June 30, 1999
LANE COUNTY JOINT ELECTED OFFICIALS' MEETING
Lane County Fairgrounds Conference Room - 5:30 p.m.
Maureen Maine, Mayor of Springfield, presiding, called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. She noted they had invited various agencies, Eugene, Springfield and Lane County elected officials as well as the Mayors of Veneta, Florence, Junction City, Oakridge, Coburg, Westfir, Creswell, Dunes City, Lowell and Cottage Grove. She added they had invited the board chairs from the School Districts of Springfield 19, Eugene 4J and Bethel and all of the Public Safety Coordinating Council members. She thanked Sue Lamarche and others for their effort in putting the meeting together.
Maine called the Springfield Work Session to order. Mayor Jim Torrey called the Eugene City Council to order and Bobby Green, Lane County Board of Commissioners reconvened their earlier meeting.
Present: Betty Taylor, Eugene City Council; Pete Sorenson, Lane County Commissioner; Myron Smith, Mayor of Westfir; Pat Farr, Eugene City Council; Lyle Hatfield, Springfield City Council; Doug Harcleroad, Lane County District Attorney; David Kelly, Eugene City Council; Anna Morrison, Lane County Commissioner; Kip Leonard, Presiding Circuit Court Judge; Scott Meisner, Eugene City Council President; Bill Dwyer, Lane County Commissioner; Anne Ballew, Springfield City Council; Jim Johnson, City Manager, City of Eugene; Bill Van Vactor, Lane County Administrator; Bobby Green, Board Chair, Lane County Commissioners; Maureen Maine, Mayor of Springfield; Jim Torrey, Mayor of Eugene; Mike Kelly, City Manager, City of Springfield; Nancy Nathanson, Eugene City Council; Christine Lundberg, Springfield City Council; Chris Pryor, Eugene 4J School District; Sid Leiken, Springfield City Council; Gary Rayor, Eugene City Council; Fred Simmons; Springfield City Council; Bobby Lee; Eugene City Council; Don Hampton, Mayor of Oakridge; Warren Weathers, Mayor of Lowell; Tim Brooker; Mayor of Veneta; Tammy Fitch, Springfield City Council; Darrel Williams; Mayor of Cottage Grove; Cindy Weeldreyer, Lane County Commissioner and Recording Secretary, Melissa Zimmer.
Maine said this measure was an important topic that needed to be discussed with everyone. She said normally each group meets as joint elected officials without the other cities, but this had impact on the other cities in the county and on the school districts. She said she wanted to focus on consensus, with a joint understanding of the problem and to solve some of the issues that they are faced with.
REVIEW OF NOVEMBER 1998 PROPERTY TAX LEVY ELECTION
Maine reported the Public Safety Coordinating Council (PSCC) was formed three years ago out of a statutory requirement (Senate Bill 1145) related to people sentenced to serving a term of a year or less who were moved out of the state system into the county system and housed in Lane County. She added the membership of the PSCC was by statute. She noted that locally they chose to expand the membership and scope of the group by an intergovernmental agreement for a broader purpose, to maximize the resources in public safety. She said they set goals to help identify the current system gaps and functions. She added the assessment period took a long time and the representation of the group was broadened to provide as many viewpoints as possible, and to make sure they would have viable recommendations for the public safety system. She said they focused on the good of the community and came up with consensus for an action (the November 1998 levy) to put before the voters, a package of components to improve public safety that would make the most significant differences. She noted they achieved unanimous support in putting forward the levy for the 1998 ballot and there was support for the campaign because it was a system-wide approach versus what was popular. She added they almost won and the polling showed that with a month longer to do more outreach, they could have easily won. She said they wanted to investigate any alternatives there might be to property tax that would get broader support from the community. She said the finance committee came with a recommendation and brought it to the PSCC to see if it was viable. She added they commissioned the Moore Information Study and Focus Groups by S2 Intelligence, and it showed strong support for those components. She noted from the survey information they came up with a Safer Communities presentation by Ken Tollenaar to talk about more of the issues. She said out of that meeting there was consensus to go forward to the Board of Commissioners. She added that an option was always to do nothing, but given the research that was done, doing nothing was not an option.
REVIEW OF 1998 LEVY COMPONENTS
Myra Wall, Director, Public Safety Coordinating Council, described the Public Safety Coordinating Council Safer Communities Proposal. She noted the package started with 24 components and was narrowed down to the current items. She said components that were chosen for the levy had been proven to work and make a difference. She added it had prevention and enforcement accountability.
