approved Approved 9/22/99
July 27, 1999
REGULAR MEETING - BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
Commissioners' Conference Room - 9:00 a.m.
Commissioner Bobby Green, Sr., presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Anna Morrison, Peter Sorenson and Cindy Weeldreyer present. Acting County Administrator Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
Green stated that item 7. b. 2 scheduled for Wednesday, will be taken today. He noted that it was initially to be on the Consent Calendar.
2. PUBLIC COMMENTS
Ken Tollenar, 1522 Russet, Eugene, Chair, PSCC Finance Committee, stated he was appearing as a private citizen. He gave his top ten reasons why the ordinances should be adopted with the related charter amendment: 1) There would be money to operate the Juvenile Justice Center; 2) money for the Forest Work Camp at full capacity; 3) it would expand the jail capacity; 4) it would expand rural patrol and the call response capability of the Sheriffs Office; 5) it would offset future deficits for the next few years; 6) it would improve the efficiency of the whole criminal justice system by strengthening the office of Custody Referee for early intervention of high risk youth and providing support for the existing drug court; 7) it would address prevention needs in the community like Healthy Start and the alternative school programs; 8) it would enable the cities to expand their own local community safety efforts; 9) it would pioneer a constructive and creative response to the restrictions in the use of the property tax; and 10) it would establish the Board of County Commissioners in a significant regional leadership role as it relates to community safety. He stated as an individual, he would suggest one further revision in the draft charter amendment, Section 38 in subsection 2, that now reads: "That revenue from the surcharge shall be dedicated to use through an annual budget process for community safety programs and activities for youth and adults, such as, but not limited to crime prevention, child abuse prevention, police and law enforcement services, prosecution, adjudication, parole and probation, treatment and training services." He suggested the minor change to be that the four words "but not limited to" be deleted from that sentence so it should read: "That the revenue must be used for community safety programs such as crime prevention, child abuse prevention, etc." He noted that the committee discussion and public input received through the focus groups stressed the need to specify the purposes for voters.
Kate ODonnell, P.O. Box 195 Dexter, stated she is President of Lane Library League and had received the report from Dallas Young Shaffer. She noted that libraries are one of the few things that governments do well and it should be continued. She said there needs to be more libraries in Lane County and the Lane Library League was formed to help that process. She added they are a body to help the Board of Commissioners find a solution to the lack of library service. She said with guidance and support from the Commissioners, they can determine which system will best fit Lane County and have a ballot initiative in 2000 to implement it. She added they are trying to create a library in Dexter and it is a slow process.
Morrison asked how many participants were on the Lane Library League.
McDonnell responded they have a roster of 10 people active, with a list of 150 people. She added they have good representation around the County. She asked the Board if there could be a liaison between the Board and the Lane Library League so there could be a strategy to educate everyone.
Green noted that Sorenson was already on the committee.
3. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS
a. ORDER 99-7-27-1 Vacating a Portion of Pine Grove Road, County Road Number 108, from Silver Crest Drive, Thence Northerly 1,050 Feet, More or Less, Located Primarily in the Northwest Quarter of Section 25, Township 18 South, Range 5 West, of the Willamette Meridian, and Adopting Findings of Fact (18-05-25).
Teresa Wilson, County Counsel, noted that the Board considered this on June 23 and the paperwork that had been presented at that time was to deny the vacation, which was staffs recommendation. She added the Board considered the testimony and decided the better course was to grant the vacation. She said what is in front of the Board is the paperwork necessary to record the decision.
Green stated they are correcting the document that he signed that supported staffs position. He said the reality was they did not support the staffs position, and this was the paper work needed to correct the appropriate position by the Board.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 99-7-27-1.
Morrison MOVED, Weeldreyer SECONDED.
Sorenson noted on page 2 of the cover memorandum, under recommendations, the director of Public Works did not support the vacation and that was the basis for his no vote when they had the public hearing.
