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November 5, 1997
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS' REGULAR MEETING
Harris Hall Main Floor - 1:30 p.m.

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

12. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS

None.

13. PUBLIC HEARINGS

a. PUBLIC HEARING AND ORDER 97-11-5-9/In the Matter of Certification of Final Assessments for Improvements to North 19th Street and Yolanda Avenue from Springfield City Limits to North 23rd Street and Setting Lien Values Against Adjacent Properties.

Don Maddox, Real Property Manager, stated that this was the last step in the process of levying assessments on the subject project. He explained that upon completion of this hearing and action of the Board, notice will be given to the affected property owners giving them 30 days to pay the assessment or make arrangements for installment payments. Maddox noted that there is a clerical error in the agenda memo, stating that the amount of $79,997.08 as the assessment is erroneous and that the actual amount being levied is $100,164.07.

Weeldreyer opened the public hearing.

Mary Ann Settera, 2389 N. 19th Street, Springfield, stated that she is being charged for 99.49 linear feet of concrete, curb and gutter in front of her property. She remarked that the City of Springfield purchased 184 square feet of property in front of her house where they placed a signal, crossing light and meter. She asked if she was being charged for the concrete to hold that light up and if she is responsible for maintenance of those 184 square feet. Settera stated that she makes less than $1,500 a month and asked if she qualified for a waiver.

Maddox stated that there was an additional utility easement acquired from the front of this property for placement of that utility facility, noting that it was not included in the assessment levied against the owner. Regarding a low income waiver, Maddox stated that Lane County does not have a program for deferrals based on level of income. He explained that the property owners have 30 days to either pay the assessment in full or apply for an installment payment plan which is based on a ten-year program for payments to be made semiannually, including interest, and noted that the current interest rate on this project is 11.5%. Maddox said there will be a recorded lien against the ownership of the property. He commented that the City of Springfield and the State of Oregon may have programs that will help people based on income. Maddox stated that he will sit down with Settera to explain the details of the easement and help her understand the paperwork.

Weeldreyer closed the public hearing.

MOTION: Approval of the Order.

Green MOVED, Dumdi SECONDED.

Sorenson stated that, in this case, the property owner would benefit from this improvement.

Weeldreyer stated that this is an excellent example of how growth has occurred and triggered this improvement. She said the major beneficiary of the sidewalk would be the community that is going to use it and did not want to see the cost borne just by the adjacent property owners.

VOTE: 3-0, Weeldreyer dissenting.

b. PUBLIC HEARING/Determining the Boundaries for the Proposed Annexation of the City of Cottage Grove to the Emerald People’s Utility District, Pursuant to Electors’ Petition.

Teresa Wilson, County Counsel, stated that in August, an elector’s petition was filed to annex the City of Cottage Grove to the Emerald People’s Utility District (EPUD). She said the next step in the statutory process is for the Commissioners to hold a public hearing to determine the boundaries which would then be translated into the description that is used for the election. Wilson stated that she and Anne Morrow, Director of EPUD, determined that the City of Cottage Grove is surrounded by EPUD and that they have a legal description of the boundaries in 1978 when EPUD was formed; however, since that time, the city has annexed in some areas that are already served by EPUD. Wilson said they are looking at a description that may include language such as ". . . the City of Cottage Grove except for those areas already served by EPUD." She introduced Anne Morrow and Bob Wittenberg from EPUD who explained the original 1978 boundary description as well as illustrated the area on a map.

Wilson stated that the City of Cottage Grove includes areas that are served by EPUD, stressing that these areas cannot vote on the question of annexation. She said the Board is being asked to decide the boundaries for an accurate description so that voters will know who can and cannot vote and so that elections will have an actual address list to use to mail ballots.

Weeldreyer noted that this is not a unanimous decision in Cottage Grove and asked that Wilson state somewhere in the ballot title that this election was called "as per petition" so that people will understand that the Board is required to call the election by state statute.

