APPROVED Approved 4-25-00
May 6, 1999
LANE COUNTY BUDGET COMMITTEE MEETING
Commissioners' Conference Room - 5:15 p.m.
PRESENT: Marie Bell, Verna Brown, David Crowell, Bill Dwyer, Bobby Green, Mary Ann Holser, Carol Jones, Anna Morrison, Peter Sorenson and Cindy Weeldreyer. Zoe Gilstrap, Recording Secretary.
I. CALL TO ORDER
Chair Marie Bell called the meeting to order.
II. APPROVAL OF LANE COUNTY BUDGET COMMITTEE
MOTION: Approval of the April 27, 1999 Minutes
Dwyer MOVED, Morrison SECONDED. VOTE: 8-0 (Weeldreyer and Green out of the room)
III. PUBLIC COMMENT
Bob Richards, 2893 Timberline, Eugene, spoke in support of the Buckley House funding. He stated that the heroin problem continues to grow in Eugene with another overdose last week. Richards explained that methadone is a prescribed medication with great benefits. He stated that he cannot admit a pregnant woman to the program if he cannot get her on methadone treatment because the risk for spontaneous abortion is too high. Richards said there is a waiting list in both methadone programs in Eugene. He also discussed the chronic recidivism, noting that even though some people will continue having problems staying off heroin, most people are good candidates for methadone maintenance. Richards said there are a small percentage of people who may need to be on methadone maintenance their whole life but stressed that it is still better than shooting heroin, ripping people off, or prostituting on the street. He said, therefore, crime is reduced and HIV and other diseases have decreased, all of which results in a savings to the community.
Steve Lauch, 125 E. 8th Avenue, Eugene, Parole and Probation Manager, stated that he is here in support of the add package for Parole and Probation which will allow them to maintain existing service levels and continued supervision of domestic violence batterers. He noted that he is actually asking for less money than what was in the original add package because they have been successful in cutting expenses and collecting supervision fees. Lauch explained that the deficit that they are projecting is primarily caused by increased COLA and PERS expenses. He said the State of Oregon, Department of Corrections, grant that funds Parole and Probation is insufficient to support the increases that they are experiencing. Lauch explained the importance of retaining this program, noting the high crime rate for domestic violence in 1998. He said that without this program, the community would be left with a situation that will continue to be uncurbed. Lauch added that a recent study showed that of the 185 batterers in treatment between November 1995 and August and 1998, only 22 assaulted another person. Lauch said treatment works.
Responding to Van Vactor, Lauch confirmed that the State of Oregon would have had to absorb the PERS increase if they had kept the Parole and Probation function.
Linda Eaton, 85954 Cherokee, Eugene, stated that she is the Program Manager for the Lane County Alcohol, Drug and Offender Services program. She addressed the reduction package in the budget for the next fiscal year, which is .25 FTE of a mental health specialist. Eaton stated that currently they have two full-time and one part-time specialists noting that this reduction would result in a loss of 10 hours a week in client service. She said they are already turning people away and delaying evaluation time and entry into treatment. Eaton noted that effective July 1, the Eugene Police Department is putting two more traffic officers on street, which they anticipate will result in additional DUII arrests, which will have an impact on their office. She stated that in the month of March, they saw 180 new DUII cases, which was their single highest month in six years. Eaton stated that this office also sees domestic violence, anger management and drug and alcohol charges other than DUIIs. She said they also do evaluations and monitoring for the courts.
Holser asked if there was a waiting list. Eaton replied that they do service on a walk-in basis with restricted hours. She said with DUII clients, maybe half the time they can be seen the same day, otherwise it stretches out for another couple of weeks. Responding to Brown, Eaton stated that approximately 60% of their clients are seen for DUIIs and 40% are from other non-DUII cases referred from the courts.
Shelley Winship, 346 N. Grand, Eugene, stated that she is here once again on behalf of Food for Lane County and her earlier request for the $26,000 add back to the Human Services Committee. She explained that they are an umbrella agency for 65 member agencies that provide service to people who are hungry in the community, noting that a large number of those agencies feed people in emergency need. Winship stated that approximately 75% of these people have at least one member of the family working for a minimum wage. She said they dont make enough to make ends meet or have enough at the end of the month to feed their families. Winship said one in four children in the community are dealing with hunger on a regular basis. She stressed that their food fund has been flat in size for approximately six years with a significant loss over the last three years due to the fact that their FEMA funds been reduced and other funding sources have also started to dwindle. She said money in the emergency food fund is allocated to their member agencies and is used exclusively for food.
