BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'
BUDGET COMMITTEE MEETING
May 4, 2010
5:15 p.m.
Harris Hall Main Floor
APPROVED 5/4/2010

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

I. Committee Business

Shari Higgins,  Budget Analyst, discussed the change in a SOS sheet. (Page 30)  She noted for Resident Deputies, (under performance data) it should be 3 FTE for 2009/2010 instead of 3 percent.  She distributed a replacement page for 25.  She noted that the minutes of the prior meeting will be approved on Thursday night. She distributed information on intergovernmental association costs and the power point presentation for Health and Human Services

II. Property Tax Revenue Overview

Anette Spickard, Assessor, gave a presentation on property tax revenue overview. (Copy in file).

III. General Expense

Christine Moody, Budget and Finance Manager, reported under the Financial Policy Tab (page 35) the County has a reserve policy to seek a five percent prudent person reserve.  She noted the general fund talks about a ten percent reserve.  She added that provides them with an emergency reserve and it helps with their bond rating. She said the rule went from five to ten percent and they have been able to maintain the ten percent reserve. 

Wilde asked how they could make more money out of the investor reserves.

Spartz responded the short term investment policies are regulated by state law.  He added that their desire is to be prudent for the preservation of principles.  He said they can make reasonable investments by investing in short term instruments.

Association Dues

Dave Stockdale, Budget Analyst, discussed the list of association costs the County belongs to.  He noted their payment to LCOG this year is $90,399, down $2,000. He added dues to Association of Oregon Counties  is $87,985.  He said LRAPA has gone up slightly.  He noted tomorrow that there will be a discussion about the Lane Metro Partnership and  a return on investment analysis.  He indicated the O & C Lobbying Assessment is being carried forward.  He said in the O & C Membership, it shows discretionary general fund, but they are paying for it out of a reimbursement fund from O & C Counties.  He said they received a request from the Local Governments for Sustainability for $2,250.  He indicated that they have not belonged to this association before and it is a new add to the list.

Dwyer wanted to budget for the Grass Roots Garden.

Wilde asked what outcomes they expect to get from the associations.

Stewart said they placed  a requirement on O & C Countiesí payments and in November the Board will review their progress before they agree to pay the dues.

Stockdale indicated that many associations produce an annual report.

Stewart thought they paid their dues to the National Association of Counties this year.

Moody indicated that they didnít find anything where they had paid the dues.

Stewart thought they passed a motion to become a member. He thought they were the only county in the state who was not a member.  He said they need to make sure the dues are paid and to add it into the budget for next year.

Stockdale thought the dues would be $6,500 as they were in the past.

Community Requests

Higgins noted they received one community request from the Water Master District 2.  She recalled that they put out forms for community members to fill out.  She indicated this was the only request that was received.  She recalled that no funding was provided in 2009/2010 for community requests.

Michael Mattick, Water Master, said he makes this budget request every year.  He recalled the Board had not funded him for the past two years but had funded his request for five years prior.  He asked for funds to hire a part-time assistant to help him.  His function is settling water use disputes and well construction standards.  He said he talks to people about water rights and well log research.  He said he protects in stream flows in Lane County.  He wanted to look at how surface water interacts with groundwater in Florence.  He added there is a full time water assistant that is shared with five other water masters.  He said that he lined up someone who will volunteer for him from LCC.  He asked for $2,000, but he said he would  like $660.  He added that he gets the same amount from Linn County.

PERS

Moody reported that they are on track to pay off the remaining $1.6 million remaining of the PERS bond that is callable.  She said it will be paid by the end of the fiscal year.  She added PERS bond rate for 201020/11 is about 6.5 percent of permanent wages.  She said the payment is fixed.  She reported that they are stable in the rate and in the 2010/2011 budget the PERS rate is being held 3 percent higher than what they are being billed by PERS.  She indicated that they expect a three percent increase in the 2011/2012 budget and that is built into the forecast.

IV. Sheriffís Office

Russ Burger, Sheriff, gave a power point presentation on the Sheriffís Office outcomes.  (Copy in file).

Land asked if there were any contingency funds.

Burger responded that they counted on the congressional delegation to bring back federal timber payments.  He commented that if there is not a crisis, nothing seems to get done.  He said they need to ask the congressional delegation to make sure they know what Lane County is facing and how Lane County needs federal timber dollars.  He indicated that he will be visiting their congressional delegation in Washington, D.C.  He hoped the CAPS group will come up with a recommendation that is a step in the right direction to fund Public Safety and Human Services. He added that instead of trying to find a solution that they need to put together a ten year plan for addressing Public Safety and Human Services and to take incremental steps to get there.

