April 27, 1999
LANE COUNTY BUDGET COMMITTEE MEETING
Harris Hall Main Floor - 5:15-8:30 p.m.
PRESENT: Marie Bell, Verna Brown, David Crowell, Bill Dwyer, Bobby Green, Mary Ann Holser, Carol Jones, Anna Morrison, Peter Sorenson and Cindy Weeldreyer. Zoe Gilstrap, Recording Secretary.
I. CALL TO ORDER
Marie Bell called the meeting to order.
II. ELECTION OF CHAIR AND VICE-CHAIR
Green recommended that FY 98-99 Chair Marie Bell and Vice-Chair Carol Jones be retained due to the abbreviated budget process that the committee will be following this year.
MOTION: That the nomination be closed and that there be a unanimous vote in favor of the nomination.
Dwyer MOVED, Sorenson SECONDED. VOTE: 10-0.
III. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
MOTION: Approval of the May 5, 1998 Minutes.
Green MOVED, Crowell SECONDED.
Brown noted that the date should actually be May 7, 1998.
VOTE: 0-0 as corrected.
MOTION: Approval of the May 12, 1998 Minutes.
Crowell MOVED, Green SECONDED. VOTE: 10-0.
MOTION: Approval of the March 9, 1999 Minutes.
Morrison MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED. VOTE: 10-0.
IV. BUDGET MESSAGE
Bill Van Vactor, County Administrator, delivered his message (see material on file).
Bell noted that although this is a status quo budget, that did not mean that this committee does not recognize the critical needs of the departments and community but stressed how hard Lane County is working to keep the services at as high of a level as they are.
Per Bell's request for an explanation of the "abbreviated budget process", Green explained that the Leadership Team met in February and believed they should take the recommendation of the Future Focus Task Force for development of a long-term strategic plan. He said this abbreviated budget process would allow Lane County to hire a consultant and create a steering committee to develop this strategic plan. Green stated that, due to the fact that Lane County is facing a deficit in the next fiscal year, it is necessary to hold the line this year. He stressed that it would be prudent to have fiscal restraint this budget season. Green said if any unexpected money does come from the State, add requests can be discussed. He noted that this recommendation for the abbreviated budget process and development of a strategic plan is a recommendation coming from the Board of Commissioners.
V. PUBLIC HEARING ON THE FY 99-00 PROPOSED BUDGET
Chuck Millard, 79300 Treetop Drive, Cottage Grove, stated that he represents Community Sharing in Cottage Grove, which is one of the five service sites for Human Services Commission (HSC) of Lane County. He asked for support of the $26,410 add back from the Countys general fund to HSC for basic food, shelter and hunger relief. He said this amount would make their budget status quo and noted that their service has gone up in excess of 40% in the last two years due to welfare reform. Millard stated that over 50% of the people they serve are working poor who cannot makes ends meet.
Chuck Imus, 2720 Country Lane, Eugene, stated that he was here from the I-105 Soundwall Committee and noted that they have been trying to get a soundwall for approximately ten years. He said the State, County and City have combined to make this soundwall a reality. Imus explained that they told the residents that there would an additional cost for the soundwall believing that the same process would be used as on the old Beltline soundwall where the State paid 50% of the cost, the County 25%, the City 12.5% and the impacted residents 12.5%. Imus stated that the County has now said that since they did not build I-105, they should only pay half of that 25%, leaving the residents having to pay 25% instead of 12.5%. He said he would like the County to find the money from some other fund outside the general fund.
Green asked if this issue should be addressed by Public Works in the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) report rather than to the Budget Committee.
John Goodson, Director, Public Works, stated that this issue will be on the CIP report to the Board on May 5, 1999.
Tanya Heaton, Management Analyst, noted that, although the Board of Commissioners approves the projects in the CIP, the Budget Committee approves the overall Road Fund budget.
