BOARD OF COMMISSIONERSí
BUDGET COMMITTEE MEETING
May 11, 2010
5:15 p.m.
Harris Hall Main Floor
APPROVED 5-3-2011

Chair Alice Kaseberg presided with Budget Committee Members Scott Bartlett, Bill Fleenor, Rob Handy, Denis Hijmans, Cindy Land, Pete Sorenson, Faye Stewart and Rose Wilde present. Bill Dwyer was excused.  County Administrator Jeff Spartz, County Counsel Liane Richardson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.

I.  Committee Business

MOTION: to approve the Minutes of May 4, 2010.

Land MOVED, Hijmans, SECONDED.

VOTE: Unanimous.

Shari Higgins, Budget Analyst, distributed testimony on the Lane County Ice Rink, the budget presentation for Information Services and answers to the Budget Committeeís questions.

Kaseberg noted an update on page 2 for the proposed budget.  She indicated an addition mistake was made and the total should read $70,487,634.

II.  Youth Services

Lisa Smith, Department of Youth Services, gave a power point presentation.  (Copy in file).

III.  Justice Courts

Christine Moody, Finance and Budget Manager, reported that there are three Justice Courts:  in Florence , Oakridge and the Central Lane Justice Court in Springfield .  She indicated there is currently not a Judge at the Central Lane Justice Court.  She said Justice Courts have moved back into the general fund due to an accounting rule.  She said Mike Barnhart in Finance had to review whether the revenue into the special revenues fund was discretionary.  She said they found it was not and once they pay for the court, they transfer it back into the general fund.  She indicated there will be technical adjustments on this budget.  She noted that professional consulting will go back to what it was last year; an increase of $20,000.  She added that some things in the general fund didnít get rolled over.  She noted that training hasnít gone away.  She said the Justice Courts collect more revenue than they need and it goes back.  She reported the Justice Courts are status quo.

IV.  Support Services

Moody gave a presentation on Support Services. (Copy in file).

Land asked what percentage in indirect costs recovered are from grants.

Moody indicated she would find out the information.

Bartlett asked if the net outlay from Animal Services was larger now under Health and Human Services with a second tier of indirect costs then it was before.

Moody noted that larger departments have an internal indirect for their own support staff.  She recalled that Management Services didnít have an indirect for Animal Services.  She said the costs were there but they were not attributed to Animal Services.

Land asked which other departments have an additional indirect charge to their own services.

Moody responded that Public Works, the Sheriffís Office and Health and Human Services have additional indirect charges.

Stewart commented that the Board has required more Legal Counsel costs.  He asked if those costs could be tracked sooner.

Richardson responded that all attorneys bill hours and they show how much work is done and where it gets allocated.

Stewart stated that he is trying to find places to lower costs without affecting services.  He asked if there was a way to put controls in so when the Board asks County Counsel to do something, County Counsel could monitor time to find ways to reduce the requests so they donít go over their budget and they could reduce the indirect costs to be apportioned out.

Moody said they would be reduced through the Boardís budget but they wouldnít reduce the grand total.  She indicated that if there are more agenda items, the price per agenda item goes down.

V.  Information Services

Tony Black, Information Services, gave a power point presentation. (Copy in file).

Bartlett recalled that in 2004 the Board took the lead in the community to enhance revenues by mandating veterinarian reporting through monitoring compliance. He asked if there was a data field or component within the pet track specifically monitoring individual rabies reporting activity and in-house license sales activity.  He asked if it had been done.

Black responded that he didnít know the answer.  But he would find out the information and get back to Bartlett.

VI.  Budget Committee Questions and Discussion

Questions for Department of Youth Services.

Bartlett asked how the position of the Minority Service Coordinator helps the families of kids.

Smith indicated that disproportionate minor contact is an issue throughout the Juvenile Justice and Corrections services throughout the United States .  She said with the chronic offenders in the African American group, the state average is ten percent and Lane
County is 1.8 percent disproportionate to the Caucasian population.  She noted the person will be working directly with youth and families helping them connect for diversion services in the community.  She added they would be helping community agencies develop needed services so the Department of Youth Services is not the only way to access services for youth.  She indicated there were a number of ways the youth advocates could work directly with youth and families and the systems issues to develop the resources that are needed.

Wilde commented that she knew these positions were at risk of being cut next year.  She was concerned with this add that they will start providing something that they will have to take away and it could place them in a worse position with the communities of color.  She asked what outcomes could be expected within a year that could be sustained beyond the funding for that position.

