BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS' WORK SESSION
April 10, 2001
Commissioners' Conference Room
Commissioner Anna Morrison presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bobby Green, Sr., Peter Sorenson and Cindy Weeldreyer present. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
2. PUBLIC COMMENTS
Roxy Cuellar, Homebuilders Association, 1255 Pearl, Eugene, said that County staff had proposed a change from a level of service to a combination for park SDCís. She urged the Board to make this subject to public discussion. She also asked the Board to establish a capital improvement list in its park system. She said Lane County couldnít know how much money was needed without a needs analysis. She suggested raising SDCís outside of city limits, as that would eliminate a lot of their objections and concerns with legalities. She noted if the Board came out with a reasonable bond levy that the Home Builders would support it.
3. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660
To be held after the meeting.
4. COMMITTEE REPORTS
a. DISCUSSION/Energy Situation for Oregon and Lane County.
Randy Bergeron, EWEB, reported on the energy crisis on the West Coast. He said energy demand outstripped the supply in the west. He added high demand, high wholesale prices, the need for maintenance of power plants and a tight supply had been worsened by scarce hydroelectric power in the Pacific Northwest.
Bergeron explained the spillover was affecting Oregon, Washington and the other Northwest states where potential record low water levels resulting from low snow pack and limited rainfall were causing serious concern for meeting Lane Countyís electricity needs this summer and winter. He added there was concern about the water supply this summer and the need to generate power on the McKenzie River as a result of the low water. He noted this was having a strong affect on the retail electric rates for utility customers throughout the west.
Bergeron noted the EWEB Board of Commissioners voted to raise the electric rates by an average of 5% per customer, but are forecasting a need for a 15% increase in January. He added that EWEB is the only public utility in Oregon with the capability, resources and expertise to buy and sell power out of the market.
Bergeron explained that conservation was their resource of choice and in the longer term they are looking to invest in new sources with an emphasis on renewable energy development. He said their commitment to conservation is stronger than ever.
Green noted that EWEB had passed a bond measure that would promote energy savings in the long term. He asked what happened with that money.
Bergeron responded the bond measure was for $150 million in 1992. He said it to be used for the construction of new generating resources and conservation renewables. He added they pledged that they would not raise rates by more than two percent over the next ten years as a result of expenditures to build new generation projects. He noted they have about $40 to $50 million left for resource projects. He said they used the money to do supplemental funding for energy conservation. He said in October they will be going back to Bonneville, putting two-thirds of the load there. He noted with all the money expended, they had not taken any rate action to support the expenditure of those funds. He added the projects had been self-funding and they were ahead in the projects they had built.
Green asked how EWEB was working with the Human Services Commission on the low energy program. He was concerned that when the rate increase takes place, it will cause a hardship for low-income people. He asked what the strategies would be to deal with that problem.
Bergeron said 20% of the community is below the poverty level. He added they have customers who canít pay and some that wonít pay. He said they had developed a universal service plan that is a continued effort to better integrate the low-income customer and inability to pay. He noted it would be a three-year development effort to increase the support network for low-income customers.
Public Safety Coordinating Council
b. ORDER 01-4-10-1/In the Matter of Approving the Proposed Intergovernmental Agreement Between Lane County and the City of Springfield, and the City of Eugene.
Doug Harcleroad, District Attorney, reported the motion was to approve the intergovernmental agreement and the form was attached. He said the document was created by the Governance Committee of the Public Safety Coordinating Council to help Springfield, Eugene and Lane County move forward with public safety planning. He noted if the work gets done, there would be potential for significant change in the criminal justice system in Lane County.
Morrison noted the Governance Committee embarked on this project. She said they need to look strategically for more cost effective and efficient delivery of services. She added until the public understands that this exercise had taken place, they wouldnít get anywhere with public safety. She noted what should also be added was that the Cities of Eugene and Springfield were in agreement and there should be a coordinated effort as they go forward.
Green explained they had major discussions about responsibility and funding public safety. He added there had been many things to represent the partnership. He said this needed to be moved to Eugene and Springfield. He also wanted a discussion on the combined budgetary process with the criminal justice system.
Dwyer said they have to start thinking about joint facilities in Glenwood or on Franklin Boulevard to serve the three jurisdictions. He said the three entities should work close together using the same computer systems and save the taxpayers' money. He hoped the PSCC would work toward that.
Sorenson noted the small cities and state police were not represented.
Morrison responded the state police had been involved in an advisory capacity. She noted the small cities will become involved, but they have to take one step at a time, (making it effective) and then involving the others as logistics and distances are involved.
Weeldreyer asked how Lane County would implement Item 12.f. under the agreement.
Van Vactor responded the three CEOís of the jurisdictions would discuss this with PSCC staff. He didnít anticipate any difficulty because the Board had ultimate budget authority to direct the preparation of any reports for funding. He added the Board could compel a change in process in anyoneís budget in the PSCC.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 01-4-10-1.
Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.
Dwyer declared this was an actual plan with deadlines and expectations. He said they are moving forward and the people of Lane County would be well served.
