BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS' WORK SESSION

April 16, 2002

1:30 p.m.

Commissioners' Conference Room

APPROVED 1/6/03

 

Commissioner Bill Dwyer presided with Commissioners Bobby Green, Sr., Anna Morrison and Peter Sorenson present. Cindy Weeldreyer was excused. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.

 

7.PUBLIC COMMENT

 

Dennis Morgan, 36249 Peele Lane, Springfield, asked about the interest rate for the bonds for the fairgrounds.He asked if the fairground project addressed economic and community development.He said it allows events to be held at the fairgrounds:the County 4H Fair and the large animal portion of the Lane County Fair.He said nowhere in the application did it note economic impact. He stated that HALA supported the 4H Fair and large animals at the County Fair.He said they believe in truth in government and if there is an economic development grant, it should go to economic development.He noted the project cost is $1.6 million to connect 5.5 acres of drainage to the wastewater system.He added that connecting the whole complex to the wastewater system is projected to be $7.2 million.He didnít think the County should invest that money.

 

8.PUBLIC WORKS

 

a.PUBLIC HEARING/River Road Improvement Project (Carthage-Beacon).

 

Tom Stinchfield, Public Works, reported the River Road project from Carthage to Beacon is a short section of River Road that is scheduled for construction in 2003 at a cost of $1 million and is 2,000 feet long.He noted the proposal is to build an urban street, a three lane cross section with bike lanes, sidewalks, curbs and gutters.He said the property owners had appealed the recommendation of the Roads Advisory Committee.He noted that 50 percent of the owners objected to the Roads Advisory recommendation.He stated the Roads Advisory Committeeís recommendation was made after consideration of a public meeting on November 15, 2001.

 

Stinchfield explained the Roads Advisory Committee met on January 30, 2002 and considered the staff recommendation to proceed, and concurred with one change.He said they recommended reducing the sidewalk width on the setback sidewalk from six feet to five feet.

 

Stinchfield noted that this part of River Road is included in TransPlan as project number 545.He said they included turn lanes on Beacon Drive both east and west of River Road, conduit, and other planning in the project for a future traffic signal.

 

Mike Russell, Public Works, noted the original design concept at the public hearing proposed removal of approximately 10 trees.He said they met with property owners who were concerned about the speed limit and trees being removed.

 

Stinchfield noted the pavement is 42 feet wide and will be widened to 48 feet.He added that there is a need for sidewalks, and staff recommended bike lanes and sidewalks.

 

Commissioner Dwyer opened up the Public Hearing.

 

Robert Vaughn, 30590 W. Beacon, stated when the project first started, they heard about safety.He said there are a lot of accidents at Beacon and River Road.He commented that the speed limit needed to be lowered north of Beacon Road.He added they didnít need turn lanes on Beacon and he didnít think sidewalks were needed.

 

Dawn Leslie, 4495 River Road, thanked the Board for listening to the constituents.She noted there was an overwhelming opposition to the improvements among all of the property owners adjacent to the project.She thought the proposed improvements would decrease safety.She thought the best way to improve safety would be to lower the speed limit to 40 miles per hour and have it enforced.She commented that River Road needed to be restriped as it is now a passing lane.She stated they had a community meeting to discuss what type of project would be an improvement to the section.She said the number one improvement was a traffic signal at River Road and Beacon Road.She said it would improve the quality of life and safety on that segment of River Road. She stated there was not a need for sidewalks as there is no place to walk to because the Santa Clara shops are located two miles away.She said if a turn lane and a lower speed limit improves safety then the sidewalks become unnecessary. She said it is a financial burden to some people and doesnít improve the quality of life.She was opposed to taking down more trees.

 

Steve Carper, 4501 River Road, commented if they could reduce speed limits they wouldnít need sidewalks.He said he had been impacted by the development and appreciated the Boardís consideration of this.He stated the residents wanted to retain the quality of life by keeping things simple.