Wall noted the first component was the Healthy Start Program (the 1998 package) that appeared again. She said they added to this component a pilot project for more home visits for families in need and for more first family births. She said the second component was the alternative school program that focused on the middle school children and homeless youth, in their education and social skills development. She noted they are youth that could not be in public school, but the idea was to turn them around to get them back into the school system. She said the third component was the Juvenile Intake Assessment Center that came out of the Thurston shooting incident, to have assessment capability available seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day.
David Kelly, City of Eugene, asked for clarification about the spreadsheet in the advanced packet, as the program more than doubled over the amount in the 1998 levy.
Steve Carmichael, Department of Youth Services, reported that some of the items for the Juvenile Justice Center and the Assessment Center were less in the levy because the center had not been built yet. He said now it is built and they can take advantage of it. He added it was the same level of programming, but they were able to phase it in earlier.
Wall noted the program also identifies youth at risk so targeted intervention can be done and the youth may return to their parents with intervention at home. She said the fourth component is early intervention for high risk offenders, which is a program that is research-based, nationally recognized to identify youth who are at high risk to re-offend. She noted it would fund working with 100 youth the first year and the belief is they could turn them around so they wont stay in the system. She said with regard to the Juvenile Justice Center, it would allow from 36 beds to 64 beds for the new facility, adding seven drug treatment beds for girls. She said with regard to the Court School, under the old budget it was under the alternative school programs and it was separated out here: court school for adjudicated youth and youth who have a high history of school failure. She noted the AIRS Conversion Program is the area information record system that is a computer system that is 30 years old. She added the people who knew how to fix it are retiring, there are no new people to replace them and they do not have the capability to connect to other public safety systems or management information for analyzing who they are holding, arresting and making management decisions. She said with the Jail Book-In Improvement Program, when a police officer brings someone to the jail, they have to wait until they are cleared by the jail staff before they can go back on the street. She noted the time had been around an hour and if they had a small police department, it was critical if an officer had to wait in the jail. She said it would add staff that would allow for coordinated intake and assessment with pretrial services, probation and parole. She said with regard to the Custody Referee Pretrial Release Program, it had been proven to dramatically reduce the failure to appear rate that is costly to the County. She noted it would add five staff so they would have 24 hour, seven day a week coverage and by increasing supervision, there is a better chance for people coming back to court and not re-offending. She said the Drug Court is another program that had been proven to be successful, diverting non-violent offenders out of the system, addressing the drug problem and not putting them into the jails. She said with regard to the Forest Work Camp, it would retain the 120 beds made available through state community corrections funding and it would allow using the whole facility, adding beds to the system and preventing them from releasing people early. She noted two things that were added that were not in the 1998 package were to maintain County Committee Safety Programs and Services and the PERS issue. She said with regard to monitoring evaluation and administration, money was put into the package that would allow for monitoring and evaluation of the programs so there could be reports back to the community about how effective they are.
FINANCE COMMITTEE REPORT
Ken Tollenaar, PSCC, reported that his committee was charged, "To review and analyze ways of financing improvements in Lane Countys community, safety and justice system." He said in looking at ways in financing, the committee saw problems with the property tax. He said the problem with property tax is that it requires a double majority. He said the other problem the committee was concerned about was the duration which is limited under the Constitution to five years, and it had to coincide with the biennial general election. He noted another problem is the 3% annual increase allowed under Measure 50, will not keep up with population growth and inflation over time. He said the committee looked at alternatives (gross, sales, payroll tax, surcharges) and concluded that a County surcharge on state, personal and corporate income taxes would best meet the accepted criteria for taxation of adequacy and fairness. He noted with regard to a surcharge, the committee wanted a small percentage increase that would be applied to the amount of the state income tax actually paid, not to the total adjusted income or state taxable income. He said the committee proposed a new financing measure, a surcharge on state, personal and corporate income taxes to be achieved by a County charter amendment. He noted the amendment would set maximum rates for the surcharge for both the personal and corporate taxes and under the committees recommendation, it would specify the purposes of the measure in general terms, but would rely on the annual budget process to allocate revenue to specific programs. He stated the committee recommended that in addition to funding the Measure 2005 programs in the 1998 proposal, that PSCC and the Board of County Commissioners seriously considered raising an additional amount for local services through a program of revenue sharing with the cities and the County on behalf of the unincorporated rural areas. He noted the committee recognized that community safety must be addressed not only at the countywide but at the local community level, and each community is the best judge of its own needs. He said that input became available from the opinion survey and focus groups indicating that changes should be considered in two aspects of the committees report, supporting the concept of flexibility that would come by relying on annual budgets to allocate revenue to specific programs and clearly identifying the programs and activities to be funded. He added the committee favored submitting a measure without a specific termination date, but the survey and focus groups indicated strong public preference for a sunset provision in whatever measure is submitted, with a required evaluation of results obtained from the measure before they ask voters to vote on an extension of the measure. He stated it does address urgent countywide needs such as the juvenile justice center, forest work camp, jail intake and includes a major emphasis on crime prevention. He noted the surcharges are broad-based taxes that are geared on ability to pay and should be more acceptable than property tax to low income citizens and businesses that operate at a low profit margin. He said through revenue sharing, the surcharges will meet the unique needs of local cities and rural communities that are under served with basic police patrol and recall response.