VOTE: 4-1. (Sorenson dissenting)
4. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
a. DISCUSSION AND FIRST READING AND SETTING SECOND READING AND PUBLIC HEARING Ordinance No. 6-99 Amending Chapter 4 of Lane Code to Add Provisions for a Lane County Personal Income Tax Surcharge and a Lane County Corporate Excise Tax Surcharge, to Dedicate the Revenue for Safer Communities, to Adopt Administration and Collection Provisions, and to Set an Effective Date. (Second Reading and Public Hearing: August 11, 1999, 1:30 p.m., Harris Hall Main Floor)
Wilson reported that this is the first piece to the project of the Public Safetys Coordinating Counsels (PSCC) recommendation for a revenue measure to support safer communities. She said it is the first reading on the implementing ordinance. She noted that next week there will be the actual charter amendment and ballot title to refer the charter amendment to the voters and the following week a public hearing and adoption would be held of this ordinance. She added it is all scheduled in order to allow the Board to place the measure in a voters pamphlet. She said it wasnt a requirement that the ordinance be adopted for the matter to be referred to the voters, it provides the voters a sense of how the tax measure would be implemented.
Jim Carlson, LCOG, reported that the last measure that was voted on last year had approximately $12 million per year in it and through the PSCC, they recommended adding $10 million for revenue sharing. He said there was also a need for collection and administration of the surcharge. He added they consulted with Ron Chastain in Salem who is an expert in state revenue matters and he was able to generate information about Lane County personal and corporate income tax. He said they determined the 8% tax surcharge would be the appropriate rate to generate the revenues necessary to meet the $22 million aspect of the proposal.
Tanya Heaton, Budget Analyst, went over the spread sheet that was part of the packet. (Copy in file.)
Carol Calkins, City of Eugene, reported it is a new tax for Lane County and they will need to devise a way to administer it. She looked at four options for administrating the income tax: looking at the State of Oregon, jurisdictions that run a similar tax (City of Portland with a business tax), other collection systems in place within the County that might be able to be expanded to accommodate administering the tax and the possibility of Lane County developing its own administration for the tax to be determined on which jurisdiction would handle it. She noted the Department of Revenue would be the most likely agency to do the administration. She added they are not ready to take this on at this time. She said the business taxes in Portland would be similar to the corporate income tax that would take place in Lane County as it would be applied to the net income on businesses. She added the City of Portland would be interested in administering this tax for Lane County. She said she spoke with the City of Springfield, the City of Eugene, EWEB and none of their systems would be compatible for the income tax collection and no one was interested in exploring it. She said the recommendation now would be to explore going with the City of Portland and working with the legislature and the Department of Revenue.
Warren Wong, City of Eugene, said the committee wanted to wait until the outcome in November. He said a local administrative system could be set up, and if other jurisdictions in the State of Oregon are moving in this direction, Lane County could become a service bureau for other jurisdictions.
Wilson said if the County could administer this at 2%, the revenue that would be dispersed countywide and local revenue sharing of the tax rate could be reduced.
Sorenson stated in the beginning it would be better have the Oregon Department of Revenue collect this, but alternatives for the future should be considered. He asked why the federal government couldnt collect the tax.
Heaton responded that this was something new in Oregon that no one does. She said there might be a private organization that would be willing to help put it together. She noted the surcharge is on state income tax, not federal and the IRS does not collect information about state income tax.
Sorenson stated the County could increase the progressivity of the tax by using the federal adjusted gross income.
Dwyer said that in the long run, the Department of Revenue would be the appropriate body to administer and collect the tax. He said the progressivity aspects need to be discussed so the public has an idea of the tax.
Weeldreyer wanted more information about the administration of the tax. She approved of Wongs suggestion to contact other jurisdictions to explore opportunities in more detail.
Wilson noted the whole premise is to provide the funds for countywide services that the Board and PSCC had been saying are critical to the criminal justice system. She said that was the reason they were looking at this and to provide funding through revenue sharing for local communities to address their community safety needs.