Susan Dey, 1899 Willamette Street, Eugene, Local Manager for Services to Children and Families (SFC), stated that she is here to recognize and honor their county partners and to provide information on how resources are being extended through effective collaboration. She said that for many years they have worked with individual departments on developing collaboration with shared funds and shared resources to reach those families in the community who are most at risk. Dey emphasized that their partnership with Public Health is one of their longest standing and has had a profound effect on the community. She said they have saved the lives of very high-risk babies in the community. Dey stated that in partnership with the Commission on Children and Families they have created a passion for improving the foster care system and they blend funding to work together to reach families in the community before the need the services of SCF. She said they have a wellness model and community safety net in local communities to reach those families who have fallen through the cracks and, as of this date, serve over 600 families. Dey stated that of these high-risk families on the edge, only 13 have been referred back to them. She recognized the shared funding and success of such program as Teen Mothers. Dey said she just wanted to let the Budget Committee know that they appreciate the partnerships and that they have made a difference and saved lives.
Kamala Shugar, 3406 Centennial Boulevard, Eugene, stated that she is an Assistant District Attorney and wanted to talk about the collaboration with the District Attorneys office and Parole and Probation regarding domestic violence. She asked for continued support of the Parole and Probation domestic violence unit. Shugar stated that the program helps not only the person convicted of the crime but also the victim. She said that within a week of sentencing, a P&P office is not only supervising that case but has an advocate working with the victim to help answer questions, guide them through the system, get restraining orders and help with the children. She noted that the legislature now recognizes that domestic violence occurring in front of children is abuse of those children. Shugar stated that offenders are monitored for the amount of treatment they receive and as soon as they begin lapsing from their treatment, their rights are pulled and they are either being placed in jail or are being sent directly back to treatment.
Mercedes Cruz, 2368 Pershing Street, Eugene, stated that she is a student at the University of Oregon and is doing her senior thesis on domestic violence, specifically, creating zero tolerance by the criminal justice system. She said she is a survivor of domestic violence. Cruz stated that the solution of family violence does not only lie with the police but there also must be a community response, which includes effective law enforcement, prosecution, enforced policies and treatment programs. She stated that the cost of domestic violence is staggering because it violates the community safety, health, welfare and economy by draining billions annually in social costs. Cruz stated that in many communities there has been community partnering which means that the city and the county are now funding model programs to stop domestic violence. Cruz noted that offender accountability and treatment of batterers is an extremely difficult area for the courts to address. She said that in one year, the Lane County District Attorneys office prosecuted 1,259 assault and harassment cases. Cruz stated that most courts cannot supervise and monitor this large number of cases and that is where Parole and Probation steps in.
IV. REVIEW OF NON-GENERAL FUND DEPARTMENTS
Department Question and Answer
Regional Information Services RIS
Tanya Heaton, Management Analyst, reviewed this budget.
Bill Van Vactor, County Administrator, explained that the majority of revenue used to operate RIS comes from other governments and that Lane County is about 30% of the partnership. He noted that the other partners include Lane Council of Governments, Eugene Water and Electric Board and the Cities of Springfield and Eugene. Sorenson asked about revenue changes in RIS in the future. Paul White, Director, stated that there will be no major changes in next four years. He explained that the mainframe is still the largest component of the budget and until law enforcement and AIRS gets off the mainframe, it will remain a major part of the budget. White also noted that Y2K is a major issue. Van Vactor stated that EWEB may be exercising their five-year option to cease being a partner relatively soon.
MOTION: Tentative Approval of the Regional Information Services proposed budget.
Dwyer MOVED, Morrison SECONDED.
Children and Families
Heaton reviewed this budget. Dwyer asked if the increased PERS costs are included in the grant applications. Pat Rogers, Director, Children and Families, stated that they will calculate increases in all new grant applications. Sorenson asked if other counties put in any general fund (GF) revenue into their Children and Families Department. Rogers replied that every county commission does it differently, noting that there are a number of county commissions that do get GF dollars and said she can provide a breakdown by county. Responding to Holser, Debbie Ayo, Administrative Analyst, noted that State money is a funding stream with a certain percentage that they can use for overhead costs. She explained that it is not a grant that they write, but a funding stream that the State gives the commission from pre-set dollars.
MOTION: Tentative Approval of the Children and Families proposed budget.
Dwyer MOVED, Brown SECONDED.
Heaton reviewed this budget.