MOORE INFORMATION REPORT
Jim Carlson, Lane Council of Governments, stated they were asked by the PSCC to have an opinion survey conducted in Lane County and they contracted with Moore Information. He noted there were a total of 666 survey responses collected from May 26 to May 28, 1999. He reported the survey was broken into three groups (City of Eugene, City of Springfield and the non-Eugene and Springfield Lane County that included rural areas, small cities and unincorporated portions of the metro area). He said detailed responses are available. He stated they looked at the survey to test people's willingness to look at either a property tax or income tax surcharge as a means of funding public safety programs in Lane County. He noted people were not enthusiastic about any of the revenue measures but the personal-corporate income tax was slightly favored. He reported the top reason given for the levy was the need or necessity and it showed only 16% in favor. He added that number would have to increase through public information efforts. He stated other items were more prevention, sharing the tax burden with business and corporations and stopping crime. He noted the primary reason people would be opposed to it is additional taxation. He said they specifically asked questions comparing prevention to enforcement and it was clear that prevention was thought to be more important than enforcement. He said with regard to specifics, the alternatives to jail (including the forest work camp) was the top ranked priority. He said with regard to the personal-corporate income tax proposal, the tax rate could not be increased without a vote of the people, it would be deductible from federal income tax and would establish a permanent funding for community safety and justice programs in Lane County. He noted more information would help people approve this type of measure and the corporate income tax was the preferred option among the survey group.
S2 INTELLIGENCE REPORT
Steve Schriver, S2 Intelligence, reported the focus groups were initiated to provide the qualitative side of the research puzzle. He said the focus groups' purpose was to provide substance in the form of tone and texture to fill in the blank spots that involved two groups of Eugene citizens, one group of Springfield citizens and one from citizens of outlying areas. He said there were approximately 12 on each focus group. He said they produced nine agreeable findings, where a large number of people from all of the focus groups agreed. He said the first finding asked what they thought their chances of being victimized were: increasing or staying about the same. He said few people indicated they thought their chances of being victimized was less. He noted the Eugene group was evenly split but Springfield and the outlying areas believed their chances of being victimized were on the increase. He noted with the second finding, the participants could not agree with what the words "community safety and justice services" meant. He said on the third finding, the participants thought prevention was the best long-term cost effective solution to crime. He noted in all focus groups, when talking about prevention, it dealt with youth. He said the fourth finding found that participants would be willing to pay more taxes to improve community safety. He added it was true among all the groups that they wanted to know how the dollars would be spent and if the expenditure produced significant results. He added they did not ask that question, it was volunteered. He said the next finding was property tax in comparison with income tax. He said the income tax was a preferred option, and it was unanimous. He said the next finding showed that participants would support a measure that shared revenue with the rural areas because it was fair and equitable. He noted Springfield and the outlying rural group liked the fact that it could be tailored individually to the unique needs of the outlying areas. He noted they would favor a renewable measure rather than an ongoing measure as they had doubts as to how the money would be used. He said the focus group within the City of Eugene was willing to consider some of the values of an ongoing tax. He noted that participants said they would support an income tax surcharge. He said they were asked what they would be willing to pay and the willingness went from $500 to just a "yes". He noted in a focus group setting, people always tend to overstate the positive. He said that both proposed measures should stress community safety.
SAFER COMMUNITIES DRAFT REPORT
Maine reiterated that they reviewed the levy component to make sure they were still viable in terms of the PSCC and whether the numbers were correct. She added they commissioned the finance committee to investigate alternatives and then tested whether the alternatives and levy components were valid in the community. She added they then took the original proposal out of the finance committee and revised it into a document that is before the group entitled "Safer Communities." She noted that under the charter amendment there are three purposes: for expanding and improving countywide community safety services; (the levy component) to enable cities in unincorporated Lane County to expand their community safety programs (the revenue sharing piece) and maintaining county community safety programs (to keep the declining timber revenue receipts from eroding the existing level of services).
