February 3, 1999
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS' - REGULAR MEETING
Harris Hall Main Floor following HACSA
Commissioner Bobby Green, Sr., presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Anna Morrison, Peter Sorenson and Cindy Weeldreyer present. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
Green reported that item 8 b. 2. was being pulled.
2. PUBLIC COMMENTS
Marston Morgan, 77712 Mosby Creek Road, Walton, stated he is voicing his support for any measures in terms of traffic calming and to advise the Board of an experiment he did. He said the County Traffic Engineer gave him data from which he extrapolated the peak load volume of traffic going by his front door and 25 other residences in the area. He said this morning there was a story in the newspaper about the need for road noise abatement because it is impacting people's hearing. He found that the noise levels during peak hours in front of his house and the others (that are within 50 to 75 feet from the road) approached 70 decibels. He said the threshold after prolonged sound (30 years) affects their hearing. He said besides the safety of wildlife and children, the issue of slowing traffic down on rural roads he takes very seriously. He said it is affecting his and his neighbor's quality of life and property values.
3. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
Morrison reported she received a call from Bob Warren from the Oregon Economic Development Department that said that the governor's advisory group has accepted Lane County's proposal to be a single region county with the possibility of receiving $20,000.
Dwyer reported he received a letter from Dick Briggs in regards to the flood plain in the Amazon area. He said he thought it was appropriate for Steve Gordon from the City of Eugene to handle it.
Van Vactor responded that either Steve Gordon of the City of Eugene or Land Management could handle it.
Weeldreyer stated she led yesterday's training session at AOC. She said she and Morrison had been working on the issue of regional partnerships. She said the state indicated they could best deliver services in an integrated fashion from the five state agencies, by dividing into six regions throughout the state. She said Lane County has been put into a seven county region that the state refers to as the Mid-Valley Coast Region. She said the proposal that she and Morrison proposed last Thursday to LCOG was to take the seven county region (that has three sub-regions): Yamhill, Polk and Marion to the north; Linn, Benton and Lincoln in the middle; and Lane County on the end. She said once a year all the counties will get together for a regional annual conference. She said they will have a visioning exercise for guiding principals. She said the government structure is one thing and the revenue stream is separate and the counties will still receive the money. She said decisions will still be made locally under the proposal she and Morrison are making, a nested region concept. She said she thinks Bob Warren is calling about the nested region concept.
Morrison said the message left to her was that they were approving Lane County's proposal.
Weeldreyer stated she understood that Lane County can be a single county region if they are under a larger region by which they do the long term planning. She added she will be out of the office on Friday as there is a hearing in Salem for telecommunications, and on Monday and Tuesday for AOC meetings.
Green noted that the agenda team has determined that it will be necessary for the Board to get caught up with their work. He said it will be necessary to use Tuesdays for work sessions and for the Board to remain flexible with their schedules.
Sorenson said there will be tension between the duties the County Commissioners have (involving the legislature and congress), the impact of the legislative bodies on Lane County and on the citizens and the internal work.
Weeldreyer stated there are five steering committees for AOC. She said three are big committees and when commissioners sit on both, for efficiency they should be scheduled later in the day.
Green reported that he, Cindy and Jim Gangle interviewed five candidates last Friday for internal auditor. He said they chose the top three they thought would be the best. He said one is from Eugene, the other is from Corvallis and the third person is from Las Vegas. He said tomorrow there is a grand opening ceremony at the jail, at 10:00 a.m.
Weeldreyer added with regard to the regional nested partnership, she said she is trying to get a concept that can be taken to the legislature because they will determine the final framework. She said she wants to be proactive about getting the concept out there. She said there is still the issue about fair and equitable terms of the distribution formula and what criteria they would use in developing the seven county goals and objectives that the County would tie its local investments to. She said $20,000 will help with facilitating the meetings, to make it work.
