BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'
September 23, 2009
Harris Hall Main Floor
Commissioner Pete Sorenson presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bill Fleenor, Rob Handy and Faye Stewart present. County Administrator Jeff Spartz, County Counsel Liane Richardson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
1. PUBLIC HEARING
a. ORDER 09-9-23-1/In the Matter of Adopting the FY 2009-2010 Supplemental Budget 1, Making, Reducing and Transferring Appropriations.
Spartz stated there are six items they are proposing to make budget changes. He noted for Public Safety they are proposing increasing expenditures and adding 2 FTE. They will reduce operational contingencies as a result and they have additional expenditures in the Waste Management and Land Management funds. He noted it was an exchange between two funds so they can fund additional people in Land Management for long range planning.
Christine Moody, Senior Management Analyst, explained that the Land Management/Waste Management fee was passed in an early board order. She noted it is the money receiving into the Waste Fund and being transferred over into Land Management for long range planning and compliance. She indicated that they will add two resident deputies. She added that it was unanticipated because they were waiting to hear on a COPS grant for up to five deputies and three were funded with the grant. She stated this is the request for the other two. She added there is $60,000 in the same line for a security project in the courthouse. She stated that it decreases the service stabilization reserve. She distributed the three year cost for deputies. (Copy in file). She said it was a one time vehicle cost the first year, inflation on the salary, benefits and materials and services. She noted the three year cost estimate is about $869,000.
Commissioner Sorenson opened the Public Hearing. There being no one signed up to speak, he closed the Public Hearing.
Fleenor asked where the security guards for the couthouse were listed in the supplemental budget.
Moody said there is $60,000 that states the PSB courthouse security.
Spartz said there was discussion around hiring intermittent individuals on a contract basis either retired or off duty deputies that would not show as an FTE.
Richardson said the $60,000 will be matched with money from the courts and the Sheriff’s Office will handle the actual hiring.
Fleenor asked what the process was to add the $60,000.
Moody said the $365,000 is in the budget. She noted that only $305,000 is the resident deputies and the other $60,000 is their match.
Handy didn’t think they finished their process to explore the courthouse security. He didn’t think it was appropriate to add any big ticket items before they do their goal setting next week for the coming year. He added that they have a looming situation with the state of Oregon and whether the tax revenue measure will get referred to the budget. He didn’t think they should add additional expenditures. He wanted to move forward with the transfer of Land Management funds.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 09-9-23-1 with the removal of the resident deputies and the courthouse security.
Handy MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED
Fleenor recalled they had a difficult budget session where they were stapped without sufficient knowledge as to where their revenue was going to come from. He said they had $13.5 million from the Secure Rural Schools with the possibility of a $27 million cut. He would support the motion if the maker of the motion would accept a friendly amendment to add back the courthouse security that is long overdue. He said they are exposing the employees and citizens to risk. He believes it is an opportunity for them to establish a good working relationship with the courts and the Sheriff’s Office in order to move forward. He would support this if they could add back the $60,000 for the courthouse security. He stated that he would also add back two full time resident deputies once they understand the resolution of the two measures currently pending.
Handy considered it, but wanted to hear further discussion.
Stewart supported Fleenor’s request for the friendly amendment. He believed the additional security was needed. He stated that the volunteers have asked for help. He thought it was critical to find a way to support them as they are giving their time and they have to make sure it is a comfortable place to work and that they have security.
Dwyer thought court security was an important item, as it is needed for peace of mind.
Handy agreed to add back courthouse security.
Fleenor said he will be voting for the motion relunctantly because he believes that resident deputy sheriffs are the front line defenders and would go a long way toward crime prevention. He said they are sitting with unknown measures looming and the disposition of those measures could have a profound impact on the Lane County Budget. He said he was willing to delay this consideration until after November at which time if those two measures fail he will be looking forward to adding this as another supplemental.