Maine declared the proposed charter amendment should have a sunset clause. She noted that normally income tax measures are an ongoing revenue not identified for programs, and they chose to modify it by sunsetting in an 8 to 10 year period. She noted the programs would be spelled out and the implementing ordinance features would specify a requirement regarding expected outcomes. She added it would provide for an independent evaluation of the results and would guarantee positive results within the smaller communities as well as countywide. She said the implementing ordinance will require submittal of annual proposals from each city up to their maximum entitlement, based on their population formula. She added the method of allocation had yet to be determined. She said revenue sharing money is at the city's discretion to spend on community safety proposals, but there would be oversight to make sure that it is legitimate and within the context of the larger, public safety issue. She noted that ultimately the city or county would have responsibility for the use of the surcharge revenues but there would be oversight to protect public trust in the process. She said it is a proposal. She wanted consensus, concerns and suggestions for going forward.
Betty Taylor, City of Springfield, asked Tollenaar why there would be maximum rates on the income tax and no exemption for people with low income.
Tollenaar responded if a person is of low income, they would not be paying much, if any income tax and it accounts for differences in personal income and the same would apply to businesses. He noted the mean average personal income tax in Oregon is about $2,200.
Taylor asked if there would be savings if people were placed in drug court instead of in jail.
Maine responded that is why there is support--to add capacity to the entire system.
Leonard responded there is currently a drug court and people are being diverted. He mentioned by implementing the drug court and expanding it that there would be an excess of jail beds. He added there will still be more demand for jail beds than they have space. He added it is effective in freeing up jail beds and decreasing the rate of recidivism among those who are in the program.
Taylor asked if a custody referee would take the place of a parole officer and why one couldnt perform the job.
Leonard explained that there are not enough parole and probation officers in the County who could effectively handle the people that have already been sentenced and are either out on probation or have served time in a state institution and are back in the community. He said the custody referee deals with a different population, administering the pre-trial release program for people that are awaiting trial and are either held in jail or will be released pending jail. He added the custody referee also handles the request for court appointed attorneys. He said if they are able to increase the staffing of the custody referee office, they can decrease the rate of people who fail to appear in court to about 20%--down from 80% or 90%.
Kelly stated he was happy they were working together on a regional basis. He thanked the finance committee for the courage to propose a different kind of revenue source. He said he supported using the income tax surcharge rather than a property tax. He noted that working regionally allows for coordination of resources, like one jail serving all the jurisdictions. He added it allows going to voters about the importance of a revenue share component for public safety. He said he was happy that prevention to consequences had been preserved. He shared Taylor's concern about low income on income taxes. He recommended that the sunset be for as long as possible. He noted that population may determine the revenue share, but it deserved a close look before the ballot measure language gets put together. He wanted to make sure that each jurisdiction does maintain its own local control over responsibility.
Scott Meisner, City of Eugene, seconded Kelly's comments. He said he will support the broad countywide program and services and the revenue sharing component. He said this will allow paying for local needs. He said he is glad that there is a need to fund administration and evaluation, but is surprised to find that it is less than 1% of the total. He said with regard to revenue sharing, local communities know best what their needs are and what this revenue sharing implementing ordinance provides for is a balancing with a need for coordination, evaluation and outcomes. He noted that Tollenaar brought them a proposal on June 24th of $1.2 million and now it is $1.85 million. He said they all face problems with the maximum 3% growth but wanted to know what the County community safety programs were.
Bill Van Vactor, Lane County Administrator, noted the fundamental difference is the $1.85 million covers the full amount of the projected deficit of Lane County's deficit from the general fund. He said 67.2% of the general fund goes directly into Public Safety, District Attorney, Youth Services and what is funded in the balance is Health and Human Services and Assessment and Taxation. He added what is in the Health Department would qualify under the broader definition of community safety, leaving $3 million to be put into Assessment and Taxation. He said if that is cut, state grant monies are lost (over $1 million per year and not in compliance) and what is left is Elections, Animal Regulations and Support Services. He added when there is a plan to grow the organization by $12 million, it is not feasible to think about cutting support services.
Meisner asked what was added from the $1.2 million to the $1.85 million.