Burger discussed that they are holding the line with the Sheriffís Office even in this economy.  He stated that it was from the good work from last year with the addition of the North Annex and it paid huge dividends.  He asked that they hold the line again this year in the budget.

V. Health and Human Services

Rob Rockstroh, Health and Human Services, gave a power point presentation.  (Copy in file).

Bartlett asked if Lane County was obligated to do the various responsibilities related to Animal Services for the city of Eugene.

Rockstroh stated that they are not required to perform Animal Services.  He thought each city could have its own Animal Services, but he thought they needed to have a single code.

Scott asked if they could sustain the $200,000 cut from the city for Animal Services.

Rockstroh said the reduction could cause problems.

Karen Gaffney, Health and Human Services, she said if they implement a $200,000 reduction., an option would be to close the cattery.  She said there would be no place for stray cats and it would  eliminate a 1.5 FTE of an Animal Welfare Officer inside the city.  She noted that currently the city of Eugene has 3.5 officers and if they choose to keep the cattery, it would result in two Animal Welfare Officers that are County staff through a contract with the city of Eugene.

Land asked if the $200,000 replaced by the County could be dispatched to outside of the city.

Gaffney said they have an add request for an additional Welfare Officer that would replace an officer they lost in the budget two years ago. She added that it is only for unincorporated Lane County.  She said the city would expect to fund services inside the city.  She noted that 53 percent of animals were from the city of Eugene.

Kaseberg asked that when they move to the Charnelton Building, if it will free up any buildings that can be sold or where they no longer have to pay a lease.

Rockstroh said that WIC and Family Mediation paid rent.  He noted an option is if the District Attorney or Sheriff move around, there is more room for the Courts.  He commented that space is in demand.  He wanted space back in Mental Health for child services.  He said they need to think about what the appropriate space is and how they want to design it.

Gaffney noted the annex property will be available and the revenue from that property is financing for the Charnelton building.

Kaseberg commented that if a building isnít needed that they should consider selling it.

Rockstroh thought in a few years things will be different and that they need to work on a 20 year plan. 

Bartlett noted that if they canít sustain the 30 percent cut from the city of Eugene, they could lose the entire Animal Services Department.  He added that it would go back to Eugene on July 1.  He asked if that would alleviate Rockstrohís department of support services.  He asked if that would save the County money.

Rockstroh replied that it would.  He still hoped the city would want to partner with them.

With regard to any adds, Wilde asked what they will do next year for programs only funded for one year.  She asked what short term gains could be sustained.

Karen Gillette, Health and Human Services, said they want to do resource development and grant writing.  She indicated there will be federal dollars with health care reform. She thought if they have a stronger disease prevention that works, that agencies will want to partner with them.

VI. Budget Committee Questions and Discussion

Stewart indicated that he gave a list of questions to Christine Moody.  He said Moody will send those to the Budget Committee.  He was interested in putting together a group to look at four day work weeks.  He thought it might show promise in saving money. He said it has proven to work in Clackamas County.  He added that Portland State has done a review of the program.  He wanted to involve employees to see if it is a possible option.  He wanted to look at additional health care options to save costs and benefit the employees by a long term savings plan.  He asked if there was any way possible that administrative costs could be lowered.  He indicated they are looking at the Internal Auditor position and that could bring a $130,000 savings.  He also wanted to look at the travel budget and training to see if they have an affect on the general fund.

Wilde wanted staff recommendations.  She noted that any additions they make now they will not have for next year.  She asked if they want to continue at this level of service or if they should grant add requests.  She asked what the pros and cons are of taking the risks.  She asked how they could ramp down that would be less shocking to the citizens and staff.   She asked what they should do for next year.

Handy asked about the analysis that Land brought to them last year.

Moody recalled the analysis discussed Information Services and they will be coming to the Board.  She said they discussed training and they have information from departments on training and travel.  She indicated that they know the line items and they will provide information.

Land wanted to bring down the overall overhead costs that provided services to tax paying customers.

Moody indicated that she will review the meeting from last year and she will report back to the Budget Committee.

Land asked about the resource carry over and what was included in the numbers on an individual department basis.

Moody said she would have to look at each department.

