BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'
March 21, 2001
Commissioners' Conference Room
Commissioner Bill Dwyer presided with Commissioners Bobby Green, Sr., and Peter Sorenson present. Anna Morrison and Cindy Weeldreyer were excused. Assistant County Counsel Marc Kardell and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
11. PUBLIC HEARINGS
a. PUBLIC HEARING AND ORDER 01-3-21-6/In the Matter of Certification of Final Assessments for Improvements to Coburg Road (County Road Number 1043) Between Mile Post 3.27 and Mile Post 4.84 and Setting Lien Values Against Adjacent Properties. (NBA & PM 2/21/01)
Ken Kohl, Waste Management, explained they were requesting authorization from the Board to increase their funding for engineering services for Waste Management Division by $770,000. He said it would cover another year of engineering expenses. He explained the different projects that were taking place (Copy in file.)
Don Maddox, Public Works, reported the improvements had been completed and approved. He noted the total cost of the project was $2,165,710.50. He added of that amount, $175,171.32 may be assessed to the benefiting properties. He said $64,114.18 was eligible for deferral. He explained the assessments were for curbs, gutters, sidewalks and driveways. He added as part of the deferral information, there were a total of seven properties that were eligible for the deferral.
Sorenson mentioned that Weeldreyer questioned why Lane County was not assessed and 4J schools were.
Maddox responded the current county policy (that is consistent with state law) is that all abutting properties will be assessed. He said as a matter of practice, the county does not assess itself as it would be a transfer of monies internally and create a process that would produce no net gain.
Commissioner Dwyer opened up the Public Hearing.
Charmalee Schram, 3699 Coburg Road, Eugene, is the owner of Schramís Antiques. She had no complaints and was happy with the assessment the county made. She noted that a meridian in front of her business was painted wrong for illegal turns. She said it was corrected but it was hard to tell where the lines were and it needed to be fixed. She noted at her corner there was a drainage ditch that was 3 or 4 feet deep that needed to be repaired. She said neighbors have horses running over her property and she was afraid they would cause accidents.
Green said Maddox should take care of the restriping issue, as the taxpayers should have a quality job. He noted the horse problem was an issue and he made a note to have someone follow through with the problem.
Maddox responded that he would check on the painting job. He said that Wildish was currently working on a punch list and that would be brought up. He noted with the horses, they examined the issue and from the research, it was not a safe situation but something the Sheriffís Office could handle and would forward the complaints on to them.
Sorenson asked Schram to contact him if there were problems. He noted there was a traffic safety commission being developed at Lane County and the horse situation was something that could be dealt with.
Catherine Nicole, 3217 Coburg Road, noted the improvement was a beautiful project. She didnít think it benefited her property more than any of the commuters using Coburg Road. She contested her assessment, as it did not benefit her financially. She perceived it as a hardship on her to pay for the road.
There being no one else signed up to speak, Commissioner Dwyer closed the Public Hearing.
Dwyer asked if it was possible to defer an assessment until the time the property was sold.
Maddox stated under current assessment there was no provision.
Dwyer asked if a system could be arranged that didnít create a situation but recognized hardship cases. He added that in some point in time the County could collect when the property changed hands. He said it would be poor precedent to allow this person to have a hardship deferral.
Kardell responded he would have to do research. He said payments could be deferred for some time if that was the Board agreement.
Sorenson stated deferral of property taxes were allowed for certain homeowners and he was in favor of giving staff direction to come back to the Board with options on how to have a deferral based request, and requested information on what the impact would be to have it done and how much it would cost to set up the program. He also wanted to know how many people were being affected adversely by road assessments that couldnít be deferred. He stated a deferral program would take care of this situation and would benefit long-term.
Maddox responded they had looked at those issues over the years and reported to the Board. He said Lane Countyís assessment policy is meager in comparison to other local municipalities. He said for a small single family home the assessment would be $2,500. He added the cost of administering the individual assessment would be too high in comparison to the cost of the assessment.
Dwyer stated that the program had to be able to be cost effective and if it cost more to administer, then it didnít make sense to have the program.
Sorenson said they shouldnít change anything today, but requested staff to provide information to the Board. He said that way the next time there is a road assessment hearing and someone asks for a deferral they would know how to handle it. He expressed interest in knowing how big the problem was, how many people complain and donít pay their assessments and how many people are paying big interest payments at the end when the property is sold, and indicated he wanted to proactively get involved with this problem.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 01-3-21-6.
Green MOVED, Sorenson SECONDED.
Green said he spent two years on the Finance and Audit Committee dealing with assessment issues and didnít think it would take staff a long time to find the information. He noted in the past, the Board couldnít come up with an agreement about what a fair and equitable assessment policy would be. He cautioned the Board that if they were not willing to make a hard decision when they get the information, that they shouldnít be asking staff to take the time to do this investigation.
Sorenson said he didnít want to change the assessment policy, but wanted to make it possible for people who had a hardship to work things out.
Dwyer said they needed to test on whether it was a hardship and what criteria to follow. He noted that nothing they design would ever be perfect. He wasnít opposed to looking at this but didnít think the problem could be fixed.
12. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
13. OTHER BUSINESS
There being no further business, Commissioner Dwyer adjourned the meeting at 2:25 p.m.
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