BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'
September 13, 2000
Harris Hall Main Floor
Commissioner Peter Sorenson presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bobby Green, Sr. and Cindy Weeldreyer present. Anna Morrison was excused. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
The item for the City of Lowell will be 5. c.
2. PUBLIC COMMENTS
Linda Wagner, 2570 Moon Mountain, was present with other members of the Human Rights Advisory Committee. She discussed a public awareness piece to coincide with the Eugene Celebration. She added that it came out of their annual budget, but they are not asking for money. She said they deal with hard subjects and she is proud to be a member of the group.
Strafing Clarke, 3973 Onyx, Eugene, and Adrian Rodriguez, P. O. Box 51162, Eugene, speaking for the Human Rights Advisory Committee, reported their mission was for public outreach and that diversity is their strength. She hoped it would send a good message. She noted they planned on putting their message in public spots, like busses and billboards. They passed out small bumper stickers.
a. RESOLUTION 00-9-13-1 Acknowledging Mayor Maureen Weathers' Contributions to the People and Government of Lane County.
Dwyer read the resolution into the record.
Dwyer MOVED, Weeldreyer SECONDED.
MOTION: to approve RESOLUTION 00-9-13-1.
4. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660
5. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS
a. ORAL REPORT BACK Oak Street Child Development Center.
David Suchart, Management Services, recalled that the Board had asked about funding for additional space for the bus barn childcare center. He said they were asked to survey county employees about various issues.
Suchart reported they received 215 surveys (15% of the county employees), and of those 215 employees, 116 either had no children or were over childcare age. He noted the primary reason employees used the center was convenience, type of care, and security. He said the major reasons they did not use the center were cost (18%), and lack of convenience (23%). He added that 21% were unaware of the service. He recommended that new employees be provided information about the childcare center.
Suchart recommended leasing the space to the bus barn. He noted that there was an unplanned surplus in the capital improvement fund. He requested moving the $27,000 (the county’s half) into the program. He added they are leasing the remainder of the unused space and using the capital surplus to fund the county’s portion of the remodel.
Kathi Wiederhold, a parent, explained that through the expansion, the childcare center wanted to change the ratio to have more infant than toddler spaces. She said by adding seven to nine spaces they could break even while keeping their infant and toddler room.
Dwyer stated childcare is an essential part of what they do as a government. He was concerned that so many people weren’t aware of the center. He added they have to expand the opportunity for everyone (not just management) to include subsidizing for people who couldn’t afford it.
Wiederhold said the center would be applying for a grant for funding. She said they needed to resolve the provider situation and do fund raising.
Suchart stated he would allocate a portion of the cash balance up to $27,000--which will not require board action.
Weeldreyer supported said employers who provide quality childcare have better efficiency from their workers. She echoed Dwyer about informing people who were unaware of this opportunity.
b. ORAL REPORT BACK Classification and Compensation Issues Following Discussion With Management Team.
Van Vactor stated the Board directed that this be discussed at a Management Team meeting. He had concerns about conducting a classification compensation review because the County couldn’t afford the estimates ranging from $250,000. He said it would have to be funded on the assumption Lane County would be low paying in positions and employees were entitled to a raise. He added it raises the expectation there would be raises, and if the raises don’t happen there is bad morale. He wanted to do this to improve morale but sometimes it has an opposite effect. He didn’t know if dealing with the classification compensation was the highest priority for the Board of Commissioners. He noted that many managers think there are classification problems where compensation and duties do not match either the market place or the job the employee is performing. He stated the Management Team wanted a narrow focused review of the classification compensation plan.
Suchart concurred with Van Vactor and warned about issues for the future of Lane County coming within the next five years and replacing the core of the organization at all levels. He stated if the Board accepts the Management Team’s recommendation, he would ask that there be discipline in what the Board does.