Sorenson was pleased with what had been done. He supported the motion.
Green supported the motion.
Van Vactor noted the order was phrased differently, because it had to go to the other cities.
5. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION
6. PUBLIC WORKS
a. ORAL REPORT BACK/Order Regarding Public Drainage Easement to Idylewood Subdiv≠ision First Addition.
Ollie Snowden, Public Works, reported the Board authorized them to enter into an agreement with Benedict Development to take ownership of a pipe and underground drainage easement that serves Idylewood Subdivision. He said they prepared an agreement, but a pre-requisite of the agreement was that Benedict deliver to the County a legal description and transfer mechanism for ownership of the easement, which hadnít been done. He stated they were waiting on the developer.
Morrison suggested postponing this matter for three months.
Snowden suggested waiting until they hear back from the engineer. He said they needed to find a solution that was financially feasible for Benedict. He said they didnít know what the easement or the plan was. He added if they come back with a different drainage plan, he wanted a drainage study from Branch Engineering.
Dwyer agreed with Morrison. He said they had to wait until they received all the pertinent information. He requested it to be put on the Future Agenda with no date certain.
b. DISCUSSION/Parks System Development Charge.
Craig Starr, Public Works, reported the matter was on the Boardís agenda last year and they had a public hearing on January 27, 2000. He said this was the work session that was requested following the Public Hearing. He said after public testimony, there were several issues upon which the Board was interested in having a staff response.
Starr discussed Exhibit A, the various fees, permits and systems development charges that are collected by local government entities throughout the County. He noted Coburg and Dunes City rely on septic tank and drain field installations for sewers, and the cost of getting those permits through the County was not reflected in the city costs. He noted it would add $470 to the costs for the two cities. He added a contractor building a home in Coburg would apply to Lane County for that permit and the rates reflect the city rates.
Starr said a concern the Board asked about was a contention by some who testified that increases in permit fees and SDCís in recent years had been a major factor in increasing the cost of housing construction. He compared the information present from five years ago. In the City of Eugene, their fees went from $6,000 to $7,700 (29%) increase. He noted in the rural area, the increase had been from $2,900 to $3,500 (20% increase).
Morrison was not comfortable with the fees because they were driving up the price of homes.
Starr noted the specific issue that was raised at the Public Hearing was the increase in the cost of building permits and system development charges had been a major driving force in the increased cost of housing in Lane County.
Dwyer said it was reasonable to provide for the development of parks and finding a mechanism to do it. He wanted to move forward to develop a system to define low income. He said they have to consider a more modest fee. He said it was reasonable that Lane County have a system development charge on parks outside the corporate limits of the cities.
Green asked what the cities charge and what Lane County would be charging. He thought it was a double hit to homebuyers. He said the SDCís outside the urban growth boundary would make more sense. He suggested following the City of Eugene with their bond levy for parks. He was supportive of a bond measure but not the other alternatives.
Starr noted they had done surveys of park users and they know a high percentage are residents of Eugene and Springfield.
Dwyer was not opposed to the bond levy. He said SDCís were needed outside urban growth boundaries. He suggested the fee should be $450 outside the urban growth boundary and by having a bond levy, it would strengthen their argument.
Sorenson stated that continued work on this was important.
Morrison said if they were to go to the voters with a bond levy, they would need to have a specific list of projects be funded. She didnít know if there was enough time to do that. She added the rural cities had stated they were not in support. She wasnít in favor of SDCís and didnít think they needed to acquire parkland until they could deal with what they have now.
Dwyer said it would be difficult to convince the voters to pass a bond measure if there are not some nominal SDCís with it. He suggested finding out what type of development would take place and how the $300 would be used to develop that would be charged to the rural communities and how much the tax base would be. He wanted that information before he made a final decision.
Van Vactor noted the Board had not gone through a process to rank the capital needs with the jail and public health building. He suggested if they wanted to pursue the levy for parks, they have a discussion about priorities.
Morrison commented Lane County needs to serve the majority of the citizens.
Starr said he wasnít getting support for parks SDCís of any amount. He said it wasnít worth more staff effort. He added if the Board thinks that parks are part of what makes Lane County an attractive place, then SDCís are the best way to develop funding to maintain service.
Sorenson said he would not be voting on the proposal. He was interested in whether these costs would be affordable. He said they need to get feedback from the Housing Policy Board or other public entities that could address affordability. He added if there were an issue of affordable housing with system development charges, the Board would be against it. He suggested blending an SDC proposal with a bond measure.
With regard to the Housing Policy Board, Morrison noted that Green serves as the Boardís representative. She added he would bring this matter to them for discussion and then bring it back to the Board. She also wanted to know how Weeldreyer stood on these issues.
Dwyer wanted a report back on blending so they could level the playing field inside and outside of the city. He wanted to see what they could do as a policy board to consider whether or not housing is affordable and then waive the charges in the appropriate instances.
7. REVIEW ASSIGNMENTS
Return back in three months for a report on the SDCís.
8. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
9. EMERGENCY BUSINESS
There being no further business, Commissioner Morrison recessed the meeting at 12:15 p.m.
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