Van Vactor responded that Tollenaar said 65% of the Lane County general fund (that goes into public safety services) didn't include Health and Human Services in that number. He said the difference is the full amount of the deficit because there is nothing left at Lane County that could be cut under state mandates. He noted that none of the $1.85 million goes to the other funds like road funds or public works, it is just the discretionary general fund. He added the other reality that Lane County faced, was putting out a revenue measure of significant proportion and still having a deficit.
Nancy Nathanson, City of Eugene, stated that Eugene citizens are ready to see expanded public safety programs and she wants to move as quickly as possible and do a respectful, responsible job. She added there are pressing community needs that are specific to each area and was pleased to see the new concept of local revenue sharing. She noted in Eugene, there is interest for police substations, traffic enforcement and graffiti and gang activity, investigation and enforcement. She said all of these ideas stop the cycle, now and for the future. She said there needs to be something that gets repeat offenders off the street and removing the negative influences on young people. She believes that addressing the issue of repeat offenders is important but doesn't have to carry more weight than other issues of stopping the cycle for the future. She asked if the AIRS conversion would stand the test of what the charter would limit the expenditures to.
Maine responded that from the PSCC standpoint, it is difficult to manage activity on the street without the information and the sheriff and police could attest that it is essential to have information in the hands of the officers on the street as well as in the jail to manage population and to assist in being efficient with the resources that they have.
Van Vactor noted they are focusing on the AIRS conversion because of the need to replace the system within the next few years, but afterwards there is the ongoing obligation to maintain the system.
Peter Sorenson, Lane County Commissioner, noted that the Lane County Department of Health and Human Services administers the adult parole and probation function and it is a post trial issue. He said that the courts will make pre-trial release decisions and the people that work for the Custody Referee's office do not work for Lane County, they work for the courts and they have a duty to determine what the risk level is of a person that had been charged with a crime and is awaiting trial. He said it is a civil liberties issue to make sure they have the courts, not the executive branch of government, making the release decisions. He said he was interested in hearing from prevention advocates on whether there is enough prevention as the PSCC wanted. He wanted to know if law enforcement favored this and if it was a fair way of allocating the costs from the general public and the business community. He wanted to know what support would be shown for this measure.
Pat Farr, City of Eugene, echoed what Sorenson said about hearing from all elements of Lane County before moving forward with this measure. He noted that unincorporated Lane County was not represented at the table and they need to find out their viewpoints. He thanked the PSCC for their hard work. He said he had concerns regarding additional income taxes and they are echoed throughout the community. He believes that in the final analysis, the benefits of this measure will outweigh the concerns. He said the big issue is the prevention element and he urged the PSCC to push for more prevention. He said he believed his voice was heard as there is a great list of prevention and programs that are geared toward youth to stop crime before it happens. He said with regard to the alternative school program for at-risk youth, there are programs within the community that are already established and he hoped that any new programs will be done in conjunction with what is already happening.
Maine noted a concern is not duplicating services and it is directed to getting kids into a school.
Fred Simmons, City of Springfield, noted that the PSCC had done a wonderful job in formulating the issues. He said people want to see additional dollars being spent and the issue with the County needs to be handled carefully in showing how those dollars are necessary to replace vanishing dollars. He added if this issue is to be placed on the ballot and be successful, they want to see new dollars for new programs and enhancing existing ones. He said the voters are behind an enhanced law enforcement and voters who voted against the levy said that they should have voted in the affirmative. He said that communication needs to be done clearly as to what the programs will mean to the whole community in both the cities and unincorporated areas. He said people he had spoken with stated they did not want to have a floating issue, they want to have a defined amount of money that is fixed. He wanted to have a yearly report to show how efficient it is and how it is improving public safety and then they would be willing to look at it as an issue and vote on it. He said there is an attitude in the community that they want to see a police presence and people who have violated the law put in jail and do the time. He added they want to see that both the District Attorney and the Sheriff have an adequate amount of resources to provide those public services. He said they need to go out and convince the community that this is a critical part of the first part of 21st century.
Tim Brooker, Mayor of Veneta, thanked the PSCC for all of their work with prevention as an important part of law enforcement. He said there can't be law enforcement without prevention programs like these. He said his community has a problem, they pay a large portion of their general fund dollars for a law enforcement contract they pay more for and get less service. He said his community needs to have more enforcement as there is no police presence. He said they are paying a large sum of money for a part-time sergeant and two deputies and it does not give them coverage for seven days a week, 24 hours per day. He said there is a running comment in the community that criminals know that they can commit crimes because no one will show up. He realizes that by budget constraints, the rural areas will continue to get less and less service. He stated the revenue sharing portion of this is great and they will use it for enforcement rather than for services or programs because they need it. He said he understood there are few ways to divide the money up but believes that they have to weigh some revenue sharing toward the incorporated communities to give them more of the share to solve some problems that are unique to their communities, especially in the area of enforcement, where they don't have a police presence. He said it is important to Veneta to have their enforcement needs met before they could think about dealing with prevention.
