April 18, 1995
PUBLIC HEARING - LANE COUNTY BUDGET COMMITTEE
Harris Hall Main Floor - 7:00 p.m.

Chair Kate Jones convened the meeting with Commissioners Steve Cornacchia, Ellie Dumdi, Bobby Green, Sr., Jerry Rust and Cindy Weeldreyer present, along with citizen members Peter Bartel, Del Phelps and Bud Stewart. Marie Bell excused. Sharon Giles, Recording Secretary.

Bill Van Vactor, County Administrator, presented the budget message. He used overhead projection to highlight his presentation. Van Vactor commented that this is the fifth year of budget reductions, noting the stress on employees. He observed that only seven cents of the taxpayer's dollar actually goes to Lane County government. Van Vactor displayed graphics describing the operating budget of the discretionary general fund, noting that law enforcement is 59.6% of the discretionary general fund. He reported the reductions that have been made over the last four years, totalling 95 positions. Van Vactor observed various federal and state mandates and the loss of local control. He indicated that the trends in the general fund are now starting to show up in other funds. Van Vactor remarked that the FY95-96 proposed budget is a "place-holder" while struggling with a long term solution. He identified problems such as the lack of funds for technology updates and for facilities/deferred maintenance. Van Vactor noted that the 10-year financial plan accurately reflects the deficit.

Van Vactor stated that the FY95-96 proposed budgets reflects the decisions made by the Budget Committee on March 15. Van Vactor outlined the proposals as follows:

1) The Forest Work Camp is being mothballed, with $200,000 being allocated for mothballing costs, $300,000 going to the sheriff to shore up other critical services eligible under the levy and the balance ($1,200,000) being used on levy-eligible activities which are currently funded in Public Safety by the general fund;

2) $650,000 of the transient room tax will be used for higher priority programs determined by the Board during FY95-96;

3) All general fund support is being removed from Land Management for a total savings of $210,000, and this will be accompanied by a significant increase in fees effective May 1;

4) Eligible costs from the Employee Benefits Fund will be shifted to other funds for one year for a savings of $185,000;

5) Services for Public Health and Mental Health have been reduced by $170,000, with the most significant being the closure of the Springfield Clinic;

6) There will be either a reduction in the Park's budget or a change in the exemptions or tax increase in the car rental tax for a total of $100,000;

7) Elimination of the Intergovernmental Relations program for a savings of $85,000; and

8) Reduction in the joint social services fund by $50,000.

Van Vactor stated that these eight strategies work for one year, but that Lane County needs to forge a new partnership with its citizens to stabilize revenues for all of its basic operations. He stressed that law enforcement services need to be enhanced and any approach must be collaborative.

Van Vactor reported that plans for the next fiscal year are already in place and that a financial strategy session is scheduled at the end of May. He also discussed the May 16 ballot regarding the Juvenile Justice Center.

Jones opened the Public Hearing.

Denis Hijmans, Winding Way, Pleasant Hill, discussed the Juvenile Justice Center on the ballot for May 16. He indicated that the cost would be $25.70 per year for the average $100,000 house. Hijmans reported that a May ballot is necessary due to rising gang activity and the fact that people want action. He noted the possibility of a new state facility being sited in Lane County, the National Guard Armory land exchange possibility and the Elks Club property plans for development as other reasons for quick action. Hijmans observed that a poll in January stressed citizens' concerns regarding crime, gangs and law enforcement. He noted that violent crime has been increasing, while budgeting/staffing for Youth Services has decreased. Hijmans stated that adult jail beds have increased while juvenile detention has decreased. He stressed that the current Skipworth has no sprinklers, no metal detectors, no visitor security and inadequate laundry facilities. He added that it has the highest maintenance and operational costs in the state, it does not meet state and federal standards, the classrooms are small and it is poorly equipped.

Hijmans discussed the proposed Center indicating that costs were distributed as follows: 48% of cost for detention, site prep 17%, courts 5%, offices 11%, residential treatment 7%, acquisition costs 6%, kitchen 3% and related costs 2%. He displayed a site plan and stated that the facility would include a 96-bed detention center, intake holding rooms, secure court rooms, parole and probation offices, and offices for management staff.

Greg Vik, 2023 Kimberly, remarked that he is serving as chairman of the Juvenile Justice Center campaign effort. He thanked the Board for their leadership and for the opportunity for this facility.

JoAnne Lutz, 910 East 43rd, stated that she is the nurse manager for the New Start program and was speaking on behalf of Public Health. She noted that providing prenatal care saves a lot of money and sharing resources allows for service to more families. Lutz stressed that Public Health is an integral part of health care services in Lane County. She expressed concern that Lane County is in the position of being one of the worst counties in the state in funding public health. Lutz urged the Committee to carefully consider any ideas regarding cutting back public health services.

Marian Blankenship, 490 West 4th, indicated that she was representing Children First for Lane County. She thanked the Committee for prioritizing children and youth. Blankenship expressed concern, however, for Public Health. She stressed that preventive programs are public safety. Blankenship emphasized that Children First is interested in being part of the partnership for finding stable revenue.

Ann-Marie Askew, 353 Marion, stated that she works for Birth to Three and that they have an excellent relationship with the Department of Public Health, noting that Healthy Beginnings is a prime example. She stressed that prevention is so essential and encouraged the Committee not to forget that a portion of resources needs to go into prevention.

Jones closed the Public Hearing.

Van Vactor described the upcoming budget meeting schedule for April 25 and 27 and May 2. David Garnick, Senior Management Analyst, commented on the need to hold a public hearing for the Metropolitan Wastewater Service District and a time certain of May 2 at 5:15 was agreed upon. There was consensus that if another session is necessary it would be held on May 9, not 4th. There was further consensus that there would be an opportunity for public comment at the beginning of each of the meetings.

There being no further business, this meeting adjourned at 8:02 p.m.

Sharon Giles, Board Secretary