COUNTY BUDGET COMMITTEE
May 5, 2011
Board of Commissionersí Conference Room
Chair Scott Bartlett presided with Budget Committee members present: Jay Bozievich, Rob Handy, Denis Hijmans, Sid Leiken, Ashley Miller, Faye Stewart, Herb Vloedman and Rose Wilde present. Pete Sorenson was excused. County Administrator Liane Richardson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
I. CALL MEETING TO ORDER
Scott Bartlett called the meeting to order.
II. STATE BUDGET PRESENTATION
Paul Warner, Legislative Revenue Office, State of Oregon, gave a presentation on the 2011/2012 State Budget
III. STATE BUDGET IMPACTS TO LANE COUNTY
Alicia Hays, Children and Families, explained that these were the cuts for Lane County and what they would look like for the departments. (Copy in file).
Hijmans asked if they could take the May 12 state forecast and modify it.
Richardson responded that they will have to hear what money is being allocated. She wonít know that until the state budget is approved what is being allocated. She added for the County, they wonít be able to do anything with the forecast until the state lets them know.
Leiken asked about the Gang of Six on the Senate side. He asked if the Workforce Partnership is coming back in.
Wilde asked what situations involving youth would no longer be able to take place, as a 50 percent reduction is expected.
Roland Hoskins, Department of Youth Services, reported as of now the state has not funded their basic services. He said there are two funding pieces they get from the state: the basic side that funds detention and the other side are Parole and Probation. He said the Parole and Probation side is funded with slightly more than they had last year, but they put in a zero for the basic side. He said there is no money allocated from the state that will fund the detention services. He added if it continues to stay that way, they will have to cut that part of their facility down. He reported that they currently have 32 beds total with 16 beds in the Phoenix program and 16 detention beds. He added the Phoenix program gets other revenue that funds it. He said the detention side is where the cuts would be made. He said it would take them from 16 to 8 beds.
Lynn Schroeder, Department of Youth Services, stated that one of the most important things in working with juvenile offenders is that they have the appropriate services for community safety, treatment and accountability. She said if they lose detention, it will impact the ability to work with youth and for the community to be safe. She said the expected result would be an increase in recidivism.
Wilde asked if treatment for sex offenders were being eliminated.
Stewart indicated the amount is reduced. He indicated the amount is still $75,000 but they will go from treating 30 to 20 people. He added that the treatment is not the same through the County, but they will still have contact with 20 people.
IV. GENERAL EXPENSE
Moody gave a presentation on the Countyís general expense. (Copy in file).
Wilde asked why they are still members with LRAPA.
Richardson explained the portion was paid out of the road fund and the road fund will have a deficit starting the 12/13 budget. She said in looking at that, they determined that only the dues would be appropriate.
Stewart said under the statute that governs LRAPA, there are certain seats and Lane County has a position on their board under the statute. He stated currently in the statute there is nothing binding that as a member they have to pay dues. He recalled that last year Cottage Grove was only able to pay one third of their dues. He said this year Springfield is not able to pay dues. He stated their reserves in the road fund will be facing a $16 million shortfall in two years. He said the recommendation of staff is to start cutting back on dues.
V. COMMUNITY REQUESTS
Shari Higgins, Management Analyst, reported that she received three community requests from February to March 8, 2011. (Copy in file). She noted one was from United Way for the Lane 211 system data base and referral for online and telephone use for any citizens in Lane County. She recalled that they applied for HSC funding this year and did not receive it. She said they noted in their application that they plan on applying next year. She noted the request is for $10,000.
Hijmans commented that they are going to be faced with programs not funded through the HSC. He wanted to know how close they were to being funded and where they missed so they can make decisions consistent with the extension of process with the HSC and not to lead to any false hopes in the future.
Steve Manela, Human Services Commission, reported that their advisory and citizen review committee went through a process scoring proposals. He noted that important services under the line didnít get funded and others couldnít compete. He said it is helpful to stay consistent when a lot of the non-profit agencies they are funding have cut their services and will have to lay off staff. He noted the Egan Warming Center was the next to be funded, but the Lane 211 System was not.
Rob Rockstroh, Health and Human Services, indicated that he can distribute a separate sheet and overview next week about the process, the gaps and where people ended up.
Richardson noted they have also eliminated $4 million in service cuts in services the County has historically been providing. She added there is still a $3 million gap and if they donít achieve benefit savings, there will be additional service cuts. She asked they weigh that against additional adds. She noted for every additional add, they donít have the reserves to cover them.
