APPROVED 10/16/95

September 25, 1995
Commissioners' Conference Room -- 8:30 a.m.

PRESENT: Commissioners: Steve Cornacchia, Ellie Dumdi, Jerry Rust (left the meeting at 10:15 a.m.) and Cindy Weeldreyer. Bobby Green excused. Representing the City of Eugene: Tim Laue. Budget Committee Lay Members: Peter Bartel (left the meeting at 10:00 a.m.), Marie Bell and Kate Jones. Del Phelps and Bud Stewart absent. Department Heads: John Ball, Chuck Forster, Jim Gangle, John Goodson, Bill Hoyt, Bob McManus (left the meeting at 9:45 a.m.), Rob Rockstroh, David Suchart, Teresa Wilson and Bill Van Vactor. Steve Carmichael and Doug Harcleroad excused. Budget Staff: David Garnick, Tanya Heaton and Rick Schulz. Recording Secretary: Sharon Giles.


Dumdi called the meeting to order.


Van Vactor presented an update regarding discussions with the City of Eugene last week. He indicated that the Council had assigned review of the levy issue to their Public Safety Subcommittee, which includes Councilors Swanson-Gribskov, Nathanson, Laue and Torrey. Van Vactor reported that they had met last week, reviewed the issue in general and expressed interest and enthusiasm in participating with Lane County. He stated that they had passed a 3-point Motion: 1) That they would be the subcommittee on behalf of the City that would review the issue; 2) That the big issue, the criminal justice system, would be best be analyzed by the Public Safety Coordinating Council; and 3) That they would like to attend these meetings and sit at the table with Lane County participants. Van Vactor indicated that Laue and Swanson-Gribskov will be the representatives.

McManus reported that he was continuing to go to briefings with the city councils of the small cities. Responding to Bell, Van Vactor remarked that he had informed the City of Eugene of the December 4 deadline for a levy decision. McManus observed that if Lane County does not have a revenue source by June of 1996, over three-quarters of the patrol force and half of the existing jail will be lost.


Van Vactor remarked on the need for consensus on the questions included on the agenda. Heaton distributed and reviewed a handout which provides a recap of the County's funding problems, presents some of the problems and alternatives to be considered and highlights policy issues needing resolution. Van Vactor stated that staff was looking for confirmation that the general concept of the Sheriff's levy is the best approach/focus for solving the two problems identified in the handout.

* Funding Request Summary

Heaton distributed a "Funding Request Summary" (for FY96-97) of material presented by departments at the last meeting. Van Vactor stated that, with the assumption that the proposed levy is the best approach, the first issue that arises is whether $5.5 million should be set as the spending cap for general fund programs to allow for sustainability over the eight-year Financial Plan projection. Van Vactor noted that the requests total $7.4 million, which is $1.9 million over the $5.5 million maximum. He commented that staff believes the enhancement requests need to be reviewed, perhaps by a subcommittee, and can probably be reduced. Dumdi stated that the $5.5 million cap appears to be prudent. Bartel remarked that H&HS's numbers are undetermined due to unknowns. Cornacchia expressed concern that the funding requests seem to be returning departments to service levels of the past. He indicated that he was not interested in spending any of the $5.5 million on anything but direct impacts on other departments from the Sheriff's Office increases. Cornacchia stated that he wants discussion on whether or not this is a total levy with no General Fund support and whether the Psychiatric Hospital should remain part of the Sheriff's budget and operation. He added that he also wants to use the Sheriff's proposal as a basis to deal with the overall service system dealing with criminal justice and the relationship that results from the actions taken today. Cornacchia observed the need to determine the level of Sheriff's funding and service, followed by a determination of impacts on other departments, prior to making plans on spending the $5.5 million. He commented that he would like to see discussions of returning to former service delivery levels held after the above determinations are made.

Question A: Should the $5.5 million (shown to be sustainable within the eight year Financial Plan) be set as the spending cap for General Fund programs?

Cornacchia indicated that his cap is zero, not $5.5 million. Rust expressed his agreement with the question. Responding to Rockstroh, Garnick stated that the $5.5 million figure is the amount sustainable, regardless of the size of the levy, and that the levy amount only relates to the impacts on other departments. Rust: remarked that the first question should be: Are we supportive of getting the Sheriff off of the General Fund. Bell expressed concern about the concept of the "Sheriff's Levy," noting comments from the public regarding "empire building." She stressed the need to talk about a "systems approach," which would allow for this to be a "criminal justice system levy" to include all components. McManus noted that this levy follows the Clackamas County model, which is working very well. Bell pointed out that Lane County is unique. Cornacchia commented that the Clackamas County model is relevant with regard to the "two tier" approach, not necessarily to the form and size of the levy. Rust observed that the Sheriff has come forth with the only proposal so far and has developed a legitimate framework and he remarked that the size of the levy issue can be dealt with. He added that the size of the levy will drive the public debate and there will be interest in the systems approach. Gangle concurred with Rust. Weeldreyer remarked that she is supportive of a sustainable eight-year financial plan and that a spending cap is appropriate. Responding to Bell, Rust stated that he is open to pulling other options back into levy. McManus agreed, specifically with regard to the psychiatric hospital; but, he stressed the need to keep it simple and centered around public safety value. He expressed his desire to work together to determine a desirable service level that will be supported. Responding to Bell, McManus indicated that, with regard to "sale-ability", he could see the Psychiatric Hospital back in the levy, but wasn't sure about the others.

