BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'
REGULAR MEETING
April 7, 2010
1:30 p.m.
Harris Hall Main Floor
APPROVED 11-2-2010

12. PUBLIC WORKS

a. THIRD READING AND DELIBERATIONS/Ordinance No. PA 1257/Adopting the Junction City Highway 99 Refinement Plan as a Refinement to the Lane County Transportation System Plan, Amending the Lane County Transportation System Plan to Incorporate the Refinement Plan by Reference, and Co-Adopting the Plan as a Refinement Plan to the Junction City Transportation System Plan, and Adopting a Severability Clause (PM & NBA 2/10 & 2/9 & 2010).

Mark Bernard, Public Works, recalled on February 10 the Board held a public hearing, closed the Public Hearing and move to hold a Third Reading on the Junction City Highway 99 Refinement Plan.  He said the record was kept open to today’s Third Reading.  He said the Board directed staff to come back with a range of options to move Phase One forward.  He added the Board directed staff to report on issues related to the refinement plan including legal questions relating to adopting portion of the refinement plan, whether the Oregon Transportation Commission could support adoption of a portion of the refinement plan, the role of transit and the Lane Transit District’s involvement in the selection of the preferred alternative of the refinement plan and whether Junction City received funding for elements of the refinement plan within the city limits.  He said staff’s discussion yielded two options for the Board to consider:  Option One, approve the ordinance adopting the entire refinement plan, the Highway 99 corridor, functions as a system and the refinement plan addresses safety and operations along Highway 99 in and around Junction City to the 2026 planning period.  He indicated that the five phases comprise one project.  He added that each phase is not by itself a project that fixes any issue.  He said the findings address the entire project.  He said Option Two is to take no action on the ordinance.  He said if the Board decides to take no action on the refinement plan, then the Junction City 2009 plan would still be valid within their city limits.  He recalled with Attachment 1 of this Memo, ODOT can support Junction City 2009 adoption of their refinement plan and recommends that the Oregon Transportation Commission adopt those portions of the refinement plan within Junction City’s jurisdiction.  He said the design is far from site specific at this stage.  He didn’t know if the city would need to annex the parcels for construction to move forward.

Bernard indicated that Junction City is currently in periodic review to update their transportation system plan.   He added that elements of the refinement plan outside the city limits of Junction City to be incoporoted into the TSP update and considered  by the Board when the TSP is co-adopted by lane County.  He indicated it will provide an opportunity for the Board  to see how the refinement plan fits within the over scheme of land use and transportation modes required to be addressed by the city under the state land use Goal 12 and the  transportation planning rule.  He added as part of Junction City’s TSP update,  ODOT is exploring alternatives to propose County facilities articulated in the refinement plan located on lands outside of the city limits of Junction City.

Bernard indicted that staff continues to recommend adoption of the entire refinement plan.

With regard to the funding of Phase One, Fleenor asked if they were not to adopt this but have a resolution in support, he said it wouldn’t stop Junction City’s ability to seek funding for Phase One, while in the next two years they will be doing a TSP that will include all of the elements of the refinement plan outside of Phase One, that the County could then considered.  He thought Phase One was better than nothing.  He said they could look at it as a transition into the TSP and co-adoption in two years.

Handy was satisfied that the waiting for the TSP update will give them the opportunity to address these issues.  He is supportive of finding a way to move forward with Phase One, which is within the city’s jurisdiction.  He said given they are in the process of forming an Area Commission on Transportation, it could be one of the projects the partners in the ACT might want to prioritize with the Region 2 partners.  He was supportive of doing that.  He supported Option 2, taking no action on the ordinance.  He said they want to take an action to move this forward with the Phase One project.  He indicated they are taking action supportive of Phase One.

Fleenor asked if they take no action if this is kept in.

Clark explained that taking no action means the ordinance is not adopted and the County has not adopted it in total.  He noted that Phase One identified in the plan has already been adopted.  He said by not adopting the plan, it doesn’t inhibit the city where they can to seek funding with the first phase.  He stated that it is not a quasi judicial matter.

Dwyer wanted to help facilitate the city’s ability  to secure funding for Phase One.