Sorenson reported he answered an hour of questions at the Oasis Program at Meier & Frank from senior citizens. He thanked Rick Schulz, Janet Calvert and Ike Jenson who attended the Y2K Community Preparedness Forum. He said on Thursday he is giving a talk in Vita, for the McKenzie Study Group on the Y2K conversion. He said he received a letter from Tina Giese about her concerns of minutes and the availability of them. He said he had an idea to refer it to the Law Library Advisory Committee as they have funds and store public documents. He said it might be a way of responding to her concern that minutes are not as available to the public.
Wilson stated the Law Library falls within her jurisdiction. She said her suspicion is the Advisory Committee would decline to do anything with this because they focus in on providing the research materials for litigants. He said their focus is a court support function and the maintenance or handling of governmental minutes of its public meetings is outside of their area.
Sorenson said he would be willing to send a copy of the letter to the Law Library and have the Advisory Committee take a look at this. He said the fundamental theme is greater access to the material.
4. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS
a. UPDATE Extension Service.
Janet Calvert, Staff Chair, OSU Extension Service, reported she comes on a quarterly basis to do an update of what the extension service is doing. She said they are focusing on efforts to let people know that they are an educational program for the people and their classes are either low cost or free. She said in June a statewide survey was done to see how many people know about the extension service. She said 92% of the people were aware of the extension service, 35% of them had used extension in the past year and they were best known for home economics, food preservation programs, agriculture, gardening and 4H. She said 84% of the people surveyed thought the information they received was credible and useful. She said they have an extension newsletter that comes out quarterly and it is a major investment in their budget ($40,000 per year) but it is effective in letting the public know what is available through the extension service. She added they are on the radio weekly at KKND in Cottage Grove, that is a call-in show. She said about ten years ago they began a program to let people know who they were, called "Town and Country Living Seminar." She said it is a one day seminar that is held at Willamette High School to get people involved, by showcasing a sampling of the various kinds of programs that are offered. She said in the past the hot topics were gardening, but now they have 90 people registered in a emergency preparedness class.
Dwyer appreciated the work that had been going on with the extension service and sees it as a valuable service.
Green stated he always appreciated the information that was given.
b. ORDER 98-12-9-1 Approving an Employment Contract with the County Administrator.
Green reported that David Suchart, Management Services, had been going to each commissioner to try to get a sense of direction in terms of approving the employment contract of the County Administrator and County Counsel. He said this was on the agenda last week and requested that it come back this week. Green reported in his conversations with all of the commissioners, he came to the conclusion that each commissioner had their own idea about what made a good contract. He added what was unanimous was that they agreed each should have a contract. He said it was the substance of the contract where they were differing. He said there were four recommendations in the packet.
Green stated as it relates to the County Administrator, that: 1) the length of the evaluation and contract terms will coincide with the annual evaluation; (there was a majority of support for this); 2) the contract would be termination for cause; (there was a majority of support for that); 3) to return to the County Counsel Office as Assistant County Counsel and the continuing legal education would be approved by the finance director, through the budget process, indicating also a majority of support for that. He said the recommendation that came before the Board did receive the level of support from a majority of the Board.
Dwyer questioned if they got rid of an administrator for cause, would they want to put him back into the County Counsel? He said he had some concerns about the contract. He said he thinks "for cause" is a bad idea, but he is willing to live with it.
Sorenson said he gave Van Vactor high marks and thinks a written contract should be in place. He agrees with an annual contract and said he would like to see it along with the fiscal year. He added he was in agreement with continuing education and a yearly evaluation. He said he would like the contract to state that Van Vactor would go to the County Counsel's office, not be the County Counsel.
Morrison stated she had no problems with any of the four points that the Board decided upon.
Weeldreyer stated the County has two excellent people that have given an incredible amount of their professional career to Lane County and the way they have structured the contract shows respect. She said she supports the effort to go ahead and finalize the contracts.
Green stated he is with the Board on this issue, although there are some parts he doesn't like. He said he will support the contracts. He added they will be voting on the orders as a package.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 98-12-9-1.