Responding to Sorenson, Wilson stated that it is not within the discretion of the Board of Commissioners to not schedule the election. She said they would be at risk of a court order requiring that Lane County place the election.

Weeldreyer opened the public hearing.

Kevin Stephens, 622 R Street, Cottage Grove, General Business Manager of Pacific Power and Light (PPL), referred to yesterday’s election in Linn County in which EPUD district attempted to annex the cities of Halsey and Brownsville, noting that the voters voted to remain with Pacific Power by a 70% margin. He remarked that there were customers from Consumers Power that were included in that election and should not have voted because a public entity cannot vote against another entity. Stephen stated that these were the boundaries that EPUD drew and does not know how anyone can guarantee that people who don’t qualify to vote will not get a ballot. Stephens urged the Commissioners to be aware of this and suggested that they talk with Linn County. He stressed that their properties are not for sale and said this is not an annexation but rather a condemnation of private property. Stephens distributed material which he read into the record (see material on file).

Casey Woodard, 1215 Courtney, Eugene, business owner in Eugene and Cottage Grove, stated that he is in favor of Pacific Power. He noted that there are three different power companies in Cottage Grove, stating that at one time a power line fell over leaving a line laying across the road and it took an hour and a half to ascertain which company to call. Woodard remarked that this issue has been voted on twice already and lost. He said that PPL is committed to being the lowest cost of electricity and noted that their presence in Cottage Grove has improved the economic and social environment because it is committed to the quality of life in the community. Woodard asked that the Commissioners vote not to hold the election.

Pat Patterson, 1140 South 10th, Cottage Grove, stated that he spent 35 years working for PPL and understands how these organizations work. Patterson stated that he was in on the groundwork in 1978 and said that there were areas within that annexation that many of the linemen questioned when they brought EPUD in. He remarked that the people of Cottage Grove have heard this issue twice and each time they decided to stay with PPL because it cares for its customers. Patterson asked why the people living in the annexed area currently served by EPUD are not given the opportunity to vote on whether they want to stay with EPUD or go to PPL. He stated that when Lane Utility in Cottage Grove terminated some areas leaving people with EPUD, the customers were never informed that there was going to be a trade between Lane and EPUD.

Weeldreyer asked Morrow about the timing of EPUD’s decision to support this.

Morrow stated that the election was initiated by the citizens of Cottage Grove, not EPUD.

Weeldreyer asked if that would be an opportunity to test the state statute by not calling this election and taking the issue before a judge to decide.

Wilson stated that the statute is clear and did not believe the court would have difficulty deciding the issue.

Weeldreyer closed the public hearing.

Wilson stated that if the Board tentatively deliberates today, they can give her guidance as far as drafting the board order to fix the boundaries and call the election. She said they may want to continue the public hearing until they have that draft order with boundaries.

Sorenson remarked that he is inclined to go along with Wilson’s recommendation.

MOTION: To designate the boundary as the city of Cottage Grove excepting those areas currently served by the Emerald People’s Utility District.

Sorenson MOVED, Green SECONDED.

Wilson suggested that they continue the hearing because once the hearing is closed, they will have ten days to call the election and set the boundaries. She said she would bring back a draft order and ballot title and if they are comfortable with the order and the title, they can adopt it and close the hearing. Wilson stated, however, if they are not comfortable with the order, they will have a chance to come back again.

Sorenson withdrew his Motion.

MOTION: To continue the public hearing to November 12, 1997 at 1:30 p.m. in Harris Hall.

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

This meeting recessed into executive session at 3:25 p.m.

14. OTHER BUSINESS

a. ORDER 97-10-29-26/In the Matter of Settlement of Timothy Mockaitis.

Terry Wilson, County Counsel, stated that as per discussion from executive session, she is recommending settlement of the claim of Father Mockaitis in an amount of $25,000 from Lane County for full release, compromise and settlement of any and all claims.

MOTION: Approval of the Order.

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

There being no further business, this meeting adjourned at 4:12 p.m.

 

Zoe Gilstrap, Recording Secretary

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