MOTION:  to issue a letter in support of Phase One with regards to funding opportunities.

Dwyer MOVED, Handy SECONDED.

Sorenson asked if this meant they could continue to work on the rest of it.

Clark responded that if the Board doesn’t want to take action on the ordinance on the plan at this time, but wants to indicate support of the city’s efforts to seek funding elsewhere for Phase One,  he didn’t know who the letter to be sent.  He thought they might want to do a generalized resolution in support.  He said no action on the plan means that some of the policy issues for the plan get pushed back for the city’s TSP update that will come back to the Board for review.  He thought the letter or resolution in support of the city indicates the County has chosen not to proceed at this time but wanted to signify the city’s effort for Phase One.

Fleenor thought they should have a resolution.

Dwyer concurred going with a resolution.

Handy agreed to have a resolution.  He wanted to say they support Phase One and that there are outstanding issues that need to be addressed.  He said he is the representative on the ACT Charter Committee and where they are partnering with the smaller cities.  He thought they should give a heads up to the smaller cities that they would be doing this.  His concern is they are sending a message to ODOT that they are in support of the project.  He asked if that had a weight around any other city’s projects.

Barry commented that the Board was not necessarily prioritizing the Junction City efforts over other cities.  She said what the Board is saying is they  are not co-adopting the TSP at this time, but they are supportive of the city moving forward with Phase One.

Dwyer said this has nothing to do with the distribution of funds or the expectations that the cities have.  He said the cities work closely together.

With regard to the ordinance, Clark said they could call for a vote, or to do nothing or they could set it for a time certain to come back for another reading in a year or two.

Bork said the ordinance may change because the TSP may have additional language.  She added the refinement plan might change.  With regard to the County procedures, she said whatever accommodates the Board  would be best.

VOTE: 5-0.

MOTION:  to approve a Third Reading and Setting a Fourth Reading and Deliberations on Ordinance No. PA 1257 for October 20, 2010.

Dwyer MOVED, Handy SECONDED.

VOTE: 5-0.

b. STATUS REPORT/Work Group for Lane Code/Manual/Comp Plan Revisions Per Adopted Land Management Division Program and Possible Consideration of a Board Order to Establish a Code Revision Work Group.

Matt Laird, Land Management, recalled on March 17 as part of the long range planning work planning Task One,  the Board created a Land Use Task Force that was charged with reviewing six land use issues that were identified by the Goal One Coalition and to be determined to have merit by the Board.  He reported the first Task Force meeting was held on April 1 and the primary focus was getting the task force set up.  He said on the agenda was election of chair and vice chair, ground rules were established, consensus building techniques were discussed and the meeting schedule was set.  He said the group chose Mia Nelson has Chair if the Land Use Task Force and the Vice Chair was Mike Reeder. He noted future meetings were moved from Thursday to Mondays from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.  in Harris Hall.  He reported the second task force meeting was held on April 5 and the primary focus was compliance code amendments.  He noted on the agenda that night was whether to have public comment testimony taken at that meeting, preparation of a media release, compliance enhancements was the major topic.  He added home occupation was also discussed.  He said the group decided they would not have time to take verbal public comment at those meetings, but people could submit things in writing.  He commented that the meetings have been well attended by the Task Force members.  He added less than 10 people from the general public had been attending the meeting.  He noted the next meeting is Monday April 12.

c. ORDER 10-4-7-8/Options for Discount Disabled Veterans on Annual Parks Passes.

