an Economic Summit. The goal for
the Economic Summit will be to gather input on the tactics, or action items, for
each approved economic development strategy, that will provide a framework for
decision-making for our community partners.
Following the Economic Summit, elected officials and others will (a)
review the input and refine the regional plan or (b) ratify the regional plan
and initiate implementation to build our next economy.
1: Approve the economic development
strategies as described in this AIS and have the ED Task Force and Technical
Advisory Group hold an Economic Summit in October.
2: Modify the economic development
strategies and have the ED Task Force and Technical Advisory Group hold an
Economic Summit in October.
3: Decline approving any of the economic development strategies and provide new
direction for the ED Task Force.
ED Task Force recommended option one, which would approve the economic
development strategies that created the outline of a regional economic
development plan to design our area’s next economy and have the ED Task Force
and Technical Advisory Group hold an Economic Summit in October.
Leiken said as a member of the task force, he commended staff for working with a
group of people with high opinions and capturing their ideas. The task force
included representation from the two cities and the county. He also thanked the
members of the task force for working diligently on this. He was supportive of
the goals. During his breakfast meetings with Mayor Piercy, they had been on the
same page regarding these issues. He also commended Mayor Piercy.
Piercy said she also appreciated this work and was looking forward to the
summit. She referred to Strategy #2, Entrepreneurial Infrastructure, and wanted
to make sure some of that focus was on private sector small businesses and local
businesses that we were trying to help grow. She would like to add some other
places that the City didn’t normally network with throughout the community.
Some local businesses felt like the cities were looking at larger industry more
than small business. She pointed out that much of our economy was built on
smaller businesses. She referred to an editorial in the paper regarding health
care sectors and the need for employees in that area. We needed to take
advantage of that and put our emphasis on that sector. Many businesses also fit
into the green category which was the cutting edge. She referred to Strategy #4,
Land and Physical Infrastructure. There was some light industrial space in
Eugene that was under-utilized and she wanted to look at that opportunity.
Pryor said he was impressed with the work done; it was very thoughtful. This was
just the beginning and being well organized at the beginning was a good way to
start. He was impressed with how the task force worked collaboratively as a
region. The joint elected body had given a mandate and joint staff had worked on
making it happen.
Brown said he didn’t understand Tactic #1 under the Entrepreneurial
Infrastructure strategy. He asked if it was something the elected officials
could do, as it seemed to be something banks and investment groups would do.
Ruiz said one of the pieces was that these strategies were not strictly
instigated or resolved by elected officials. Part of staff’s goal was to have
a large enough stakeholders’ group from the private, public and non-profit
sector that were aligned behind this. It could be any of those stakeholders
leveraging that tactic.
Brown asked about Tactic #2 under the Entrepreneurial Infrastructure strategy.
Ruiz said the University of Oregon (UofO) community had a lot of opportunities
for technological transfer out into the community in fields such as bio-science,
nanotechnology and laboratories. The question was how the community and region
could work with the universities to find out how to enable more of that to
happen and create more spin-offs to start new businesses. It was a good
Brown said it was a worthy goal, but he was not sure how they would do that.
Ruiz said if Council chose to have a summit on this later in the fall, it could
include people that would have ideas on how to make some of these things happen.
All of the tactics were in flux and waiting for additional feedback from the
Brown said he had researched the Eugene urban renewal district and had come
across a strategic plan from 1982 that included many of these same things. He
asked how successful that plan had been for economic development.
Piercy said she hoped to hold a Willamette Angel Conference in Eugene as was
held in Corvallis. Also, the business school at the UofO had expressed interest
in working with the cities.
Fleenor said good work from staff on this; it was a focused approach. During his
community dialogues he had learned that citizens, especially small businesses,
felt they were always fighting government. He wanted to take this seriously. As
a small businessman, he had also felt it was a fight. The elected officials’
role was to remove the obstacles to reduce the burden on small businesses. He
didn’t see that in this paper. Other than that, he felt they were right on
Clark expressed appreciation for the chance to serve as a representative on the
subcommittee. He thanked the staff and task force for their hard work refining
their discussions into workable opportunities. The need for elected officials to
do their part to stabilize and grow the local economy was very urgent. He was
looking forward to the summit. He would vote for option 1 to move things along
through the process. He had some specific ideas on how to implement some of the
Wylie said she was grateful for the good work and good direction. She noted that
when the Springfield Council visited the UofO nano-lab, she found that by
sharing information they could discover projects that each was working on. The
lab had grants and techniques to help one another and the cities.