Morrison MOVED, Weeldreyer SECONDED.
Wilson added the order will state that the Chair of the Board will execute the contract.
Morrison stated she would add that to her motion.
c. ORDER 98-12-9-2 Approving an Employment Contract with County Counsel.
Green noted there was a similar issue with the County Counsel's contract where they agree that the County Counsel should have a contract "for cause." He said if there was an event where the County Counsel was no longer accepted in that position, the consensus on the Board would be that the County Counsel would be moved to a position elsewhere in the organization. He added the continuing legal education was also accepted by everyone and the annual evaluation being on a calendar year.
MOTION: Approval of ORDER 98-12-9-2. Dwyer MOVED, Morrison SECONDED.
d. ORDER 98-12-9-3 Amending Chapter 3 of the Lane Manual to Revise Provisions Regarding the Position of County Counsel.
Suchart reported that because of the change in the current Lane Manual (it has the current "at will" provision for County Counsel position), a housekeeping order is needed.
Sorenson MOVED approval with a sunset provision for one year.
Wilson stated if that was the Board's desire, a change will be made in the order that is presented to Commissioner Green for execution.
Morrison noted that on the Employment Agreement with Teresa Wilson, there are areas where it says "his" and it should be "hers."
Suchart stated he will correct the Employment Agreement.
5. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660
Will take place later in the afternoon.
6. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION
Van Vactor reported there would be a party on February 4, celebrating the success of the County going live with PeopleSoft. He said the party is at 4:00 p.m. in the Personnel Conference Room and invited all of the commissioners are invited to attend.
7. PUBLIC WORKS
a. CONTINUED DISCUSSION AND ACTION Considering Adopting Procedures for the Establishment of a Traffic Calming Program and Speed Zoning Low Volume or Non-Hard Surface County Roads
Ed Chastain, Public Works, reported that he came to the Board of Commissioners in March of last year and made a presentation on speed zones and low volume roads. He said at that time the Board directed that the rural commissioners meet with him, Ollie Snowden, and representatives from the sheriff's office to discuss the matter further. He said they did have the meeting and he drafted up Lane Manual provisions that were sent to County Counsel. He added they were reviewed, adjusted and they came back to the Board in December, and at that time they combined traffic calming and speed zoning into one issue. He said in previous discussions they talked about three types of programs; a citizen radar program, a radar reader board trailer and a comprehensive program, building items into the capital improvement process that were major capital improvements. He said at the last meeting the Board directed Public Works to continue their work and concentrate on the citizen radar groups and the radar reader trailers.
Captain Tom Brett, Sheriff's Office, commended Mr. Chastain and Mr. Snowden for the work they have done thus far, on a worthy public confidence related program. He said in May, when they were engaged in the initial discussions around the traffic calming process, they were excited about the prospect of being able to do that. He said things have changed for the Sheriff's Office and they operate on a thin staffing basis. He said right now they are charged with the responsibility of Y2K planning. He said they have moved forward with a volunteer organization called Citizen Emergency Response Teams, a countywide effort to educate the public on how to take care of themselves in the event of a disaster. He added it relieves public safety government services and keeps them available for the true emergencies. He said they are also looking at other new programs in the County that require contracting. He said they are also faced with 12 retirees. He said it is their philosophy that it would be a mistake for the Sheriff's Office to try to take it at this point. He said his proposal is to move forward with the idea that at the end of this calendar year, they will come up with a program that is meaningful and productive to the public, rather than something that is just haphazardly put together. He said their services do not allow them to give this the level of attention that it requires. He agreed that it was a quality of life issue, but more of a fatal accident issue. He said they have ongoing programs attending to this issue and they will continue to monitor the ODOT grant opportunities that may allow them to acquire some radar systems. He said they would be in a better position in January or February of 2000 to take on a program like this effectively. He added they have an intern in their office studying the traffic calming program. He said they look forward to moving with the program, but are not prepared at this time to do it.
