March 13, 1995
LANE COUNTY BUDGET COMMITTEE
Commissioners' Conference Room - 11:30 a.m.
The Budget Committee convened with commissioners Steve Cornacchia, Ellie Dumdi, Bobby Green, Sr., Jerry Rust and Cindy Weeldreyer present, along with citizen members Peter Bartel (arrived at 12:05 p.m.), Marie Bell, Kate Jones, Del Phelps and Bud Stewart. Sharon Giles, recording secretary.
I. CALL TO ORDER
1. Election of Chair
NOMINATION: Kate Jones. Dumdi MOVED, Phelps SECONDED. VOTE: 9-0.
Election of Vice-Chair
NOMINATION: Del Phelps. Dumdi MOVED, Bell SECONDED. VOTE: 9-0.
2. Approval of Minutes
MOTION: Approval of the Budget Committee minutes of May 23 and December 6, 1994. Weeldreyer MOVED, Phelps SECONDED. VOTE: 9-0.
II. COMMITTEE ORIENTATION
1. Opening Comments - Bill Van Vactor, County Administrator, suggested an addition to item II.7., to be "II.7.G. Public Involvement."
2. Review Financial Planning Model - David Garnick, Senior Management Analyst, distributed an updated "Ten Year Discretionary General Fund Forecast" (see material on file), highlighting previous years' reductions and the projected FY95-96 reduction target of $2,495,892 or 41.1 FTE.
3. Major Issues Facing Lane County - Van Vactor provided a brief review of uncertainties facing Lane County including an expected Community Corrections reorganization, fluctuation in revenues from the State and the possibility of the Juvenile Justice Center. He observed the need to remain flexible throughout this process as these issues are finalized. Cornacchia reinforced the budget uncertainties at the state level, summarizing that potential revenue options continue to become limited by legislative action. He noted that Lane County will probably receive an increased workload from the state, without much financial assistance, especially in the area of corrections.
4. Survey Results - Van Vactor distributed copies of the recent Lane County Survey results.
5. Direction to Departments - Van Vactor explained the 2%, 5%, 10% and 15% reduction target scenarios, noting that the 2% model is 2% of the General Fund, with reductions taken pursuant to this model coming from the Discretionary General Fund.
6. Ground Rules - Van Vactor explained that the current 3-day process in advance of the normal budget process deviates from past years as the Leadership Team had stressed the need to focus on reductions to balance the proposed budget with the assumption of no new revenue, desiring to get input from the Budget Committee first and then proceeding with the normal budget process in April. Van Vactor noted that the Leadership Team had expressed interest in having no significant changes made to the proposed budget following any May election results in order to maintain credibility with the voters. He summarized that after the reduction list is completed, then the possibility of new revenue will be discussed.
Bell expressed concern about the lack of materials available which would provide background to offer any alternatives to the departments' proposed reductions. Cornacchia noted that nothing has changed much since last year, suggesting that Bell access the information provided last year and/or contact departments directly. Responding to Phelps, Cornacchia observed that March 16 is the last day to put a revenue measure on the May ballot, reinforcing that the reductions established by March 16 will be reductions implemented if a ballot measure is not passed.
7. Process - Teresa Wilson, County Counsel, explained the Budget Committee's statutory role. She stressed that the members have the right to demand any information that they feel is necessary to their function.
(Bartel arrived at 12:05 p.m.)
Van Vactor continued to explain the process, observing that: 1) The departments will give presentations on their reduction scenarios; 2) The Budget Committee will ask questions as necessary; 3) No decisions will be made until after all reductions are presented; 4) After all department presentations are given, the Budget Committee will begin deliberations on reductions; and 5) Discussions on revenues will take place last.
The Budget Committee discussed the issue of public involvement and reached consensus that a 20-minute public comment opportunity will be provided at the beginning of the Budget Committee meetings on March 13 at 5:30 p.m., March 14 at 5:30 p.m. and March 15 at 1:30 p.m., in addition to the normal public hearing opportunity during the normal budget process to be held in April/May. It was further decided that the Chair would have discretion to call upon speakers by rotating among topics identified on the sign-up sheets and that speakers would be encouraged to strategize their presentations on behalf of other members in their group and present any budgetary solutions they may have identified. The Chair asked that pens and note pads be made available at the back table for others to present their comments in writing if time did not allow for all of those signed up to speak.
8. Objectives - Van Vactor stated that the final reduction list for the FY 95-96 proposed budget would be determined during the afternoon of March 15, with decisions on new revenue to be made by the evening of March 15.
III. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION BUDGET PRESENTATION
Van Vactor reviewed the agenda material relating to 5%, 10% and 15% budget reductions for County Administration and outlined the impacts as highlighted in the packet (see material on file).
Responding to Bell, Van Vactor stated that the "across the board" percentage that would be necessary to meet the deficit would be close to 5% of the discretionary general fund and 2% of the total general fund.
IV. COUNTY COUNSEL BUDGET PRESENTATION
Wilson presented the 2%, 5%, 10% and 15% budget reduction scenarios for County Counsel (see material on file). She expressed concern about the impact of anticipated changes in Community Corrections. Wilson stressed that County Counsel is basically a service department to other county departments. Noting prior cuts in this department, Van Vactor urged the Board to maintain County Counsel at its present level. There was a brief discussion/explanation on the responsibilities/boundaries between County Counsel's office and the District Attorney's office.
V. REVIEW AGENDA FOR EVENING MEETING
Rob Rockstroh, Director of Health and Human Services, provided a brief description of the impacts of the Oregon Health Plan, with Phelps expressing concern about unfunded mandates.
Bartel asked about the implications of disengaging from some of the present services that Lane County provides and perhaps transferring them to the cities. Cornacchia observed that taking all of Health and Human Services' general fund dollars would still leave a $1.5 million deficit, questioning how valuable it would be to have a time-consuming exercise on transition during this 3-day process. Bartel stressed the need to determine what the County should/can do well and then to focus limited resources in that direction. Phelps urged the Board to plan time during the upcoming year to look at an overview such as that as suggested by Bartel, in order to have that information for preparation of next year's budget. Green observed that there has been an absence of long-term planning, stressing his desire to have comprehensive discussions regarding accountability/benchmarks during the upcoming year. Bell expressed concern that previous suggestions given to the Board have not received further attention. She agreed with the need for long-term planning, citing that it would allow time for transition for closures such as the public health satellites.
Responding to Cornacchia, Van Vactor stated that the $300,000 needed for downsizing for the fiscal year is already built into the base budget structure.
There being no further business, this meeting adjourned at 1:22 p.m.
Sharon Giles, Board Secretary