BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'
May 1, 2001
Commissioners' Conference Room
Commissioner Anna Morrison presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bobby Green, Sr. and Peter Sorenson present. Cindy Weeldreyer present via telephone. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel Terecsa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
2. PUBLIC COMMENTS
Jim Edgar, 55 Ayres Road, Eugene, stated the last he heard, the County was going to turn the road over to the city, which would bill him. He said it was against the law. He said he had lived on his property for over 40 years and the County had been taking care of the road. He said he can’t afford the assessment.
Dwyer said he spoke with Edgar on the telephone and explained what was happening. He told him the County was picking up his share and they were only levying for a certain amount.
Morrison noted they had gone through a public process and what is taking place is not against the law. She added they try to make the overall fiscal impact to the property owners as minimal as possible in the widening of Ayres Road. She noted it was part of the urban transition agreement with the City of Eugene so they have the right to go forward to transfer the ownership to the City of Eugene
John Godhill, 1715 Tabor, Eugene, said that Edgar was never notified about the maintenance on the road. He said the city wants the property for a collector for storm drains.
3. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660
To take place after the meeting.
4. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION
5 .PUBLIC WORKS
a. ORAL REPORT AND DEMONSTRATION/Alternative Fuel Vehicles and View New Hybrid Vehicles Purchased by Fleet Services.
Dale Wendt, Public Works, discussed the federal legislation for alternative fuel vehicles. He said there were two federal laws mandating alternative fuel vehicles, one was enacted in 1984 (Clean Air Act) and in 1990 there was an amendment as the Clean Fuel Fleet Program or CFFP. He said this was to protect air quality. He said this was mandated for geographic metropolitan areas for populations of 250,000 or more (taken as a population count in 1980) and Lane County and the City of Eugene were not affected by the act at this time.
Wendt explained the other was the Energy Policy Act enacted in 1992. He said its purpose is to reduce the country’s reliance on petroleum fossil fuels and foreign crude oil. He noted there were problems and delays in implementing the federal legislation because of the alternative fuels infrastructure.
Wendt took the commissioners on a drive in Lane County’s hybrid vehicle.
b. ORDER 01-5-1-1/In the Matter of Appointing Three Members to the Parks Advisory Committee.
Rich Fay, Parks, reported they had postings out from November 2000 through March, 2001 before they could acquire three applicants. He noted that John Roselli was appointed for a third term.
Dwyer stated that the Parks Advisory Committee could not appoint anyone for a third term. He said under the code, they were only entitled to two and any special dispensation in extending that had to come from the Board.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 01-5-1-1.
Sorenson MOVED, Green SECONDED.
VOTE: 4-0 (Weeldreyer not present).
c. RESOLUTION AND ORDER 01-5-1-3/In the Matter of Authorizing the City of Eugene to Assess Outside City Limits for Street Improvements to Ayres Road.
Ollie Snowden, Public Works, stated they were asking the Board to authorize assessing two properties outside city limits that would be incorporated as part of the City of Eugene’s LID for the Ayers Road Improvement.
Les Lyle, City of Eugene, explained the Board adopted a resolution in August 2000 that supported the work from the Roads Advisory Committee. He said there was a vote of 4-1 to have the city move forward to modify its policy to incorporate those elements. He said the city council adopted an ordinance on October 23, 2000. He said that a new assessment policy does not become effective for six months after the city council adopted it. He stated as of April 23, the ordinance is in effect and will influence how they distribute costs to any future arterial collector street improvement.
Lyle stated they had actually started discussing the Ayres Road improvements in 1996 and in 1998, but the Board rescinded the previous resolution. He said the only properties they were requesting Board approval on were Mr. Edgar's and Mr. Combs'. He said they tried to provide their best estimate as to what the assessment would be under the new policies. He said Edgar owns frontage along Ayres Road and they would only assess the first 100 feet of the frontage, and the balance wouldn’t be collected until and if a development proposal came forward. He stated the only lien on the property would be the first 100 feet. He noted there would be no obligation if the land were to change ownership. Until a development proposal comes forward, there would be an equivalent assessment collected. He estimated that Edgar would only be liable for the first $8,300 for the street and sidewalk. He added that Combs (who owns property adjacent to Gilham Road) owns more than 100 feet of frontage, but had considered the property a fully developed parcel. He noted they were going out for bid. He said they would use low bid prices to re-estimate what the assessments would look like. He said they want to get the final costs and then present this at a public hearing. The city council will determine whether a local improvement district would be formed. He said they would be looking at a final assessment tabulation based on final costs, and after a public hearing, it would go to the council for final distribution. He noted they also implemented the livability factor, based on the different classification of arterials and collectors. This is a collector, assessing seven feet of pavement width, curb and gutter, drainage and sidewalk.
