January 19, 2000
REGULAR MEETING - BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
Harris Hall Main Floor - 9:00 a.m.
Commissioner Peter Sorenson presided with Commissioners Bobby Green, Sr., Anna Morrison, and Cindy Weeldreyer present. Commissioner Bill Dwyer was excused. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
Sorenson stated that there will be an 11:00 a.m. time certain for the Executive Session.
2. PUBLIC COMMENTS
Cherie Goodwin, 40069 Log Creek Road, Marcola, spoke regarding the motocross track. She quoted Lane Code 6.500. She stated the track is so flooded that it is flooding their road. She said a meeting with all the neighbors is not the way to solve the problem.
Weeldreyer stated she has been working with John Cole to set up a meeting at Marcola High School on February 22 or February 29. She said her intent is to work with the three main spokespeople who have been involved. She said the purpose is to address the countywide significance of backyard motocross tracks, not just the one in Marcola. She wanted to look at short term solutions within existing code to enforce the noise ordinance and to work with the BLM and the forest service on a long-term strategy to create appropriate types of tracks on public lands.
3. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS
a. DISCUSSION Evaluation of County Administrator.
Sorenson gave an overview of the summaries the Board gave regarding the evaluation of Bill Van Vactor. He added he received summaries by County Counsel and other people. He noted the overall rating of the Board is very positive.
Van Vactor stated he enjoys being Lane Countys Administrator. He said it is hard to differentiate the performance of the County Administrator individually from other parties of the organization. He thanked Zoe Gilstrap and Arlene Marshall, as they were instrumental in helping him. He also thanked Dave Garnick and Tanya Heaton for all their help in working on the major projects.
Van Vactor said he will try to get out more within the organization during the year 2000. He said he will try to take the current Board policy on diversity and see where it fits in the succession plan. He noted he intends to make his work plan match the strategic plans work plan within the next month. He said overall he enjoys working for the organization and the only issue he had was to have a two-year contract, like the one that was completed for County Counsel.
Morrison said when she attended the AOC annual meeting in Seaside in November, she had other county commissioners comment on the fact that she should be thankful for the County Administrator that Lane County has. She noted that he is a jewel among some of the other County Administrators.
Green noted that VanVactor follows the Boards policy and direction. He noted that Van Vactor received high remarks from Springfield City Manager Mike Kelly. Green noted that Jim Johnson (Eugene City Manager) commented that Van Vactor has grown into the position of County Administrator. He noted that Van Vactor addressed Green's concern regarding diversity. His challenge for Van Vactor was to be more inclusive when there are openings, opportunities and networking vs. following the traditional posting and recruitment procedures. He added he enjoyed working with Van Vactor as he does a good job of keeping the organization in a positive direction.
Weeldreyer stated that Van Vactor was stretched in many new ways in 1999 and she was impressed with his ability to grasp all the new technology opportunities. She noted he did an excellent job with the PERS issue at the statewide level. She said regarding financing, a greater involvement of the labor organizations outside of the traditional bargaining process would be an added benefit.
Sorenson noted that Van Vactor provides an institutional memory that is valuable. He said that Van Vactor is a steady leader for Lane County government. He added he is well-respected among county government officials in Oregon. He suggested Van Vactor should make presentations about the good things that Lane County government does. He added he would be in favor of a two-year contract for Van Vactor.
Van Vactor suggested using the same process as before, having Charlie Van Deusen, Personnel Manager, review the current contract to make any changes necessary with the passage of another year and insert a two-year term and then have it brought back to the Consent Calendar.
Morrison concurred with Sorenson.
On another topic, Morrison stated that she wanted to bring back another item that was to be finalized regarding the letter going out to the banks regarding the re-lending program. She noted she put a letter in each commissioners box for review with the Boards signatures. She added Steve Dignam is working with the lending program with rural areas and the metro area. She said it was to generate another million from the federal government for loaning out for small businesses to expand.
MOTION: to send a letter concerning the loan program as circulated to the commissioners.
Green MOVED, Weeldreyer SECONDED.
Morrison noted on the letter for signing, that Bobby Green, Sr., needs to be added.
4. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660
Will take place at 11:00 a.m.
5. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION
b. CONTINUED DISCUSSION Regional Investment Board Membership Appointments and Organizational Structure for the Region.
Weeldreyer reported that Stephanie Schulz had forwarded Terry Wilsons file note and all the counties involved have had copies. She noted that Lane County forwarded the recommended list of names and the LCOG board will take up appointing a city representative at its meeting later this month. She reported that Terry Wilson has offered to convene the county councils from the other three counties to review the proposed agreement to create a regional investment board and to make recommendations back to the four counties in Corvallis, on January 28.
c. ORDER 00-1-19-1 Approving Lane County's List of Possible Local Projects Under Proposed Federal Forest Funding Legislation.