Sorenson appreciated the compromise on the courthouse security as it is important. He commented that they are in deeper trouble now because there has been nothing positive that has happened. He said timing of the decline of federal funds is advancing and there is a proposal to cut $700 million from the state budget.
Fleenor indicated when they passed the budget in June this was an important moment in time, but it was just one moment in time. He said things are adding up toward a dire picture for the next two or three years. He said they are all in this together.
2. PUBLIC COMMENTS
Verne Baarstad, Springfield, discussed speeding on his street. He explained the hedge in his backyard is in the city limits. He said the police in Springfield have told him they will not work to write tickets for the people speeding because they say they have to give the money to the Sheriff’s Department. He said the Sheriff’s Office told him they only have one person to cover the whole county. He volunteered and got a radar gun and in 56 minutes he caught 24 people speeding down the street. He wanted to install speed bumps.
Doug Heiken, Oregon Wild, Eugene, is a member of the Timber and Wood Products Advocacy Task Force. He said they were asked by the Board to come up with some criteria to evaluate groups like the Assoication of O & C Counties and to write a resolution on the historical significance of the forests in Lane County. He said the committee hasn’t come up with a report yet but there might be recommendations coming up later. He said the Association of O & C Counties has activities that conflict with the interests of Lane County. He said they advocate for logging as a solution to the County’s financial problems. He said that logging would produce 15 percent of the revenues for the County and it is not a solution. He said they support the return of the endowment fund the Assocation currently holds of Lane County’s money but they think that should be returned to the County with no strings attached. He opposed paying dues to the association for the reasons he just stated. He didn’t think the organization should lobby for more logging. He said if they are going to create another task force on the one they just completed, to review all the other advisory committees that are out there so they are not reinventing the wheel and to be clear about the objectives and scope of the committee.
Jim Wilcox, thanked the Board for providing additional bike parking.
Alfred Antonini, stated this is an Executive Session matter regarding LC v. Gelso Investments. He distributed information. (Copy in file). He said they are here on a fine that was assessed relating to an illegal drug lab at that location that was broken down in December 2000. He said they as landowners had no knowledge of or reason to suspect anything was happening. He said it has been cleared through the state and the County and any toxicity is now gone. He indicated the fine was assessed based on a worksheet and the determination at the time it took to get the clean up taken care of. He said during the period of 1998 through 2000 he was under federal investigation in a different state for an unrelated matter. He ended up pleading guilty and was incarcerated during the first term of this situation occurring. He said from June 1 2001 to October 2004 he was incarcerated and as soon as he was able to get probation, he took a trip up here to be able to meet with people who look at sites and do to the requirements by the state. It was difficult for him to be in communications. He had people come up to make the site secure.
Sean Guhenseen, spoke on Gelso v. LC and the drug lab clean up. He said in April 2006 he and his wife contacted Mr. Antonini because he was aware things weren’t being taken care of like they should have been. He met with the state and contractors. He said some of the contractors were not reliable. He said it was an 18 month process.
Bill Van Vactor, Springfield, stated he represented Mr. Antonini. He said Antonini and Gelso Investments have been levied a substantial fine beyond his ability to address at this point in time but he wants to get things straight and right with Lane County. He noted the document he distributed (copy in file) shows he spent over $35,000 getting the site cleaned up. He said the assessment of this fine is a discretionary act of the Board of Commissioners and that is why it is on the Executive Session and the amount is within the Board’s discretion. He recalled on November 21, 2007, the state of Oregon issued a certificate of fitness. He said they came up with the number $3,285 plus interest and that is their specific request in the amount of money proposed to be offered in settlement of this dispute and Antonini has indicated to him while he personally doesn’t have the money, he is willing to approach his brother to see if he can borrow that amount of money to settle with Lane County. He said Lane County’s ordinance is unfit for use and the code violation was not enacted until May 2002, 18 months after the drug lab was discovered and dealt with. He said Antonini wants to settle this and move on instead of continuing this dispute. He asked when the Board meets in Executive Session that they have a discussion with staff and make a determination and let them know when they can all move forward.