Dwyer said $8,300 for Edgar’s property was expensive. He asked what type of arrangements could be made so they don’t force someone into poverty for a public benefit.
Lyle said the $8,300 could be financed over ten years through a special financing program. He said the interest would be between six and seven percent. He said the other option may be a subsidy program. He added there was an age and deferral program that he may qualify for that would defer the assessment until he sold the property.
Green noted these are properties in the county that have city streets through them. He said this was to improve the roads.
MOTION: to approve RESOLUTION AND ORDER 01-5-1-3.
Green MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.
Dwyer stated he attended lots of meetings with everyone involved and the city and the process was fair as everyone had an opportunity to speak.He said that every property owner received notice. He said the city and county made every attempt to keep everyone in the loop.
Morrison concurred as she attended those meetings as well.
6. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS
a. DISCUSSION/Membership Fee for Forest Counties and Schools Coalition
Morrison noted that she reported on the meeting she attended at the Forest Counties and Schools annual meeting in Reno, bringing everyone further along in trying to implement federal legislation around forest counties and schools. She noted as they move forward with the implementation of the legislation, it is important that Lane County stay engaged with the body that got the legislation where it is today. She added that Lane County was not actually a formal member of the Forest Counties and Schools Coalition and she brought this back to the Board so they could formally look at becoming a member. She noted there were 24 counties that were currently included: Deschutes, Douglas, Klamath and Linn are neighboring counties and as they move forward with the resource advisory committees, they will be interacting with the counties as well. She said the membership dues were $500 for Fiscal Year 2001/2002.
Sorenson was against this because cost of the total federal effort had already gone up. He said while it is important, and he wouldn’t oppose what had been spent in the prior years on the federal lobbying contract, he didn't know what they would be getting into.
Green wanted to support this but was concerned about the dues. He noted the $500 was just for the coalition and he interpreted that to be the dues. He asked how much the dues were.
Morrison stated that Lane County provides financial support in membership dues to AOC, O & C and NACo. She said those organizations also participate in a financial manner as well as a formal membership organization. She noted they could become a member of the coalition and not pay the dues. She said there were organizations across the country having problems trying to obtain funding to support the coalition’s endeavors. She said Lane County stood to gain a lot. She said if they didn’t pay, Lane County would do all right, but she wanted to see Lane County on the list from Oregon.
Green was interested in having the County as a supporter, but was concerned about the financial piece.
Dwyer concurred with Green. He said Lane County already contributes to legal funds and pays $39,500 for legal fees for the coalition. He didn’t mind being listed as a member or a supporter, but he didn’t want to buy into their dues structure.
Sorenson agreed they were already putting in substantial money into O & C, AOC and they doubled the federal lobbying contract.
MOTION: to move that Lane County would become listed as a supporter of the National Forest Counties and Schools Coalition and it did not include submitting dues and membership fees.
Green MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.
b. REPORT BACK on Board ORDER 01-2-21-2/Video Lottery Following Discussion with Management Team.
Tanya Heaton, Management Analyst, reported they were bringing this back as requested. She said they spoke with the Management Team and received responses from four departments.
Gretchen Pierce, Video Lottery Task Force, reported the committee was formed last fall as requested by the Future Focus Task Force which suggested the County should target resources to grow economic infrastructure. A component was revenue like video lottery dollars, to make sure it was allocated in the most appropriate and productive way. She said there was confusion on the Budget Committee when they considered funding and how video lottery at the state level had changed over the past few years.
Pierce noted when the committee was formed, they looked at the Oregon Revised Statutes for the current definition of video lottery funding to counties. She said they discovered the definition had not changed even though the state definition had been modified. She explained as far as they knew, the state lottery fund could only be spent for economic development activities. She said they thought it was appropriate to develop a definition of economic development for county purposes and that is part of this policy. She noted they checked many definitions that were available not only in Oregon, but throughout the United States.
