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November 12, 1997
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS' REGULAR MEETING
Harris Hall Main Floor - 9:00 a.m.

Chair Cindy Weeldreyer presided with Steve Cornacchia, Ellie Dumdi, and Peter Sorenson present. Bobby Green, Sr. excused. Tarra Withers, Recording Secretary.

1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA

Bill Van Vactor, County Administrator, stated there would be an emergency business item regarding the Managed Health Care Program.

2. PUBLIC COMMENTS

Tom Cleveland, 1430 Willamette St. #321, Eugene, stated he is the secretary for The Coalition To Rebuild Community Television, a local non-profit organization. Cleveland asked the Commissioners to support the "Upgrade With Volunteers and Channel" interim report which was presented to the Metropolitan Policy Committee (MPC) (see material on file).

Karen Marie Pavelec, 164 W. Broadway, Eugene, stated she was representing herself and the multimedia organization also known as the Mid-Oregon Production Arts Network (MOPAN). Pavelec said MOPAN is a non-profit group that supports public non-profit operations of a dedicated public access channel. Pavelec concurred with Cleveland’s comments.

Joshua Kielas, 2799 Jackson Street, Eugene, stated he is a broadcast student at Lane Community College (LCC) and a member of The Coalition To Rebuild Community Television. Kielas made reference to the October 9, 1997 Metropolitan Policy Committee (MPC) meeting where it was suggested that LCC could be a viable site for community television. Kielas said the Coalition had researched this suggestion and opposes it because it does not offer the room to produce the desired programs.

Robert Mueller, 25751 Wildwood, Veneta, stated he supported public access television. As an active member of the community television producing staff and a participant with The Coalition To Rebuild Community Television, Mueller said he has assisted video taping a number of programs. Mueller said the Coalition reaches to areas as far as Veneta, Hood River and Oakridge.

David Raymond, 3415 Hyacinth, Eugene, stated he wanted to encourage upgrading community television with the use of volunteers. Raymond said he would like to see a low cost or no cost plan to use Harris Hall in the areas of advanced communication technologies.

Melidy Chord, 1574 Coburg Road #269, Eugene, stated she was in favor of community television. Chord outlined a number of organizations who have expressed interest in community television (see material on file).

3. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS

None.

4. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS

a. REPORT/Extension Service.

Jane Clavert, Director of Extension Services, said Lane Extension is working with BRING to explore options of developing a Master Recycle program similar to the ones in Multnomah and Marion County. Clavert said the changes in the fairgrounds parking seem to work well from the Extension’s point of view. She cited there is adequate parking for their customers and the noise level has been reduced. Clavert introduced Nellie Oehler, an Extension Agent Master Food Preserver, and Family Community Leadership coordinator. Clavert said Oehler is the only half-time faculty member at the Extension Agency paid with County funds.

Ohelier provided information on two of the programs she coordinates. Ohelier said the Family Community Leadership (FCL) Program is a master volunteer program that trains volunteers in leadership development and public policy. Ohelier said to help citizens effectively address family and community needs, FCL members provide educational programs throughout the community (see material on file).

Ohelier said the Master Food Preserver (MFP) program started in 1980. Ohelier said the program trains and certifies volunteers in all areas of food preservation and food safety. She noted as the concern for food safety information has increased, the program has included more food safety tips in its training (see material on file).

b. ORDER 97-10-29-26/In the Matter of Appointing a Future Focus Task Force.

Van Vactor gave an overview of the Order (see material on file).

Sorenson asked if the meetings were open to the public and if notice would be given about the meetings.

Van Vactor said the public would be given notice to the meetings, and the meetings were open to the public.

MOTION: Approval of Order.

Dumdi MOVED, Sorenson SECONDED. VOTE: 4-0.

5. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660

None.

6. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION

a. Announcements

Bill Van Vactor, County Administrator, provided a status report on inquiries to Commissioner Green about Hilman and Widely boat landings. Van Vactor said under the Urban Transition Agreement, both boat landings are currently managed by the City of Eugene; however, the City is experiencing some difficulties in managing these sites and has asked the County to take over the management. Van Vactor said Bob Keefer, Public Works Parks Manager, and himself would try and negotiate a resolution with the City over the next month. Van Vactor said a report and recommendation will be presented to the Board at a later date. Van Vactor cited one of the options Keefer is exploring is to have a caretaker at Hilman.

b. DISCUSSION AND DIRECTION/To Lane County MPC Members and Staff Regarding Public Access Television, TCI Franchise Agreement and Volunteer Use Government Equipment for Town Hall Meetings.

Rick Schulz, Management Analyst, said the Metropolitan Policy Committee (MPC), Lane Council of Governments (LCOG), and a consultant would work on the TCI Franchise Agreement Review. Schulz said regardless of the outcome, Milo Mecham, Lane County Hearings Official, informed Schulz the County would not have to pay the consultant directly; in the event the County was charged for a consultant, a deduction would be taken from future franchise fees.

In regards to back franchise fees, Schulz said Mecham provided a worksheet (see material on file). Schulz said the County’s share of the franchise fee would be $17438.11, but that this did not include a penalty fee of $3000.

In reference to public access television, Schulz said the County is paying approximately 77% and receiving about 19% of the total franchise fee while the City of Eugene receives 57% of the franchise fee and the City of Springfield, who does not contribute to public access television, receives 23% of the franchise fee.

Cornacchia asked if the issues of underpayments on franchise fee were as well briefed as the lawyers believe it to be, why would there be a review.

Mechem responded that the County is not waiting to collect the underpayments from TCI. Mechem said Green, who is Chair of the Metropolitan Policy Committee (MPC), had sent a letter (see material on file) to TCI requiring them to change their method of calculation and pay the back fees. Mechem said although Green did not state a time line, TCI responded (see material on file) they would be willing to do the calculations in the future but would not pay the back fees. Mechem said he would be meeting with Mike White, TCI General Manager, and a report would be given at the next MPC meeting (December 12, 1997) on whether or not TCI will pay the back fees.

Sorenson asked why a time line was not determined for TCI to pay the back fees.

Mechem said when the demand letter was sent to TCI in October it was not only to request the back fees but to see how TCI would respond to MPC’s inquiries. The rationale behind the immediate demand was not necessarily tied to a time frame, Mechem said.

Mechem said TCI argues they shouldn’t have to pay a penalty because they were following the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) ruling. Mechem noted MPC’s argument was that the FCC ruling was incorrect and TCI should have followed the law.

Referring to a franchise review, Sorenson asked how the review would be handled.

Mechem said once questions have been answered on who will pay for the review, he expects the review period to be short; however, determination of the review would be based on questions MPC had identified. Mechem said a memo outlining the different issues had been prepared for the MPC (see material on file).

Sorenson asked Mechem what recommendations are being requested by the Board.

Regarding the franchise review, Mechem said he would like to have the Board give direction to the MPC Board members (Commissioner Cornacchia and Commissioner Green) as to what position the Board would like MPC to take on the franchise review questions.

Weeldreyer said in Green’s absence she would take his place at the MPC meeting.

Dumdi said she agreed with Mechem’s assessment for the franchise review and gave direction for the MPC Board members to carry the message forward.

Weeldreyer read an electronic mail (e-mail) message from Commissioner Green, who wrote "I am inclined to agree with the position that is recommend by staff, particularly item #4. ‘Each jurisdiction give TCI notice that the method of collecting franchise fees be revised to reflect the intent of federal law, and that TCI provide a payment to each franchise authority that corrects the previous underpayment of franchise fees.’"

Weeldreyer said she agreed with the staff’s recommendation regarding TCI franchise review.