Sorenson asked if other counties put money into their Workforce Partnerships. Chuck Forster, Workforce Partnership Executive Director, stated that the City of Portland and Multnomah County have contributed funds to their workforce development programs. He said the City of Portland has used general fund and also has housing and general development funds. Forster stated that while there is an obvious need for more funding for the Workforce Partnership, he recognizes the needs of the general fund departments that are seeing serious cuts. Responding to Holser, Forster stated that there is a waiting list of 80-100 young people in the Summer Youth Programs. He said they also have a waiting list of 50 people for Services for Laid Off Workers and, in fact, at any one time, they do have a waiting list in all programs. Jones asked about the change in data processing services. Darryl Osmus, Fiscal Manager, explained that this is a transfer from Information Services to RIS charges due to the PeopleSoft conversion. Responding to Jones, Forster explained that advertising costs went up for a marketing campaign because they combined the Southern Willamette Private Industry Council and the Lane Regional Workforce Committee into one organization and changed their name to the Workforce Partnership.
MOTION: Tentative Approval of the Workforce Partnership proposed budget.
Sorenson MOVED, Weeldreyer SECONDED.
Heaton presented this budget.
Dwyer asked about the drop in the property and rental line. Mike Gleason, Fairboard Director, stated that rental income has been growing each year. Heaton explained that this is due to bond sales, noting that that revenue comes back under fund balance. Crowell asked about permanent operating salaries that have been moved to the annual adjustment row. Heaton stated that there is a different accounting and budget system at the fairgrounds and the items didnt match up exactly as they should have, noting that this includes salaries and benefits. Gleason noted this was when they were contracting a substantial number of employees through the temporary service.
MOTION: Tentative Approval of the Fair Board proposed budget.
Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED. VOTE: 10-0.
Heaton reviewed these funds, noting that the proposed budget includes the elimination of one planner and one contract in order to remain status quo. She stated that there is a difference of opinion between Land Management staff and County Administration staff. Heaton said they recommend tentative approval of the budget for the dollars in revenues and expenses but not with the reductions as specified. She stated that Land Management will bring this issue to Finance and Audit.
Holser stated that all Road Fund revenue is under administration and not by program. Heaton responded that is because the majority of the road fund revenue comes from the Federal Forest receipts and the Federal Gas Tax. Sorenson stated that he is concerned about the rapid draw down of the road fund. Van Vactor stated that the Finance and Audit Committee has reviewed this issue and commented that there are several things pending regarding road fund revenue such as the gas tax legislation and the stabilization of forest payments, noting that either one will dramatically change this financial plan. He said the idea is to come back in October once the outcome of these two issues is known. Oliver Snowden, County Engineer, said this plan assumes that Public Works is going to continue with its current level of service delivery and they are going to build the Capital Improvement Program. He said they may have to look at the Capital Improvement Program as some point and cut back or eliminate projects, which will result in changes to their staffing levels. Responding to Sorenson, Van Vactor noted that Lane County significantly lowered their aid to cities from $4.5 million to $2 million as well as a 5% reduction in operations in the road fund to slow this draw down. Snowden said that they have been bringing in more revenue from outside sources and believes that in FY 00 it will probably end up with a flat line. Heaton stated that two years ago they recommended slowing, a 5% cut and looking for new revenue, all of which Snowden has done. She said if the gas tax doesnt come in, they would have to look at this plan again later this year. Snowden noted that the Board put restraints on revenue projections and did not want a new gas tax or change in the federal timber receipt guarantee included in this financial plan. Dwyer stated that this budget is prudent and is making all worst case projections. Responding to Brown, Snowden stated that in 1996, they had assumed that they were going to see a large drop in capital projects for FY 02-03 and the Board agreed at that time to reduce the capital improvement staff by approximately 50%. He said that because a number of projects did not happen as scheduled, the CIP load has continued to shift into the future and so it does not make sense to reduce staff now and, therefore, has pushed the staff reduction into the future.
Weeldreyer commented that she is working with staff on a proposal to see Land Management move to its own enterprise fund, noting that it is primarily supported by fees and that the only general fund money they receive is an allocation of video lottery money. She said she would be supportive of redirecting that video lottery money around a broader strategic plan. Weeldreyer stated that it would be in Land Managements interest to get out of the general fund and be an enterprise fund. Dwyer stated that this issue will need to be included in the strategic planning process.
MOTION: Tentative Approval of the Public Works proposed budget.
Dwyer MOVED, Weeldreyer SECONDED. VOTE: 10-0.
