BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'
REGULAR MEETING
January 27, 2010
1:30 p.m.
Harris Hall Main Floor
APPROVED 3/17/2010

Commissioner Bill Fleenor presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Rob Handy , Pete Sorenson and Faye Stewart present.  County Administrator Jeff Spartz, County Counsel Liane Richardson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.

9. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION  

a. REPORT/Update on Secure Rural Schools ( SRS ).

Alex Cuyler , Intergovernmental Relations Manager, described the partnership for the Rural American Campaign, the reauthorization of Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act. (Copy in the file).  He recalled that several of the Board members stated this was the number one priority for the County.  He indicated that the Board might have the ability to secure services from Tony Bieda , who was the past Intergovernmental Relations Manager.  He stated Bieda is well versed in Secure Rural School issues.  Cuyler discussed the possibility of Bieda providing services to Lane County .  Cuyler added that they also have the services of Smith Dawson Andrews, (their lobbying firm) in conjunction with their appropriations efforts.  He noted in the contract they also discussed that they should be present for Secure Rural Schools issues.  He said they would be willing to play any role necessary with regards to reauthorization.

Cuyler reported that the County has spent $1 million from 2006 to 2008 for reauthorization efforts in the past.   He noted over that same time period they brought back $45 million to Lane County as a result of the act.   He said the campaign is working to get this in front of the President now because the White House is in the process of writing the 2011 budget.  He noted there is 30 percent reduction for year three and then they drop in 2012.  He said if there is the possibility of getting a reauthorization prior to year four, it would be the preferable approach.  He thought there might be work they would be able to do in  Washington , D.C. while they are there in March.

Cuyler thought at this point in time they could direct Spartz to make an arrangement with Bieda.  He said they could also work with Smith Dawson Andrews.  He thought Bieda was closer to some of the people who were involved in the coalition than Smith Dawson.  He commented that having Bieda provide oversight might give the Board comfort in ensuring that Lane County ís interests are being talked about accurately from those involved in this campaign.

With regard to the letter to DeFazio, Wyden and Merkley, Sorenson said he wanted to note that they have made testimony before the House in 1999.  He wanted to state that he and Fleenor will be attending the United Front trip this year.  He thought they should request to meet with DeFazio, Wyden and Merkley in Eugene to discuss Lane County ís problems.

Handy wanted to add a paragraph about the unique position Lane County is in with low property tax rates.

Sorenson said counties in Oregon are prohibited from adjusting the permanent property tax base and that Lane County ís base has been frozen and like other O & C counties, they have the lowest tax rate in the state.  He wanted that to be placed in the letter.

Fleenor proposed a paragraph in the letter being sent.  He said there was a linkage between the reauthorization between Secure Rural Schools and Lane County spending all of the money on public safety, essentially depleting all of the reserves.  He didnít think it should be left unchallenged.

Cuyler said there were reasons given for expressing Lane County to spend the money instead of leaving it in reserves.  He thought it would be a structural quandary they will continue to find themselves.

Fleenor commented that he didnít want to spend all of their money going after Secure Rural Schools funding because they would end up going bankrupt.  He wanted to communicate how much they appreciate the money but they need more specificity to keeping a healthy budget.

Handy wanted to make sure the story about going off the cliff is included in the letter.  He thought they should also incorporate the Sheriffís Work Camp into the letter.  He recommended separating the second paragraph into two paragraphs.  He commented that they want to be sensitive but they donít want the Board of Commissioners to be a punching bag.

Dwyer thought Bieda would be a great asset.  He said it was important to get him into the budget language.

Cuylerís recommendation was to include Tony Bieda not as a lobbying firm, but to help push for reauthorization.

Spartz stated that Bieda is acquainted with the local situation and he provides an economic resource. 

Fleenor indicated they would not make a decision about Bieda until after the United Front trip.

Sorenson said they want Cuyler to contact Bieda regarding schedules from March 1 to 14 when United Front and the NACo meeting are taking place in Washington , D.C. so they could have opportunities to talk with Bieda in person about the arrangements.  He said Spartz, and Cuyler will write up another draft letter attempting to incorporate the comments they heard from the commissioners and next Tuesday or Wednesday they will have a letter written to the congressman and two senators.

b. ORDER 10-1-27-18 Adopting Positions on Legislative Issues During the 75th Legislative Session

Cuyler explained that this is a report in advance of the Special Session that begins February 1.  He asked the Board to examine the recommendations on specific bills.