Todd Winter, Parks, explained that this a proposal for a discount for disabled veterans living in and around Lane County.  He said the Parks Division and the Board have received feedback in the past from Veterans asking why Lane County doesn’t provide a discount for disabled veterans for an annual pass.  He said research was done to find out was other agencies to do provide discount to Veterans.  He indicated that state parks waive a day fee, the national parks and federal recreation land agencies have tried a free lifetime pass.  He said the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife offer free hunting and fishing licenses and the DMV offers discount registrations.  He said currently Lane Manual provides for a 50 percent discount for seniors at age 62 and an earn a pass program where a citizen or family living in the area who couldn’t afford an annual pass could volunteer 15 hours of time in one of their parks and receive an annual pass in exchange for volunteer time.  He indicated that staff believes the revenue losses won’t negatively impact Parks operations.  He added that according to Lane County Health and Human Services, approximately 38,000 Veterans live in Lane County and of those approximately ten percent have service related disabilities.  He said based on that assumption, 3,800 Veterans might qualify. He said each Veteran that has a disability status receives a letter from the VA with the percentage of disability.  He added that state parks, ODF& W and DMV require that this letter be presented in person to receive the discount.  He said they plan a similar procedure.  He noted the three Veteran’s option are Option 1:  a 50 percent discount on annual passes to veterans who have a disability rating of 25 percent.  He said Option 2 is for  Veterans with a disability raiting of 100 percent and a 50 percent discount on an annual pass for veterans with a disability rating of at least 25 percent.  He said Option 3 would be for the Board to make no c hange to curren tpoliciy or fees.  He stated that staff recommends Option 2, a free annual pass 100 percecent disability and a 50 percent discount with a disability rating of at least 25 percent.  He added that Option 2 was supported unanimously by the Parks Advisory Committee and the Finance and Audit Committee.

Dwyer commented that this was long overdue and happy they can offer Veterans something.

Sorenson also thought they should approve this.  He wanted to have Winter and Amber Fossen work on a press release or public service announcement to promote this.

MOTION:  to approve Option 2 for ORDER 10-4-7-8

Stewart MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.

VOTE:  5-0.

13. COMMISSIONERS’ BUSINESS

a. DISCUSSION and POSSIBLE ACTION/Fiscal Impact of Eugene 's Downtown Urban Renewal District on the County's Future Tax Revenues.

Anette Spickard, Assessor, distributed information regarding the Downtown Urban Renewal District. (Copy in file).   She recalled on March 12 the County Administrator received the official notice of the city of Eugene that the council  is considering adopting a plan amendment to the Downtown Urban Renewal Plan.  She noted there are four basic components they are planning in the plan amendment.  She said they want to increase the maximum indebtedness allowed under the plan by another $16.15 million.  She noted that the maximum indebtedness amount is not a part of the tax formula they prepare in determining how much money the County pays into the plan.  She indicated what it does is extend the life of the plan.  She noted there is an amendment proposed to terminate the plan after additional projects are c ompleted and those proposed projects are to contribute to the construction of the new LCC Downtown Center Campus, to assume the Broadway Place Garage debt payment in order to free up other no n-urban renewal funds to pay for a Downtown Public Safety initiative, to make improvement to the Park Blocks for the farmers market and to assist with the location of the new VA Clinic if Peace Health Willamette  Street site is elected.  She indicated they would be expanding the boundary area of the plan to loop in the Willamette Street site.  She said the expansion of the boundary will add another 18 property tax accounts to the plan area, but only four of those accounts are taxable.  She added that most of the accounts in the expansion are exempt.  She said the plan would continue for another eight years, ending in FY 18/19.

Spickard indicated the Board received the required notice and there is a Public Hearing at the Eugene City Council on April 19.  She said they are able to receive written comments up to the end of April, beyond the hearing date.  She reported they are scheduled to have a work session to discuss all of the public comments they have received at the hearing and in writing on May 10 and the city staff would prepare any adjustments to the plan amendment on May 12.  She said the city council is scheduled to consider the ordinance on May 24.  She indicated that if the ordinance is adopted on May 24, it would begin the citizen referendum process.  She said it would need to be completed on June 23 for the November ballot.  She added if the ordinance is adopted and a referendum process isn’t completed, then the plan amendment would become effective on June 23.  She asked what written comments the Board wanted to make on the plan.