Weeldreyer stated she wanted to know if once they get beyond January 1, 2000 they would institute the integrated program. She wanted to know if they could get in place the legal framework (the planning needed) with a time frame for implementation for how they will plan this, and not to start over again in January of 2000. She said if the implementation of this is delayed, that it is done in such a way that it can be picked right up. She said if there are any Lane Code changes, they could be happening in this calendar year so everything could be printed.
Chastain said the only legal aspect he sees is the one related to speed zoning, low volume roads. He said there they are given authority from ODOT through the ORS, whereas implementing traffic calming, there would be no litigation to change the Lane Manuals.
Weeldreyer noted there is a community on Dillard Road, called Hawk's Point and they would like to see the County do something around traffic calming. She wanted to know if there were any interim steps when a residential development says they are willing to help cover the costs, whether there would be any provision to address their needs.
Chastain said the roads in the Hawk's Point area are local access roads and the speed zoning for low volume roads wouldn't include them because of the way the statutes are written. He added they only provide for County maintained roads. He said enforcement is a possibility with speed signs, but it wouldn't be likely. He said Land Management could work with developers with traffic calming mitigation included in their site plans.
Van Vactor stated if it is a local access road, the County has the normal jurisdiction as if it were a County road, only no obligation to maintain it. He added for anyone to build any structure on the road, they need to apply for a facility permit.
Ollie Snowden, Public Works, stated there would be liability concerns about putting speed humps in. He said speed humps are a problem for emergency service providers. He said there are no speed hump standards and the cities are moving away from speed humps as a means of traffic calming, and moving more toward lateral shifts and alignments. He said they would not issue a permit to do that because of the liability issues.
Chastain noted that the reader boards are placed on the street for a period of a week and during that time they display the driver's speed and what the posted speed is. He said some of the agencies then follow-up with a law officer, who then the following week (when the trailer is not present) enforces it. He said those kinds of programs have been found to be fairly effective in reducing the speeds on the roads. He added the concerns of residents would be given to them, a list of locations would be made and the reader board would be moved on a weekly basis from one location to another. He said the traffic team would actually do the movement and placement of the equipment and they would work with them to do follow-up.
Dwyer stated that it would be appropriate that the site plan mitigation be part of a development if it is large enough that they can see there may be traffic problems on local access roads even if they don't have liability. He said since they have the liability on the local access roads, but not the maintenance requirements, he said it is pertinent that they adopt some process to allow those mitigation efforts on those roads that are still in public ownership, but not maintained.
Morrison noted that she broke down the statistics and found there were only about four calls per month. She stated it didn't seem like an intensive issue. She wanted to know how effective these kinds of things are in slowing traffic down.
Chastain replied that presently they do speed zoning on the roads that have traffic volumes greater than 500 and that cost is what the state pays to have an investigation done, about $1,000 per investigation.
Sorenson stated the issues raised earlier by Mr. Morgan were significant in terms of noise and quality of life deprivation as a result of speeding on roads. He said the amount of death and serious physical injury that occurs because of speeding is something that can't be ignored. He wanted to know if money could be taken out of the Road Fund to be used by Public Works for a trailer mounted unit.
Chastain stated he spoke to Steve Vorhes about that and originally Public Works had offered to pick up the cost of mailing out the letters. He said they found it could not be done with Road Fund money. He said since the trailer can be used for investigations and collect information it could be an expense that could be borne from the Road Fund.
Wilson noted that policing used to be a constitutionally permitted use of Road Funds and that was removed by the voters. She added it would be unconstitutional to use the reader board and staffing as an element of policing. She said an assessment of what the use for the reader board would be would have to be determined.
Weeldreyer noted there is legal concern about liability of the speed bumps, their height and how high they are designed. She wanted to know if there was a way the bumps could be designed to be flat enough to get the driver's attention so they wouldn't go so fast through a neighborhood. She wanted to know what level of liability exposure Lane County would be facing in a situation like this.