Don Hampton, Mayor of Oakridge, noted they had talked about having a patrol presence as the chief need of unincorporated areas vs. the refinements to the jail that rural people can't identify with if they don't have enforcement action to begin with. He said when they started the PSCC finance committee, there were as many different points of view on what to do as they were people present and he commended Tollenaar for his efforts on keeping the group focused. He also recognized Warren Wong for his tax information. He said this revenue sharing issue will be a selling point for the rural areas. He noted the PSCC finance committee reached consensus with both rural and urban people that everyone could support.
Darrel Williams, Mayor of Cottage Grove, stated he had not been involved on what the committee did as far as the PSCC is concerned. He said it appeared to him that people did put a lot of work into it. He said in his community, there is strong support for their local police department. He said the constituents in his community think that the revenue sharing program is a bribe, to get people to vote for this issue. He said people in the outlying areas think there is not enough deputies when they call, unless it is life threatening. He said there is a certain amount of suspicion in his community as far as Lane County is concerned, for administering this program, and it is evidenced by the fact they voted for the Forest Work Camp and it was closed down. He noted that prevention is an important element of the program.
Gary Pape, Eugene City Council, stated he thinks the proposal is fine and viable, provided that they are clear and specific as to what the money will be used for. He asked who would be implementing the alternative school programs for at risk youth.
Jim Torrey, Mayor of Eugene, responded that last year when they spoke about the turn around center, they invited all the school districts in the County and the major participants were Springfield, 4J and Bethel. He said they talked about the need to reach out to young people who had not yet committed a crime but were in the process of leaving a school setting and needed a way that would turn them around into an appropriate school setting. He said that money comes through the County, that they would have to provide the services back into the school districts, but the school districts would administer the program. He said there needs to be a clear message to the voters that the County is not balancing its deficit budget through this initiative.
Warren Weathers, Mayor of Lowell, stated he appreciated all the work the committee did. He said that revenue sharing was an essential part of this and makes a difference in Lowell. He said he agrees with Darrel Williams that, "it is a bribe" but it is a bribe that they are willing to accept. He sees law enforcement as a deterrent to crime, rather than as law enforcement. He stated the revenue sharing should be based on population correlated with assessed value. He said he would recommend to his city council that the revenue sharing funds be used to contract with the state police or sheriff's office for a police presence in the community and have them coordinate the neighborhood watch of volunteers. He noted from his perspective the meeting had the ambience of a campaign kick-off dinner. He said it would be better perceived as a public hearing on a proposed budget. He added he thinks there is a packaging problem and it is a wrong way to start out trying to sell a measure. He added if this is going to pass, the public has to be convinced that their money will be used frugally. He added public perception is everything to the voters and they don't trust the County with their money. He said most voters in Lowell are pro-public safety and have voted in the past for public safety measures that promised to address their concerns, only to have those promises withdrawn after the measure was passed. He added the life of a measure should be short enough so the voters are comfortable that it could be canceled if it is not working. He said the idea of a new tax is innovative but many voters fear that it will be increased until it is as burdensome as a property tax. He said the ballot measure needs to put a ceiling on the tax and to advertise that it has a ceiling.
Gary Rayor, City of Eugene, complimented the PSCC. He said he had come a long way within the last three weeks from going from mistrust to highly confident about the proposed measure and new tax. He said it is important to determine the approximate breakdown of personal vs. business income tax. He wanted to know the percentage of each.
Maine responded the recommended proposal was 8%, but had not been determined by the County Commissioners.
Rayor wanted to know what percentage would be generated from personal income and business tax.
Tollenar responded it had not been determined yet, it will be up to the Board of County Commissioners to address the problem. He said the split needs to be determined between personal and corporate for the total amount to be raised and they have $22 million for the amount to be raised. He said there had been different ideas about how the split should be between personal and corporate. He said an idea the committee talked about was to make the split between corporate and personal, the same relative proportion as the split between business and individual shares of the total state and local tax burden. He said the recent state break is 60% individuals and 40% for business. He said they changed it in their discussion to go from 65% to 35% which includes tax paid by partnerships and sole proprietorships and Schedule C Corporations in business. He added no decision had been made yet by the Board of County Commissioners.