Pierce said they had to determine whether or not they define uses of the video lottery dollars in a strategic way with money granted to communities in the county or to spend the money on activities at the county level for ongoing staff or programs. She said they wanted to split this incoming fund 50/50 and put half into a fund for strategic investment in a process for grant applications from different communities in the county that would fit within the definition. She added the second allocation would be for the general fund for other economic development activity within the county. She said all of the funds that would either be carry-over funds or unused from the year before would best be swept into the strategic investment fund.
Pierce noted they put together a schedule of allocations from last year to understand the implications of adoption of this policy. She added they may not be able to cover certain activities with video lottery dollars as in the past, but there could be opportunities to put other expenditures into the fund related to economic development.
Sorenson said they weren’t spending the money on developing the economy to make it sustainable, to have job development and economic progress. He asked if the definition should be narrowed to promoting economic development in Lane County as opposed to funding Lane County government.
Pierce responded it would be in the County’s best interest to make true strategic economic development investments to solve other revenue problems. She said this money should be used for true economic purposes, however there is economic development tied with staff and research time as support activities. She said that should be paid by video lottery dollars. She said it was important to at least allocate 50% of all new ongoing revenues, plus the carry over, to economic development activities they had not done for some time.
Dwyer was concerned about animal control and other departments that were suffering. He had no problem allocating a portion of the money for economic development. He didn’t like the use of the word “shall” because it could foster litigation and takes away discretion from public officials regarding policy changes. He didn’t think speculative buildings should be part of the County’s economic development strategy. He asked if a portion could be allocated into a fund and then they decide on an important project. Then the revenue stream could be used to bond the project. He said there were unmet needs that could foster economic development within the County and save tax dollars.
Heaton noted a revenue bond would have to be issued for a project that qualified for economic development.
Wilson stated the proposed definition states that economic development includes organizational capacity development, community development, business development or workforce development. She didn’t know if building a county building would fit under community development. She said the proposed structure would have a committee reviewing the project and determining the economic development definition.
Dwyer requested that “shall” be replaced with “may.” He didn’t want to lock it into a budget situation.
Morrison noted this was to generate additional tax revenue for the general fund. This would give Lane County more money for some of the programs having a difficult time.
Green supported this because the County has been shortsighted in economic development. He said economic development is investment in areas the public could benefit from and provide a return that regenerates the fund. He said they hadn't done that and it would be a good opportunity to make something good happen. His concern was that another Board would change the definition. He said they have tools for measuring and components that allow them to invest in community development. He said they are missing out on revenue from competitive sports, as they don’t have soccer fields, hotels, or other venues.
Van Vactor stated this was for the Lane Manual and it would only take a board order to change it. He said as a budget officer he appreciated this because it helps their financial future. He said where it mentioned a stable tax base, he read it as allowing some sort of construction project on public property. He said it might impact the County if the proposal was to take what is on the tax roll and covert that to public property.
Weeldreyer echoed what was said. She suggested using Buford Park and the Old Hatchery for retreat spaces that could generate revenue. She wanted incentives to spend down the reserve as there are many projects. She said they should encourage those projects that have a private sector matching component.
Sorenson asked if they could create a fund to only spend the interest for economic development.
Pierce responded they did not give any realistic time to that because it ties up all the money for a long period. She said the $800,000 in new revenue would require an endowment in excess of $15 million. She said to build that endowment would take a long time. She didn’t think it was a realistic proposition.
Heaton assured the Board the new policy had nothing to do with their committees other than identifying a committee to review projects.
Morrison said when she and Weeldreyer look at the RCIC they will consider the committee structure in developing this policy.
Dwyer wanted an urban commissioner representative for balance.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 01-2-21-2.
Green MOVED, Weeldreyer SECONDED.
VOTE: 5-0. (Weeldreyer via telephone)
Dwyer stated this sends a strong message to the Management Team that next year the departments will not be able to rely on these funds again and it could do serious damage to their efforts.
Weeldreyer said she had creative ideas about Animal Regulation.
7. EMERGENCY BUSINESS
There being no further business, Commissioner Morrison recessed into Executive Session at 11:30 a.m.
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