 

Darlene Goss, stated she was one of three owners of the Beacon House.She agreed that River Road should be widened for a turn lane onto Beacon.She noted her property is on the corner and the number one priority is safety.She stated that a traffic light was needed to reduce the speed. She questioned the use of bike lanes and wondered where they would ride bikes.

 

Sorenson asked what the restrictions were to stripe a road and put up a traffic signal.

 

Stinchfield responded the County was authorized to do signing and marking on County roads.He added they are under an obligation to follow state standards so they see similar things on the road.He noted they had been before the Board before when traffic signals have been requested and the criteria is not met.He said there is a series of warrants in the manual on traffic control devices that Lane County is required to follow.He said they would not recommend a signal if the warrants were not met.He commented the traffic volume was high enough on River Road at the Beacon Road intersection to warrant a signal but the side street volumes on Beacon were not meeting those criteria.He said a signal should be planned, but not installed.

 

Harold Malcolm, 4700 River Road, objected to the widening of the road and the addition of sidewalks.He said that widening the road would not make it safer.He urged the Board to lower the speed limit to 40 miles per hours.He thought a light signal at River Road and Beacon would make it safer.He was concerned about the drainage of the road because the drainage issue was not discussed and his property is prone to flooding.He thought the public should pay for the sidewalks, not the residents.He urged the Board to listen to the residents of the River Road area and act on their suggestions.He noted that most were opposed to the widening of the road and adding sidewalks.

 

Dale Miller, 4750 River Road, said he was concerned about the ditch and the run off situation as it runs across the front of his property.He wanted larger bike lanes instead of sidewalks.He said that widening the roads makes people drive faster.He didnít see any reason for left turn lanes on Beacon as there isnít enough traffic.He suggested lowering the speed beyond Beacon so people would have to slow down.

 

Roger Bare, 4690 River Road, stated his concern is with the speed on River Road.He thought that lowering the speed limit and adding the stoplight makes the transition from urban to rural.He didnít see the need for expanding Beacon Road.

 

Pamela Malcolm, 4700 River Road, was also concerned about the speed problems.She thought there was enough traffic to warrant a traffic light.She didnít think they should put in the sidewalks at this time.

 

Dwyer didnít think the widening project would fix the problem, only exacerbate it.He thought they should make repairs to the road that wouldnít require widening.He wanted the traffic signal, road signing, and extending the speed zone.

 

Stinchfield stated he would bring back the traffic data they have.He said if the signal were warranted now, they would be recommending it with the project.He noted that $75,000 was the minimum cost of the signal.

 

In response to some of the testimony, Stinchfield commented there was concern the passing movements that run northbound are a problem.He said if they do the project they were proposing, there would be a center turn lane from Carthage to Beacon and a left turn lane southbound.He said the project they are recommending for striping would eliminate passing movements from the whole area.He added it was safer to have a sidewalk.

 

Green suggested reviewing a scaled down version with a center turn lane.He was in favor of sidewalks. He asked if the sidewalks werenít necessary if they could possibly widen the shoulders.

 

Snowden responded they do sometimes widen the shoulders.He said no sidewalks were a contradiction of the policies that the Board adopted.He said sidewalks should be included with bike lanes.

 

Green asked what needed to happen for a traffic signal to be established.

 

Stinchfield stated their proposal is to set the intersection up for a future signal.He said now was the time to build paving the way it will be required in the future.He said it was a possibility for the Board to direct them not to put in the turn lanes on Beacon at this time.

 

Dwyer wanted to do the things that were necessary for safety. He wanted the light installed now as opposed to waiting until later.

 

Sorenson asked for more information.

 

Morrison supported the lowering of the speed limit but didnít think it could be enforced.She was supportive of the project but didnít want double striping.

 

b.WORK SESSION/Countywide Priority Listing for the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) FY 2004-2007 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).

