BOARD OF COMMISSIONERSí
BUDGET COMMITTEE MEETING
May 13, 2010
Harris Hall Main Floor
Chair Alice Kasberg presided with Budget Committee Members: Scott Bartlett, Bill Fleenor, Rob Handy, Denis Hijmans, Cindy Land, Peter 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. Public Comment
Kellie DeVore, CASA,
Lori Bass, President, Board of Relief Nursery,
Greg Rice, said he came last year asking to give money to Public Safety and the Board did and he thanked them. He asked the Board to leave them status quo.
Robin Roberts, Springfield, said she is with the McKenzie Family Resource Center. She thanked the Board for their support of the Department of Children and Families and their prevention programs. She said they support strong families within the communities. She said they have been able to leverage the funds with the Department of Children and Families for other grants and contracts providing employment for ten people in the community. She noted no other services like the
Katie Barr, Eugene, Executive Director, Patrick McCurdy Education Foundation and they mentor in the
Chloe Hays, Eugene, said she is a sophomore at
Kelly Hays, Eugene, said she plays on the Eugene Extreme Hockey Team. She noted that coaches coach a hockey team for disabled people. She commented that in
Clare Davis, Eugene, thanked the Board for the $100,000 from last year to help mitigate the cuts from the state that Healthy Start had received. She noted the critical home visiting program serves highly stressed homes.
Minalee Saks, Eugene, thanked the Board for the funding for prevention and asked for the Board to do it again. She commented that there is a level of stress and vulnerability with the families.
Chuck Hardy, Eugene, thanked the committee for last yearís budget. He encouraged the status quo budget and to provide funding and to help maintain effective law enforcement.
Keith McConnell, supports life long fitness like the
Patricia Haley, Springfield, employee of Lane County, spoke on behalf of the Diveristy Action Committeee budget. She noted that they have been working years without money and they need money to deal with what they find with a climate survey. She asked that this be part of the HR budget.
Suzanne Reed, Eugene, stated that Kathy is a single mother. She stated that the figure skating community means a lot to Kathy and her son, having a positive impact on his life.
Chris Hays, Eugene, said he represents the Lane Amateur Hockey Association Special Hockey Program. He indicated that he is one of the coaches. He said his son who is autistic also plays on the team. He requested the Boardís support for the
Mitch Schwartz, Center for the Family Development, supported the budget for the Public Safety aspects. He commented that the funding was put to a good use. He asked the committee to continue funding Public Safety and Youth Services.
Carrie Suiter, Center for Family Development, supported the Public Safety budget. She thanked the committee for the budget proposal and supports Public Safety.
Jenifer Bucholtz, Center for Family Development, stated that she supports Public Safety. She said she works closely with Department of Youth Services and she sees how they hold teens accountable and make positive changes in their lives. She requested the funding levels for Public Safety be maintained.
Victoria Robinson, Eugene, said she is a mother of skaters and her husband is a speed skater. She said the hockey program is fabulous. She noted speed skating has grown. She said they have to continue with the
II. Budget Committee Discussion/Deliberation
Shari Higgins, Budget Analyst, distributed additional questions and attachments. (Copy in file). She also distributed minutes for May 6, 2010 to be reviewed.
Christine Moody, Budget and Finance Manager, said in response to Wildeís question of the discretionary general fund use, she listed the funds they are budgeting to spend from 2009/2010 and 2010/2011, and the percentages. (Copy in file). She said with approving the budget, there is an Extension Service levy on the ballot next Tuesday put forth by
Sorenson asked how much the proposed budget has changed with health insurance and other costs.