MOTION: to support the recommendations for items 1, 3, (both items 4), 7, 8,  11, 12, 13, 14, 16 and 17.

Handy MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.

VOTE: 4-0 ( Stewart excused). 

HB 3601

Richardson indicated this bill allows for an administrative hearing.  She said it allows the offender to request a hearing by phone and they would pay a $250 fee if they wished to proceed in that order.

Sorenson thought this should be supported.

MOTION: to support HB 3601.

Sorenson MOVED, Handy SECONDED.

VOTE: 4-0 ( Stewart excused).

HB 3608

Cuyler explained that this is for the business energy tax credit.  He said it is a new credit for transportation of woody biomass that clarifies the previously existing biomass tax credit.  He added that it creates a new definition for biofuel and bioenergy and includes heat that is important for bioenergy to move forward.  He noted that Mike McKenzie Bahr , Economic Development, reviewed this and thought it was a good bill.  He said it was identical to a bill that was introduced last session.

MOTION: to support the bill

Dwyer MOVED, Sorenson SECONDED.

Handy didnít think this was a good direction for them.  He wanted to be neutral on this.

Dwyer amended his motion from support to monitor.  Sorenson SECONDED.

VOTE: 4-0. ( Stewart excused).

HB 3640

MOTION: to support the bill.

Handy MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.

Handy thought this was a good bill.  He noted that many people live in manufactured home parks and this would help some of the poorest and vulnerable in the County.

VOTE: 5-0.

HB 1022

Fleenor asked if they could attach an amendment relating to Short Mountain and their ability to connect their lechate needs to the Metro Wastewater Management.

Cuyler indicated that he spoke with Senator Chris Edwards about this and that they couldnít attach an amendment to this bill.

Sorenson didnít think they should amend this bill. 

Dwyer didnít want to support the bill.  He thought they should monitor the bill.

He didnít want the state to supersede their zoning ability.

Stewart shared his concerns with this item.  He questioned why this bill is present.  He said Junction City has an agreement that they are going to pursue a process for the urban growth boundary.  He thought there would be pushback statewide.  He wasnít optimistic of this bill passing.

MOTION: to monitor the bill.

Dwyer MOVED, Stewart SECONDED.

Sorenson supported the motion. 

Fleenor thought this bill made sense.  He said they need to factor in the people who will be impacted by the inability to hook up to the system.

Handy agreed with the position to monitor.

Fleenor stated he wouldnít support the motion.

VOTE: 4-1 (Fleenor dissenting).

HB 1018

MOTION: to monitor the bill.

Dwyer MOVED, Handy SECONDED.

VOTE: 5-0.

SB 1055

MOTION: to monitor the bill.

Dwyer MOVED, Sorenson SECONDED.

Sorenson asked if this bill allowed wineries to have gift shops in their wineries.

Cuyler said it would allow for items directly for the sale and promotion of wine produced by the winery that would be looked at as incidental.  He didnít know what it meant for mass gatherings and concerts.  He noted there will be language to amend the bill to include mass gatherings.

Fleenor agreed this was a slippery slope.  He thought there was economic opportunity for Lane County .  He agreed to monitor, but he wanted to monitor with a good faith effort to help shape the legislation.  He didnít want to say they were against it.  He said it is an emerging opportunity for Lane County .

Sorenson wanted to know the positions of the Lane County legislators.  He also wanted to know if there is legislation that gets into more parameters of restaurants.  He thought this blurred the line between agriculture and what percentage of the food could come from the area.

Fleenor commented that the winery needed to be the primary driver.

Richardson noted there was language that addressed Sorensonís questions.  She stated the items have to be directly related to the sale and promotion of wine. 

VOTE: 4-1 (Fleenor dissenting).

Exhibit B

Cuyler prepared a number of resolutions that propose to change the constitution regarding the corporate kicker. He noted that SJR 45 is  no longer on the website.  He said HB 3636, 3641 and SB 1037 and SB 1051 and SJR are all sponsored by the Republican members of the legislators.  He didnít think those proposals would be able to advance  He thought SJR might be the only one to advance.  He said it will come back on the website February 1 according to the Secretary of the Senate.  He said each of the proposals is a way to establish a reserve fund.

MOTION: to monitor the bill.

Dwyer MOVED, Sorenson SECONDED.

