BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'
BUDGET COMMITTEE MEETING
April 29, 2010
5:30 p.m.
Harris Hall Main Floor
APPROVED 5/6/2010

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

I. Committee Business

Approval of Lane County Budget Committee Minutes of February 9, 2010

MOTION: to approve the minutes as corrected.

Dwyer MOVED, Handy SECONDED.

VOTE: Unanimous.

II. Budget Message

Jeff Spartz gave his budget message.

III. Budget Overview

Christine Moody, Budget and Finance Manager, reported the total budget for 2009/2010  is $585 million.  She added the proposed  budget for 2010/2011 is $549.7 for a reduction of six percent.  She noted they will be down 6 FTE.  She said that 20 of 35 funds are decreasing by greater than a million.  She added other funds are increasing but at less than a million.  She said only two funds are increasing by greater than $4.5 million.  She said the biggest reduction is the Road Fund, down $10.5 million due to the SRS payment as it steps down.  She noted the Special Revenue Fund for non-discretionary revenue is down $5.7 million.  She said the Justice Court going into the general fund makes it increase.  She reported the Capital Improvement Fund down was $15.5 million and it was down because it was a meant to be a one time event.  She indicated the Solid Waste Fund is going down $5.8 million due to a removal of a one time interfund loan granted to the capital fund that has been repaid in the current year.  She noted the General Fund is decreasing by $3.1 million  due to the deceasing amount from the Secure Rural Schools funding.  She indicated the SRS reductions in the Road Fund, General Fund and School Fund this year  will decrease from 82 percent to 73 percent of the original payment.  She commented the bigger drop will be in 2011/2012.

Moody reported that the Employee Benefit Fund is up because health insurance premiums are higher and the PERS rate was to be 3 percent higher than what they are being charged and they kept that amount in the budget.  She said the fund goes up as departments have to pay more into it.  She noted the Land Management Fund is going up about $700,000, as they are beginning to see a slight recovery in the economy.  She noted the Retirement Benefit Trust Fund has to be funded for the future liability.  She commented that overall revenue is static. 

With regard to the General Fund Budget, Moody reported  in the current year the amount is $105 million and in 10/11 will drop to $102 million or about 3 percent.  She added the FTE is staying static, with an increase of 12.32 FTE but 10.45 FTE is the Justice Courts going into the fund.  She said property taxes are going up at 3 percent in the General fund but some federal revenue goes down .  She noted that state review is flat and fees and charges are going up. 

With the Discretionary General Fund (the unrestricted revenue) Moody noted the total for current year is $75 million and  it will be going down to $70 million in 2010/2011.  She said 63 percent goes to Public Safety services with Public  Health getting 6 percent.  She said of the proposed discretionary revenue, 48 percent is from property taxes.  She indicated that they have a large fund balance coming into 2010/2011 of $20 million and they have some state revenue with SRS payments making up the other 16 percent.  She said they are adding a position in Health and Human Services and the General Fund will pay for half of the position for a Prevention Specialist on Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Services.  She reported in the Department of Youth Services,  they are adding 1 FTE for a Youth Advocacy Coordinator. She noted with the Intergovernmental Relations Manager and the Public Information office there is an increase for extra help staff and both of the programs only consist of one person.  She noted the Sheriff’s Department Traffic Team has a reduction.  She added $20,000 was added for a diversity action survey and the County Clerk is increasing $450,000 for a voting machine replacement.  She added the cost is $700,000 but they have recording fees going up for extra revenue to cover in the current year.

Moody reported there is uncertain budget stability into the future.  The proposed budget provides the final year of stability of the current service levels and does not factor into any state budget cuts that will come down next year.  She said the state anticipates a deficit.  She added the general fund forecast projects the County General Fund will face reductions in 2011/ 2012.  She noted in 2011/2012 there is a projected reduction of  $10.5 million; in 2012/2013 there is a proposed reduction of $7.4 million and for 2013/2014,  a reduction of  $2.1 million. 

Moody commented that  federal timber payment is leading to a precarious forecast but the 2010/2011 budget is balanced.   She added that state funding might put money on discretionary resources and the structural deficit is a problem as expenses grow more than revenues and demand by services.  She stated that Lane County strives to do its best with the resources they have. 