Moody reported that they are now being told by their health insurance company that the insurance rate will not be as high as what is in the proposed budget. She said it is now 10.5 percent and they can get down to 8 percent. She indicated that was something the committee canít act on yet. She said the PERS rate currently in the proposed budget is three percent higher than what they were actually charged from PERS. She added that they built up a reserve because they didnít know if they would be hit with a six per cent increase. She said she found out they wonít be hit with a six percent increase and that is something the Budget Committee could vote on. She indicated the amount will be going back into the general fund. She noted the replacement fund for the computers will be going down $20 per computer or $13,000 to the general fund. She reported for the debt on the Public Health building they put aside $1.5 million. She added that since they had a bond sale, the payment will not be $1.5 million, it will be $1.3 million and HHS pays a piece or a decrease of about $300,000 expense to the general fund per year. She indicated this is changing the forecast, not the budget.
Fleenor thought they are drilling down too quickly and he thinks they need to discuss the post timber budget. He said they should look at the big picture: what is happening to the County and where they are headed. He said they should make fundamental changes now in changing the course while they still have options. He said if they continue to spend money, they will lose time, options and services. He thought before they work on little numbers that they decide what they want
Hijmans agreed with Fleenor. He discussed using Roberts Rules of Order for making motions.
Land wanted to discuss the philosophy about where they are going to get a direction to take this money now and into the future.
Bartlett commented that he didnít feel comfortable with doom and gloom, where they are only good with ropes and roads. He said it hadnít been resolved whether Secure Rural Schools will be authorized yet or not. He heard President Obama say that he would find a permanent solution. He thought they should discuss thinks carefully.
Sorenson asked if there were any other changes to funds other than the general fund.
Moody responded there were no additions in other funds.
Sorenson asked about the reserve amounts.
Spartz reported that they had about $10 million in required reserves with $1.5 million more than the minimum requirement.
Sorenson asked if they could spend $1.1 million. He asked if that would add to their deficit.
Spartz indicated that it would.
Wilde wanted to continue doing outreach and education in the community and responsiveness to community issues. She added that it brings in money from other sources.
Hijmans asked what the cash carryover would be for the 2009/2010 budget from the general fund.
Moody responded the beginning fund balance is estimated to be $20.4 million and predicted to end next year at $9.9 million.
Land was uncomfortable that they would get the SRS money back. She didnít believe government was the spark to get the community involved
Fleenor stated they need law enforcement but they donít know how much they need. He asked what the core amount was to protect and to serve no matter what happens as they move forward. He commented that the chance of their getting the SRS renewed was very low. He asked how they were going to reconfigure Lane County government to provide core essential services the citizens expect. He said they need to find the core and then build from there. He didnít think they could go beyond the core with the funding available to them in the next five years. He wanted to protect the law enforcement capacity as they see the degradation of the economy. He said they need to focus on what is before them He said they need to protect and preserve the reason why
Wilde wanted to see efforts defined to more specific outcomes in how they move forward as a community. She didnít think any ten people could make the best decision. She didnít think this was the time to be making the dramatic decisions. She thought the Board of Commissioners should be working on this. She didnít think that it is a process that expresses what the will of the community is.
Land wanted to start working toward the glide budget as a more immediate remedy for the next five years. With regard to the chronic disease prevention add, she looked to see I that there were other agencies involved with obesity and tobacco and there were ten other agencies. She commented that what they are dealing with is duplication of services. She said this is a good cause, but it isnít something in their economic situation that they can afford at $80,000 when it is already covered by other agencies. She asked if they wanted to leave the three percent extra from PERS in the general fund.
Fleenor asked what the deficit would be next year if they approved the budget with all the adjustments and add packages.
Moody responded it is $10.5 million if they leave in the PERS. She noted the adds total $500,000. She indicated it would be over $1 million over two years. She said without touching the PERS, there would be over a $11.5 million deficit.
Fleenor asked if they donít get additional property tax or SRS, how they would close the gap. He said they have control over expenditures. He asked how they are going to do this on a long term basis. He wanted to address this today.
Kaseberg asked if they do nothing with PERS, then the reserves at the end of next year will be $9.98 million in the general fund and they will still be $10 million short. She asked if they stopped collecting PERS at the higher level what the affect would be.
Moody said they would put $1.5 million in the 2010/2011 reserves and they would increase the reserves and carry forward a higher fund so it would be $9 million instead of $10.5 million.