Jacqlyn Mikalonis, Public Works, reported that last week Van Vactor asked departments to look at the two pieces of legislation before Congress that would restore county funding. She said since a small portion of each of the bills involves forest related projects that counties could tap into, she wondered what Lane County could come up with for projects. She added that AOC requested Lane Countys lobbying assistance with the Wyden, Craig, Smith bill that would provide Lane Countys annual payments. She noted the bill does provide compensation to affected counties and it takes advantage of historic relationships that timber producing counties have with federal agencies. She said the bill has language that shows that some projects that would be funded would be environmentally sound and consistent with existing management plans. She added the President has included funding for counties in the next budget. She reported that Lane County came up with 18 projects with the Sheriffs Department, Department of Youth Services, Work Force Partnership and Public Works.
Sorenson asked how the list was put together.
Van Vactor responded after the discussion two weeks ago, he took it to the management team last Monday, distributed the Senate and the House Bills and asked the departments to come forward with projects for the Board.
Morrison stated she had solicited project ideas from the Mapleton Ranger District (she passed out copies) that have to do with culvert replacement and salmon enhancement. She noted the dollar amounts are less than what others are listed for. She wanted the project added to the list. Morrison said it was not Congressman De Fazios Bill HR2389, he supported it, but it was not his proposed bill. She noted that the O & C counties had also made a list of projects. She said she had mixed feelings about projects that would fit into the actual acceptance, once it is out of the local committee environment they wouldnt stand a chance. She noted the AOC committee that she sits on will look at all the projects the different counties have submitted and pull one from every county to submit. She said Wydens request was that they want to see what kind of projects counties would do with this money that would have an impact on the environment, clean water, stream restoration and salmon. She noted there would be projects coming from other states and counties across the country. She explained the next step would be to put together this list and take it to AOC.
Van Vactor stated that there was nothing that prohibits Lane County from also including this list of possible projects in the United Front packet.
Green noted that it was a good start highlighting to the legislators in Washington, D.C., that there are great needs in Lane County and the general fund cannot meet all of them.
Weeldreyer wanted to add projects to the list that didnt come out in the management teams recommendations. She said one was the Lowell Covered Bridge Interpretive Center that would be a candidate for the funds. She said the other was to create designated areas for off road vehicles on BLM and Forest Service lands as a way of mitigating some of the negative impacts in rural residential areas.
MOTION: approve the list as submitted for ORDER 00-1-19-1, adding the other projects that Morrison and Weeldreyer submitted to be forwarded to AOC for their consideration and recommendation.
Green MOVED, Weeldreyer SECONDED.
Weeldreyer stated that she wanted to add additional funds for the Rural Development Coordinator to help Lane County coordinate the five watershed councils.
6. PUBLIC WORKS
a. REPORT BACK Citizen Code Enforcement Process.
John Cole, Land Management, reported the interests of the Board that had been expressed last Fall was for a greater ability for private citizens to conduct a compliance action against a neighbor or other property within the County. He said it was discussed at staff level and there is within the existing Lane Code, Chapter 5, a model of the empowered citizen ability (included in the Packet, Section 5.635, Initiation of a Noise Infraction Proceeding by the Private Party) and the code language does allow residents who are subjected to noise (that they feel is in violation of Lane Code) an ability to file a complaint that will go directly to the hearings official. He noted that Marc Kardell, Assistant County Counsel, is working on amendments to Lane Code Chapter 5 to respond to recent changes in state legislation.
Cole reported that there are common law pathways that citizens could currently take if they have a conflict with a neighbor they think is impacting their quality of life. He said at a staff level, when they receive complaints, they need to prioritize them as to the significance of the codes. He noted that they have to determine if the violation of the code is significant and warrants putting County resources into resolving a complaint. He said there are issues that do not rise to the level where existing County resources could be devoted to resolving that problem. He said when a compliance matter does warrant their prosecution, they have a set of guidelines to follow with enforcement that leads to either liening the property or appearing in front of a hearings official. He added the hearings officials responsibility is to determine whether or not the County does present a valid case that a property owner has violated Lane Code and the hearings official may issue a fine to the offending property owner. He added at that point in time, sometimes the property owner will pay the fine, or not and the Countys responsibility is to try to collect on the lien. He said the process of collecting on a lien is not a smooth and easy process as there are conditions that exist on the properties. He said his concern is an expanded citizen enforcement process that takes them directly to the hearing official, as there is not an efficient way of turning the hearings official fines into collected monies from the offending party.
Sorenson stated he wanted to see the County do more and asked how many times the Code Section 5.635 had been used.