With regard to the Road Fund, Wilde asked if they could hear how other communities pay for bridges since not all counties receive Secure Rural Schools funding.  She asked with employee benefits if there was any way to partner with state and federal programs to reduce the County’s responsibility around the benefits.

Moody said there is a benefit review committee and union contracts that spell out benefits.  She said they continue to look to reduce the size of the pool of employees.  She  commented Lane County has an older population and that it drives the costs.

Stewart asked if the state revenue forecast comes in below the current fiscal year when they would see the cuts.

Alex Cuyler,  Intergovernmental Relations Manager, reported  that in the rebalance of 2007/2009, were impacts the County felt in the remainder of the fiscal year.  He said it could happen again but he doesn’t know the status of the state budget.  He said they might have a better sense in the June forecast.

IV. General Fund Forecast Scenarios (Municast)

Moody gave a presentation on the Municast.

Stewart asked if they could reduce this budget by $500,000 off of the next fiscal year if it would have a multiplied effect.

Moody responded that the Financial Forecast is built to anticipate the structural deficit and the increase in expenses occurring. She indicated they would gain the $500,000 in 2010 /2011 and $500,000 plus five percent in 2011/2012.  She added that it continues through the years, not like a one-time revenue.

Dwyer asked what happens if they were to put back 3 percent into the Discretionary General Fund

Moody indicated that for 2010/2011 it is over $1 million and $400,000 by  the end of this year is put back in.  She said it amounts to $1.5 million.

Dwyer indicated that was what he wanted to do.  He asked when they received the last payment from the Department of Forestry for managing timber holdings north of Walton.

Stewart reported that he is on the Council for Forest Trusts Lands.  He recalled that last year the County received $1 million from  the harvest.  He said Lane County is scheduled to receive $1.2 million based on the amount of timber sales  they were expecting this year.

Dwyer wanted the Budget Committee to allocate the funds.  He added that it generally comes in after the budget and he wanted to anticipate their receiving the funding.

Stewart said he will follow up and get the amount and the time of payment.

Bartlett asked when the time the County received the highest SRS payment was.

Moody said they had received $47 million in 2007 and it goes down to $3.5 million in 2011/2012.

Hijmans said they would have to make $20 million in cuts in 2011.  He asked when they are going to address the structural deficit. 

Stewart reported that as a member of Forest Counties and Schools Coalition, they are trying to get reauthorization early.  He said they are putting all of their energy to get the next federal budget to increase the payments at last year’s payment level into the budget.  He said they won’t know the result until the middle of the year.

Wilde asked about the impacts on the cost of employee health coverage.

Moody said health care and PERS costs are growing.  She said for health care in the 2008/2009 budget, after a year they saw a spike in health care uses because of stress when people are about to lose their jobs.  She said it creates a ripple affect and it is hard to factor in.  She said the Risk Fund has gone up because of a tort limit increase by the legislature that they have no control over and those rates continue to increase.

With regard to the Fin Plan, Moody explained in the 2010/2011 budget they didn’t anticipate the tax revenue (like car rental tax) that is more economy based not going up.  She added they didn’t anticipate the Marshall's contract going down and loosing Department of Justice funding.  She said  for the  2011/2012 year they had originally been told there would be a new formula and now it is 40 percent or $1.5 million less.  She reported that benefit increases in December were due to the health care bill.  She added that they had to bring in materials and services in including the voting machine and increased steam and things the departments had no control over. She said it was a combination of things and they didn’t have the growth and revenue they expected.

Bartlett asked what the minimum additional increment was for an increase in jail bed capacity.  He also wanted to know what was being done with the refurbishment at the ice rink.

Spartz said the next increment is 72 beds or $1.5 million annually.  With regard to the ice rink, he said the refurbishment amount is unknown because it is an Enterprise Fund.  He said it could be $1.5 million to $3 million for a complete refurbishment of the facility.  He said the revenue stream would not go up proportionately.

Kaseberg asked what the timeline was with steam. She asked if they had budgeted for it.

Spartz said that David Suchart, Management Services, has been working on this for over a year on the cut over at the jail, at the PSB building and the Court House.  He said that budgeting has been done sufficiently to deal with the issues.

V. State Budget

Alex Cuyler, Intergovernmental Relations Manager, gave a power point presentation on the state budget. (Copy in file). 