Smith said it would take a while to hire for the position.  She stated that they are aggressively looking at grant opportunities.  She said they are working with the Oregon Department of Children and Families on their disproportionate minority contact project.  She said when they complete analysis then they are eligible to apply for phase one and two funding.  She added  that opens up opportunities for federal grants and they would be looking at ways to maintain the services.  She added that for outcomes there would be youth diverted from closed custody, detention and probation.  She said they would have to look at the skill set of the person hired.  She said the need is real and the need is now.  She said the risk is not doing it outweighs the risk in the future of having to take it away.

Kaseberg reiterated on page 38 that they discussed proposed changes to service levels from last year.  She noted there is an add request to the Budget Committee, summarized following page 72. 

Justice Courts

Kaseberg asked about the staffing of the Justice Courts.

Moody said there is no full time judge at the Central Lane Justice Court.  She added there is 8 FTE at the Central Lane Justice Court.

Wilde reported that the Justice Courts now take payments for fines on line.  She commented that that was a good service.  She asked how it was working in terms of collection.

Moody indicated they will be looking at that information.

Stewart asked if there were any awards for bidding contracts on line.

Black responded that they donít have a mechanism to receive electronically responses based on an application that is filled out.  He met with a vendor who does do that online.  He added there is no cost to the process for the County; the revenue would come from the winning bid.  He noted they post RFPís on their website and then making a manual contact with the vendor.

Stewart received an article about posting expenses on line and the results of bids.  He said they are finding more people bidding with lower bids.  He thought the public could see costs savings.

Hijmans stated that he had visited the Justice Court and the employees were doing a good job.

Support Services Questions

Fleenor asked if there was any way to anticipate the cuts and to start accelerating the indirects knowing they are going to see substantial reductions of FTE.

Spartz responded that to meet the qualification of indirect costs they have to have a proper set of numbers.  He added that even if they have fewer employees, the base is higher.

Fleenor asked if they laid off 400 employees now if they could anticipate the savings today.

Spartz commented that if they start reducing the work force, it reduces the real costs.

Moody noted the general fund does not pay a large percentage of the indirect costs.  She said for every dollar cut out of support services they would be saving 40 cents.  She added that the other departments may be willing to pay for support services while their funds are still healthy. 

Sorenson asked for information on the idea of achieving reductions in their current Municast cuts in the general fund and road fund.  He asked what number of positions supported by the road fund and general fund would be not filled due to attrition.

Spartz thought natural attrition was about seven to nine percent or maybe 50 positions over the course of the year.

Sorenson asked what they could do today to start planning.

Spartz stated that this was not a task for the Budget Committee, it is for the Board.  He thought at a point where they have this yearís budget settled, if they want to anticipate the problems for next year, he will meet with the department heads.

Hijmans recalled on April 28, Moody sent them a spreadsheet that showed over 2011/2012 to 2013/2014 Lane County will be running a deficit of $20,142,622.  He thought if they cut $2 million this year (and for the following years) they will have saved $20 million.

Ice Center

Fleenor said they are awaiting the third consulting firmís evaluation. He indicated  that wonít be completed until July at which time the Agenda Team has scheduled a briefing with Reno and Spartz as it relates to the physical facilities of the Ice Center .  He said until they have that information they canít make any definitive decisions during the budget cycle.

Bartlett noted there are community concerns about the Ice Center .  He hoped the Budget Committee could weigh in on this.

Kaseberg indicated that nothing in the budget has to do with the Ice Center .

Spartz reported with the Ice Center there are two issues. He noted they have a significant operational deficit each year at the Ice Center and given the revenues at the Events Center , they are being squeezed to break even every each year.  He added that the most serious is the physical condition of the Ice Center .  He commented that they might be on the verge of a catastrophe with the Ice Center and that is what the engineers are trying to determine.

Stewart noted the operation of the Ice Center is in the budget.  He was unclear why they were getting letters from the community.

Land noted the Lane Events Center cut its budget by 20 percent.  She thought Rick Reno should be complimented for his ability to meet a challenge in a short period of time.

Fleenor said they wonít go in with a predetermined judgment with the Ice Center . He said they are waiting to find out about the condition and then the Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing.

Wilde said she reviewed the document and the e-mails about the Ice Center .  She commented that the center is bleeding and it will be more expensive to maintain.  She asked the advocates to see how the Ice Center can  recover their costs. 

Fleenor noted the Enterprise Fund that represents the Events Center has a $300,000 loss with the Ice Center .  He said even if they were to bring the Ice Center up to a level of safety, they will still see a $300,000 annual loss.  He indicated that if they have a worst cast scenario, it could be a $300,000 gain.  He added that they know the Conference Center ís roof needs replacement and they are having problems with the HVAC.  He commented that they have a lot of challenges at the Lane Events Center and the Ice Center is just one challenge.