Spickard reported that the estimated fiscal impact  to the property tax revenues for the additional eight  years of the plan is about $1.4 million. She indicated the first year 2010/2011,  it is estimated to take about $150,000 from the County’s tax levy and that amount would grow over time to about $200,000 of tax loss the last year of the proposed plan amendment of 2017/2018.  She estimated that when the levy ends, that the additional property tax revenues will be $210,000 and in reviewing the plan amendment document provided by the city, there is a projected revenue and expenditure analysis that shows that at the end of those eight years.  She estimated that $860,000 would be left over in the plan that would be distributed back to the districts through the refund statute.  She thought $75,000 would go back to the County.  She reported that for the last seven years the Downtown Plan impact to the County has been $1 million from the general fund.  She thought the Board should take the opporutynity to comment on the fiscal impact to the County of the continuatiuon of the plan.  She thought the Board should comment on the proposed projects in the plan amendment and whether the projects would be of benefit to the County and its citizens for the $150,000 to $200,000 per year contribution they would be making to the plan.  She said the Board has expressed interest in other forms about public safety, farmers market, LCC and this is another opportunity to weigh in on those subjects.  She thought the Board should also comment on the expansion of the district to incorporate the Peace Health site.  She said that without including that plan site in the area, the ability of the city to assist the VA in locating at the site would be limited if the ydidn’t have help from other partners.  She thought it could be another area of interest for the County for Veterans Services.  She also thought the Board should comment on the commitment of the city council to adhere to their timeline in the plan amendment by 2019.  She thought the Board should comment on the expectations and the timing of plan administration if the referendum is successful and the plan doesn’t become law or if the plan is not adopted by the council and it ends, the Board should be clear in giving notice regarding the refund of tax dollars back to the County and the other tax districts.

Fleenor wanted to know about language that caps the costs or provides accountability with respect to fairness.

Dwyer said he has an issue with the parking bonds that frees up money.  He said he doesn’t like those processes.  He said they need more clarity on how and why they are going to do it.  He commented that this never ends.  He thought the college was a good idea to be placed Downtown and a good use of the money.  With regard to the projects, he didn’t have any problem and thought it was good use of the money.  He commented that the money will finally get to where it was intended.  He said the bottom line is they have no authority on whether this goes forward.  He wanted to increase the boundary to include the County’s FQHC.

Richardson reported there appears to have been additional money collected in 2009.  She said what triggers contacting the Assessor is that there deposits in the special fund are sufficient to fully pay principle and interest on the indebtedness.  She is trying to gather information on that and the timeline issue.  She said if they end up increasing their maximum indebtedness because of the expansion then they haven’t collected enough money.  She hasn’t been able to find out about administrative expenses.  She indicated there is a prohibition about paying operations. She recalled that there was a question about how specific a project has to be.  She said given the nature of urban renewal district proposed projects, t hey can be vague.  She said the paying off  of the parking garage is an allowable expense.  She agreed with Spickard’s issues of what the Board should address.  She said since it appears the urban reweal district will go forward, looking at some of the suggestions that Dwyer had that the County could see that would benefit the County.

Sorenson thought an outcome of today’s meeting would be sending a letter to the Mayor, City Manager and the individual councilors coverying them the report they received from Spickard.  He wanted to launch a project to bring back a draft letter that Spartz writes.  He wanted to lay out the consultation requirements under the statute to say they are looking forward to the consultantion.  He thought they should say that the law should be amended and not allow one jursidcition to tax another without their consent. He wanted a paragraph with the date of the extensions so the readers know their concerns of a sixth extension is not unfounded.  He thought they should comment favorably on the projects.  He thought a portion of the letter should be devoted to the issue of the parking garage and the repayment and the use of that money to use for city purposes.  He also had concerns about the administration and the cost of administrating this district.  He wanted to identify specific County concerns.  He thought they needed to comment on the city’s reduction on their general fund that is applied to Youth Services, District Attorney, Parole and Probation and the operations of the Lane County Sheriff’s Department and the correction function.  He thought they should follow up that the boundaries on Exhibit A have notable exceptions that could be added.  He wanted to have a  balanced letter and make it known that the County won’t play any role.  He wanted to know what the impacts are on other taxing districts.

Fleenor asked if Spickard would be comfortable sending the letter based on the Board’s request.

Stewart was in support of the projects they placed.  He recalled three years ago they amended this plan before.  He was on the Board and he remember having a conversation and requesting the city of Eugene to see if they could incorporate the Charnelton Building because they were in the process of purchasing it.  He said they were told it wasn’t possible.  He believed it would be good to see if they could include the Charnelton Building.   He wanted to also add the Public Service Building and the courts and other pieces of property they own.  He thought the letter should come from the Board.