Cornacchia said he saw value in negotiating status to suggest penalties. Cornacchia stated he had difficulty in the argument that a body following a federal agency’s directive could be penalized when a court (in a different jurisdiction) said that branch of government is wrong. However, for the purpose of utilizing negotiation tools which have been successfully in other communities, Cornacchia said he would support the staff’s recommendations.

Dumdi agreed with Cornacchia’s comments concerning the penalty issues.

Mechem said he was not prepared to disagree with Cornacchia’s comments, but the franchise is fairly clear on penalties. Mechem said TCI is obligated to pay penalties whenever it underpays the franchise amount for any reason.

Weeldreyer entertained a comment from David Raymond, a member of The Coalition to Rebuild Community Television.

Raymond said when looking for a consultant, he recommended consideration be given to Allen Bushong, Robert Skelton, or Ken Stridden.

Moving into the public access television discussion, Cornacchia said he read an article in The Springfield News stating the Springfield Council did not have the extra revenue to support public access television. Cornacchia asked if the Springfield Council rejected the recommendation of the MPC subcommittee.

Schulz said he would interpret the Springfield Council’s position as being consistent with their prior position, which is not to place any funds or the anticipation of placing any future funds into public access television.

Sorenson remarked about the amount of money spent in different jurisdictions. He compared Multnomah Community Television in Gresham which has 30,000 subscribers with a budget of $800,000 to Eugene which has 60,000 subscribers with a budget of $30,000. Sorenson expressed this was a sizable difference for a per-subscriber basis. Sorenson asked what could explain the vast differences for these figures.

Responding to Sorenson, Cornacchia said one reason would be the financial and budgetary conditions for these jurisdictions are different.

Dumdi noted counties north of Lane County have a higher property tax than Lane County.

Sorenson asked Schulz if more information was available to determine whether or not the community is receiving the same services as other jurisdictions. He asked if a determination for any serious funding problems could be made by looking at other sources of revenue like property taxes and federal forest receipts. Sorenson stated he wanted more information on the proportions of money that jurisdictions spend on access television.

Schulz said Sorenson’s comments were not uncommon to the citizen members on the public access committee. Schulz said he was not aware on how these communities arrived at their funding allocations. However, if the idea is to shift monies, Schulz emphasized shifting finances in the County’s jurisdiction would require taking financial resources from other programs. Schulz said the process for the Budget Committee would be to make recommendations as to what programs could be reduced.

Bob Swank, Community Television, said in 1984 when the Cable Communication Policy Act was enacted, it changed the ability to levy franchise fees from 3% to 5%. Prior to 1984, Swank said a 2% waiver could be added to the 3% franchise fees only if the additional 2% was dedicated to public, governmental, and educational access (PEG). Following the Cable Communication Policy Act most communities continued to dedicate the 2% franchise fees to PEG. Swank said there was a conscious policy decision made in this community not to do this and retain the flexibility to use this money as needed.

Weeldreyer said although she has not had the opportunity to attend all the MPC subcommittee meetings, she is aware of the recommendations made by the subcommittee which is the interim solution of upgrade with volunteers and a separate channel. Weeldreyer said Springfield’s decision not to contribute to public access may also be predicated on the fact that they are looking at public access television as it exists today, not necessarily looking at the potential of public access television as a tool in the future.

Weeldreyer asked Van Vactor if back franchise fees owed to Lane County could help meet the $15,000 expense and identify money from departments like the Commission on Children and Families and Youth Services. Weeldreyer suggested this type of collaboration would not affect the general fund.

Van Vactor said if unanticipated funding occurs, the Board has discretion to allocate that money.

Weeldreyer commented she views public access television as a tool. Using a computer for an example, Weeldreyer said if an investment is made in a Pentium computer and it is used only for e-mail or wordprocessing, opportunities would be missed. Weeldreyer said she sees the Pentium potential in public access television for all jurisdictions.