Fleenor asked about the other future years.
Moody responded it is projected a $7.5 million deficit in the 2012/2013 budget and a $2.5 million deficit in 2013/2014. She indicated after that they are still dealing with the structural deficit.
Hijmans thought they should cut $2 million from this budget and it could prevent them from going over the cliff in four budget cycles.
Moody said when cutting $2 million, that costs are increasing at the same time and services will cost five percent more every year, unless they fix the structural deficit.
Stewart said if they take the approach Fleenor is recommending, (eliminating Elections and Assessment and Taxation) those services are mandated by law and they will have to discuss how they deal with the state taking the services back and sending them a bill. He thought he could reduce about $300,000 and not affect services by not having to lay people off. He recommended not filling the Internal Auditor position at $130,000. He said he wonít hire an assistant for another $30,000. He indicated they are spending $65,000 for community outreach, but he thought they could still do a decent job for $30,000. He noted there could be consequences for things they cut. He thought there was merit in trying to reduce where they can. He didnít think they could get to $2 million. He said there will be a $10 million deficit next year and the conversation has to start immediately after the budget as to how they are going to deal with it and to put together a plan. He thought they should consider going to four day work weeks. He commented that the way they are going to have to deliver services will be different. He said they canít give that direction tonight, but they have to spend time on it. He said they should find efficiencies in combining services. He thought there were tools to get citizensí input. He wanted the citizens to go through the process to help them. He said they need to spend the next year doing this and to get help with the federal and state government. He wanted to be cautious about any adds and what can they do to save $400,000 into the reserves. He commented that if they can save $500,000 today it could mean $750,000 less they would have to cut next year. He was concerned about the state law mandates. He commented that they need to assess the legal requirements they are bound by.
Kaseberg thought the Board should start to work on next yearís budget process as soon as this budget is approved.
Removing HHS prevention Ė there were four people to discuss this, SOS form 8.
Adding the Traffic Team of $320,868 removed by the Sheriffís Office.- there were four people to discuss this.
Removing Youth Intake and SOS 82,169- there were four people to discuss this.
Kaseberg said next week she wants a list with these items listed and there will be motions at that time.
Government Information Office: $9,854 to consider taking it out, there were four people to remove it.
Public Information extra help- there are four people to remove it.
Elections: $450,000 add for voting machines. It stays in budget.
Employee Relations and Development: $20,000 for HR, there were three votes, it stays in budget.
Proposed $100,000 add request to the Budget Committee to be carried on for deliberations for Children and Families Ė there were four votes to move forward
Chronic Disease Prevent $80,912- moved forward for consideration
Human Services: $130,434, moves forward for consideration of an add package.
Animal Services: $144,287, moves forward for consideration
Youth Services Offender Intake $108,956 moves forward for consideration
ICLEI for 2,250 for consideration, moves forward for consideration
Handy said his proposal is a net revenue neutral. He said part of the motion is to shift funds. He stated it is not an add proposal.
Stewart stated they have a reserve from O & C Counties. He thought this was an appropriate source of funding for ICLEI instead of going through an agencyís dues.
Moody said they do have the reserve set aside.
Water Master- $2,000 to move forward for consideration.
CASA - $100,000, moves forward for consideration.
Proposes on Changes
Moody noted there were some technical adjustments. She indicated for Justice Courts, the total is $266,650 that needs to be put back in their budget and it reduces reserves. She noted that NACo dues should have been listed at $6,478 and the Council of Forest Trust Lands is $3,000. She noted this is not in the proposed budget.
Land wanted to put the three percent from PERS with the three percent extra being returned to the other appropriate funds. It moves forward for consideration.
Hijmans asked the Budget Committee and Spartz for next Thursday night that they try to identify $2 million of cuts that pose the least pain and are the best value for the buck. He thought they should give the administrator and department heads the chance to make the most prudent decision possible.