Charlie Van Deusen, Management Services, said he had heard a lot about the classification problems. He noted the policy was instituted 12 years ago with a point factor system whereby money that a job is derived from, (using job dimensions and a total number of points for a job) is translated to a salary range for the different bargaining units. He said there is a 14-step range and it is part of the problem. He noted that system was based on internal equity, matching job versus job without considering the market outside.
Van Deusen said the market to keep competitive wages for employees is out of their control. He didn’t think the system was at fault. He added bringing any system up to market is done through an annual cost of living adjustment. He thought the problem would get worse and the County wouldn’t be able to attract and retain employees. He said the County has to make sure that the classification compensation fits Lane County within the goals that they had set forth. He suggested comparing the County's system with others to analyze and develop strategies. He noted if the County did a major revamp the cost would have to be determined beforehand. He said before the County went ahead it should be made clear it would involve staff time, tie up resources and possibly raise employee expectations.
Van Deusen suggested performing a pre-study of pros and cons. He then suggested a full blown revamping with filling out classification questionnaires. He said some classifications may be at or over market or at the lower end of the salary scale. He said there could be hard decisions about freezing pay because they are over market. He noted the pre-study would be $50,000 to $60,000 and might take four to six months.
Green said the problem is depleting employees’ morale. He would expect the department managers to find the money within their departments if they were really sincere. He reported he didn’t have any information to make a decision. He said the market base is higher than what the County is paying and they are losing employees in recruiting. He added that doing nothing was not an option.
Dwyer concurred with Green. He said it needs to be resolved and it is a question of fairness. He said they have to work collectively with the bargaining units.
Sorenson recalled the Board agreed to a pre-study and both the employees and the managers were telling the Board that the compensation system is not popular. He asked how they could address compaction, whereby they are losing employees to other public and private employers.
Suchart commented that department managers want the study and would pay for it. He noted the reason for doing the pre-study would be for the educational piece. He said there is a misconception on how the system works. He said the study is to find out what type of compensation system the County needed.
Weeldreyer said there is concern that some classifications in the system are above market and this study would mean a significant cut in pay. She suggested not penalizing current employees, but applying it to new employees in that classification. She was supportive of the pre-study.
Green said that they needed to be explicit about the intent of the pre-study. He suggested formal direction with a board order.
Dwyer suggested letting the bargaining units know that the Board was bargaining in good faith and trying to remedy the problem.
Sorenson noted that they were informally authorizing the pre-study and there will be a formal board order.
c. City of Lowell
Weeldreyer explained that a faxed letter from the City of Lowell was put into the commissioners’ boxes requesting disaster aid to offset the cost the city is incurring to import water. She noted the city had enacted emergency water rationing at $480 per day and their water plant would not be ready until next June. She added that the aquifer was dropping and it wouldn’t recover until February. She said if they don’t get their aquifer charged until February, the expenses of trucking water from Eugene to Lowell will exceed the City's $120,000 annual budget for water. She said that before they could get disaster relief, the Board of Commissioners needed to declare Lowell a disaster area.
Ike Jenson, Sheriff’s Office, stated the City of Lowell had to declare that a state of emergency existed. He said the state would review it and the governor may or may not declare it. He said that Mayor Weathers had not spoken with FEMA. He said Lowell was looking for money to offset their expenses. He noted that nothing had come close to being applicable to this situation. On whether a federal disaster declaration would occur, he said the chance was less than slim.
Weeldreyer suggested a board meeting at the SPEC meeting next week discussing this issue.
Jenson declared this did not qualify as a federal disaster. He noted having the National Guard assist in the water hauling was an option, but it had to be certified potable water.
Dwyer said it was critical that the County help out. He noted this had been coming for a long time.
Van Vactor noted there was a contingency fund from Public Works, but it needed to be reimbursed.
Ollie Snowden, Public Works, said Public Works could provide trucks to bring in water. He said he was in the process of finding out if they could be certified. He added the trucks hold only 2,500 gallons and Lowell is currently using a milk truck that has a 5,000 gallon capacity at a cost of $160 per trip, three times per day. He said he would pursue it if the Board so desired.