Rayor noted it could be a political issue to try to push it away from business, that could turn off individuals. He said he understood there was another money measure related to community safety that would be on the ballot.
Van Vactor responded the proposal would include a bond measure to build a 100 bed assessment center.
Rayor asked if there were any more money measures from the County or cities that could draw away from this measure.
Maine responded they had no control over that.
Rayor stated he wanted to make sure there was a cap or ceiling that could be voted out by petition.
Lyle Hatfield, City of Springfield, said he was proud of the work they did on the finance committee and thanked Ken Tollenaar for keeping everyone in line and focused. He said he supports the tax because it is progressive and it is on income and an ability to pay. He believes there is a need in the rural area for law enforcement. He added the revenue sharing issue gives meaningful dollars to the local communities. He said it wasn't a bribe, it is real money that is needed. He said the maximum rate in the levy is important because he believes Lane County will continue to grow and there will be revenue to continue to fund necessary public services. He noted the areas of concern include the system, enforcement, prevention and the impact it had on other county services like the District Attorney's office and others. He said he was fine with the sunset clause as long as it allows for prevention as a long term solution and is given time to succeed. He said in talking about a corporate tax, it involves Subchapter C corporations, a narrow group of business entities that flows through personal income tax. He added that trust needs to be rebuilt and embodied in this proposal.
Tammy Fitch, City of Springfield, said she had faith in the citizens of Springfield, that with the revenue sharing, they will tell them how they want the money spent and it will help with all the other jurisdictions as well. She strongly suggested that with the 13 different parts of the measure that have a budget figure, that there be an explanation exactly as to how that money is budgeted.
Chris Pryor, 4J School District, said what is being proposed is a good mix. He said the PSCC had done a great job of putting a proposal together and the voters will support the concepts that are being proposed. He said the dilemma for him is the huge need at the practical and political level to convey the need and value to the county population. He said they can sell the election, but they have to be willing to go the distance and he is cautioning that it will be an overwhelming communication task. He said people need to make sure this message gets out and that people understand exactly what is exactly being proposed. He said if they can't sell themselves, they can't sell the County.
Clements stated that he would argue against the disconnect between the bond measure and the levy because one is the structural piece and the other is the operational or staffing piece. He noted last time the bond measured failed by less than 100 votes. He added presently they have a 35 bed intake center that has structural problems. He stated that to properly size the intake piece and do the appropriate assessment and referrals limits their ability to do the job. He said he didn't want to have to sell a bond measure and then have to reinvent the entire campaign to properly provide for the facilities to do the operational piece.
Maine said support is there for the components but to carry the message and to do it, they have to believe that they can trust and be part of getting the results. She said she is making the commitment herself and is hopeful that everyone else can by putting this before the County Commissioners to carry out their word. She said it is not enough for the County Commissioners to say to trust them. She said there is support for a countywide effort that has representation from all of the various areas of the county for services and the ability to tailor them within the areas in the county to get the best end result. She said the issues are about making the component work for every piece of the county and that is where they do have a chance to make the case in front of city councils and groups in the unincorporated areas to do that education piece. She said she would commit her time and effort to visit constituents, so they will get the maximum benefits out of a successful measure. She said she is for the coordinated countywide approach and committed to make the communities safe.
Torrey stated it was important that the PSCC make minor adjustments within the numbers, as there is a gap they hadn't addressed--kindergarten through fifth grade. He said there is no support for prevention for them or for the homeless children. He said he wasn't asking for this money be increased, he asked to find some dollars to provide resources to the schools to provide assistance to those young children as they are preventable juvenile delinquents in process. He added that they must have the support of the schools and their parents. He said it needs to be a program where they use the support systems of the County, cities and the schools working together to deal with the issues. He said what needs to be implemented are performance audits of various organizations within the expenditure areas. He said there must be an external audit of how well they are doing their jobs. He said with the exception of the areas in the $1,850,000, if it is not public safety oriented, don't put it in the measure. He added if it was remotely associated to public safety, identify where it goes, tell the people how it will be spent and spend it. He said not to fill the general fund gap with a public safety measure, as it will not work. He said from his standpoint, it is not enough for the County Commissioners to say the PSCC had asked them to send it to the voters. He told the commissioners that they must lead the charge.