Cole responded that it was inserted into the code last fall when the Board was working with the railroad retarder noise problem.
Morrison agreed that there is not a need to re-create a civil nuisance outside of the code. She noted that citizens can choose to pursue that on their own. She added with the current system, a majority of issues are resolved in a satisfactory manner with the parties involved. She said she was concerned with the ones that are major violators that Lane County doesnt address. She noted that on April 29, there was a list of 17 compliance liens and out of those 17, Lane County is at the same position now as in April. She said she is frustrated because she was personally involved with some in 1996 when they first became issues. She said she was against flagrant violations that are allowed to continue with no action being taken. She requested the Board be given a timeline so there is some credibility and trust with the citizens.
Sorenson suggested citizen funded enforcement on major issues. He wanted staff to come back with a plan so the concerns of the hearings officials are taken into consideration.
Cole noted with regard to the property that Morrison discussed, there is an RV on the property and it is eligible for a homestead exemption of $20,000. He said if the County was interested in foreclosing the lien, they would have to pay off the homestead exemption and it would be a money loser. He said with regard to citizens paying for an appearance in front of the hearings official, he would be willing to work out something with the hearing officials where they could play a mediation role. He said the cases that cause the most frustration are the ones where they have liened the properties. He noted Lane County has had two liens paid off.
Sorenson asked Cole whether Lane County would benefit from a mediation program. He said he was concerned about the financial impact to the present policy like fee increases to fund it. He said solid waste money could be used. He added there would be some citizen funded mechanisms whereby the hearings official and the cost to the land management division and hearings cost are fully borne by the complaining party (as an alternative). He noted it would not cost the general fund any money, but it would be an alternative for citizens.
Green said he would like to see the evaluation of the compliance staff in regard to the work load that is given to them. He said he would like to see a workplan that the compliance staff is working on. He added he cannot support another tool and wants a detailed action plan for the compliance staff so he has something to measure.
Cole responded and will provide that information.
Morrison agreed with Greens suggestion for an evaluation piece to be performed. She said that might answer some of her concerns as to why some things are not moving that have been around for five years. She noted there is a process that a normal citizen could take to pursue action against a neighbor around issues of concern. She said the County needs to be concerned when there are actual land use violations, like no building permits. She said within the last ten months, there should be something showing what the process had done. She added she hadnt seen that at all.
Weeldreyer echoed what had been said about the frustration about land violations. She noted that there is still a lack of resources to address the problem. She said she didnt think the timing was right to pursue adding a citizen code enforcement process.
She added there would be a benefit to having a mediation program but doesnt want to put staff through the additional work of creating the information, if the Board is not willing to support it.
Green agreed with Weeldreyer. He said there are ways to work differently and smarter that dont involve more money. He said adding staff to work the same way doesnt always solve the problem. He requested an action plan to see how staff is working.
Jane Burgess, Land Management, reported that Kardell has assisted with the rewriting of Lane Code Chapter 5 and the language will allow an abatement program with the ability to go onto properties and clean then up. She added they have collected on liens through refinancing properties and the money has gone back into the general fund. She suggested creating a fund for compliance to begin some of the work.
Sorenson suggested coming back to the Board with a report back on the new senate bill.
Van Vactor added that the Board wanted an action plan in two months in terms of the schedule of the 17 properties.
Weeldreyer suggested creating an enterprise fund for Land Management Division, to build the resource necessary to address compliance issues.
b. ORAL REPORT Time Between Ordinance Readings.
John Cole, reported there are two circumstances that have caused concern for the commissioners and staff, related to the scheduling of public hearings. He noted by Lane Charter, there is a requirement of a first and second reading on certain types of plan amendment zone changes that come up in front of the Board as ordinances. He added they are also required to publish notification of the second reading and public hearing in the newspaper, 20 days in advance of the hearing and they have to get public notice to the newspaper five days in advance of when they can publish it. He noted the planning staff has to notify the newspaper of the public hearing before the agenda setting committee is placing that item on for its first and second reading on the commissioners agenda. He added on items they can identify as controversial or a specific commissioner having an interest with a specific item, they are communicating to make sure that the rural commissioner will be available that particular month to be at the discussion.
Cole noted they have tried to include in their communications to Public Works and the County Commissioners office when there is an item that they publish in the newspaper and notice to the surrounding property owners. He added they have informed the agenda setting committee to not change the particular date or it will entail the need to renotify the surrounding neighbors. He said with applicants who are not ready, the planning staff could accept direction from the Board that once a first reading has been held, the only people authorized to continue the second reading will be the Board and the applicant has to show up at the second reading with their request for a continuance, but also be prepared for the case proceeding ahead.
Green noted that Sorenson and Dwyer had concerns about the time between the ordinance readings. He said it would be better if Dwyer could be present and express whether or not he would be satisfied with what he heard today. He said he had no problem with how things were done in the past.