Sorenson thought since the statute requires the city to consult with the Board that they would say in the first letter that they got a briefing from Spickard.  He said they would have the Board chair send a letter from the city and include this.  He said there wouldn’t be any need to get into the details and then they ask Spartz to write a draft letter which they review that has Fleenor’s signature.  He commented that this was the first time the projects would benefit the County.  He thought the letter should state they were in favor of those projects.

Spartz thought asking the city to include one or more of the County’s property in the district will mean the life of the district  will extend out to 2022 or 2029/2030.  He thought they should be careful what they ask for.

Handy was comfortable with the bullet points that Sorenson discussed.  He wanted Spartz to work with Richardson and Spickard to draft the second letter.  He wanted the letter with bullet points before the Board next Tuesday and have it as part of next week’s deliberation.  He commented that it was important they revitalize Downtown Eugene.  He said the projects are worthy.  He said the main question is how are they paying for them and who is paying for them.  He thought there were other ways the projects could be funded.  He added that the city of Eugene has not chosen to look at those.  He said the effects have urban renwal have been controversial.  He wanted to explore with their legislative partners that at a minimum urban renewal districts and plans need to have a definite maximum life and a public vote should be required to form a new urban renewal district.  He wanted to ask the Attorney General for an opinion.  He commented that the extension of the district not only doesn’t look good after promises it wouldn’t be extended again,  he doesn’t want to rely on the city of Eugene to get information. He said the projects are worthy and the partnerships are worthy and they have a situation that needs to be addressed.

Fleenor commented he finds the urban renewal district an exercise in creative initiations of law.  He said the first thing government should do is buy back jail beds, not parking lots and that is the message they need to send.  He isn’t happy about this.  He commented that when they are stealing money from the County, they are robbing public safety coffers.    He thought they need to ask Spartz to put together a letter that send the briefing from Spickard and that Spickard, Richardson and Spartz  need to draft a second letter that incorporates what Sorenson requested.

MOTION: to move that the Board chair transmit a copy of the County Assessor’s April 7, 2010 memo to the Board, a transmittal letter to the city manager, the mayor and each individual city councilor.

Sorenson MOVED, Handy SECONDED.

VOTE: 5-0.

14. COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR

a. Announcements

Spartz recalled there was bill on whether or not vineyards would be permitted to have certain operations.  He said the AOC is putting together a task force.  He asked if a Board member wanted to serve.  He noted that Alex Cuyler said he would be willing to sit on the task force.

MOTION:  to designate Alex Cuyler to sit on the task force.

Stewart MOVED, Handy SECONDED.

VOTE: 4-0.  (Dwyer out of room).

b. DISCUSSION/Letter to White House Staff as Follow-up to United Front Trip.

Cuyler indicated that this was a document that was put together for a cover letter to Michael Blake at the White House.  He said the letter was requested from a meeting with Fleenor and Sorenson with him on March 3 to discuss in greater detail regarding the ramp down of the 2008 Secure Rural Schools  reauthorization and what the impacts to service levels and job cuts would be in Oregon and Lane County.  His recommendation is to get this in the mail as soon as possible since it has been over a month since the meeting occurred.  He commented that this document could be timely with the Campaign for Rural America for Secure Rural Schools.

Fleenor indicated there were changes in the letter.  He asked what they should do.

Cuyler asked for the changes and bring it back to the Board.

15. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS

Handy announced that he attended a CAPS meeting at the Lane County Fairgrounds.  He reported that tomorrow he will be the kick off speaker at the Lane County Human Rights Summit.

Stewert announced that tomorrow night there is an event at McKenzie High School addressing substance abuse and underage drinking.

Fleenor reported that tomorrow he has a community dialogue in Veneta.

16. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660

Per ORS 192.660(2)(h) for discussion of potential or pending litigation.

17. OTHER BUSINESS

None.

There being no further business, Commissioner Fleenor recessed the meeting into Executive Session at 4:10 p.m. 

Melissa Zimmer
Recording Secretary