Weeldreyer suggested exploring all options, including a Public Works solution. She noted there are private companies that bottle water who have come to the aid of communities in emergency situations, or possibly a private sector donation.
6. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION
7. PUBLIC WORKS
a. ORDER 00-9-13-2 Electing Whether or Not to Hear Arguments on an Appeal of a Hearings Official's Reconsidered Decision Approving an Application for Rezoning Property from RR-10 to RR-5 (file PA 98-1633/Gorham).
Kent Howe, Land Management, explained the matter before the Board was whether or not to hear the appeal. He said it was a result of an application before the hearing official to rezone property from RR 10 to RR 5, as the Board had established. He noted the primary issues are average parcel size and number of parcels.
Howe said that Land Management and the Hearings Official’s role is to provide an objective review in a technical and legal area. He noted that it required a technical and legal analysis and that is why these decisions go before the Hearings Official. He added the Hearings Official had concluded that, based on all of the site-specific information in the application, it legally meets the requirements of the Board Order on how the county policy is applied on achieving a density increase.
Howe said there were three or four issues dealing with whether or not a public road divides property. He noted it was the definition of contiguous in Lane Code. He said the version that was referred to by the appellant dealt with current statutes that are not retroactive. He said to put in a new road, the properties need to be partitioned.
Howe said another issue was vacation of a fire road. He noted it was very site-specific and the Board Order that established the Siuslaw Road did not vacate the fire road. He said the position of the County surveyor’s office was that the fire road is still a public road. Regarding the legal lot status, he said it is another site-specific issue dealing with property line adjustments. He noted they do not increase or decrease the number of parcels. He said part of the requirement for a lawful property line adjustment is that it does not create new parcels. He reported that this application (because it is a rezoning) was trying to show that it meets the average size and the number of parcels.
Howe explained that the Board needs to come to the conclusion that the issue is of countywide significance. He didn’t believe all of the issues of the appeal are site-specific to this property. He said they were applying a law that was in effect at the time the application was made. He added that state law is changing on October 4 and the zone change density increase applications will not be acceptable after that. He said the issue involves a unique environmental resource and neither the Planning Director nor the Hearings Official recommend that the Board hear this appeal.
Howe noted the three alternatives before the Board are to hear the appeal on the record, not hear the appeal and remain silent on the Hearings Official decision, or hear the appeal and affirm the Hearings Official’s decision. He noted staff recommended not hearing the appeal and affirming the Hearings Official’s decision.
Weeldreyer asked why the Hearings Official ruled one way the first time and changed it.
Howe reported that the Hearings Official did not have the complete record and there were facts missing from the initial decision. He noted the request for reconsideration was to provide the Hearings Official with the complete facts related to the fire road and whether it had been vacated.
Dwyer asked what would expedite the process.
Howe responded electing not to hear and affirming the Hearings Official’s decision.
MOTION: to not hear the appeal and the matter be forwarded to LUBA.
Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.
Sorenson reiterated the motion to not hear arguments on the appeal and to remain silent on the Hearings Official’s decision and interpretation.
Weeldreyer stated this was not the staff’s recommendation. She wanted to know the disadvantage of affirming the Hearings Official’s findings.
Stephen Vorhes, Assistant County Counsel, responded the order was drafted to affirm and adopt the Hearings Official’s interpretation. He said if the motion is successful, the order will be changed to eliminate the adopting of the Hearings Official’s decision as the Board interpretation. He noted that in the debate at the Land Use Board of Appeals (LUBA), there would be no deference given to the Hearings Official’s interpretation. He added that LUBA would not be compelled to follow. He said in this case the Board was interpreting Lane Code and the state statutes. He noted it was not clear all of the interpretations were solely Lane County ordinances.
Weeldreyer asked what the advantage was of using the road as a natural divider of two parcels on the same tax lot.
