BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS' WORK SESSION

April 17, 2001

9:00 a.m.

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

 

There will be an Executive Session today and tomorrow.

 

2. RESOLUTIONS

 

a. RESOLUTION 01-4-17-1/In the Matter of Recognizing Justices of the Peace Cindy Cable of Florence Justice Court, and Cynthia Sinclair of Central Lane Justice Court.

 

Morrison Commended Cindy Cable and Cynthia Sinclair for substituting during the vacancy at the Oakridge Justice Court.  She read the resolution into the record.

 

MOTION: to approve RESOLUTION 01-4-17-1.

 

Green MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 5-0.

 

3. PUBLIC COMMENTS

 

None.

 

4. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660

 

To take place after the meeting.

 

5. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS

 

a. UPDATE/Facilities Capital Improvement Projects. (No material)

 

David Suchart, Management Services, said the County has an agreement with the manufacturer to replace 184 dampers in the juvenile justice building.  He said they were working on the courthouse data closet and the work would be put out for the ADA projects in the building.  With regard to courthouse security, Suchart said they have low voltage problems.  He noted they were in discussions with the Boy Scouts about acquiring their land.

 

In response to the question Sorenson asked about the status of the state building, Suchart responded they were still in negotiations.

 

b. ORDER 01-4-17-2/In the Matter of Award of Bid LCP 2000-18 for Construction Contract for Mental health Building From 1996 LLC dba Chambers Construction Co. for a Total Cost of $4,980,250.

 

Suchart reported the bid came in at $1 million below their estimate and he would add back things into the project.

 

MOTION: to approve ORDER 01-4-17-2.

 

Dwyer MOVED, Weeldreyer SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 5-0.

 

c. REPORT BACK/Lane Planetarium and Learning Center, and the Lane County Fairgrounds Business Plan.

 

Mike Gleason, Fairgrounds Manager, reported that three months ago they presented a business plan and proposal for a loan on the planetarium.  He noted that Dwyer and Morrison had requested an exit strategy in the report which would  report back to the Board each quarter on how the fairgrounds was doing with the promotion of the planetarium.

 

With regard to the fair, Gleason commented that the project was progressing well and most of the work had been done.  He said there would be an additional stage this year.  He added there would be new features in the ballroom including wine exhibits, arts and crafts.  He reported in the past four years, the fair had met its business goal of increasing its net contribution at 13%.

 

Gleason said there had been 15 meetings on animal waste.  He said he would hand out a report from URS summarizing the position the fairgrounds was obligated to take under the City of Eugene, Department of Environmental Quality, State Department of Agriculture and the Federal Environmental Protection Agency.

 

Gleason recalled that the fairgrounds entered into a relationship with CVALCO about sporting events and developed a strategy where visiting groups would pay operating costs for volleyball, basketball, etc., for tournaments.  He added that income from the tournaments would fund operating costs for the drop-in center.

 

Gleason noted the report he received from URS was a three-page synopsis of the regulatory environments and how to comply.  He said there is an additional URS report for the city and that because they have to receive a city permit as part of the agreement under the lawsuit.  He noted the permit had to describe the best management practices for the existing animal programs.

 

Morrison said she hoped the language was explicit and outlined Lane Countyís role, so there was no question as to what could, or could not, be done from a legal standpoint.  She was not opposed to having animals at the fairgrounds.

 

Dwyer wanted to review the report and a public discussion about it.

 

Sorenson asked about skateboarding at the fair.

 

Gleason responded that the building official and fire marshal notified them of a  20-year-old dispute over the Expo hall housing the skateboard track.  They thought the building was too large to meet the fire code for an unprotected, unseparated wall. He noted the repairs would cost about $70,000 and couldnít be done economically for in-line skating.

 

Sorenson asked about financial implications with horses no longer at the fairgrounds.

 

Gleason said the availability of horse shows are major recreation sources in the community.  He said the Lane County market is a good place to have an advanced horse program.  He said it was an important part of the visitor and convention industry and recreation.  After reviewing the facts, he didnít think horse shows could be at the fairgrounds.  He noted the Fair Board might ask the Board of Commissioners for a feasibility study.

 

Gleason stated he came to the Board requesting money to invest in the planetarium and embark upon fundraising that would build a new facility in two stages.  Stage one would move it into the Wheeler Pavilion, to get the cash flow of the new facility.  Stage two was to add an adjacent facility as a learning center.  He said they would come back each quarter with a report.  He noted if they had to stop the program, there would be a $30,000 loss, having spent about $12,000 of the operating account to support the planetarium.  He said on the capital side they  developed a new list of partners with the most important being the Lane County Board of Commissioners and Lane ESD.  He said they met with the State Department of Education and there was interest to combine this into a statewide CIM, CAM laboratory that would include a component with VNET and the rest of the state through the existing educational net monies.

 

On the funding plan, Gleason said they would fund one-third from private donations, one-third from economic development and public partnerships and one-third from sponsorships, foundations and grants.  He added on the private sector they had a commitment of over $1 million.  He said each commitment had a different set of conditions, including the planetarium going to Lane County.  He said when they come back to the Board, they would have $1 million to $1,500,000 in private donations before the year was over.

