August 9, 1995
JOINT MEETING/BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS AND FAIR BOARD
Commissioners' Conference Room -- 11:30 a.m.
Commissioners Ellie Dumdi, Steve Cornacchia, Bobby Green, Sr. and Jerry Rust were present. Cindy Weeldreyer excused. Fair Board members Cleve Dumdi, Pat Hansen, Bob Mattson, Randy Thwing and Sid Voorhees were present. Sharon Giles, Recording Secretary.
Ellie Dumdi convened the Board of Commissioners and Bob Mattson convened the Fair Board. Dumdi expressed appreciation to Wes Brustad for his service to the Fairgrounds.
1. Relocation Feasibility Study.
Brustad distributed the Relocation Feasibility Study. He presented an overview and highlighted some specific points, noting the five questions focused upon during the initial study (see material on file). Brustad observed the advantages and disadvantages of remaining on the current property. He remarked that Duncan & Brown had concluded that the highest and best use of the current property is to retain it in public use and that the probable amount of revenue from its sale would be approximately 20% of what it would cost to build a new grounds. Brustad noted that a critical issue is sufficient parking. He reported that in meeting with a variety of current clients, there was overwhelming sentiment in favor of relocation to a larger, more accessible space. Brustad noted the following conclusions of the study:
a. The demand for exposition, convention and entertainment venues is increasing and will continue to increase.
b. The Lane County Fair Board is uniquely positioned to respond to this demand.
c. To properly serve the market, the Fairgrounds must expand. This will require the acquisition and development of property at the present site as well as explore the acquisition and development of a new site where new venues and program activities may be initiated and where there is sufficient space to accommodate spill-over growth of existing programs within the next 15 to 20 years. (Brustad detailed the two tracks that would need to be pursued simultaneously. See pages 27-28.)
d. The present Fairgrounds must be improved without delay.
Brustad indicated that the next step should include three studies: 1) financial analysis and funding of new grounds; 2) financial analysis and funding of new coliseum; and 3) cost of improvements to existing grounds and the acquisition of Stage 1 properties, and the funding sources to accomplish these improvements and or acquisitions.
Rust noted that there was a lot in the report to digest, but noted that it is a bit overreaching to begin on two tracks. He indicated that he does not see Lane County as the lead agency for a coliseum. Rust agreed on pursuing the first track, observing that the current site could serve the county for several decades. He stressed that doing a better job on what is already in place is preferable to pursuing a "megaproject."
Cornacchia generally agreed with Rust's comments. He remarked that the study somewhat defines the role of the Fair Board as respondents to numerous community needs, indicating that the primary role is the fair. Cornacchia stated that he is not convinced that the County or Fair Board should be the major provider of facilities. He stressed that the convention facility is a "loser" and has not proven that the County should be a major player in this arena. Cornacchia emphasized that there needs to be major policy discussions on whose responsibility it is to assume that role.
Green expressed a different view, indicating that he likes the idea of a coliseum but is not sure that the County should take the lead. He remarked that he does not favor expansion of the convention center as its location is not conducive to good business. Green indicated that he is in favor of pursuing two tracks.
Ellie Dumdi agreed with Green, noting the need to plan for the future, but expressed concern about the bottom line financial considerations. She discussed the possibility of partnerships. Dumdi observed the need to maximize the current facility.
Rust expressed the desire that the Fair Board be present when the new study from Coopers & Lybrand is presented. He agreed with Dumdi on the need to partner with other agencies who may be in a better position to be the lead agency.
Mattson noted that the University wants a coliseum, but does not want to be the lead agency and that this study has only attempted to provoke discussions on needs and potential solutions. He expressed an opinion that the needs that the Fair Board are trying to be responsive to are area-wide, mentioning that the County is a legitimate lead agency. Rust suggested that perhaps potential players could also attend the September presentation of the Coopers & Lybrand study. Mattson and Voorhees noted that the report is conservative considering the amount of input they received from the community. Thwing indicated his belief is that the Fair Board is appropriate to be a lead agency/major player/catalyst, particularly in light of the Fairgrounds' needs. He noted that expansion on the current facility will require the Board's support, asking whether the next director should be hired as a "caretaker" or a "visionary." Cleve Dumdi expressed concern about the current facility from an agricultural standpoint. Mattson agreed that the Fair Board's participation in a next phase involving major players in the area of convention facilities will be useful. Responding to Green, Brustad indicated that the zoning issues are too complex to overcome with relation to commercial issues on the current site. Rust observed consensus that all significant players would be invited for the formal presentation of the Coopers & Lybrand convention report in late September.
2. DISCUSSION/Limited Tax Revenue Bonds.
Teresa Wilson, County Counsel, noted that there is consensus that the Fair Board and the Board of Commissioners are in agreement to continue with the improvements agreed to in 1994. She indicated it takes staff longer to issue debt than it used to. Wilson asked whether the Board was willing to allow staff to proceed with debt issuance. Consensus was observed to move forward with issuance.
3. Property Acquisition and Street Improvements.
Brustad noted that the purchase of the properties is essential. Following Wilson's explanation of road fund/planning issues, Cornacchia expressed support of the use of road funds for realignment of Jefferson and 13th. It was agreed that property negotiations would be discussed in an Executive Session later today.
4. DISCUSSION/Personnel Reclassification/Director of Accounting.
Mattson observed the request for a change in title. There was consensus to move forward with the reclassification.
5. Update on Search for New Director.
Thwing indicated that there are currently 57 applications with 29 meeting the qualifications. He explained that the cut-off is August 31. Thwing indicated that they desire to cut the field to 10-15 and discussed the timeline for proceeding after the cutoff. He noted that October 24 is the projected appointment date.
Mattson indicated that for interim management, the existing program directors would assume additional responsibilities, with Pat Hansen meeting with them once a week.
6. Update on the 1995 Lane County Fair.
Brustad indicated that livestock registrations are significantly up. He noted that there is a new operator for the carnival. Brustad also stated that a new security company is in place. Green asked for information on the process for selection of food vendors. Brustad indicated that the attraction that would probably get the most attention is the "Rapid Riser."
The Board again expressed their appreciation to Brustad for his service.
There being no further business, this meeting adjourned at 1:30 p.m.
Sharon Giles, Board Secretary