Cornacchia said his colleagues in Springfield do not need protection from unwarranted and questionable criticism regarding their thought process. Cornacchia voiced his concern that Springfield did think about the potentials, but as Cornacchia heard them say, "they are not buying a pig in a poke." Cornacchia said Weeldreyer was accurate for Springfield looking at public access for what it is today, and what it is today does not offer what Weeldreyer suggested. Cornacchia said Springfield’s position was that they didn’t want to "roll the dice" hoping something happened because it looked good down the road. Cornacchia said he brought up the question of future funds and underpayments of fees at several MPC meetings. Cornacchia expressed it would be difficult for him to place additional resources into public access when the County is already paying 40% of the load.

Sorenson inquired about the use of volunteers to offset the operation costs of public access television. Sorenson said he supported the subcommittee recommendations of upgrading with volunteers with the channel option because it built upon the volunteer concept.

Bob Swank noted $30,000 was previously allocated to fund public access; however, since the County and the City of Eugene eliminated their contribution to $13,000, an alternative was developed to have a non-profit organization operate public access from the Sheldon facility.

Swank encouraged the Board to support the proposal that would be sent to the MPC meeting. Swank said the recommendations include: policy approval requesting TCI dedicate a channel to public access, a $15,000 one time start-up fee, a request for TCI to reinstall a return line at the Sheldon facility, a solicitation and agreement with a non-profit corporation to operate the facility, and finally as part of the franchise review process, an increase would be assets for the capitol contribution of TCI.

Responding to Cornacchia’s comments, Weeldreyer said The Coalition to Rebuild Community Television has made progress in the past months to contact non-profit organizations about public access. Weeldreyer said she will present the issue of public access at the next Lane Council of Governments’ (LCOG) Board of Directors meeting and perhaps create an LCOG subcommittee to look at ways in using youths and adults with public access.

Weeldreyer read Green’s comments concerning public access television (see material on file). He wrote he could support the recommendation if someone would be willing to identify where Lane County’s portion of $15,000 would come from. He wrote he was concerned about dedicating future revenue without understanding how it would apply to the overall organizational needs. Green added if someone would publicly state and exercise some measure of discipline around the statement "that an annual dedication of these dollars are more significant than current human services, animal regulation, and public health nurses," then he might be willing to listen further.

Cornacchia said he would vote not to accept all the recommendations of the MPC subcommittee. Cornacchia emphasized until someone makes a good argument why money should be taken away from something else, he would support the status quo and work towards the other issues of additional channels and new entities.

Sorenson said he supported the option of upgrade with volunteers and channel and using money from the franchise fees to help support public access television.

Dumdi expressed she was supportive of a non-profit organization running public access and maintaining the current level of financial support.

The Board gave direction to MPC Board members to support the recommendation to include a separate channel dedicated to public access and have a non-profit organization operate public access. Because of current and past financial concerns, the majority of the Board did not support additional resources to public access.

The Board addressed the last item which was authorizing the use of government video equipment for live town hall meetings.

Schulz said the staff’s main concern is the safety of the equipment. Referring to the different options (see material on file), Schulz said Lane Council of Government (LCOG) had presented a fifth option which is not included on the handout. Schulz said LCOG would use an employee to assist and supervise the videotaping of any live town hall meetings in Harris Hall. Schulz said this option may be the best.

Sorenson asked about the current policy for volunteers who work in a Department and who use County equipment. He made reference to the Victim Advocacy and the Search and Rescue volunteer programs.

Van Vactor said equipment used by the County is purchased with public funds and used for the public during regular hours. However, Van Vactor stated with volunteer programs like Search and Rescue and Victim Advocacy, they are directed and supervised by a Department.

Adding to Van Vactor’s comments, Terry Wilson, Legal Counsel, said the distinction with volunteer programs like Search and Rescue is that they are a government sponsored activity. Wilson stated the distinction between volunteers is whether or not a town hall meeting is government sponsored and the use of volunteers further the government’s purpose.

Responding to Sorenson’s question on the County’s policy in using meeting room facilities, Weeldreyer directed Sorenson to the Administrative Procedure Manual (APM) where it outlines the criteria for Harris Hall and Public Service Building Conference and Meeting Rooms (see material on file).