Lea Patten, Florence, announced the Heceta Head Coastal Conference on October 23.
David Hoffman, Eugene, said that Lane County should not have to have the entire burden of supporting the Extension Service. He thought that Eugene and Springfield could help. He said they have the draw of the farmers markets and the citizens because there is an interest in gardening for safer food. He thought they could help subsidize keeping Extension open even if what it takes is to declare an economic and food emergency to do it.
Steve Dodrill, Eugene, said in four days Extension people have gone out into the community and asked to get signatures of support from a geographically disbursed group of people. He turned in over 1,100 signatures gathered in four days. He said they have letters of support and a statement of impact of this organization in the community. He said the OSU Extension Service is more than a fun bunch of educational programs, they are providing life and citizenship skills for youth in the community and self-sufficiency skills for people who are struggling in these economic times. He recalled that three times in the past 22 years the Board of Commissioners have referred tax measures to the voters that specifically funded the OSU Extension Service and each time their volunteers ran successful campaigns and the voters approved those measures. He said they want Lane County voters to decide the future of the OSU Extension Service. They want to know what the Board of Commissioners want from them to refer a measure to the ballot. He hopes the Board will respond to them soon.
Sandra Horne, spoke on behalf of the Lane County Master Gardeners Association. She said there are 300 volunteers who are committed to providing classes in research based answers to indivdiuals’ questions on all topics related to gardening. She said their services have been important this year because more citizens are growing their own food and need to know information about it. She said as volunteers they need the personnel and physical infrastructure of the OSU Extension office in Lane County in order to effectively reach out to the community. She said they are asking the Board to do what is necessary to put a tax measure on the ballot (that if approved by the voters) would specifically provide stable ongoing local funding for OSU Extension Service so they can continue to provide the thousands of hours of volunteer service to the citizens.
Paisley Makinson, said she is a sophomore at Junction City High School and is in her seventh year of 4H. She supported the Extension Service and the 4H Club. She said 4H Club is fundamental to the kids’ needs and without it there would be over hundreds of kids lost without an organization.. She supported the Board of Commissioners putting the Extension Service on the ballot. She said the community needs an organization such as 4H.
Mary Mosier, Coburg, said she was a 4H leader and parent. She supported the Extension Service. She stated there is support in the community. She spoke about how important 4H is to the youth. She said she knows there is support for this in the County.
Patty Driscoll, said she is a Master Gardener and Food Preserver and works for the Extension Service. She stated that today she spoke as a volunteer for Extension Service. She asked the Board of Commissioners to refer a local option tax for the May 2010 ballot for funding of the OSU Extension Service in Lane County. She stated she is willing to work on a campaign for a local option tax to stabilize Extension’s local funding and she knows others are willing to work to help pass this local option levy.
Carol McBrian, Eugene, said there should be a tax on the ballot.
Emily Evans, Eugene, said she has been a master food preserve since 2002. She said her main volunteer duty is to answer the hotline in the office. She said they have been able to prevent people from killing one another. She urged the Board to consider a local option tax on the May 2010 ballot. She said they want people to reinforce the need.
Gail Karlsen, Eugene, said she is a master gardener and mother of two. She said the Extension Service is the first line of defense for noxious weeds and evasive species.
Winter Green, Eugene, said she came back after 20 years overseas and found out that Extension Service was losing funding. She stated the community households benefit from Extension Service skills for food security. She said let the community decide as it is the people who are being impacted by the services.
Jimmy Schaper, Cottage Grove, stated he is a farmer and enginner. He said that he uses the Extension Service. He said they have been giving information for a century. He commented that that money invested in Extension pays back many times more than what they put into it. He said they have to build and conserve healthy soils and inspire children to do the same. He asked the Board to support it.
