BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS’
September 21, 2010
Harris Hall Main Floor
Commissioner Bill Fleenor presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Rob Handy, Pete Sorenson and Faye Stewart present. County Administrator Jeff Spartz and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
10. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION
a. DISCUSSION/Local Food Analysis.
Mike McKenzie-Bahr, Economic Development, explained that the Board in 2009 allocated $10,000 in Economic Community Development Funds to match $10,000 from the city of Eugene, and $10,000 from EWEB to match a trade and commerce grant. He noted the project was to undertake a food market analysis to identify opportunities around local food to add value. He said this is a report on the Executive Summary.
Bob Parker and Kate McFarland, University of Oregon Community Service Center, gave a report on the findings of their research. (Copy in file).
Fleenor commented that the cost of locally grown produce or food will go up. He said they have a chronic hunger problem and not having the ability to pay for food. He said it seemed contrary to feeding the hungry by increasing costs. He commented that they have to look at some side effects to doing this. He said as they increase costs they are going to drive up hunger. He asked if there will be subsidies for the hungry.
Handy asked what the government’s role was. He asked how they help the most vulnerable and provide access for food for people. He noted that given the integration of good public health policy and economic development factors, he was excited on what it could become. He thought that whatever they could do to leverage things, they should go ahead and do them.
Stewart found in other industries that some land use restrictions can create an impediment. He thought a local improvement district could be formed to contribute to a proration that could reduce costs. He noted that Cascades West has interest in food production.
Dwyer commented that it is all about money. He was concerned about being citizens being impacted by the decisions. He doesn’t mind subsidizing an industry if it results in a lower cost for food. He said this encourages food to be locally grown.
Fleenor stated there are regulatory impediments. He asked how they get rid of regulations. He indicated that the government cannot create jobs. He thought the government should stand aside and let the private sector do their jobs. He said if they take away the regulations, providing good quality food locally should be the first step.
Handy asked if there was anything moving forward that they should get behind. He asked if there was any legislation to incentivize through positive regulations to get changes to increase the percentage. He asked what the next steps were going to be.
McKenzie-Bahr said they are discussing with Parker about next steps. He said with regard to staffing, during the budget process they went from a half-time person to a full-time person. He added they will take part of the full-time person to be dedicated to local food. He said if they can move this one percent, they will be able to move $10 million into the economy. He said this also allows them to go out and get grant funding from their partners to look at priorities. He also wanted to know what the private sector would like to see. He said he will work with rural development and the state about some of its funding. He said they are also going to work with their partners to find out how they can support their priorities from the grant standpoint and staffing.
11. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
Sorenson reported that the Board is having a public work session with LCDC staff in the Carmichael Room in the Serbu Center. He added that at 6:00 p.m. this evening the Board is having a joint meeting with the Lane County Planning Commission. He noted there is a joint meeting for the OTC tomorrow in Salem. He announced that the University of Oregon Law School invited him to give a lecture on Thursday on Federal and Natural Resources Law.
Handy stated he was hosting a community discussion on the Fairgrounds on September 29 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Room 1. He attended a meeting in Albany regarding water resources.
Stewart reported that he met with Eric Peterson, Director of the Willamette Dam Project for the Corps of Engineers. He noted that 13 dams in the project were found to be aging and portions of the dams need to be replaced. He reported that last Thursday he attended a ribbon cutting for South Lane Mental Health. He announced that he will be in Virginia next week speaking to five counties about the Southern Oregon Clean Energy Alliance and how counties are banding together to find new ways to operate and generate revenue services.
12. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660
(Commissioners' Conference Room)
13. OTHER BUSINESS
There being no further business, Commissioner Fleenor recessed the meeting at 3:10 p.m.