Cornacchia stated he was supportive of the staff’s recommendation to disallow the use of Harris Hall for volunteer citizen operations of government video equipment, and for community volunteers to produce town hall meetings at public access studio located at Sheldon. Cornacchia added he would support the recommendation made by LCOG.

Robert Lewis, Director of METRO Television, said the facility and equipment used to provide live coverage of government meetings is contracted through LCOG. He added LCOG is responsible for the management and supervision of video taping live government meetings.

MOTION: Recommend LCOG move forward with option five which is to use one of their employees for taping of live town hall meetings, and update the APM with the use of Harris Hall to include opportunities for live interactive broadcast.

Weeldreyer MOVED, Cornacchia SECONDED. VOTE: 4-0.

The Board recessed for a 10-minute break to reconvene at 11:40 a.m.

7. PUBLIC WORKS

a. FIRST READING AND SETTING SECOND READING AND PUBLIC HEARING/Ordinance PA 1102/In the Matter of Amending the Rural Comprehensive Plan to Redesignate Land from "Agriculture" to "Rural" and Rezoning that Land from "E-40/Exclusive Farm Use" to "RR-5/Rural Residential 5", Adopting Exceptions to Statewide Planning Goals 3 and 4; and Adopting Savings and Severability Clauses (file PA 4118-96; Wiemers). (Second Reading & Public Hearing: December 10, 1997, 1:30 p.m., Harris Hall Main Floor)

MOTION: Approval of Order.

Dumdi MOVED, Cornacchia SECONDED. VOTE: 4-0.

Cornacchia encouraged the Board to make a site visit before the December 10, 1997 hearing. He noted if contact is made with the property owner, it will need to be noted as ex parte contact.

Dumdi stated her husband had conducted business in the past with the owners of the property.

b. ORDER 97-11-12-1/In the Matter of Appointing Two Members to the Resource Recovery Advisory Committee.

MOTION: Approval of Order.

Cornacchia MOVED, Dumdi SECONDED. VOTE: 4-0.

c. RESOLUTION AND ORDER 97-11-12-2/In the Matter of Accepting a Symm’s National Recreation Trails Grant from the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department for Installation of a New Trail head at the Howard Buford Recreation Area, Appropriating $15,875 in Fund 16, and Delegating Authority to the County Administrator to Sign the State-Applicant Agreement.

MOTION: Approval of Order.

Cornacchia MOVED, Dumdi SECONDED. VOTE: 4-0.

Weeldreyer presented a Community Service Award to Stewart Mufford, current president of Friends of Buford Park, for his work on improving the park’s trails. Bob Keefer, Public Works, said Mufford was instrumental in mapping the park’s trails.

8. CONSENT CALENDAR

A. Approval of Minutes:

June 18, 1997, Regular Meeting, following HACSA
June 18, 1997, Regular Meeting, 1:30 p.m.
September 24, 1997, Regular Meeting, following HACSA
September 24, 1997, Regular Meeting, 1:30 p.m.
October 16, 1997, Joint BCC/City of Oakridge Meeting, 7:00 p.m.

B. Assessment and Taxation

1) ORDER 97-11-12-3/In the Matter of Granting Property Tax Exempt Status Pursuant to ORS 307.475 (Oma Gail Flygare).

2) ORDER 97-11-12-4/In the Matter of Granting Property Tax Exempt Status Pursuant to ORS 307.475 (Marguerite Heft)

C. Human Resources and Management Services

1) ORDER 97-11-12-5/In the Matter of Award of Bid LCP 97/98-02 for Construction Contract for Adult Corrections Facility A-Tier Slab Underpinnings.

2) ORDER 97-11-12-6/In the Matter of Authorizing the Sale of Surplus County Owned Real Property to John and Nancy Ash (Map #18-03-12-00 Tax Lots 2000, 2600, 6200, 6800, Located Near Willamette Heights Park, Springfield).