Dwyer reported that corporations that are small businesses that do a Schedule C, will pay the tax as a percentage of the net. He added it is based on the ability to pay and it is a fair way of taxing.
Wilson noted there is an annual planning process where each jurisdiction submits its plan to the PSCC for revenue and comment for revenue sharing. She added if a city doesnt submit a plan, then their revenue would be distributed back to the County. She said at the PSCC policy committee meeting yesterday, the policy committee requested that that language change that if a city didnt submit a request, their share of the revenue would be distributed among all cities.
Green said he hoped there were measurable outcomes on the front end of the process. He said if a city fails to submit a plan, they need to work closely with the PSCC.
Wilson noted the evaluation piece provides that PSCC will evaluate the use of the funds against the outcomes that cities had proposed in their plan. She said after five years, the Board is to direct a more complete review of the program.
Wilson reported the County Administrator is charged with the responsibility of appointing a tax administrator, public or private, and the tax administrator will run the system. She said if the tax surcharge is not paid, there are penalties and interest. She said the interest is at 10 per cent per annum and the penalty if someone fails to pay within the first four months after it is due is 5% and then it goes up to 20%. She added if they havent paid for three years, it goes up to 100%. She said it was based on the Portland/Multnomah model.
Wilson noted she passed out a recommended change in the ordinance. She said the Board needs to address the concern expressed by the sheriff over the systemwide impacts from the revenue sharing.
Green said that he wanted to have a work session with the sheriff.
Carlson reiterated the need for having some flexibility in addressing the impacts to the overall system that come about through the revenue sharing. He suggested that the County should address revenue sharing systemwide impacts. He recommended the 55%/45% split, that was the original $12 million/$10 million split, but to recognize that excess countywide revenue would be available to address systemwide impacts.
Wong commented on the revenue sharing component. He said it was there to allow additional patrol officers in the rural areas. He noted the 55/45 allocation should remain the way it is. He recommended that when the revenue comes in for the first six months, not to have the money going to the cities or the county, but put it in an investment portfolio, keeping the interest.
Jim Hill, Eugene Police Department, reported that of the $4.2 million the City of Eugene looked at as a target, they are spending a quarter of the money on youth programs, designed to deal with cause and prevention. He said they are looking to add two police substatations that would have strong youth components. He added they are talking about adding two additional traffic team officers and a bicycle patrol, whose citations would go to Municipal Court. He said they have added a detective in domestic violence and in forgery fraud and the strategy is to reduce the incidence of domestic violence so there will be less of an impact on the courts and on the correction system. He noted what they have proposed to is designed to have reduction in the impact of adult and juvenile incarceration, for the impact to be minimal, and where there is impact to absorb that through the Municipal Court. He favored programs in place that were no or low impact, reducing the impact on the systems.
Dwyer asked if the County was on the right approach for public safety.
Hill responded that these are problems that will continue to get worse and action needs to be taken. He said the system issues will not go away and the department is grossly inefficient in the way it is operating. He noted the criminal justice system is losing credibility.
Wong stated that the city of Eugene did a "what if" package and recommended that other cities do the same. He said from a provincial prospective, the downside of this is that the city of Eugene has foregone going for its own revenue source that could have been used to restore recreation services and other services that were cut under Measure 50. He added that the city councilors of Eugene said that the public safety system is important and a regional approach is the answer, not each city doing its own thing. He said they agreed to support this measure, 8-0.
Dwyer stated the Board needed to decide on an amount that could not be changed except by a vote of the people, the language "but not limited to" needed to be stricken, the sunset clause needed to be determined and a system balance reserve fund needed to be added that would trigger access to those funds.
Wilson noted the reserve fund is a difficult change to write into the charter and that is why the committee will be helpful in giving her the guidance so she can prepare the language.
MOTION: to approve First Reading and Setting Second Reading and Public Hearing/Ordinance No. 6-99.
Wilson asked if the motion included the alternative language for 4.6004 2b.
Green said that was correct.