Cindy Land, Eugene, stated that she has been an advocate for the 4H in the past. She doesn’t support the management at OSU Extension Service or a property tax increase based on her experience on the Budget Committee. She stated that the community is struggling. She said people are fighting to stay in their homes. She said a special tax district for OSU could affect the compression that could effect the essential services. She thought the Extension Service could charge fees. She indicated that there are other grant opportunities to generate their own funding, allowing the County to continue with the service districts they currently have.
Cliff Kelley, Elmira, stated he is a 4H parent and supports the volunteer work. He indicated that he is a member of the Fair Board. He received an e-mail from OSU Extension Service encouraging supporters to come to this meeting and it implied there was a new twist in the process to get the tax measure on the ballot. He said that Mr. Dodrill and his predecessor have spoken for years about the process to get the tax district measure on the ballot. He thought the procedure could allow other taxing authorities the value of this tax measure and other taxes. He said it is similar to a recent decision by OSU Extension to move the 4H FFA Youth Fair to Benton County instead of working with the Lane County Fairground staff and Fair Board to keep the youth fair in Lane County. He asked them to work with the Lane County citizens and government.
Rudy Collette, said she is homeless. She spent 20 years in the food business. She volunteered at a lot of places. She said that OSU is full of volunteers and food is the basic part of life.
Ola Chambers, Cottage Grove, stated if they lose the funding for OSU that they won’t be able to get them back.
Steven Smothers, Eugene, stated his understanding is that they are asking the Board to put a measure on the ballot for the voters of this County to have the opportunity to agree to fund this organization. He was not asking for a special tax district.
Carley Ashter, said with regard to the OSU Extension Service that there are options available. They want to have their 4H Fair in Lane County but it was cost prohibitive. She said they want a stand alone fair. She represents the 4H constituents.
3. COMMISSIONERS' RESPONSE TO PUBLIC COMMENTS AND/OR OTHER ISSUES AND REMONSTRANCE
Dwyer said that Lane County has 55 percent federal lands that are not taxed. He said that logging can not sustain them because of the environmental laws and protections. He said it is unacceptable to have the federal government have to wean themselves from the federal funds when they don’t pay taxes and then have the congressional delegation develop a scenario where they are weaned totally off federal funds. He said these are their lands and they belong to the people.
Fleenor stated that he was passionate about keeping the OSU Extension. He said he is committed to provide for food security and self reliance. He said they don’t need to be migrating over to an urban 4H model abandoning traditional agriculture and ranching education. He said they are turning into a social fee based organization. He said there are increasing costs to Extension Service of providing services and personnel costs. He noted the Director’s salary is $100,000 per year. He asked what the Extension Service was going to do with more money. He supports a local option levy but to make certain they know what they are going to get for the money.
Sorenson stated that he will be in support of a five year local option ballot measure. He believed it was essential to get to a decision made quickly to enable advocates to have a fair way to present it to the voters. He said the more delay in structuring the amount of the tax and how it will be used, the less chance they will have to convince voters that it is worth a tiny amount of money to support a program that does so much.
Handy hoped they can come up with something that will get support from people throughout the County.
Stewart stated that he supports the Extension Service and he wants to see this Board make it a priority in agenda setting to have a work session to work out the details on what is needed to put a ballot measure in the May 2010 election. He wanted to hear if the citizens can afford $5 per year for OSU Extension
4. ADJUSTEMENTS TO THE AGENDA
5. EMERGENCY BUSINESS
6. CONSENT CALENDAR
A. Approval of Minutes
B. Children and Families
1) ORDER 09-9-23-2/In the Matter of Awarding Contracts to Family Relief Nursery in the Amount of $372,176, Relief Nursery, Inc. in the Amount of $598,167 and Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) in the Amount of $158,240 for the Period of July 1, 2009 Through June 30, 2011 and Delegating Authority to the County Administrator to Execute Contracts. (Alicia Hays, Children and Families Director; Serafina Clarke, Senior Program Services Coordinator)
MOTION: to approve the Consent Calendar.
Dwyer MOVED, Fleenor SECONDED.
7. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS
a. House District 14 Vacancy/Discussion and Deliberation.