Don Nickell, Land Management Planning Staff, reported that in 1972 there were new land division laws in effect. He noted for contiguous ownership and breaking up contiguous ownership to divide land, all ownership had to be taken up. He said they made a determination that county roads split property, so they didn’t use contiguous ownership on either side of a county road. He added when the state law was changed in 1985 it was specific that a parcel was a legal lot. He noted the definition of contiguous ownership stayed in their code and they held that county and public roads still divide a property. He reported that a 1990 law stated the state had problems when it wanted additional right-of-way and there was an interpretation from the State Attorney General which said they were dividing property. He said that after 1990, if there are additional dedications, or new rights-of-way, it didn’t split property. He noted it appears to conflict with Lane Code on anytime there is a new road put in, it's not split. He added all prior roads (from 1975) were held that they split property.
Weeldreyer asked what impact the motion would have on the planning staff as it relates to the road issue.
Howe responded it doesn’t give deference when the arguments are being made before LUBA that the Lane County policy is for older roads. He added they recognize that contiguous is defined in such a way that public roads divide property. He noted state law is not clear, but was clear when the statutes went into effect that said public roads do not divide property and it was not meant to be retroactive. He reported they were applying old county policy. He added if the deference was not given to LUBA, the old county policy would not be part of the policy before LUBA. He said if the Board doesn’t give the deference, then this policy wouldn’t be up for argument before LUBA as sanctioned by the Board.
Weeldreyer stated she would not support the motion. She said she would support sending this to LUBA. She said it was important to support the Hearings Official’s findings based on County interpretation.
Dwyer stated he would support his original motion. He said the Board couldn’t affirm something that doesn’t conform to law.
Green stated in most cases he would prefer to hear the argument. He asked by sending it to LUBA (and not sanctioning it) if it reduced the likelihood that LUBA would remand it back to the Board.
Vorhes said it would be difficult to determine the outcome of a LUBA appeal at any time, since it depends on the issues raised in the appeal. He said if the Board leaves silent the Hearings Official’s interpretation, there will not be deference to that issue. He noted for the future, unless the Board steps in and expresses an opinion on that issue, (or any other issues in this application that would have bearing on future applications) the Hearings Official will continue to follow that interpretation until it is determined it is not accurate or well founded.
On vacation of the fire road, Weeldreyer stated there was a discrepancy because the tax assessor’s office records indicated the road was vacated and the county surveyor and board records show it wasn’t. She asked if they would affect the outcome on how the Board votes.
Vorhes responded where there is a factual dispute, the evidence will be something that LUBA will determine if there was substantial evidence in the record to support the conclusions and findings. He added where it is a matter of interpreting the effect of those facts, the focus will be on the law for that interpretation.
Sorenson said the memo was persuasive that two of the four criteria could be of countywide significance. He said hearing the appeal and hearing some of the issues raised in the appeal would be a way for the Board to get at some of the more complex issues.
VOTE: 3-1 (Weeldreyer dissenting.)
Weeldreyer explained she voted no because retroactively applying state law to the road issue could have been avoided.
Sorenson favored hearing the appeal because two of the four criteria were met on having the matter heard before the Board.
b. ORDER 00-9-13-3 Approving a Countywide Access Management Fund Priority List for the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).
Tom Stinchfield, Public Works, passed out a revised Exhibit A for the order with the revised costs. He explained they had been getting ready for the September 28 meeting at the Region 2 office. He noted that last Wednesday the Board adopted a list for the local street fund and STIP priority list. He said this is the last in the series added in the middle of August for the access management fund. He said it was discussed at MPC last week and approved with comments. He added there was a letter from MPC that was signed and sent to the governor regarding the access management project. He noted if the Board takes action on this today, it will be forward to ODOT.
Stinchfield stated the City of Coburg delivered a letter to the Board that discussed the Pearl Street project. He said it supported the Roberts Road project on the list. He said beside Coburg, they had not heard about projects from any other cities.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 00-9-13-3.