Culyer reported that they took five projects to the United Front in Washington, D.C. He added those projects have all been approved into the FY 2011 appropriation bill.  He recalled that last year they brought in $1 million for projects.  He added  that they won’t know when it will happen for this year.

Spartz reported that it would cost $2.7 million annually to open 72 beds in  the east annex.  He added that would be offset by closing the intake of 35 beds for a net gain of 37 beds at a net cost of $1.9 million.

Bartlett asked what has been done to restore capacity to use the money for Forest Work Camp purposes.

Cuyler said there was work done during the appropriation cycle to include language in the interior bill to reopen that issue so Title III funds could be used.  It was brought forward by DeFazio and it was stripped on the Senate side.   He said in 2008 they reviewed the issue. Cuyler indicated that he has a letter from Wyden discussing it.  He said there are land use laws that preclude the ability to use it.  He added they will have to go to the legislature to have it changed so they could utilize the work camp.

Spartz recalled that there is a provision in state land use law that said if they didn’t use the work camp for a period or greater, they lost the right to use it.

Moody said even if that use came back, the money would be stepping down and they would have needed a required match.  She added the money had been allocated for other projects like the Firewise Project.

VI. Public Hearing

Lauire Trieger, Eugene, Lane Coalition of Healthy Active Youth, explained that LCHAY is a non-profit advocacy group to prevent childhood obesity.  She supported the budget addition of 1 FTE for chronic disease prevention work.  She said they use best practices.  She said the partnership of technology and research supported by Public Health is a key component.  She added when more than 75 percent of health care costs go toward chronic illness, it makes sense to create a source to combat this health crisis with education, intervention, collaboration and commitment. She commented that it requires a real investment in Public Health infrastructure.

Sarah Hampson, Eugene,  member of LCHAY, urged the Budget Committee to support the addition of 1 FTE to work on chronic disease prevention.  She commented that chronic disease is the leading cost of death.  She stated that Public Health interventions are effective.  She said with the additional expertise in Public Health and the support of volunteer organizations, they should see improvements in health in their own community.  She thought this money would be well spent.  She asked the Budget Committee to support the investment in Public Health with a new position.

Wendy Simmons, Eugene, Employee Wellness Coordinator at LCC, said she has worked with Public Health and they have supported them at LCC and they continue to receive support.  She said Public Health helped set policies to improve health of students and employees at LCC.  She stated that obesity and tobacco are huge problems and leading factors of death.  She noted that 75 percent of health care costs are due to chronic diseases.  She stated that Lane County Public Health has provided information for LCC and they moved toward reducing second hand smoke.  She indicated that they have added healthier food options and they are working on guidelines for food service in their café and at meetings.  She said that  they have made walking maps for employees and students.  She encouraged the Budget Committee to increase Public Health’s budget.

Rachel Farkas, Eugene, 4J School District explained that physical educators want more contact with Public Health as they see declines in physical education in 4J schools.  She said they want to fold into policies and want more support from with Public Health. 

Kellie Hays, Eugene, Ice Sports Foundation, explained that ISF seeks to maintain and support ice sports and recreation in the southern Willamette Valley,   She noted that the Lane Ice Rink is one of only two ice rinks outside of Portland that has the largest seating capacity in Oregon.  She said they draw attendees outside of the immediate area.  She said ISF represents users groups.  She reported that ISF has met with Rick Reno and the Board to maintain the ice rink.  She said they believe it can become a self-sustaining entity for a public private partnership.  She said they could make changes that could be done gradually with savings and community fundraising.  She said ISF encourages the Budget Committee to continue the ice rink for the next year and to avoid $5 to $8 million to create a multipurpose arena.  She wanted to work with the County to keep the presence of ice in the southern Willamette Valley.

Chris Allenbaugh, Eugene, Pacific Source Health Plans, supported an FTE for chronic disease in Lane County.  She said it is important for the wellness of citizens in Lane County and it affects the bottom line.  She said for every dollar put in they get a three dollar return.  She said Pacific Source believes in chronic prevention and wellness programs.  She thought with the addition of an additional 1 FTE they would see greater results.

Laurinda Andrist,  Eugene, stated she is a delegate to the Oregon Skating Council.  She  read a letter from the President of the Oregon Skating Council about the Lane Events Center.

VII. Adjourn

Chair Kaseberg adjourned the meeting at 7:55 p.m.

Melissa Zimmer
Recording Secretary