Dwyer thought Val Hoyle rose to the top due to her experience and activity.
Fleenor echoed Dwyer’s remarks.
Handy thought Hoyle was the better person.
Stewart stated that it was a difficult decision but he was confident that Hoyle would do a great job.
Sorenson stated that Hoyle had great support from everyone in the community.
There was a unanimous vote for Val Hoyle. (Copy in file).
8. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION
Spartz indicated that he received an e-mail from the Secretary of Interior and he wants to start using geological formations and biological formations to work in carbon sequestration. Spartz said it will be headed by the United States Geological Service that doesn’t know anything about forest management and they are not talking about any type of compensation to the entities that are storing the carbon.
b. DISCUSSION/Timber and Wood Products Advocacy Task Force.
Alex Cuyler, Intergovernmental Relations Manager, reported the task force that was created in July has met three times. He noted Liane Richardson was another staff support on the task force along with three citizen members and Fleenor and Stewart. He developed a document to outline the charge prior to the task force being created. He recommended criteria for Lane County to utilize in its determination for membership in any federal lands advocacy organization. He said they created a resolution describing the historical significance of federal timber lands in Lane County and the set of principles the Board could utilize prior to making a commitment to support an organization financially. He said they looked at the overall dollars the County has spent with advocacy organizations around Secure Rural Schools Authorization. He noted there was an issue that came to them about the Association of O & C Counties, that the Association of O & C Counties has been holding monies from all the member counties in a legal endowment fund in an agreement that dates to 1989 and was renewed in 1999 at which point Lane County entered into the agreement in 2002. He said it is an IGA and it is scheduled to sunset on November 1, 2009. He indicated that he worked on three board orders with Fleenor. He reported that they are trying to figure out a way to move forward with membership and a way to develop advice to the Board with issues related to federal lands. He indicated that they have not come up with a template the Board could use. He outlined in one of the board orders (with regards to O & C membership) what the expectation of the Board of Commissioners would be with regard to future membership
Fleenor reported that the task force concluded that this is such a complex philosophical political challenge. He recommended that an advisory committee would report back no later than November 15, 2010. He said the task force made a decision not to go further.
Sorenson stated that they should not make a decision on this and consider the facts of the report.
Handy thought this was happening quickly without review and the committee might not have completed its work.
Stewart stated that O & C Board has been polled and put together a proposal for the endowment fund. (Copy in file). He noted the key point of the proposal is to allow the endowment fund to expire on November 1. He said the members would transfer the amount of the deposits into a special advocacy fund. He noted the normal dues for membership in the association for participating counties for two fiscal years will be paid annually from the principle and would provide for scheduled withdrawals from the principles to be used solely for advocacy for extension of the safety net as determined by the association’s Board of Directors. He added that they will return the balance of the unused funds to counties in November 2012. He said Commissioner Robertson from Douglas County asked him to propose this and there is support from the O & C Board members. Stewart said the O & C Board thought Cassidy & Associates was a valuable player and the intent of this proposal is to pay for Cassidy & Associates as the lobbyist for the O & C Counties. He indicated that was why the fee is $250,000. He is in support of resolutions 1 and 2. He wanted to wait until the next meeting to vote.
Handy wanted the committee to meet one or two more times.
MOTION: for the committee to meet up to two more times to look at new information and to report back to the Board in another work session on October 28.
Handy MOVED, Fleenor SECONDED.
Handy wanted this to come back with a recommendation and report.
VOTE 4-0. (Dwyer out of room).
c. UPDATE/County College
Moody reported on Lane County’s County College. She discussed the budget for County College. She indicated the costs are $2,700. She asked for the fee.
ORDER 09-9-23-3/Transferring $2,700 from the General Fund Operational Contingency to Materials & Services within County Administration General Fund for County College Expenses.
Dwyer MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.
9. COUNTY COUNSEL
There being no further business, Commissioner Sorenson recessed the meeting at 12:05 p.m.