Judith Lerner, 2510 Kincaid, Eugene, stated that she is the mother of a 19-year old woman with Downs Syndrome and is also speaking on behalf of the ARC of Lane County and Community Partnerships. She said she is asking the committee to vote for two positions, which are in the add-on budget. Lerner explained that they are two jobs for people with developmental disabilities: clerical and custodial. She said she has addressed the Commissioners before on this issue and was told last year that this was to be a priority for the County and something they wanted to make happen, noting that a year later, nothing has happened. Lerner stated that the AFSCME Union is behind this proposal. She said that the private sector employers have included people with developmental disabilities for a long time and that all over the country, public sector employers are also including people with developmental disabilities. Lerner stated that Lane County job descriptions are rigid and completely exclude people with developmental disabilities. She said she understands that this is a status quo budget but said there is discretionary money and that this committee does have the power and the responsibility to move and include things that they think are vital.
David Abramowitz, 3170 Emerald Street, Eugene, stated that he is here also to talk about the add-on for the positions for people with developmental disabilities and said it is not always about money. He said there will be turnover in Lane County. Abramowitz stated that it is almost impossible for the developmentally disabled to obtain employment in the public sector and that diversity does not work for them. He stated that these two positions could be shared across departments. Abramowitz noted that they have had public sector work experience in the County which has been very successful, however, when a position becomes available, departments can't afford to hire that person due to the limited skills that they have. He said the reality for someone with a developmental disability is the need to piece together different tasks. Abramowitz stated that funding passes through Lane County from the State and supports people in private sector employment, yet the public sector cant seem to get the same thing done. He said King County in Seattle started a program about nine years ago and has about 90-100 workers that have developmental disabilities.
Sorenson suggested that they should get in touch with the Lane County Human Rights and Affirmative Action Advisory Committee.
Angie Micken, 1948 Olive Street, Eugene, stated that she is in the Community Living Program (CLP) and is learning to live on her own, helps to make food for the kids at a school and wants to become a chef. She said she loves to cook and is good at it. Micken stated that she wants to have a job and an apartment when she completes the Community Living Program.
Emma Niedermeyer, 830 W. 22nd Avenue, Eugene, said she is a junior at Sheldon High School and wants to have a job when she graduates. She said she loves animals and wants to work with animals. Niedermeyer stated that she is now working part-time at a dog and cat grooming business and cleans the crates, does filing and takes the dogs back to the owners. She said she also knows how to work on the computer and do clerical work. Niedermeyer said she wants a job so she can get her own apartment and buy the things she needs for herself.
Becca Rasmussen, 1404 Willagillespie, Eugene, stated that she is in the Community Living Program and works at the University of Oregon Library filing books, working on the computer, and putting bar codes on new books. She said she likes to work and is a super worker, taking her job very seriously. Rasmussen stated that she would like to be a hospital worker or a nurses aide when she gets out of school. She said she wants to get her own apartment and live with friends so she needs a job and money. Rasmussen said she has Downs Syndrome and said it will be hard for her to get a job.
Sharon Durham, 457 West 8th, Eugene, stated that she was here in support of the Safe Haven program, which provides transitional housing to people that are homeless and/or have a severe and persistent mental illness. She said they are in their second year of operation and have been funded by a HUD grant. Durham explained that this program allows people a longer period of time in transition than most housing programs, noting that their residents can stay for up to two years. She stated that they house 12 people and also have a 12-slot day program. Durham said they provide housing, food, transportation, laundry, hygiene supplies and provide a low stress, unstructured environment which has allowed many people who have not been successful in other residential programs to be successful. She said they house people who have dual diagnoses of both mental illness and substance abuse issues. Durham noted that they would be losing a half-time position, an outreach worker, stating that this will impact their staff because they already operate on a skeleton crew.
Green stated that this staffing issue has been discussed with the Human Services Commission and can provide a dollar amount in terms of that half-time position.
Pat Sullivan, 3674 Oxbow Way, Eugene, stated that she is the co-chair of the Harlow Neighbors Association and current chair of the I-105 Soundwall Committee. She said she is here today to ask for the full funding of the 25% of the soundwall. Sullivan stated that last year at the CIP hearing, the residences asked the Board for the full 25%. She said the residences did not agree to and cannot really afford the 25% split. Sullivan stated that residents will find the 12.5% that they agreed to challenging. She commented that although there are not significant funds in the County general fund to include the additional 12.5% of this project, there are two expenditure grant accounts: an economical development grant and the Assisted Housing Projects Road grant. She stated that individually, each of these accounts contains more than enough funds to cover the $150,000 they are requesting. Sullivan asked that the committee consider with care the request for additional help in funding this soundwall project by reducing the local improvement district cost of the homeowners to 12.5%.