With regard to the Egan Warming Center, Higgins said they also did not receive any funding from the Human Services Commission. She said it provides a night shelter for homeless individuals from November to March 31 when it is below 32 degrees or less. She recalled that Lane County has funded the Egan Warming Center for the past two years. She said they asked for $30,000.
Leiken asked if the $30,000 Lane County gave for the Egan Warming Center was their budget. He asked if they were also out raising money.
Higgins noted their actually budget for 10/11 was $51,637.
Richardson said she didnít know if the city of Eugene was going to give them anything, but they have a current request in front of the city of Springfield.
Higgins noted the third request is for $3,000 from the water master for a part-time assistant. She noted he was last funded in 2007 and Linn County funded him in 2008. She said he keeps requesting the money every year. She noted there were no attachments and no materials to go with the request.
VI. SOS Overview
Jennifer Inman, Sr. Management Analyst, discussed the Service Option Sheets. (Copy in file).
VII. BUDGET COMMITTEE QUESTIONS AND DISCUSSION
Hijmans recalled that Handy made an impassioned plea at the last meeting relating to non-profits and social services. He asked if there were issues on the table being discussed that should be brought up to the Budget Committee for the citizen members.
Stewart said in the request from Handy and Sorenson they wanted to talk about revenue enhancements: fees, changes or other things that could produce revenue that could help with balancing the budget. Handy said he wanted to have a discussion as soon as possible. Stewart indicated that yesterday at the Board meeting they had a Board discussion about looking at fee increases and work staff had done over the past 18 months in potential revenue enhancement options. He said the Board had a lengthy discussion and a majority of the Board said at this time they werenít interested in taking extra time to raising fees, but gave direction that once the fee analysis is accomplished to bring it to the Board as soon as possible.
Hijmans asked if that was off the table for the Budget Committee.
Richardson said they could recommend whatever they want to the Board. She added that if the Budget Committee wants the Board to look at anything, they could recommend a tax measure or levy and the Board will either take the recommendation or not.
Miller asked if they do find fees to add back into the Budget, if they could direct where they should go.
Moody said that it depends on where the fees are and who is collecting it.
Stewart thought the Budget Committee could direct money that shows up unexpectedly to the Board where it could be added.
Moody stated that departments are constantly reviewing their fees. She said they did a fast analysis last year and unless there is a new fee, they are not under market with their fees and they wonít be able to save the day. She added the Board has a policy about fees going through Finance and Audit Committee first to get approval and they have to do that first before they build their proposed budget.
Wilde asked as a County if they are restricted from any taxes or fees.
Spickard said for property taxes they could place in an Election a local option tax measure and they can ask to approve a rate but it is limited in duration and it is volatile. With regard to income tax, she indicated that the Board has the ability to do it. She stated if there is an income tax it needs to go to Public Safety. She indicated there are some limitations on fees depending on what they are under Measure 5. She indicated the fee has to tie to the service that generates the fee. She noted another option is to form a new countywide district by a vote of the people establishing a new property tax rate.
Bartlett asked at what point the County will be laying off employees.
Richardson stated they started to ensure that they have a balanced budget. She added that they have started discussions with the unions about layoffs defined as furloughs to achieve a balanced budget if there are no changes in benefits. She said they were looking at furloughs possibly starting as early as July.
Bartlett asked if a strike by the County would benefit fiscally in the short term by savings and if it could be calibrated.
Richardson stated there is never a benefit to a strike. She said if employees go on strike, they are saving money because they are not getting paid. She said they would see a fiscal benefit but not a benefit to the County or residents. She commented that Alternative 2 cuts could be devastating.
Vloedman stated that he didnít find the second layer of cuts to be acceptable. He stated that he wouldnít choose the Egan Warming Center over prosecution or property crimes. He stated that zero prosecution for property crimes was unacceptable to him.
Richardson said part of the recommendation could be if they are successful in bargaining the benefits and they achieved more savings than they had hoped to achieve, they could list a ranking of add backs.
Vleodman doesnít want to add anything until all the union negotiations are completed.
Moody stated they have to approve a balance budget and there is nothing in Budget Law that discusses the Board as being bound by any recommendations of the Budget Committee. She stated that the Budget is just a plan and it is a plan on what they know right now. She said they could see a supplemental budget sooner and they could adapt to whatever comes along.
Richardson indicated that if there are no savings through benefits from the unions and they try to achieve $3 million of savings through the general fund with furloughs, they will be doing the equivalent of a furlough day every other week. She indicated they will almost be going to a four day work week every other week. She said they achieve about $200,000 a day in savings to the general fund if they go to a furlough.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:55 p.m.