Health and Human Services
Heaton reviewed this budget, noting that the Department Analysis was written with add packages in and do not match the proposed budget numbers. She said staff is recommending tentative approval for the proposed budget numbers.
Responding to Sorenson, Heaton stated that $3,293,511,000 of general fund is scheduled to the Health and Human Department of which $299,000 goes into the Human Services Commission, down 15%. Steve Manela, Intergovernmental Human Service Program Manager, explained that last year they received two one-time payments: one for the financial system and one for a grant program that needed a financial bridge. Brown asked that the DUII reduction of .25 FTE be added back in the add package. Heaton stated that she will get the dollar amount for that add. Weeldreyer asked why the restaurant fees are not increased in the budget. Rob Rockstroh, Director, Health and Human Services, explained that they guessed too high and now need to go back to the actuals of the prior year, compare them to the projection and make an adjustment. Linda Morrison, Administrative Services Manager, noted that every year they go back and look at what they actually collected and compare that to what they projected and try guess how many new restaurants might come in and how many might be closing and then try to adjust that projection. Responding to Sorenson, Rockstroh discussed the Medical Examiner add, stated that this is actually an obligation of the Countys general fund. He said they rely on this person for evenings, weekends and holidays on a contract with the State. Rockstroh said this add would allow him to fund the position adequately and would allow the examiner to also do the required investigative work.
Responding to Morrison, Rockstroh stated that the increase in the food item line is for the psychiatric hospital; the increase in safety supplies is for Parole and Probation body armor vests; and the increase for committee stipends is due to transfers from training and education and travel. Linda Morrison noted that this allows them to show expenses that are specific to committee meetings.
MOTION: Tentative Approval of the Health and Human Services proposed budget.
Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.
IV. BUDGET DELIBERATIONS AND DISCUSSION
Heaton stated that they have reviewed and given tentative approval to all budgets and have looked at the department budgets options. Bell suggested that there be a meeting on Tuesday to review the Budget Committee add options as well. She stated that she would also like to have the 3:30 p.m. option to meet with the department heads and analysts. Bell stressed that the committee should spend Tuesday discussing add options, should there be more state money and not discussing strategic planning. She said that the County needs to hire a strategic planner before those issues can be addressed. Sorenson said it is not clear if there will any more money, and he would like to go on the assumption that there wont be any. Holser stated that she does not want to keep the issue of long range planning off the table and said some citizen members of the Budget Committee should be included in the strategic planning process. Bell suggested that if any member of the Budget Committee has a strong interest in the strategic planning process to meet with their appointing commissioner.
Heaton stated that the Budget Committee adds will be faxed to the citizen members before Tuesday. Green requested that a discussion of how to prioritize the adds be included on the agenda.
Brown asked if they should consider holding any additional money from the State to help with next years deficit. Van Vactor stated that they could make this recommendation to the Board as a way to offset next years deficit.
Dwyer stated that he would like to include a budget note to give direction to department heads that they need to find the two developmental disability positions. Green expressed concern about giving direction to hire a specific population in light of Title VII and the ADA. Sorenson stated that the Human Rights Affirmative Action Committee is working hard on diversity and if there is a sentiment for this committee to have a role in budget beyond line items, they can make a recommendation to have it reviewed. Van Vactor noted that Lane County is different than the private sector because it operates under a charter, which provides rules for how to hire, but noted that there may be a way for personnel staff to review and possibly rewrite some classifications. Van Vactor stated, however, that this would be a Board discussion and not a Budget Committee decision. He noted that the Charter requires that they hire the most merit and fit. Green said that the Budget Committee could make a recommendation to the Board. Dwyer stated that the Charter is not carved in stone and could be amended.
Regarding the add requests, Heaton asked that the committee read the detailed impact statement for each budget option.
Van Vactor stated that the Budget Committee will set the property tax levy amount at the Tuesday meeting. He noted that the legislature may be sending out a charter school measure in the September election and if Lane County wanted to have a property tax measure they could get over the 50% turnout due to the interest in that measure. Van Vactor said, therefore, the Budget Committee could put in a higher property tax amount in anticipation of that election. He said they cannot do that for the November election because there is not enough time, due to when tax bills are prepared. He stated that he is not advocating for that but if they do not set a higher property tax on Tuesday, Lane County will not have that option in September.
VI. NEXT MEETING
Tuesday, May 11, 1999, 5:15 p.m. in the BCC Conference Room.
There being no further business, this meeting adjourned at 8:10 p.m.
Zoe Gilstrap, Recording Secretary
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