Moody noted Reno made changes in the 2010/2011 budget.  She noted the loss is  $189,000.

Land commented that the Board of Commissioners could always work through a supplemental budget process.

Adds

Kaseberg noted there are a number of adds.  She said they have heard from all the departments and on Thursday they will have a public hearing and discussion.

Handy commented that they have to hope for the best but prepare for the worst with regard to the Ice Center .  He wanted to wait for the report. He said they have to work on the goal of the Ice Center as being  a self-sustaining operation.  He said it was important to put leadership and reorganization into place now while they still can and be as pro active as possible.  He wanted to look at any short term adds in the areas that will give the most benefit to the community during the time when the community is hurting.

Fleenor said they should keep doing things like they had in the past.  He stated they are the ones in charge and if they donít do it, they will be out of control.  He wanted to take control of the process affirmatively and let them be the drivers of their own destiny.  He thought instead of having other people tell them what to expect and what to do, they need to do it themselves.  He said if that means they have to ramp down, then they have to do it affirmatively.  He said they have an opportunity now to change course and that is what he is planning to do.

Wilde wanted to preserve infrastructure as long as possible in case they find additional revenues.  She commented that it is more expensive to replace something after it is destroyed.  She was not in favor of the ramp down approach.  She thought it was best to preserve what they have until they do have to cut it.  She noted the proportion of funds that go to Public Safety appears to have increased this year.  She wanted to hold the line with the balance of Public Safety and Public Health.  She doesnít want to make cuts to Public Safety but it is considering the adds to Public Health.  She wanted to know proportions over the past years.

Moody said they could look at what they were spending and what percentage went to those services.

Hijmans said he was proposing a ramp down because he did it for 12 years at a school district. He commented when they do it this way, the organization is much healthier and provides for continuity and lets them review their core mission every year and make smaller cuts than the drastic cuts that were projected.

Richardson said if they start talking about funding decisions and areas within a department, they would want the department directors to come back so they could discuss the impacts.  She thought this was the best avenue to move forward.

Bartlett asked if they were putting the cart before the horse.  He asked if Obama might honor the commitment to the Secure Rural Schools perpetual crisis system.  He thought they should give it more time to mature.

MOTION: to extend the meeting for an additional 15 minutes.

Fleenor MOVED, Bartlett SECONDED.

VOTE: 8-1 (Wilde dissenting).

Land asked about the $372,000 deficit for more deputies.

Russ Burger, Sheriff, reported that for the transportation issue, Lane County is either second or first in the state for traffic fatalities.  He said they donít have enough Deputy Sheriffs on patrol.  He indicated that their Traffic Team is getting calls for service. and they are not generating revenue to continue the operation.  He said they had extra Deputy Sheriffs on the road but they were patrol and not traffic enforcement. He said they had to reduce the positions through attrition.

Land asked if they kept the Deputies on the street if they would have four more Deputies patrolling.

Burger responded that their primary mission would be transportation safety but they could also respond to 911 calls.

Handy asked about the Elections related piece that is needed and if they have any other options.

Richardson noted in their part of the budget request they are requesting $450,000 for the ballot counting machines.  She said when they purchased the last set of machines there was not a fund created for replacement.  She inherited Elections last year and inherited the problem that the machines are no longer supported by software and they have no way of increasing support this year.  She indicted they are starting the RFP process.  She said they need to get the machines in next summer because of the voting cycles.  She commented that from a risk side it is something that they canít put off and it is a request.  She added they are creating a fund and they will be putting in some money so they wonít run into the problem again.

MOTION: to recommend the proposed budget with the following adds:  $100,000 for DYS Prevention Development programs; $80,912 for a Chronic Disease Prevention Specialist in Public Health,; $130,434 for HSC, continuing funds they have been distributing for low income families affected by the recession.;  $108,956 for the Department of Youth Services, and $144,287 for LCAS.

Wilde MOVED, Handy SECONED.

Moody commented that they canít approve the budget without a public hearing.

Kaseberg indicated that this motion will be brought back on Thursday.

Fleenor commented that there are two things they are dealing with:  revenue and expenses.  He said the revenues are the most uncertain.  He added that if they donít do something substantial they are gambling with the publicís resources.  He indicated that if they donít take substantial control over their expenditures, they will be in a perfect storm for several years.  He said they need to look at effectuating cuts. He didnít think they have hit bottom of the recession.

Kaseberg thought they needed to hold on to everything they can this year.

Adjourned at 8:24 p.m.


Melissa Zimmer
Recording Secretary