Hijmans announced that tomorrow at the Board meeting on the Consent Calendar, the commissioners will have a chance to make a small but significant statement to the employees and citizens of Lane County.  He noted board Order 10-5-5-1,  transfers $13,700 to the personal accounts of the commissioners.  He noted presently $52,815 is given annually to the commissioners for expenses.  He indicated another $25,000 is given for community donations of which $11,300 has already been used. He said the $13,715 and $13,700 that remains in the accounts (for a total of $27,000) could remain unspent and go to the general fund for the 2010/2011 budget year.  He said he found this in five minutes of looking at the board agenda.  He wondered what a thorough review could find.  He said the commissioners  will be taking a vote and it will be a symbolic reflection of their true position and their fiscal leadership.  He asked if it will be a constraint or business as usual..

Bartlett recalled in the 1980ís that each commissioner had two assistants for 75,000 constituents with a greater workload than legislators have.  He commented that it is looked upon like the commissioners are asking for aids by feathering their own nests and doing something inappropriate when they are trying to serve the people.   He thought they needed to take a step back and not deprive the commissioners of doing the best job they can by having one assistant be their eyes and ears throughout the district. He wanted to change the title to District Constituent Service Aids.  He commented that if the commissioners donít receive the funding that the citizens will be the losers.  He noted at the appropriate time he will make a motion to increase the commissionersí assistants to a full FTE..

Bartlett asked if the County will lose $47 million in 2012/2013 and if that would be considered the doomsday budget.

Moody indicated that is when the funding ends from Secure Rural Schools.  She said the forecast showed in 2011/2012 that they will experience the $10.5 million reduction because of the step down.  She added they will lose another $7.5 million reduction in 2012/2013.  She noted in 2013/2014 that they will still have a structural deficit. 

Bartlett asked what future cuts will have to be made. He asked what type of scenario of projections the community needs to understand so it doesnít come as a real shock.

Moody said even the 2008/2009 budget they built was not as low as they will have to go if they donít receive the SRS renewal.  She said they will have to look at services and what happens if a County is in financial distress.  She said the state believes they will hit the wall in 2012/2013 and they will have difficulty with their budget and most likely will not be able to help counties out with money.  She added that is why they are looking at statute changes.

Spartz said the only way to balance the budget after two years would be cuts everywhere, especially in Public Safety.  He commented that it will be unpleasant for everyone involved.

Sorenson recalled the Budget Committee last year anticipated this problem and accelerated the spending last year.  He commented that they are not going to lose all of the federal forest funds.   He said they will go back to the formulas the statutes have had for many decades.  He added the net result is not much money.  He said the state will have a legislative session next year and there are other counties that are in worse shape than Lane County.

Spartz commented that even if the Board last year had chosen not to add the 84 jail beds,  they would still be looking at unpleasant years coming up.  He added that they received a good result from the expenditure for the jail beds. 

Sorenson said they have to be realistic on what they are in to.  He noted the $13,000 part of the current budget that will be voted on tomorrow will not deal with their multi-million dollar problem.  He said cheap shots could be taken but he didnít think it added to a reasonable discussion on this budget.

Wilde said people will get fired up about everything.  She noted that they have the lowest tax rate and the only way she can see getting out of the problem is if the people in the County would want to purchase more services and invest in them.  She recalled that the budget the Board passed last year was different than what the Budget Committee had passed.  She thought they should focus on getting what the most people are willing to spend.  She commented that she has no control over next year but that she has control for the accountability of the money they spend.

Land commented that people earning a living in this state and county have paychecks that are down by 25 percent.  She thought they were disrespecting hard working people who are paying their bills by hoping they would give more.  She hoped those people donít give more money to the County.

Kaseberg hoped they can look at other things like finding ways to collect fines and judgments at the courts.  She said there are traffic fines and large amounts of items not being collected.  She commented that little things add up to big things.

Bartlett asked what happens if the Extension Service measure loses.  He asked if they would ask for rent waived.  He asked if the building closed if they could rent it out.

Spartz said the goal is if the Extension levy passes, they want fair market value in rent.  He said in the event the levy does not pass and they end up going out of the building, they would have to make substantial repairs to the building.  He indicated that David Suchart, Management Services,  is looking at the issue.  He commented that the best solution might be to turn it into a parking lot.  

Kaseberg hoped they donít have any last minute adds and what is in the budget currently is what they will be deliberating on the last night.

Hijmans wanted to memorialize it and make it the groupís policy.

VI. Adjourn

Chair Kaseberg adjourned the meeting at 8:00 p.m.

Melissa Zimmer
Recording Secretary