Green stated that the economic development grant is actually a former grant program that is now a loan program through Lane Council of Governments and the Housing grant is the Board of Commissioners commitment to the affordable housing program through the Housing Policy Board.
Dwyer stated that if they are going to have a policy, then everyone should be treated the same and that changing policy used on the old Beltline soundwall now is not equal treatment. Green responded that he does not believe they are changing policy.
Holser stated the soundwall is very pertinent to economic development and housing and would fit well with the Transplan.
Bob Richards, 2893 Timberline, Eugene, stated that he is the Director of Buckley Detoxification and Sobering Services. He said he supports all of the Health and Human services in their entirety but wanted to speak more specifically on the alcohol and drug issues. Richards stated that the heroin problem in Lane County has reached critical mass. He said he understands there is no money but stated that they have been working on a very tight budget and have been receiving this status quo treatment for three years while drug use as well as the cost of operation continues to rise. Richards stressed that they have already cut everything that they possibly can and are on survival mode. He noted that the heroin caseload has increased over 300% in three years. Richards stressed that treatment works and that there are resources in this county to address this problem. He said at the State level, the Buckley Center is considered the model for detoxification in the state of Oregon. He distributed a letter (see material on file).
Marjorie Brownright, 20 Brae Burn , Eugene, stated that she is here from the East Lane Soil and Water Conservation District. She said she is not asking for an increase in the present service contract they have with Lane County but would like consideration of a 3% increase in the cost of living rate in the budget that they now receive. Brownright stated that, currently, the amount of money that they receive from Lane County pays for approximately 2% of total budget of the East Lane Soil and Water Conservation District and Siuslaw Soil and Water Conservation District combined. She said with this money, they are able to fund about one-half of the one-person office staff in Eugene for 3.5 FTE, and in Florence the funding pays for approximately 2.5 FTE. Brownright noted that in addition to the office staff, in Florence there is a professional staff of approximately four people, and in East Lane County they have approximately six full-time professional staff, noting that all of these people are funded through the grants that they bring into the community. She distributed a letter to the committee (see material on file).
Michael Mattick, 1485 Bottom Lane, Eugene, said he is the State Watermaster for Linn and Lane Counties, noting that this is a state funded position but the County provides support of office space, telephones and internet access. He said he is requesting $3,600 from Lane County. He distributed a letter to the committee (see material on file). He said he spends most of his time answering phones and looking up water rights for homeowners but also is responsible for settling disputes and inspecting dams and new well construction. Mattick stated that he cannot do many of the things in the job description and provide valuable services to the County because he is too busy answering phones.
Shelley Winship, 346 N. Grand, Eugene, stated that she works for Food for Lane County and is here to advocate for the $26,000 in add-back funds for the Human Services Commission. She explained that that $26,000 would put them at a status quo comparable to recent years but still would give them less than they received from the County last year. Winship explained that she was one of the participants in the HSCs planning meeting where they determined the number one item recommended for funding was to increase money for food by 5%. She stated that they are contacted 2-3 times a week from organizations, groups, agencies and programs in our community looking for food aid. Winship said they have 65 member agencies with 35 of those being emergency agencies. She explained that there have been no increases in six years and yet Food for Lane County has seen an increase for 50% more food into the community while still not meeting the current needs. Winship noted that food kitchens are full night after night. She encouraged them to look at any discretionary funds that might be available. Winship distributed a handout (see material on file).
Dwyer urged members of the listening audience to plant a few additional rows of food in their gardens for Food for Lane County.
VI. REVIEW BUDGET PROCESS AND THE SCHEDULE
Tanya Heaton, Management Analyst, distributed and reviewed the General Budget Overview (see material on file).
Responding to Dwyers question about levying the maximum amount per capita under the charter, Garnick stated that Lane County is $8.5 million below what the charter would allow. He stated that there is additional information on D7 of the Proposed Budget.