The key was good relationships and communication.
Dwyer thanked staff for their work. He quoted Oregon’s motto “She flies by
her own wings”. He felt it was not government’s job to create private sector
jobs. If the opportunity and amenities were there, development would come. He
referred to partnering with the UofO Many things were utilized using public
money and he was not supportive of public funds for that use. Using public money
to develop a product should benefit all of the public. He was around in 1981
when the document referred to by Councilor Brown was drafted which then formed
the Lane Metro Partnership. There were other tax benefits that helped at that
time. He explained. He asked how far government needed to go to entice
businesses to succeed. He wasn’t sure it was the government’s
responsibility. He had been to the Angel Conferences and felt it all lead to who
would bring in the money. Banks wanted sure returns as investors. It was good to
have these discussions.
Handy thanked his colleagues who worked on the committee, as well as staff for
working with community members. He was excited about the work force development,
and other aspects of this plan. There
was enough detail to articulate the values, but also enough flexibility for
creativity. He urged the elected officials to modify and go with option 2 in
order to hold the economic summit before choosing a plan. Following the input
from the summit, modifications could be made if needed. He felt modifications
could be made under Strategy #4, Land and Physical Infrastructure and Strategy
#6, Targeted Industries. Small business was the backbone of the community, and
local businesses, both small and large, needed to be given priority. They
couldn’t just do business as usual. Strategy #4 was not pointing enough to the
role brownsfields and density would play when talking about available lands.
Many businesses could function on 5-10 acres. He referred to the targeted
industries and felt the industry of Transportation/Manufacturing seemed
ambiguous. He asked if that would mean to ‘build it and they would come’, or
to look at integrating land use and transportation through planning. If there
was an electric vehicle industry, they would need to determine where the
plug-ins would be throughout the community.
Pryor said he had helped work on the 1982 report, and was one of the original
members of the groups that became the Lane Workforce Partnership and Lane Metro
Partnership. Those groups went on recruiting trips, which were a waste of time.
It was not necessarily what they did, but how they did it. Many reports did have
similar things in them. This was the early stage, and he didn’t feel the need
to go with option 2. The information from the summit would go into the final
plan regardless if they approved option 1 tonight or later. A lot had been
learned about how to do things and he wanted to make sure this was done the
right way. The summit would help move the group in that direction. He would
support option 1 with the expectation that it would be adapted, modified and
Leezer congratulated everyone on their hard work. She agreed with Option 2 and
suggested that tourism be added. Tourism was an amazing area and she felt it
should be capitalized upon.
Simmons complimented the group for the work done. This was similar to the
document in 1982, but things had changed. The thing that was missing was the
need to produce food locally and the need to ensure the food sources and
production sources for the needs of the community were met. He agreed with Mayor
Piercy that the small to moderate size businesses were extremely important. The
fundamental house must be in order, and the fundamental needs met. The listed
goals were admirable, but it needed to address the food source component.
Taylor agreed with the comment regarding food. If we got rid of our land that
produced food, we were in trouble. The air and water were the other two basics
and protecting natural areas was essential. She asked what was meant by
Ruiz said that was partly under recognizing industry currently in the area, such
as the RV industry. Part of this was to support those that had been successful,
could be successful, and also encourage the emerging technology, such as
Taylor said while at the National League of Cities convention in Massachusetts,
she visited three communities that were cooperating and she commented that
cooperation was excellent. She explained how they worked together to determine
the most suitable site among the three cities, then shared the tax income.