Green, MOVED, Dwyer SECONDED.
Green noted that MPC discussed the process more so than readjusting the projects.
c. SIXTH READING AND DELIBERATION Ordinance PA 1109 Amending the West Eugene Wetlands Plan by Adopting New Wetland Designations for Site HG, Referred to as the Hyundai Site, and Related Text Amendments, and Adopting a Severability Clause. (NBA & PM 3/29/00, 4/12/00, 6/28/00, 8/2/00 & 8/30/00)
Sorenson noted that Commissioner Morrison would be calling from Washington, D.C. for the Sixth Reading and Deliberation on this matter.
Jim Torrey, Mayor, City of Eugene, reported the Eugene City Council had completed work on the speedway issue. He thanked the Board for their courtesies to the staff and working together to move this issue forward.
Vorhes noted that the ordinance in front of the Board makes reference to the speedway ordinance he recommended be deleted so there is no reference to a speedway. He passed out revised copies. He noted he deleted any reference to Ordinance PA 1108.
MOTION: to adopt Ordinance PA 1109 including the new revised ordinance that deleted language with the speedway.
Green MOVED, Morrison SECONDED.
Weeldreyer said that the city and County have made a substantial investment of infrastructure into West Eugene to promote diversity of jobs in Lane County. She said there is comparable employment wages for her rural constituency and she would support the adoption of the ordinance. She added it did make a compromise on some of the wetland areas in short supply. She said it is important for the Board to allow the modifications.
Dwyer said it had to do with a balance of wetland preservation and the economy. He added it allowed them to protect the rest of the wetlands. He said he would be supporting this.
Morrison echoed Dwyer and Weeldreyer. She said they talk as a Board about creating family wage jobs and they have to continue that for the people employed there.
Sorenson said it was valuable to see the different points of view come together. He supported this to maintain the wetlands plan without having the Army Corps of Engineers claim that Lane County hadn’t lived up to its side of the bargain.
ROLL CALL VOTE: 5-0 (Morrison present via telephone).
8. CONSENT CALENDAR
A. Approval of Minutes
B. County Administration
1) ORDER 00-9-13-4 Appointing and Reappointing Justices Pro tempore for the Central Lane Justice Court for One (1) Year.
2) ORDER 00-9-13-5 Appointing and Reappointing Justices Pro tempore for the Florence Lane Justice Court for One (1) Year.
3) ORDER 00-9-13-6 Appointing and Reappointing Justices Pro tempore for the Oakridge Justice Court for One (1) Year.
C. Health and Human Services
1) RESOLUTION AND ORDER 00-9-13-7 Accepting Revised Grant Award #046 to the 1999-2001 County Financial Assistance Grant Award #20-001 with the Oregon Mental Health and Development Disabilities Services Division in the Amount of $254,013; and Appropriating an Additional $166,021 in Revenue and Expenditures in Fund 286 for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities.
2) ORDER 00-9-13-8 Delegating Authority to the County Administrator to Sign a Contract Amendment with Independent Environments, Inc. to Provide Disability Services in the Amount of $34,890.
3) ORDER 00-9-13-9 Delegating Authority to the County Administrator to Sign a Contract Amendment with ARC of Lane County to Provide Disability Services in the Amount of $22,002.
D. Public Safety
1) ORDER 00-9-13-10 Bid LCP 2000-06 for Requirements Purchase of Pharmacy Services.
E. Public Works
1) ORDER 00-9-13-11 Authorizing the Parks Division to Apply for an Opportunity Grant from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department for Replacement of the Restroom and Shower Facility at Baker Bay Park and Delegating Authority to the County Administrator to Sign the Application.
MOTION: to approve the Consent Calendar.
Dwyer MOVED, Weeldreyer SECONDED.
9. CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES
a. ORDER 00-9-13-12 Authorizing the Lane County Commission on Children and Families to Submit Phase I of the Lane County Early Childhood Plan to the Oregon Commission on Children and Families.
Pam Strimling, Children and Families, explained the early childhood plan was different than Senate Bill 555, because it will be the commissions’ plan for early childhood. She said SB 555 will be the County’s comprehensive plan for services. She said the most important step was to bring the community into the process. She noted they had to apply for the additional funds for Healthy Start. She said they submitted that and worked on a bigger plan.
Strimling noted the planning guidelines provided an outline. She said the first requirement was to study where they were, analyze it, get data and then see what the community wanted. She suggested that the department make sure there was nothing to be changed.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 00-9-13-12.
Weeldreyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.
b. ORDER 00-9-13-13 Authorizing the Lane County Commission on Children and Families to Submit SB 555 Phase I Comprehensive Planning Framework for Children and Families to the Oregon Commission on Children and Families.
Pat Rogers, Children and Families, recalled that there was an ongoing effort (Senate Bill 555) that was passed in the legislature in 1999. She said it was legislation that intended by the end of 2005 that each county produce one coordinated comprehensive plan for children, youth and families from age 0 to 18. She noted it was being done in three phases and this is Phase 1. She requested authorization to submit Phase 1 to the state by September 15. She passed out additional documentation (copy in file). She noted that Phase 1 was to develop a framework and document information in the community on children, youth and families. She stated that every county went through this process.
Heather Hanson, Children and Families, explained there are four goals: strong nurturing families, healthy thriving children, healthy thriving youth, and caring community; and ten outcomes the state had identified. She said the next step would be for the CCF to have a public hearing and announce it in The Register-Guard.
Van Vactor asked how Lane County was doing in comparison with other counties.
Hanson responded Lane County was better overall. She said the teen pregnancy rate had continued to increase locally, but had gone down at the state level.
Rogers stated this process will generate data by which the state will instruct them to use as a resource. She added the document before the Board was only the beginning. She said they included planning groups and documents from the alcohol and drug abuse plan, the juvenile justice governor’s plan, and the early childhood planning team from the PSCC subcommittee. She said it was a framework. She explained they would be adding data and begin to get the real picture. She cautioned it was a premature document for a budget decision.
Green said the document was a compilation of data from community partners on what is done in Lane County. He noted the next phase would be the prioritization of all of the resources. He asked how much the state allocated for the process.
Rogers responded the first phase was allocated at $13,175 and their best guess is about $75,000 for the entire project.
Weeldreyer suggested having one more meeting of the Children and Families planning committee to make sure that the document is a sturdy framework.
Dwyer stated it was a good start defining goals. He added it was good to analyze what was working and apply that to other parts of the county.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 00-9-13-13.
Green MOVED, Weeldreyer SECONDED.
Weeldreyer asked staff to distribute this plan to the CCF and the Board as a final sign off.
Rogers noted that it was a community plan, not a commission or staff-driven document. She added it would never work unless they had real community input and dialogue and time to looking at everything. She said they will take the first steps and not go further than the first phase.
10. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
Sorenson announced he met with the mayors of local communities and city managers and the governor on LCOG’s 2050 Study.
Weeldreyer discussed a fax from NACo regarding T 21 planning regulations for non-metropolitan areas. She reported the deadline for comment is September 23. She said there is a sample letter that would reinforce NACo’s position that closes the gap between rural and urban officials, putting together statewide transportation improvement programs.
Green said he would support the letter if Weeldreyer would draft it.
Sorenson suggested bringing it back.
Weeldreyer stated she would write it and bring it back for the special September 19 meeting.
Green said he attended the Woodland Estates facility on Terry Street. He discussed the jail measures.
Dwyer suggested a rainy day fund for the future if Senate Bill 1608 were to pass.
11. EMERGENCY BUSINESS
There being no further business, Commissioner Sorenson adjourned the meeting at 12:27 p.m.
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