Gangle suggested the possibility of recommissioning another survey to get some solid feedback on what to put in the levy. Dumdi remarked that a citizen-input piece is needed. Van Vactor noted that the vote on the Juvenile Justice Center was close to the percentages on the survey, remarking that there may be some value in doing a similar survey in this regard. Bartel emphasized the need to address the real problem - "is more cops and more beds the answer?" McManus agreed that the long-term solution is to deal with youth; but he observed that ignoring today's predators will be counterproductive to stopping the juvenile problem. Bell expressed a preference for leaving the $5.5 million unassigned except for proven impacts.

There was consensus to poll group members on each of the listed policy issues. There was also consensus to clarify/change wording in the questions as follows:

Question B: remove the word "proposal".

Question C: delete wording past "future" and add "needs" instead.

Responding to Bell, Van Vactor indicated that in Question B, it was staff's intention that the assumption be that such funding would be from any source.

Question A: Should the $5.5 million (shown to be sustainable within the eight year Financial Plan) be set as the spending cap for General Fund programs?

Answer: Unanimous "yes", except for Cornacchia.

Question B: Should the other criminal justice components in Lane County receive funding sufficient to cover the impact of the Sheriff's Levy (from any source)?

Answer: Unanimous "yes".

Question C: Should some room be reserved within the $5.5 million cap for future needs?

Answer: Unanimous "yes".

Question D: What should be the process for allocating the balance of the $5.5 million?

Discussed below. Question E: Assuming the Sheriff's Levy is the best approach to solving Lane County's financial problems, should the two tier approach be adopted?

Answer: Unanimous "yes".

Question F: Indirect Assumption.

Van Vactor remarked that this discussion would take place soon within the Finance and Audit Committee.

Question D: Van Vactor suggested that this could be worked through at the subcommittee level or dealt with as a budget instruction. Cornacchia noted the need to be able to address the voting public's questions regarding where the dollars will go. Garnick commented on the need to have a parallel process to look at the levy and look at funding others. Wilson cautioned that making binding commitments (in the levy) about future spending of General Fund dollars may affect the Budget Committee's flexibility to address problems on an annual basis. Bell remarked that it is important to answer "Question D" in a simple statement which would inform voters that the resulting funds will allow their use towards the highest priorities/impacts. Rust suggested the possibility of having the budget done this year before December so that there is a set spending plan. Van Vactor remarked that, short of that, there could be a subcommittee or some group to bring back recommendations on the $5.5 million that could be part of the plan. Rockstroh observed that Pathways/ Passages/Outpatient A&D are not listed in the packages as offsets to the levy; but the reality is that if more cases are being prosecuted, there will be more demand for alcohol and drug treatment spots.

Goodson remarked that Clackamas and Washington counties have already gone through the levy process and he suggested that they be asked about how they dealt with levy impacts. Langford indicated that staff had talked with both sheriffs, but did not get to those questions. Suchart stated that it seems that the next step is to determine what the levy proposal figure will be. Jones expressed agreement. Ball remarked on the need to look at lowering costs and increasing productivity.

There was consensus that each group member would come back to the next meeting with written comments/analysis/questions regarding the proposed Sheriff's levy service level/costs. Langford explained the process to cross reference the proposals with the Policy Development manual and suggested that members could call the Sheriff's office with questions as they might arise this week.


* Bell suggested that department heads (particularly Rockstroh and Carmichael) have communication with their counterparts in Clackamas County regarding their impacts as a result of their Sheriff's levy. * Dumdi asked that Clague and Langford get further information about the general impacts of the levy in Clackamas and Washington County.

* Wilson remarked that perhaps Commissioners could make contact with counterparts in those other counties (Deschutes/Clackamas/Washington counties.)


* Tax Rate Chart Schulz distributed a "Tax Rate Summary for Lane County" and clarified that the unincorporated areas pay Tier 1 and Tier 2 costs in the levy. He noted that Lane County presently represents 5% of the tax burden and that even with increases every year over three years, Lane County will still be a small part of the tax burden. Schulz was requested to continue working on the additional information with regard to what the total tax burden is across the County.

Van Vactor distributed a request from Commissioner Rust regarding sworn versus non-sworn officers, noting that it could be discussed next time.


Monday, October 2, 1995 at 8:30 a.m. in the Commissioners' Conference Room.


There being no further business, this meeting adjourned at 10:35 a.m.

Sharon Giles, Recording Secretary