Oregon didn’t have tax income, but it was an example of cooperation rather
than competition. Industries that were needed should be targeted, rather than
those that might bring in big money. She felt the incentives provided to Hynix
were an example of a poor choice. She agreed with removing impediments, but not
giving incentives unless they were a benefit to the public. She was concerned
that if the focus was only on growth, businesses that we wanted here would be
turned away. It was important to preserve what made this a good place. She
suggested everyone read the book “Better, not Bigger”. She agreed with
option 2, and holding the summit first.
Ortiz said she felt this was very comprehensive and she was in support. She
agreed mostly with the comments regarding small businesses. She referred to
Tactic #2, of Strategy #1 and said she hoped the task force would look at the
Latino business group. It would be a good experience for them to get involved.
She appreciated that the task force looked at English as a second language as a
Fleenor said the author of “Better, not Bigger” lived in Eugene. He reminded
everyone that Oregon and the 18 O&C counties were going through one of the
greatest financial transitions ever due to the reduction of federal timber
funding. He noted the decrease thus far and the decreases yet to come. The money
that would no longer be coming to Lane County would have serious and significant
ramifications. The County was not only suffering from a recession, but also a
transition from a resource based economy to the new economy. There were serious
challenges ahead in the event the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self
Determination Act was not renewed to its original level. Even cutting timber
would not provide nearly enough funds. The funds that were not coming to the
counties were not going through to the cities.
Clark urged his colleagues to support option 1. This was a general outline of
how to proceed to the summit without specifics. Passage of option 2 would mean
the joint elected officials getting together again to give staff new direction
before moving to a summit. He shared Councilor Simmons’ concerns regarding
food services. He hoped the elected officials would consider option 1.
Handy said this was a healthy conversation.
WAS MOVED BY COMMISSIONER HANDY WITH A SECOND BY COMMISSIONER DWYER, TO TAKE THE
LANGUAGE IN OPTION ONE, ADDING THE WORD DRAFT AS THE THIRD WORD TO “APPROVE
THE DRAFT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES AS DESCRIBED IN THIS AIS AND
HAVE THE ED TASK FORCE AND TECHNICIAL ADVISORY GROUP HOLD AN ECONOMIC SUMMIT IN
OCTOBER. THE MOTION PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.
Commission Dwyer left the
meeting (12:53 p.m.)
Metro Plan Work Plan Update.
City Manager Jeff Towery said the report in the packet was just an update. On
June 1, 2009 the Joint Elected Officials (JEO) directed staff from Eugene,
Springfield and Lane County to develop a Metro Plan update work program,
including timeline, cost estimates and implications for specific changes to the
Metro Plan as recommended by a JEO subcommittee and as further supplemented by
recommendations from each jurisdiction. The
list from the JEO subcommittee included the following subjects:
Overarching policies that identify and address
Policies that allow for individual refinement plans
for Eugene and Springfield to address jurisdiction-specific issues.
Adjustments to the Metro Plan boundary and text to
address jurisdictional specific issues arising in the urbanizable areas and the
area outside the urban growth boundary.
A dispute resolution process that reflects the
changes described in a-c.
to the June 1 JEO meeting, staff from Springfield, Lane County and Eugene met
with their respective elected officials to determine if additional issues should
be included in the work program. The
Springfield City Council had no additional issues to add when this question was
discussed during a July 13, 2009 work session; the Lane County Board of
Commissioners added no additional issues when the matter was brought forward
during an August 26, 2009 regular meeting of the Board; and the Eugene City
Council met on September 9, 2009 (too late to be included in this packet).
on these final instructions from the elected officials, staff will develop a
work program, including identifying the text of the Metro Plan that will be
included in the analysis; evaluating if any of this work can be merged into the
ongoing HB 3337 or TransPlan update work tasks; and determining what other
implications to the Metro Plan may result from the changes brought about by this
will present the draft work plan to the JEO on December 7, 2009.
Ortiz said she served on this subcommittee with Councilor Clark and Commissioner
Handy. Originally, there was a move to want to throw the Metro Plan out, but
they were able to get to a place where they were able to address the issues.
Cooperative Services Report Feedback.