Dwyer MOVED, Sorenson SECONDED.
6. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660
To be determined tomorrow.
7. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION
Rick Schulz, Budget Analyst, passed out a report. (Copy in file.) He noted under the AIRS and the RIS sections, AIRS is on schedule and Lane County is most impacted by AIRS. He added the RIS mainframe use that is behind schedule, impacts the city of Eugene and they are concerned about that. He added that progress is being made in all departments.
8. HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
a. ORDER 99-7-27-2 The Lane County Library Assessment Report.
Karen Gaffney, Health and Human Services, reported the Board applied and received a grant from the State Library to do a preliminary assessment of options for expanding access in Lane County.
Dallas Young Shaffer, Library Consultant, discussed the main points of her report, the Lane County Library Services Study of July, 1999. (Copy in file.) She stated there is a big need in Lane County for library services as there are 87,000 people who do not have any library services. She noted no Lane County library met the adequate standard in all of the categories established by the Oregon Library Association. She said it supports the idea that it is unrealistic that the existing libraries could take on serving more people without adequate resources.
Shaffer noted that citizen leadership is crucial. She said the Lane Library League grew out of a community meeting that was held with citizens on what they wanted. She said public libraries are a quality of life issue and Lane County has a reputation as a good location to live in. She added the Board needs to keep on working with groups to make it happen as there is no simple solution.
Dwyer noted there is not a free library. He said the incremental approach to providing library services at this time is the best way to go, given the reality of the situation. He asked what role the Board should play in the formation of the library districts.
Shaffer responded under Oregon Law, the way the libraries are trying to solve the problem is district libraries. She said the Boards role will be finding ways to help River Road and Santa Clara. She added the general plan discourages new districts, but she recommends creating a separate library district.
Shaffer reiterated that half of the unserved Oregonians (regarding library service) are in Lane County and it reflects on the quality of life. She said she hopes the Board will go forward with the incremental approach and to continue having citizens working on it.
Sorenson asked about the down side to the existing libraries.
Shaffer responded there was no down side to the existing library, the downside would be a tax rate sufficient to truly reimburse people for the costs if they wanted to come into Eugene.
Weeldreyer said there is a foundation present with regard to learning centers through Lane Community College. She suggested that Lane County could work with them and encouraged the Library League to look at it as a resource for a possible partnership.
Dwyer said there could be a role for the college but doesnt know what it would be. He said he agreed with the plan and the natural way it should evolve with the people in North Springfield forming a library district in conjunction with the city of Springfield. He added River Road should be with the city of Eugene, so the library district would have services with the City of Eugene services instead of a separate administration. He said he was concerned about the financing of the districts. He suggested to leave property tax out as a way of funding.
Weeldreyer noted with the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, that there is special money designated for libraries and the taxpayers of Lane County have created a K-12 system that has school libraries that have childrens collections that are closed in the summer. She suggested instead of trying to create another level of taxation, to see what resources are available and to rearrange how they are shared and finding creative ways to fill the gaps.
Green noted a subsequent conversation by the Board would be necessary before there is a concrete recommendation. He suggested to accept this report and then have a separate work session. He said he had concerns about how the dollars would pay for this.
MOTION: to accept the Lane County Library Services Study and have a future work session.
Dwyer MOVED, Morrison SECONDED.
9. REVIEW ASSIGNMENTS
10. EMERGENCY BUSINESS
ORDER 99-7-27-2 Accepting a Grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in the Amount of $365,001, Adjusting the Department of Health and Human Service Budget Fund 785 and to Appropriate $94,820 and to Delegate Authority to the County Administrator to sign the Revenue Contract in the Amount of $365,001.
Steve Manela, Human Services Commission, stated this came to the Board today because the Robert Wood Johnson foundation will make an announcement of the 18 grants that will be given nationally this afternoon.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 99-7-27-2.
Dwyer MOVED, Weeldreyer SECONDED.
There being no further business, Commissioner Green adjourned the meeting at 12:00 p.m.
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