 

Gleason noted that they had received a $90,000 economic development grant from the Regional Investment Board and are anticipating help from the State Education District and the State Economic Development Fund through the governorís office.  He said should the County choose to invest lottery money in economic development, they wanted an application that would compete like any other applicant.  He reported they could demonstrate 125 jobs.

 

Gleason reported they had not started work on the sponsor.  He said he had made initial contacts from local foundation, but had not made formal presentations.  He was encouraged with the possibilities.  He recommended they continue as planned.

 

Gleason stated if he conveyed that the Board of Commissioners was done and he would never be coming back again on this, that was a mistake.  He said there was no way a project this size could go forward without major involvement with the Board of Commissioners, Lane ESD and the Fair Board.  He emphasized it had to be a partnership.  He understood there could be no expenses borne by the general fund, but thought the Board would entertain a decision on the Fair Board pursuing a loan.  He said their partnership needed to be integrated.

 

Morrison said she thought they had made a financial commitment, and Gleason was going forward to leverage the other two-thirds of the money.  She noted Lane County was a partner to a degree, but it could not be a continuing funding source.  She noted the Board was giving the $300,000 to get the project started.  She was in support but was concerned about where funding would come from.  She had no problem with the timeline, but didnít see any funding connected with it.  She requested an outline of financing.

 

Van Vactor discussed the minutes of November 21.  He said he thought the scope of the project had changed significantly.  He didnít remember this as a $4 million project.

 

Gleason noted he read the minutes, and he and Van Vactor had a different view on what happened at the meeting.  He said that Phase 1 is $1 million dollars and Phase 2 is $3.8 million.  He didnít expect the County to withdraw money for this project.

 

Gleason stated he had presented the Board with the ' business plan.  He said they were not near enough to do design pricing.  He said they would be operational some time in November.  He said if he could get a loan for facilities, it could be completed exactly to the timeframe.  He said he had no special fund to create the money.  He noted that $10,000 of the original $330,000 had been used to make the planetarium operational.

 

Gleason presented a video about the Planetarium Learning Center.

 

Sorenson declared that having the planetarium at the fairgrounds and integrated with the Education Reform Act was a great project.  He suggested breaking it down to manageable components.  He asked what Gleason thought the Boardís role in Phase 1 would be.

 

Gleason said in Phase 1, the Board would be supportive, letting the project go forward for another three months.  He said if that was the case, he would continue fundraising.  He noted the learning center component and the linkage with the businesses was the most exciting part when discussing fundraising.  He explained Phase 1 would be getting the existing planetarium over into Wheeler, and exhibitions with new electronic equipment.  He added Phase 2 would be the new dome, classroom and learning center.

 

Sorenson suggested Gleason continue for three months, allowing the Fair Board to compete for State Economic Development funds administered by the County and work on the business plan and a discussion of a loan.

 

With regard to the funding projects, Gleason said he needed to get the time frame for donations and grants.  He said that would lead to getting facilities development loans that would not use the general fund.

 

Gleason reported the State of Oregon allows public agencies to take loans for economic development and facilities projects, and it has to be backed by a fiduciary system that pays back the revenue.  He proposed requesting only the amount of revenue they could guaranty by existing bankable notes that have a letter and other backings.  He recommended putting the loan against the room tax receipts on the capital portion.  He said a facilities loan takes longer to construct.

 

Sorenson agreed that this project should go forward.

 

Weeldreyer agreed with Sorenson on the benefits of the planetarium.  She said this project would put Lane County on the map.  She wanted to give this as a gift for generations to come.

 

Green noted that the Board of Commissioners had always been a partner with the Fairgrounds, investing $5 million in capital on improvements.  He added they also invested road fund dollars to move the project along. He noted that six months ago the Board unanimously approved $330,000 for the project.  Greenís concern was how much the project was going to really cost.  He wanted to be supportive as well as protecting Lane County for fiscal liability.  He was not against Gleason going forward with economic development funding but was concerned about the loan.  He asked Gleason why he wouldnít use room tax dollars as collateral as a first option.

 

Gleason responded that is what they should do. He noted that the Board of Commissioners had kept every commitment to the fairgrounds and he was appreciative.  He said if the Board makes the decision the fairgrounds was too extended to proceed, exit strategies would take place.

 

Dwyer explained the limits of video lottery to Gleason and how the money would be distributed.  He added that they would have to compete with all of the other projects on an equal footing.  Dwyer suggested using the money with public/public and public/private partnerships.  He wanted ESD and the State Department of Education to make stronger commitments.  He said it was a wonderful opportunity and wanted to see it happen.  He said if Van Vactor was uncomfortable with the project, he would be in agreement with Van Vactor.

 

Morrison was supportive, as there was value to rural areas.  Her concern was fiscal responsibility and fairgrounds funding.  She wanted a better understanding about the funding that had gone to the .  She asked about the room tax allocated to the  fairgrounds and if it was indefinite.  She questioned what was in the fund against what they had used. She hoped Gleason wasnít asking for additional resources, because there were none.  She wanted the funding attached to the proposal on this timeline.

 

Van Vactor stated he didnít support a loan or pledging additional room tax revenue.