Weeldreyer stated she agreed with the process that has been used, allowing staff the flexibility to work with the applicant and to accommodate the hearing at a time when the parties are ready, instead of sticking to a stringent prescribed process. She said it is putting the public at a disadvantage and she was not willing to go that far in standing on her authority to be the only one that can legally roll a hearing to another date. She said she would leave that discretion to Land Management and their staff who work with the applicants on a day to day basis, giving them the right to have that flexibility.
Sorenson agreed with Green to put this discussion off.
Morrison agreed with Weeldreyer. She said that Lane County provides services to citizens and if it takes a change in policy, then that is what is needed.
Sorenson recommended giving it to the agenda team to find a convenient time for further discussion.
7. CONSENT CALENDAR
A. Approval of Minutes:
November 10, 1999, Regular Meeting, 9:00 a.m.
November 10, 1999, Regular Meeting, 1:30 p.m.
November 30, 1999, Work Session, 9:00 a.m.
January 5, 2000, Regular Meeting, Following HACSA
January 5, 2000, Regular Meeting, 1:30 p.m.
B. Health and Human Services
1) RESOLUTION AND ORDER 00-1-19-2 Increasing the LIEAP Vendor Contracts with Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB) by $85,983, and with Springfield Utility Board (SUB) by $92,000; and Delegating Authority to the County Administrator to Sign the Contract Amendments.
2) ORDER 00-1-19-3 Appointing Designees of the Community Mental Health Director to Direct a Peace Officer to Take a Mentally Ill Individual Into Custody According to ORS 426.233.
C. Public Works
1) ORDER 00-1-19-4 Setting a Public Hearing for the Purpose of Hearing Objections to Final Assessments for Pearl Street (County Road Number 254) Between Mile Post 0.00 and Mile Post 0.39 (Public Hearing: February 9, 2000, 1:30 p.m., Harris Hall Main Floor).
2) ORDER 00-1-19-5 Setting a Public Hearing for the Purpose of Hearing Objections to Final Assessments for South River Road (County Road Number 295) Between Mile Post 0.00 and Mile Post 0.29 (Public Hearing: February 9, 2000, 1:30 p.m., Harris Hall Main Floor).
3) ORDER 00-1-19-6 Amending Board Order 98-4-22-2 to Accept Horse Creek Bridge and a Section of Delta Road as a County Road.
MOTION: to approve the Consent Calendar.
Green MOVED, Weeldreyer SECONDED.
8. FAIR BOARD
a. ORDER 00-1-19-7 Appointing Members to the Fair Board.
Sorenson stated that the state statute requires that the Lane County Board of Commissioners appoint the members of the Lane County Fair Board. He noted the people who currently are on the Fair Board, who are seeking reappointment are Francesca Johnson and Jon Jaqua. He added they are three year positions.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 00-1-19-7.
Weeldreyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.
Green mentioned there were other applicants and he was comfortable reappointing the current Board Members. He added he wished there was more time to look at the people to see if they could be considered for other committees.
Sorenson noted the reappointed members have done a good job. He said he wanted to see the Fair Board provide oversight to the Fair on matters that apply to the neighborhood. He suggested to put on the agenda the report from Mike Gleason in November stating when the vacancy notices will be put out so the Board will have adequate time to review the applications.
Morrison agreed with Sorenson.
9. EMERGENCY BUSINESS
10. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
Sorenson discussed the Census meetings. He noted the Board Retreat on January 25, 2000 at the Hillyard Community Center. He announced his Census meeting would be at the Hilyard Community Center on Friday, from 3 to 5 and at the Census Bureau office from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 20.
Morrison acknowledged John Taylor for receiving the Lane Council of Governments employee of the year award last Friday night. She announced her Census meeting will be on Thursday in Florence.
Green stated his Census meeting is on Thursday, from 5:30 to 8:30 at the Peterson Barn. He explained the Board will be receiving information with regard to the Area Commission Transportation (ACT) that ODOT is promoting. He noted that Lane County is the only county that has not formed this area commission.
Weeldreyer noted at the LCOG dinner, besides John Taylor getting the employee award, Quickie Products received an Economic Development award and the outstanding elected official, went to Maureen Weathers, Springfield mayor. Weeldreyer stated she attended the annual Cottage Grove Annual Chamber Banquet on Saturday and Mayor Darrel Williams received the outstanding Citizen of the Year award for Cottage Grove. She added that she will have her Census meeting on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
Van Vactor noted that Green received the Martin Luther King award from the Eugene Human Rights Commission.
There being no further business, Commissioner Sorenson recessed the meeting into Executive Session at 11:00 a.m.
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