Handy said they are always working on this. He said that Sorenson made a motion to do this and he didnít get a second. He thought it was an inappropriate approach and he didnít support it.
Spartz said before he asks department heads to work on this, he asked for six affirmative votes for the motion tonight.
MOTION: to ask the County Administrator and the Management Team to look at the budget and attempt to find $2 million worth of cuts to the 2010/2011 Budget, and to continue to have the most valuable services and make the most painless cuts possible.
Hijmans MOVED, Land SECONDED.
Spartz asked if the savings were in the general fund.
Sorenson didnít think this was a good use of staff time. He thought they could go on indefinitely to have staff investigate things.
Fleenor asked to amend that during this exercise the Sheriffís Office, Parole and Probation and DYS and the District Attorney are all held harmless. He said he will not cut the Sheriffís Office or Corrections. He commented that they reached a point where they have fair adequacy. He said he wonít approve cutting the Sheriffís Office to balance the budget.
Hijmans couldnít accept Fleenorís amendment because he has seen the Management Team work together and the Sheriff, District Attorney and Youth Services have a substantial budget. He believed they would be willing to offer small amounts. He thought they should participate in the process. He wanted the departments to participate in the discussion and when the revised budget comes back they will have the opportunity to discuss the recommendations.
VOTE FOR AMENDMENT: 3-6 MOTION FAILS.
Stewart said he wouldnít support the motion. He thought they should start tackling next yearís budget in July with time and thoughtfulness.
Wilde thought the cuts would include outreach and she thought it was poor timing. She wanted staff to work on things that would have more relevance in the future.
MOTION: to call the question.
VOTE FOR ORIGINAL MOTION; 2-7 MOTION FAILS
Fleenor voted against this because he didnít want Public Safety cut any more than what it is currently. He said it was not an option for him.
Stewart didnít want to fund the Internal Auditorís position. He said there is a retirement in the position and it would be an easy position to leave open. He recommended giving up his assistant position at $30,000 and consideration of the outreach from the budget from $64,000 to $34,000 for a $30,000 savings. He noted that was almost a $200,000 savings. He thought they could cut travel and training but it was evident that most of the travel and training was needed for credentials for positions and it is complicated. He didnít think they could save very much.
Wilde asked if the position was filling a requirement.
Richardson responded it is not filling a requirement. She noted it eliminates some risk and it has shown benefits.
Sorenson noted the money they receive from grants is more than property taxes. He thought the demand for this was going up and the opportunity for error was going up.
Stewart stated there is value to the position. He said they had a discussion about making cuts. He said he was trying to start savings and this was a logical way to do it and it wouldnít affect anyoneís job. He thought this should be a discussion the Board should have.
Bartlett thought Stewart was being positive in finding cost savings. He thought it was a valuable position.
Handy stated that he wanted a sober and thorough approach and wonít support these types of motions in general.
Land recalled that last year the Budget Committee approved a $515 million budget and by the end of Supplemental #3 the budget was at $585 million. She said there was a $1 million increase in the general fund. She heard other citizens want to ramp it down. She stated that citizens canít afford more, they are getting hit for higher taxes and fees and they need relief. She noted that so far that hasnít been happening. She heard a large group of people last year demanding no assistants and the assistants were added. She said whether or not they were important to the Board, they were important not to have been added for the constituents who are their customers. She thought the glide down theory of bringing this to County staff and to the citizens is critical. She said they have to look at this as a Budget Committee because they have a different viewpoint then those who have to work at the County every day. She said it is a more mathematic issue and sometimes those things have to be separated.
Kaseberg recommended cuts. She looked at the actual awards and recognition from 2006/2008 forward. She removed any awards from the Fairgrounds . She recommended the entire award and recognition budget for general expense, A & T, CAO, DA, Management Services, PW and Sheriffís Office be eliminated. She said it $59,593. She thought this could be given up.
Moody said they have touched funds other than general funds.
Kaseberg said she wanted the departments with general fund components.
There were four votes to move this forward.
Adjourned 8:35 p.m.