Wilson stated she was worried about a lawsuit arising from an emergency vehicle which is late due to maneuvering past speed bumps. She said someone could sue the County stating the County designed the speed bump that caused the failure of emergency services to be appropriately delivered. She added it would be a risk the County would be choosing to run with that liability in balance against the design that currently exists now. She stated the better legal advice is to listen to what the traffic safety experts are telling the County, and to do what the traffic engineers recommend.
Dwyer wanted to know if some roads could be identified to relinquish the County's responsibility rather than have an ownership, and then the County wouldn't come under the concept of Public Works.
Wilson responded that it was possible.
Green stated he did not hear a lot of enthusiasm for support for the proposal to put the speed humps in for traffic calming issues. He added Dwyer suggested the site management with radar. He said Morrison wanted to have some citizens working with the radar guns.
Weeldreyer stated that the Board needed to put this in the budget for next fiscal year and get everything in place to enact a program similar to what is proposed. She said she heard they wanted a delay because of staffing reasons related to Y2K. She said she doesn't want to set this aside.
Green stated there have been a couple of recommendations to add to the Sheriff's Department and they will work on some budget analysis.
Brett stated that they will continue working at the planning stage.
Van Vactor said he heard the Sheriff's Department can't get to it this year because of the Y2K workload but they could work on it during the year 2000 with existing resources. He added he didn't think it was a budget issue for them. He said it did sound like it was a budget issue for Public Works. He said in Land Management changing road standards is not in their work plan.
Dwyer stated it doesn't have to do with standards as much as common sense: when a development is going in, they need to require mitigation or at least require it when it becomes a problem. He stressed letting the developer know that it is their responsibility and not the County's.
Van Vactor indicated to have a standard like that, clear and objective criteria is needed and someone has to develop those because it is the basis upon which the development permit is issued. He said he doesn't think Land Management has it in their work plan.
Weeldreyer asked if an intern could do a survey to see what counties have that legal framework in place and possibly adopt what another county has done the leg work on. She said she doesn't want to add to any workload.
Dwyer stated he has an intern and would be willing to have her work on this project.
Weeldreyer asked John Goodson, Public Works, if Dwyer's intern was available to conduct the research, if it was something that Public Works would be willing to utilize.
Goodson responded they could use the information.
Chastain wanted to know on the issue of speed zoning and low volume roads, if there was interest in moving forward.
Green said he didn't hear much interest for it.
8. CONSENT CALENDAR
A. Approval of Minutes:
December 9, 1998, Public Hearing, 6:00 p.m.
December 16, 1998, Regular Meeting, following HACSA
December 16, 1998, Regular Meeting, 11:00 a.m.
December 16, 1998, Regular Meeting, 1:30 p.m.
December 28, 1998, Special Meeting, 10:00 a.m.
December 30, 1998, Special Meeting, 9:00 a.m.
B. Health and Human Services
1) ORDER 99-2-3-1 Increasing Appropriations in Revenues and Expenditures in the Amount of $38,000 for PAAF #042.
2) RESOLUTION AND ORDER 99-2-3-2 Appropriating an Additional $3,146 in Revenues and Expenses in Fund 286 in the Department of Health and Human Services for Services to Individuals with Mental Illness (IGA 20-001, PAAF 46). (Pulled)
MOTION: to approve the Consent Calendar with the exception of 8 C. 1).
Sorenson MOVED, Weeldreyer SECONDED.
C. Management Services
1) ORDER 99-2-3-3 Authorizing the County Administrator to Execute an Option to Purchase Agreement With Rick Sterry, Martin Beverly and Leslie H. Beverly for the Sale of Surplus County Owned Real Property Identified as Map No. 18-03-20-00-02001 (Adjacent to 5215 West Amazon Drive, Eugene).