Dwyer said that Lane County will not know about any additional money from the State until after May 15th and suggested waiting until that time to complete the budget process. Green stated that if Lane County receives more than 10% additional money from the State, they could reconvene the Budget Committee. Van Vactor suggested that in the meantime, the committee could prioritize restorations on the 11th in case there should be additional money. There was agreement that the Budget Committee would continue with the current schedule but that if there should be additional money, they could reconvene later in May, if necessary. Garnick explained that State budget law reads if an increase is over 10%, a legal public notice is necessary and that the Budget Committee will reconvene if ten or more citizens request it; if not, the Board of Commissioners can make the decisions.
Sorenson stated that he would like to get feedback on the two developmental disability positions cost and likelihood of filling them from attrition; the heroin problem; the Human Services Commission add-back and funding for Food for Lane County discussed in public comment. He said he would like to know the impact of adding money into each of those areas.
Van Vactor responded that it is possible to make these adds but cautioned that by doing this, deficits will increase in the next years.
Bell recessed the meeting at 8:10, to reconvene at 8:15 p.m.
VII. FINANCIAL PLAN OVERVIEW
David Garnick, Senior Management Analyst, reviewed the Financial Plan (see material on file).
Garnick stated that when he created this spreadsheet, he took into account no increases for inflation or COLAs next year. He stated that he had hoped to get two years of stability but noted that a reduction will be necessary FY 00-01.
Garnick discussed the major assumptions and line item comments as noted on the financial plan. He then walked the committee through the financial plan. Garnick reviewed the report showing the analysis of change from current budget by department/category, stating that the bottom line is that the overall general fund is status quo. He explained, however, that while the discretionary general fund is going down, the non-discretionary is coming up so it is not truly a status quo budget because the discretionary portion that the committee has authority to allocate is going down. Garnick explained that while the Public Safety category is going up by 4.4% and Public Services is going up by 1%, Support Services and general expenses are going down. He noted that the next report (Analysis of Change from Current Budget by Object Code) provides a listing of all revenues and their categories.
Responding to Sorenson, Garnick stated that he will provide a breakdown of what the difference would be if non-represented employees did not receive the COLA. Sorenson also requested that unmet needs be addressed along with a rationale for funding them. Van Vactor stated that the Management Team can identify and list those needs.
VIII. REVIEW FINANCIAL SUMMARIES:
Video Lottery Revenue
Heaton explained that this report shows the amount of the video lottery funds received for economic development over the past eight years. She explained that for several years this amount has grown at a good rate but noted that this years revenue is coming in under budget. Heaton stated that while there is actually a decline in revenue, there are more people requesting these funds in the legislature. She noted that money has been set aside in a reserve each year for major projects.
Morrison remarked that there seemed to be many economic development allocations, all of which require administrative costs. She suggested that if these allocations were consolidated, there would by more money for major projects. Heaton stated that a strategic plan needs to be developed for economic development. Green agreed that there are areas where administrative functions could be consolidated and should be reviewed, also agreeing on the need for a strategic plan.
Intergovernmental Agreement, Associations and Membership Dues
Garnick stated that this is status quo with a slight increase in LCOG and AOC dues.
Regarding LRAPA, Sorenson stated that this is money paid out to LRAPA but said Lane County gets more back than it pays. Heaton stated that Lane County no longer receives the fines. Sorenson stated that he will look into this. He stated that LRAPA is meeting two important needs: a decrease in air emissions leading to increased public health benefits and a buy-in and approval and demand by local industry for a different method for which regulatory services are provided.
Brown stated that the issue of LCOG dues needs to be included in the strategic planning process. Green agreed and stated that he would like analysis to see what Lane County gets for the money. Brown said they get 15 hours of consulting, and anything else Lane County pays for. Dwyer also requested a breakdown for strategic planning purposes. There was agreement that analysis would be done regarding LCOG dues in the development of the strategic plan.
IX. REVIEW BUDGET OPTIONS
Heaton referred to the Addition Request Summaries in the notebook and asked the committee to review the Impact Statement Addition FY 99-00 developed by each department for their add requests.
Holser MOVED. Jones SECONDED. VOTE: 10-0.
There being no further business, this meeting adjourned at 9:40 p.m.
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