 

Gleason responded he was not asking for additional funding from the Board today. He said if the County goes into economic development with the lottery money, he wanted to apply.  He noted when he did other applications in which the Countyís name had to be applied, the Board was interested in going ahead.  He added they still had an exit strategy.

 

Morrison stated that the Board would support them on letters, grants and foundations. She said the $330,000 that was committed could move the project forward without having to commit additional funds.  She asked about the line of credit with loan institutions.

 

Green asked Van Vactor and Wilson for a recommendation to the Board on support of the project and holding Lane County harmless.

 

Van Vactor responded that the budget would be status-quo.  He said that for the next fiscal year Lane County would have an intake center and jail that were  sinking, a juvenile justice center operating at one-third capacity and a forest work camp at one-fourth capacity.  He suggested the Board consider Lane County as a whole.  He noted the Board will have provided the  (since Gleason became manager and until 2007) $20 million in transient room tax and road funds.  He said there were other organizational needs that needed funding. He commented there was only about $500,000 to $600,000 in video lottery funds and they are spending more than they are receiving.  He concluded that if all of the money went to the fairgrounds, other departments would suffer.

 

Weeldreyer stated that over 75% of Lane Countyís budget was going into the public safety system, which is not a sustainable situation.  She said they couldnít continue to build jail beds, and if the County didnít make investments in education, things will not get better.

 

Van Vactor suggested  a leadership meeting to obtain other opinions.

 

Green asked other forms of  financing.

 

Van Vactor wanted a written document from Gleason outlining exactly what he wanted and setting limits on  numbers spread over time.

 

Green suggested directing Van Vactor, Wilson and Gleason to discuss tangible items in order to measure outcome and progress.  He wanted funding from education and business and said they have been absent.

 

MOTION: to direct Van Vactor, Wilson and Gleason to convene and come back with their best management practice and recommendation to the Board.

 

Green MOVED.

 

Weeldreyer wanted to amend the motion to have the report come back to a leadership meeting where the Fair Board and ESD Board were also present.

 

Green agreed to add that to his motion.

 

Weeldreyer SECONDED.

 

Dwyer agreed with the motion.  He wanted the report sent to the Board before the ESD.

 

Green reiterated that Van Vactor, Wilson and Gleason should work on this, with information coming back from Gleason in a timely manner.

 

VOTE: 5-0.

 

6. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION

 

a.  Announcements

 

Van Vactor reported that as a result of Finance and Audit's recommendation, (because of the unfunded status at PERS), that Lane County not join a pool May 1, but in the future .

 

b. REPORT BACK/State of Rural Community Improvement Council (RCIC)

 

Weeldreyer said she sent everyone an e-mail that RCIC needed to be fixed, because the structure was not completely effective.  She said that she and Dwyer were trying to improve it.  She noted capitalized items in the memo (copy in file) were additions proposed for Lane Manual.  She also proposed changing membership seats to reflect developments since 1993.  She explained it would have a representative from a watershed council in Lane County, a senior citizen community leader, one rural business community leader with the option of having two commissioners, but only one a rural commissioner.  She wanted a full review by all the rural communities to create a win-win situation for the board and the communities.

 

Green encouraged Weeldreyer to discuss this with CVALCO.

 

Weeldreyer responded that CVALCO helped staff the Tourism Committee of RCIC.

 

Dwyer declared it was critical to have a RCIC.

 

Morrison said she had problems with the RCIC.  She wondered how a watershed council would be involved with room tax funds, because of a possible conflict of interest.  She also didnít think the funding was utilized effectively.   She said they need to look at it as one big picture.  She said funding projects like the planetarium is what they should do.  Morrison noted that an intergovernmental agreement is a structure that doesn't  make the communities go through processes to get funding.  She suggested streamlining the process to maximize tourist dollars through the chambers of commerce.

 

Weeldreyer wanted to meet with Morrison to re-examine this before May 2, 2001.  She said the goal was to fund as much as possible with minimum staffing.

 

c. UPDATE/Legislative Committee.

 

Tony Bieda, Intergovernmental Relations, reported there were seven pages of bills in the packet (Copy in file.)

 

Bieda reported that on the District Attorney funding, there was a $20 million requested with the AOC package, and there was optimism that $6 to $7 million would be funded.  He noted the second priority was the public/mental health priority $30 million package, with communicable diseases, prevention and programming. He said it would get funded if there were a stand-alone bill that would take tobacco settlement money, applying it to the public health and mental health function. 

 

On the kicker money, Bieda stated it was undetermined how the components would work..  He noted the telecommunication bill was still alive in committee.

 

Bieda said the Tier 3 version of PERS didnít look like it would pass so they are looking at amendments, including changing the composition of the PERS board, and taking future judges and governors out of the system so they are not perceived as a conflict of interest in litigation or legislation around PERS.

 

Morrison reported there was consensus to accept the report.

 

7. REVIEW ASSIGNMENTS

 

None.

 

8. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

None.

 

9. EMERGENCY BUSINESS

 

None.

 

There being no further business, Commissioner Morrison recessed the meeting at 12:00 p.m.

 

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary