BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS' WORK SESSION
July 10, 2001
Commissioners' Conference Room
Commissioner Anna Morrison presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bobby Green, Sr., and Peter Sorenson present. Cindy Weeldreyer was present via telephone. 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
Fred Hamlin, 29773 Gimpl Hill, stated he was President of the Horse Animal and Livestock Association of Lane County (HALA). He said that HALA was encouraged by the latest actions of the Fair Board. He noted that Tom Hutton did a good job in orchestrating the review of the storm water issues. He said they would endorse the planetarium if it were an economically feasible project. He said they are hopeful that the Fair Board would continue to solve the storm water issue problems to have year round use of the facilities for animals.
Kari Westlund, President, CVALCO, 115 W. 8th, said that there were factual errors in the agenda memo of CVALCO’s contract for FY 02. She supported Lane County staff being conservative in its approach to distribution of room tax to CVALCO, but didn’t see merit in staff’s contention that 10% or $100,000 would reduce current room tax collection for FY 02.She noted the projected FY 01 collections and ending balances were unlikely to occur. She said the current state of collections had been represented to be down 9˝% and instead, were up .75%, through the end of May. She said they were under the assumption that their budget would be status quo for FY 02. She noted having one or two day’s working notice (five days into the start of the fiscal year) that staff was recommending a 10% cut seemed unreasonable. She noted they had several hundred additional hotel rooms in Eugene, an almost fully sold out Fall football schedule and they had a 36% rise in room tax collections in May. They were anticipating well above 1% growth for June. She supported holding their budget to last year’s level, as it was a sound approach. She believed that any small negative balance would be more than made up in the year ahead. She stated their standard contract language provides the County leeway to make changes with more notice and a fair process. She proposed an alternative recommendation, holding the contract amount level with last year, recognizing the large fund balances from the other visitor service accounts, and that they consider that in their deliberations.
Franklin Michael, 8th Street, represented the benefits of medical marijuana.
Dan Ernest, 633 Almaden, read from a marijuana manifesto. He said distributing cannabis for medical use without a doctor’s approval did not violate anything.
Dan Kuor, 40243 Little Fall Creek, complained about the County taking medicine from patients. He said he was working on a marijuana initiative because marijuana is medicine.
Judi Greig, 2043 Smith Oak Street, represented the veterans. She reported on June 6 they came before the Board discussing the Veterans Office. She said they explained to the contractors they wouldn’t be able to continue running the office on the past budget. She said they were granted an additional $45,000 plus $20,600 for renovation and computers. She said since that time, they had been given a 3% increase for the employees and were in need of additional funding. She said they were told that they couldn’t get an additional computer until October or November, after the time study was done. She explained they were confused and wanted a written directive on how to proceed.
Morrison stated it was her understanding that when the presentation was made to the Board in June by Steve Manela, the Board agreed on a process that Ted Stevens would be working with Manela and that once the study was done, those dollars would be released. She said at the LCOG board meeting there was a presentation showing the communication that went to the VA. She said she would follow-up on how those dollars would be disbursed.
Mark English,1279 Olympic Street, Springfield, made a presentation to Commissioner Sorenson on Sorenson's participation in the Korean Veterans War Memorial on June 24.
3. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660
To take place after the meeting.
4. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS
a. DISCUSSION/Determining Category of Employees that Commissioners' Assistants will be Hired into.
Greta Utecht, Management Services, outlined a list of options. She understood the budget was based on a Step 1 Board Office Specialist position. She included a description of the position. She said if they were to hire someone at $11.24 per hour (based on the budget approved last year) they could afford up to 910 hours of an assistant over the course of a year. She said the Board had to decide whether they wanted an extra help or temporary employee.
Utecht explained that extra help was defined as not to exceed 520 hours in one fiscal year for an employee. She noted the benefit of an extra help employee is they are considered unclassified, the personnel rules don’t apply and they could appoint someone without going through a recruitment and selection process.
Utecht noted when the Board approved the budget for these assistants, they didn’t establish positions and a temporary employee had to have a budgeted position. In order to have a temporary assistant, they would have to do that. She said the advantage of a temporary employee is they can work up to 1040 hours in any given fiscal year and at that rate, the budget and number of hours would be a closer match, which may alleviate releasing one employee and appointing a second throughout the year. She added a disadvantage to a temporary position is they would have to (under the terms of the charter and administrative procedures) do a competitive selection process, and once the hours met the 1040 in a fiscal year, that person would have to leave the County’s employment. She said after six months, the employee would incur PERS liability and that would reduce the amount of the per-hourly rate of the employee.
Utecht explained the third option would be something similar to a clerical assistant at $9.70 per hour. She noted that Dwyer's option for an extra help position is similar to the clerical position.
Dwyer stated it wasn’t his desire to add employees, he wanted to help the public by having people being able to respond to concerns and helping the commissioners utilize their time. He supported the 520 hours. He said this had to be as flexible while not adding people to the County payroll.
Weeldreyer supported the extra help position.
MOTION: to move to adopt the Extra Help aspect but broaden it so the commissioners could have a choice of another extra help person or a temporary help service, providing they don’t violate the spirit of the budget and the concepts associated with the original vision.
Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.
Green supported this motion. He said he voted against it at the Budget Committee because of his seniority and knowledge of the job. He didn’t think this position was needed. He said if a commissioner was in his or her job full-time that they should be able to manage the office. He supported the extra help for 520 hours.
Morrison concurred with Green. She stated she also didn’t support this in the Budget process, as didn’t think it was necessary.
Weeldreyer disagreed that it was not needed.
b. REPORT BACK/Motocross.
Jacquie Mikalonis, Public Works, stated Weeldreyer asked her to come to the Board to discuss off road vehicle use on rural lands and conflicts with residential areas. She noted there was not a lot of data on where these uses could occur and the vehicles all had different uses. She said the groups working on this agreed that a feasibility study should be done to study the uses and areas. She noted they were interested in entering into a study. She said State Parks had grants if someone came forward with the study. She understood that Lane County would not front any of the expenses for this study or document any matching hours.
Weeldreyer noted another large component was the economic impact of off-road vehicles on rural communities.
Mikalonis noted the group recommended that a feasibility study be done for more information and accurate data to come back to the Board with recommendations.
Dwyer stated the Board asked for letters of commitment from the BLM, the State of Oregon and others that wanted this study. He said he didn’t want to be in the position where Lane County was the sole provider of all the technical information and expertise.
Sorenson asked who was involved with the managers group.
Mikalonis stated it was the Forest Service, National Dunes Recreation Site, BLM, Army Corps of Engineers, State Parks and some rider groups.
Weeldreyer stated this competitive grant process would be a cost-effective way of gathering data without using Lane County’s in-house staff.
Green was unclear what Lane County’s obligation would be. He couldn’t support what they were proposing.
Mikalonis noted the original Board packet (dated June 26) stated the land mangers needed data to make recommendations to the Board. She said that State Parks had money to do that. She asked the Board if they would support that direction.
Green noted in the Board packet that the grant was for $160,000 and Lane County’s share was $80,000 for supplies and services. He said that language would need to be taken out.
Mikalonis stated Lane County was not responsible to anyone who would apply for or receive a grant.
Dwyer stated the state was implying the County would be underwriting the $80,000 match.
Weeldreyer’s understanding was that the Board needed to give direction to this group for long term strategies for off road vehicles in Lane County, to formally acknowledge there is more data needed in order to provide those long-term recommendations. She added it was consistent with what they had been doing in the past. She said a private company (in Lane County) was interested in applying for the grant to fund the research and that is the issue. She stated more data would be helpful to make long-term recommendations. She said that State Parks used ATV fees and there was not a hard match in this process.
Dwyer was not in support of this. He said if an RFP is put together from the off road working group and an application is made in the next grant round, he would support it.
Weeldreyer said State Parks was excited about this and the information from the feasibility study could be used statewide as a model. She said if the Board decided not to take action today to support the land managers’ request for a feasibility study, the grant money would go to another part of the state. She regretted that Lane County was not moving forward.
Morrison said this would come back to Board in January (as was previously planned) with a proposal by this group.
5. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION
Van Vactor announced they had progressed with recruiting a Public Works director and will be conducting interviews on Thursday and Friday.
b. ORDER 01-7-10-1/In the Matter of Approving FY 2001-02 Visitor Services Program, Budget and Contract Renewal with the Convention and Visitors Association of Lane County (C-VALCO) in the Amount of $983,040.
Tanya Heaton, Budget Analyst, passed out the final reports for June 2000 and an organizational budget report that showed the last five years of actuals (Copies in file). She noted part of the confusion was that room tax generated in May, was reported to the City of Eugene in the month of June and received by Lane County in the month of July. She explained while May hotel tax is up, the revenue that Lane County would receive will not be received until July. She said a year’s actuals are 12 months of receipts received by Lane County from July through June.