Bobby Green, Chair, Lane County Board of Commissioners, commented that this proposal is not Lane County's proposal, it is everyone's proposal. He said the County Commissioners will take the appropriate leadership on it. He noted with regard to the $1.8 million, that Rob Rockstroh, Director, Lane County Health and Human Services, released many mental health counselors during the Thurston tragedy and the County had not been reimbursed. On going forward, he said he would be interested in hearing from the communities about whether they are on the right track. He said if this levy is not it, they better be told now because five commissioners don't want to take the lead to find out that no one is supporting them. He added the work that had been done by the finance committee is tremendous.
Maine agreed that going forward will take everyones help and suggested that if there is general support for going forward with this proposal in terms of moving it into the County Commissioners for further deliberation (tightening up on the general fund and gap filling portion) to get it cleared up and supported and to talk more about the allocation method for the revenue sharing and the forum that could involve many of the group. She said she heard that public safety is the number one priority in all of the communities and she hadn't heard anything tonight that would indicate otherwise.
Meisner agreed with Maine's approach. He said that whatever the Board is considering should come back to the councils for action, approval or endorsement prior to final placement on the ballot. He thought it was premature given the campaign elements, to go to the people this early.
Maine suggested to keep the dialogue going rather than to sell the piece. She said she is more concerned about communicating the need and the results of what is being proposed than about selling the measure at this point.
Bobby Lee, Eugene City Council, stated he was for this and was ready to move forward.
Clements stated he had qualified support at this time. He noted there were other grants that might affect some of the components. He added that the recommendation that the District Attorney operation be looked at and be funded by the County's portion of the revenue sharing is not appropriate. He said it should be borne countywide, but didn't know how it would be assessed, as those are services delivered countywide.
Maine asked how soon the Board of Commissioners could convene to hammer out the details if this group is willing to go to the next level.
Green noted that the Board of Commissioners will be doing the follow-up to this meeting on Wednesday, July 7 and it is the Board's intent to discuss what they heard tonight. He said they want to make sure that whatever they put forward for the people of Lane County has everyone's support.
Simmons said that they should fold the intake construction cost into the issue. He said it would save dollars to do it on a basis through the tax process instead of having to pay a levy bond interest over 20 years. He added they could show that they could save dollars for their constituents by doing it that way and it would be cheaper to do in the long run with a cohesive package. He asked that they consider it together.
Brooker stated since one of the elements that had yet to be decided was the revenue sharing issue and how it will be instituted, they need to take another look at the support they have once the details are taken care of. He said he could give conditional support to go forward at this point and wants to make sure that his issues are being considered. He asked how they were going to get consensus in the short time frame they are talking about in order to get the County Commissioners to move on it.
Maine said the only way is to go forward to continue to flush out the issues, and not recommend that the County Commissioners decide and put it on the ballot. She said they are looking for consensus to go forward with conditional support given they still have decision points to make and will involve interested parties to make those decisions.
Jim Johnson, City Manager, City of Eugene stated in terms of next steps, they learned that from the marketing research that people are interested in the details of how the money will be spent. He said that he heard revenue sharing was supported by all of the communities. He said they owe it as cities to come up with a package that is to be financed by the revenue sharing and do it quickly to present the comprehensive package to the voters. He said the next step should be the cities working on the components for the revenue sharing package.
Christine Lundberg, City of Springfield, stated that one of the bigger issues is education and they have to look at the timing. She said she knows there are other considerations, but if they are serious about passing this issue, that they have to convince the voters.
Mike Kelly, City Manager, City of Springfield noted the PSCC is made up of 28 individuals and they do have a policy committee made up of the elected officials. He noted the elected officials that serve on the PSCC form a policy committee and he suggested that that policy committee get together as soon as possible, digest what was heard, consider recommissioning the finance committee with new charges based on the discussion tonight and have that committee wrestle with the issues, and report back to PSCC policy committee on where they go from here.
Leonard stated with regard to timing, last time they crafted the levy, they had the levy put together earlier in June, they didn't get it going until September, and found that they were a month late. He said voters need to understand what an income tax surcharge would be. He said if it is going to happen, the decisions have to be made so the campaign can take shape and happen quicker and in a more concentrated way than last year.
Anne Bellew stated this issue splits into prevention and present public safety. She said if they are confident that they will do this, they have to put it down on paper, promise it and stand by it.
Maine asked if the group would be willing to go forward and continue to work this with the policy group, have them convene as quickly as possible with the assistance of the finance committee, (expanded to include other people who are interested as well as bringing up the issues that had been raised tonight) with the idea that the County Commissioners will also be hearing this issue and adding their support. She said they need to make it work at trying to make safer communities and she hopes that everyone has that goal.
There being no further business Mayor Maine adjourned the meeting at 8:40 p.m.
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