VOTE: 5-0.

c. REPORT/HB 2626.

Cuyler said this was a bill that came out of  the last legislative session.  He said the Board had expressed interest at the time it was being debated in the legislature.  He said this came up previously with the Board in August when the Board discussed the bond sale.  He said HB2626 establishes methodologies whereby a homeowner or small business could get a loan for improvement to their property that would allow them to install renewable energy equipment or to do other conservation measures.  He said a utility would be able to lend money to their customer and the customer could pay that money back through their utility billing.  He added that it would be a transferable loan so if the utility customer sold the house that assessment would stay with the house and the new customer would continue to pay the utility until the loan is paid off.  He noted there was only $5 million appropriated for this bill.  He thought in Lane County they could look at creating the onbill utility system approach.  He added that local government could work as a program manager in the bill.  He said it could be paid by property tax assessments.  He commented that it is an unpopular approach.  He thought there could be major problems with taking that route.  He indicated that local government could still provide dollars through a separate administrative function  to collect the actual payment.  He said it would be run through a local improvement district.

Mike Barnhart , Finance, explained that they could issue Lane County assessment bonds.  He said they could issue bonds at current interest rates secured by interest to the properties and they would pay bonds as they collect payments.  He said the second option would be to apply to the state for self loans.  He noted a third option is qualified energy conservation bonds.  He noted that only 30 percent of the bond proceeds could be used for energy efficiency loans to individuals.

Cuyler recommended holding off on this.  He said they wouldnít have the staff that would be available.  He noted the Human Services Commission staff works on energy issues but those are income qualified.  He recommended monitoring developments to see what they could do or what other counties are doing.

Stewart reported that there is interest from southern counties to move forward on the Southern Oregon Renewable Energy Project to a larger effort.

McKenzie-Bahr recalled that Lane County got a grant to review setting up a program using conservation renewable energy for a focus on solar energy technology at the home, business and municipal level.  He said they are trying to look at all of the funding opportunities.  He commented that every opportunity is in flux.  He said they are trying to put together a matrix that gives examples on how they are being used.  He said there are not a lot of models and there is disagreement on how things should be run.  He recommended to keep studying this and to bring back something to the Board that will work.

Sorenson thought Lane County should do this on its own.  He thought they should start small and use experiences from other communities by taking less risk in its initial issuance.

Barnhart was not sure what the grant would allow.  He said when they are factoring administrative costs and the current interest rates for bonds and loans, he didnít know what interest factor they would have to build in to make sure the program is successful.  He said if their rates are higher than a self loan, it might not work for Lane County .

Stewart indicated they have the rural rehab program that St. Vincent de Paul operates that works on the same principle but on home improvements.  He said they operate the same way as a community block grant.

McKenzie Bahr said in talking with investors that bonds could be risky.

Fleenor asked Cuyler to monitor this and come back with a report.

Cuyler noted what McKenzie Bahr is doing doesnít look at a program internally.  He said the Board will have to give direction that if they were to do this internally, what the vehicle would be and how much FTE it would take.  He said someone would have to be a contractor or they would have to have internal staff  do this. 

Fleenor asked for two commissioners to work with staff to draft a board order that allocates staff time and resources and report back on the Consent Calendar.

Sorenson suggested Barnhart and McKenzie Bahr   to do something within their current authority.

10. COUNTY COUNSEL

a. Announcements

None.

b. REPORT BACK/Dorena Dam Public Comment Period and County Legal Standing. (PULLED)

Stewart said that Mr. Steele provided language.  He asked County Counsel to review it.

Richardson indicated that they looked at the resolution.  She noted there were a lot of factual statements attributed to various departments that they have not had a chance to look at.  She said they couldnít approve it as to form if the Board wanted to draft a resolution.

Fleenor recommended rolling this until February 9.

11. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS

Sorenson thanked Christine Moody and Ashley Miller for helping him get ready for his presentation at the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce local government meeting.

Stewart attended an avid gardenerís meeting about Ayres Creek Farm.  He attended a town hall meeting in Coburg last night on their wastewater facility.  He reported there were 200 people in attendance.

12. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660

Per ORS 192.660 (2)(h) for pending litigation.

14. OTHER BUSINESS

None.

There being no further business, Commissioner Fleenor recessed the meeting into Executive Session at 4:45 p.m.

Melissa Zimmer
Recording Secretary