Heaton noted actual revenue received through June 30 was $1,036,000. She stated in the revised budget for 2001, they had budgeted $1,049,000, but did not receive it. She said after the discussions in February about what was expected, it was decided to leave the new revenue flat at $1,049,000. She explained in 99/00 there was a $5,000 overpayment and in 2001, there was a $57,000 overpayment and those payments would carry into the new budget year as an actual. She noted they had budgeted $988,863 for the CVALCO contract and $52,550 for the 5% prudent person reserve. She recommended zeroing out the prudent person reserve and making an adjustment to the contract, to $983,040.
Heaton said the Board could direct staff to do a supplemental budget, taking money out of the general fund, or reconsider transfer of funds for three years to the planetarium.
Van Vactor recommended, (because the receipts are believed to go up) that they share the risk and split the difference of $50,000 and have a 5% reduction. He said the County could work with CVALCO and monitor the receipts monthly through the fiscal year. He noted if the receipts are up, they could do an adjustment to the contract in mid-year and restore the $50,000. He said the long-term resolution is to build up a reserve (dedicated to this purpose) so there is a cushion for the future.
Dwyer agreed with Van Vactor’s plan.
Westlund said with six months notice from the County staff, she put her whole organizational plan in place, took it to her board (with Van Vactor in attendance) and passed the budget. She said five days into the fiscal year she was told her budget was going down ten percent.
Morrison asked Westlund what she thought of Van Vactor’s counterproposal.
Westlund wanted her budget to stay at what it was promised. She agreed with staff that there should be a reasonable fund balance in the account to help offset the fluctuations. She didn’t know there were zero dollars in reserve.
Green asked if CVALCO was notified (as they had been in the past) about any change in their budget.
Dave Garnick, Senior Budget Analyst, replied this year was an exception because there were only two analysts. He said if anything had happened it was due to that.
Green recommended fully funding CVALCO, taking the money out of the Economic Development Fund.
Heaton stated the Board would have to go through a supplemental budget. She noted that CVALCO would want a contract signed now because until a contract is signed, they don’t get a payment for July. She suggested signing a contract and directing staff to amend it if the Board adopted that process.
Sorenson suggested signing a six-month contract for the estimated full amount (70% of the collections) and at the five-month point, the Board would negotiate the remainder of the fiscal year.
Heaton said the risk CVALCO takes is that they would be making up the lost revenue. She said the risk they run is it could be down $200,000 and they could be taking 20% cuts in January.
Westlund said there was some risk and they would be back in the same place they are now, not knowing how much money had come in.
Dwyer said that CVALCO needed to make adjustments to their budget.
Weeldreyer shared Green’s concerns and the awkward position that it puts both organizations in. She agreed with Van Vactor on sharing the reduction.
MOTION: to move on Van Vactor’s recommendation that Lane County and CVALCO share the risk and split the difference of $50,000 and have a 5% reduction and work with CVALCO and monitor the receipts monthly as they go through the fiscal year. He added if the receipts are up, they could do an adjustment in mid-year and restore the $50,000.
Dwyer MOVED, Sorenson SECONDED.
Westlund noted that everything had been straightforward and it was inadvertent of staff not to get into this until late June. She said this puts them in turmoil. She recommended going back to the same relationship they had had in the past. She respected the 70% allocation policy and anticipated getting paid what they earned.
Sorenson suggested that this come back in December for a report back on collections from CVALCO.
Green was not in support of the motion. He requested a formal presentation on economic development on the goals and the plans.
VOTE: 4-1 (Green dissenting).
6. INFORMATION SERVICES
a. PRESENTATION/Status on the Redesign of the County Internet Web Site.
Darrell Landrum, Information Services, gave a presentation on web site development with the County Internet website.
Dwyer suggested there should be disclaimers with liability to make every good faith effort and for Lane County not to be liable for any omissions.
Wilson replied that Trina Laidlaw had worked on a disclaimer for the web, but people don’t read them.
Dwyer suggested having a box on the web so people could check off on having read the disclaimer.
Dwyer asked what the budget and timeline was for the Lane County web page.
Landrum hoped to have everything in place within the next four to six months.
Gary Ingram, Information Services, responded that it is an ongoing cost to put services on the web and support.
Landrum noted their goal was to reduce costs by maintaining the web pages. He stated the web site had doubled with the job page getting over 10,000 hits a week. He said the shift in work had been to the Internet by creating services to the public.
b. ORDER 01-7-10-2/In the Matter of Establishing a Public Hearing on a Proposed Lane Manual Change for Placing Public Record Information on the Internet.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 01-7-10-2.
Dwyer MOVED, Weeldreyer SECONDED.
7. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
8. EMERGENCY BUSINESS
There being no further business, Commissioner Morrison recessed the meeting at 11:00 a.m.