3) ORDER 97-11-12-7/In the Matter of Authorizing Payment to the State Department of Revenue for Reimbursement of Property Taxes Paid by the State Associated With the Senior Tax Deferral Program for Property Identified as Assessor’s Map #20-03-32-30-00500 (Account #906972).

4) ORDER 97-11-12-8/In the Matter of Authorizing the Sale of Surplus County Owned Real Property to Ronald E. Fish, Former Owner of Record (Map #17-05-06-00-00900, 25349 Lawrence Rd., Junction City)

D. Public Safety

1) ORDER 97-11-12-9/In the Matter of Authorizing Contract With T-NETIX/US West for Inmate Telephone Service.

E. Public Works

1) ORDER 97-11-12-10/In the Matter of Awarding a Contract to Little Industries, Inc. in the Amount of $88,856 for the Purchase of One (l), New Rubber Tire 4x4 Tractor with Boom Mounted Mower, Contract No. 97/98 FS-03.

2) ORDER 97-11-12-11/In the Matter of Awarding a Professional Services Contract to EGR & Associates, Inc. for Completion of a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study for the Florence Landfill and Authorizing the County Administrator to Execute the Contract.

MOTION: Approval of Consent Calendar.

Dumdi MOVED, Cornacchia SECONDED. VOTE: 4-0.

9. DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE

a. ORDER 97-11-12-12/In the Matter of Accepting a $12,545 Grant From the Friends of the Child Advocacy Center, Inc., Appropriating $12,545 in Revenue and Expense in Fund 42 for Fiscal Year 1997-1998, and Adding .30 FTE in the District Attorney’s Office.

MOTION: Approval of Order.

Cornacchia MOVED, Dumdi SECONDED. VOTE: 4-0.

10. INFORMATION SYSTEMS

a. ORDER 97-11-12-13/In the Matter of Increasing a Vacant .75 FTE Senior Programmer/Systems Analyst Position to a 1.0 FTE Senior Programmer/Systems Analyst Position in the Department of Information Services at No Increased Expense to the General Fund.

MOTION: Approval of Order.

Cornacchia MOVED, Dumdi SECONDED. VOTE: 4-0.

b. UPDATE/Progress on Financial System.

Nancy Miller, a Coopers and Lybrand Accounting Representative, stated she provides project management services for the People Soft Implementation.

Since the first phase was implemented on October 14, 1997, Miller said the project has maintained an aggressive schedule. Miller said the steering committee comprised of Bill Van Vactor, Gary Ingram, Dave Suchart, Linda Morrison, Dan Heuval, and John Goodson continue to reiterate the Board’s direction set forth several months ago.

11. REVIEW ASSIGNMENTS

A schedule will be developed for the Future Focus Task Force.

The Board will follow up with the telecommunication issues at the next MPC meeting.

County Administration will work with LCOG with the use of electronic equipment for town hall meetings. There will be an inquiry to determine additional costs involved for telephones and the use of the Internet during live Town Hall Meetings.

12. EMERGENCY BUSINESS

MOTION: Approval of Order 97-11-12-15/ In the Matter of Delegating Authority to the County Administrator to Sign the Contract With Peacehealth For Managed Care Administrative Services in the Amount of $11,453,357.

Cornacchia MOVED, Dumdi SECONDED.

Cornacchia said he would vote against the Order because there is enough questions and concerns about the transformation of Mental Health Care services by staff, other counties, and the Association of Counties (AOC) staff. Cornacchia said by placing a no vote, it would retain a message of concern about the implementation, not on the way it impacts counties but how it impacts the end user. Cornacchia stated one of the Board members should vote no to send a message that this transformation will not be a "happy" delivery system.

Dumdi noted concern has developed in Florence around client services and offered to place the dissenting vote.

VOTE: 3-1. Dumdi dissenting.

The being no further business, the Board recessed until 1:30 p.m.

 

Tarra Withers, Recording Secretary

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