City Manager Jeff Towery said the key question on this item was what information
the elected officials needed from staff to make informed decisions on the issue
before them. He pointed out that although they were interconnected, at this
point, this topic and the Ambulance Transport Summit (ATS) work were not
combined. The ATS work would come to the elected officials in December and
discussion on how the two related. As needed over next couple of months, each
jurisdiction would meet at the policy and staff level as necessary to move this
Fire Chief Dennis Murphy said on July 2, 2007, a landmark decision was made to
provide better fire protection with the initiation of the Third Battalion. He
explained how emergency crews responded to calls in the fastest response times
without regards to the boundary separating the cities. That system resulted in
improving the quality and quantity of resource and response without costing the
cities. This achievement sparked an
interest in joint efforts to make further improvements culminating in a
Cooperative Services Study which was distributed at the July 21, 2009 joint
elected officials (JEO) meeting. The recommendation of the study was to merge
the two departments into a new combined department serving both cities. The
purpose of the merger was to save money by eliminating unnecessary duplication
in support, administration and management, while continuing to improve service
delivery. The fire chiefs of Eugene and Springfield supported this concept as a
means to address the financial challenges facing both cities now and in the
future. Today’s meeting was to determine if the councils of Springfield and
Eugene wished to proceed with an implementation plan to merge the departments.
If that was the case, a more detailed plan would be developed and delivered to
councilors prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. A December 7 JEO meeting had been
scheduled to go forward with the plan.
Fire Chief Randy Groves said the ATS was separate from this, however, they felt
it was important to give a brief update on the ATS. Starting tomorrow night for
a consecutive three weeks, a series of public forums would be held to receive
feedback from the members of the collective communities to bring back to the ATS.
The task force would then bring a recommendation back to the JEO group at a
later time. Although the two processes were separate, there were connections,
such as the work being done regarding consolidation would help with some of the
overhead costs, reducing that from the ambulance transport system. They were
interested in hearing the elected officials’ feedback. The consultant’s
study was the why, but they now needed to hear the how.
Councilor Ortiz thanked staff
and audience members for coming tonight. She said what she needed from Chief
Groves were the outcomes of the various outreach forums in both communities. It
was important to hear from everybody in the community. She felt they had been
thorough and included representation and participation from all jurisdictions.
Councilor Simmons said he
agreed. He was concerned because he didn’t have the facts of what it would
cost. He gave the example of equipment repair costs each City incurred. He read
that there would be initial savings, but wanted to know about savings in years
five, six and so on. He discussed deficiencies in the equipment replacement
funds in Springfield and asked about the replacement funds in Eugene and how
those replacement costs differed. He said it was wonderful that we had already
combined training and response, and we needed to share in that responsibility.
He trusted both Chiefs, but would be looking over their shoulders.
Board Chair Sorenson asked what
percentage of the population served by this unified fire force would be outside
Chief Murphy said about 35%.
Board Chair Sorenson asked if
the taxes paid by those people would change as a result of their inclusion into
a district or if taxes paid by residents in Springfield and Eugene would be
affected by the merger.
Chief Murphy said it would cost
less. There would be no effect on service on any other government in Lane
County. Springfield and Eugene Fire served 35 jurisdictions in metro central
Lane County and throughout the state. Those were user driven fees for contracts
and that was self governance by each agency.
Chief Groves said it would
depend on the level of governance. If this was some level of modeling a Metro
Wastewater Management Commission (MWMC), there wouldn’t be any change. If a
fire district was formed, it would be a level taxation.
Board Chair Sorenson confirmed
that the current proposal was just to combine the departments but not changing
the tax structure for any of the jurisdictions.
Chief Groves said that was
correct. Staff was looking for support to go ahead and put together the
specifics of what it would look like to bring the two organizations together.
Board Chair Sorenson asked if
this would involve an amendment to the Metro Plan.
Chief Groves said both cities
were already providing those services collectively for eight districts outside
the cities. He explained. An amendment to the Metro Plan would be dependent on
the level of governance selected for the new entity.
Chief Murphy said it would be a
decision making process involving the effective governments if there was to be a
change, and there was no presumption of a change.
Councilor Clark appreciated the
leadership trying to find better ways to provide service and save money. He
needed to know about service delivery. In Eugene, he asked if they would
recommend changes to service delivery for Zone 3 or changes outside city limits.