Dwyer reported he viewed the property and he wasn't sure if it was in the public's interest to dispose of this without examining the alternatives. He said this property borders an equestrian trail, has trees and is in the City of Eugene. He favored keeping this property in public ownership. He said he has received calls from neighbors that the County would promise them notice if there was an intent to sell and they would give the adjacent landowners the right of first refusal. He said their intention was to keep it in open space so there is no encroachment on their standard of living. He said it was not in the County's best interest to sell it and if it was sold, they needed to meet the obligation of the adjacent property owners.
Dwyer added he wants to think about the policy implications of creating a parks acquisition fund and if such a fund is created, money would accrue from parks acquisition, not operation, maintenance or construction. He said this would be a tool for the County to expand the parks at no expense to the government. He added this parcel would be a good first step. He said he wants Jeff Turk of Management Services, to start to talk with Jim Johnson of the City of Eugene to see what would allow them to recognize the property and give the County direction about the policy implication of the open space of the property.
Weeldreyer stated she supports the idea to explore how the County can get a greater value out of foreclosed properties and what benefit could come to the park system as a result. She noted in the past the parks have received lands and the County has had no way to maintain them. She also wanted to know if the adjacent properties were offered the first right of refusal, the County needed to honor the commitment.
Jeff Turk, Management Services, said the property was offered in 1993, went through the auction and no one bid on it. He said after that Jim McCoy of HACSA came to him to take a look for possible use by HACSA. He said at that time one of the adjoining owners did contact him. He said in the past five years, he has not been contacted by any adjacent property owners.
Weeldreyer stated she would support not taking action on this today as Dwyer would like to examine this property with the Parks Department, with the caveat that with obtaining property, there will be a way to manage it properly.
Morrison echoed Weeldreyer's thoughts. She said she wants to know where the dollars are really going and how to get the best benefit out of the property for the taxpayers.
Green stated there was support for Dwyer's suggestion to pull this. He added he supported this one, but there needed to be a policy discussion around this and to have it put into policy and procedures.
9. HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
a. REPORT BACK Environmental Health and Drinking Water Program Review.
Rob Rockstroh, Health and Human Services, updated the Board on the audit by the state. He said the state questioned the County's quality, quantity and attitude. He said the state put the County on a probationary status with environmental health in restaurants, and they pulled the water program from the County. He said what they have done with the state is a 3½ day training session, where they trained staff. He added they did a group work plan. He said they also hired new staff. He said the Board asked questions about why they increased fees for restaurants. He said one issue the state had with the County was the County did not have adequate staff. He said they were looking at a 250 to 1 ratio and the County had 305 to 1. He said with the new sanitarian, they got it to 252 to 1 and the state was pleased with that. He said they are now at 104% of what the state wants. He said he will meet monthly with the management staff and give occasional feedback. He added they have the first woman sanitarian in Lane County's history. He said he wasn't too worried about the restaurant side, and the quality, quantity and attitude issue will be worked on.
Rockstroh added at the same time, there were some problems with the water program. He said the state wanted the County to document more field visits. He said for a period of time they were catching up on their old manual records, knowing from the old state audit they were behind. He said they were behind and the data was not entered into the system. He added at the same time there was a computer system in the state they were trying to implement statewide called "TNG." He said it has been rejected in Lane County and that would have been the one tool that would have had the department computerized. He said they are still not on a computer based system. He added because the water records were not kept up-to-date, the state pulled the water license. He said the state said in July 2000 they could get the water program back. He said he is not convinced that the County will want it back. He said there are now new federal mandates that don't come attached with money. He added that during this time County residents did not receive lesser services. He said the water files got transferred to the state, and there is a person doing the work. He said the implication is that the County will close its water lab as it does not meet any current certification standards for new equipment and the private sector will pick it up. He said the system duplicates what is in the private sector.
10. EMERGENCY BUSINESS
Commissioner Green recessed into Executive Session at 3:40 p.m.
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