Chief Murphy said the
presumption was stabilization of the current delivery system. Beyond that,
decision making would be done by the elected bodies. They would make change
wherever it made sense, but would have to go to the elected officials. This was
just the beginning and the possibilities of further savings were significant.
They had a long way to go and would need public forums and decision making by
Chief Groves said their
objective was to maintain or improve line level service of delivery. This looked
at administration and cost savings in that area. He noted the number of command
officers that were eligible or near eligible for retirement and that they were
trying to capture those savings by doing away with redundancies. He referred to
the Zone 3 question, which was an ambulance transport system issue. They would
be addressing that issue at the next meeting.
Councilor Clark said he
appreciated the work done by both departments.
Commissioner Handy said his work
on this committee helped him understand there were short term strategies and
long term strategies. Before them today was a short term strategy. He
appreciated the work by his colleagues from the Eugene and Springfield City
Councils. He noted the work of the other fire districts across the county and
their interest, as well as the Florence hospital district. It came to his
attention that the County had an immediate piece to deal with regarding
deficiencies in Chapter 18 of the Lane County Code that they were in the process
of addressing. Long term, they had to address the taxation issue, boundary
change issue, special district or a service district issue, and the governance
issues involved in those options. Looking at the service effectiveness and
ambulance transport were also issues to discuss. In the short term, they were
also looking at how to maximize FireMed, and show the public where the
shortfalls were. Councilor Ortiz was correct that the feedback from the
community was important.
Councilor Ortiz said when they
started this conversation, her main question was what the City of Eugene needed
to do to stabilize the Ambulance Transport System. She wanted to make sure that
hadn’t been lost. When she talked about that, she also meant she didn’t want
the quality of service to get lost. Quality needed to be there. Chief Groves
agreed. Councilor Ortiz thanked Councilor Clark for bringing up Zone 3 as it
needed to be discussed.
Mayor Piercy said she
appreciated the work done on this topic. She said she would like to try this out
slowly to see how it worked before getting too far. She would like to think of
other small ways to move forward that included working together as two decision
making governing bodies. She wanted to try to find ways to make it work on a
Mayor Leiken said it sounded
like the task force thought moving forward with one Metro Plan was the way to go
with some autonomy. He asked if this would need voter approval from all three
jurisdictions if it went into a discussion regarding a district. Yes.
Mayor Leiken said he had
appreciated the third battalion concept and felt it worked well. He said it was
important to look at this from a governing standpoint. He had known Chief Murphy
for many years and would put a lot of faith in Chief Murphy’s judgment. The
concept of cooperation had been outstanding. It would be important for him to
hear from the leadership of the unions. If there was any issue with the unions,
he would be inclined to be unsupportive. He agreed with Councilor Simmons that
the elected officials would continue to look over staff’s shoulders as that
was their job. He also agreed with Councilor Ortiz that we could not lower our
service delivery. He needed to know if this would save dollars and cents in the
long run. They needed to know they were making decisions that were prudent,
while maintaining service deliveries. He said the cooperation between the two
fire departments was outstanding. He felt these were the only public agencies
that this would work with and it was worth looking into.
Taylor asked who would be the Fire Chief and which City Manager would be making
Taylor asked how difficult would it be to go back if a change was made and they
determined it wasn’t working.
Groves recalled the consolidation of the Fire and Police Department in Eugene.
When they deconsolidated, the most difficult part was building the staffing
levels up for each department. It took about ten years to get the resources back
to build up those positions. He felt they chose the wrong services to
consolidate at that time, but felt these (fire departments) were the right
services because they were like services. They were looking at doing more with
Murphy said Chief Groves had his support as the Chief if there were a merger. It
was important for continuity. He believed that Springfielder’s would also
support Chief Groves. It would also take a step of faith from Eugene to support
our Fire Marshal, as they would most likely be the Fire Marshal for the merged
department, as would be our Training Chief. There were three key retirements or
turnovers: the Fire Marshal, the Training Chief and the Chief of the department.
In those three people would be cost savings and continuity.
Leiken adjourned the meeting at 1:25 p.m.