 

Bob Pirrie, ODOT, explained the purpose of working this draft review of the project list is to look at a priority order within the community that they could take to the All Area Region Meeting on June 7, prioritize the money and decide what projects would be allocated.He added there would be a draft STIP produced that would be used for a period of a year and the following year the Oregon Transportation Commission makes a final approval when the projects are authorized to go forward.He noted the Oregon Transportation Investment Act projects that have been put forward within the Lane County area are about $39 million between now and 2008 to be put on a project list in this area, not related to the 04 /07 STIP.

 

MOTION: to set a Public Hearing for May 1, 2002 at 1:30 p.m. for the purpose of prioritizing the STIP.

 

Morrison MOVED, Green SECONDED.

 

VOTE: 5-0.

 

Stinchfield stated at one point this list would have to be blended so the urban and rural priorities are combined.He thought that should be done before the Public Hearing on May 1 so the public would be able to comment.

 

Stinchfield explained the OTC approved the project criteria that were attached as a draft.He hoped to get better cost numbers on some of the ODOT projects that their staff is working on.

 

Snowden said the criteria the OTC wants to look at is if the project is ready to be delivered in the STIP.

 

7.COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

None.

 

8.CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD

 

None.

 

9.EMERGENCY BUSINESS

 

ORDER 02-4-16-3/In the Matter of Agreeing to be the Applicant for a Loan and Grant from the State Department of Community Development to Fund the Storm Water Connector Project at the Lane County Fairgrounds.

 

Mike Gleason, Fairgrounds, explained the working agreement between the Board of Commissioners and the Fair Board is predicated on the assumption that they will operate the fairgrounds without an operating subsidy.He added they would also operate two additional functions, the convention center and the youth and family program. He said that would come out of their account.He noted the Board of Commissioners and CVALCO support 65% of their capital investment.

 

Gleason noted that WBGS did a study (requested by the Board of Commissioners) of the replacement value of the fairgrounds and their estimate was $70 million.He said it supports one million people per year in activity level. He added if the Board of Commissioners wouldnít subsidize it on the capital side, they could convert it back to just operating the fair because the fair had become so successful.He stated if they were to take a straight-line depreciation of 20 years, the replacement value would take up $3.5 million per year.He added if they did a 50-year replacement, they would take up $1.5 million per year.He stated they would subsidize the capital by getting grants and revenues.He noted the Board of Commissioners had invested $5 million in the past five years in room tax and they received $3.5 million in other grant loans.

 

Gleason explained that the foundation of this project was the back half of the facility and the drainage systems that had never been replaced within the past 30 years.He noted there was at least a 20-year history of problems with sewage getting into the Amazon, and manifesting itself in a lawsuit.He said they are at the stage now where they have an agreed memorandum of understanding.He thought the project cost would be about $1.6 million.He added that portion would be essential for completion this year in order to meet the memorandum of understanding. He stated it didnít include the repair of the fire lane that needs to be done.He said plumbing issues came up and they tried to get away from using pumps.

 

Gleason asked the Board for the opportunity to make the application. He hoped to get $500,000 to $650,000 in grant monies.He noted the grant allows for a 50 percent loan and 50 percent in grants.He said there were advantages to getting the loan as the rates are low and it might be the reasonable thing to do.He said it was prudent for them to make the application.He said the project is an important part of their infrastructure improvements of the capital improvements plan.He added the City of Eugene is contributing around $50,000 for the project and might contribute up to $1 million.

 

Jeff Towery, Budget Analyst, stated they were able to bring a joint recommendation to the Board of Commissioners from the Fair Board staff with respect to the need to refinance and dedicate the available room tax funds to capital projects.He added there was concurrence at the refinancing action about the use of the $890,000 reserve.He commented the new capital improvements plan that the Fair Board had put together had been presented to the Board of Commissioners but not adopted.

 

Towery explained they raised the policy issues they wanted the Board to consider during deliberation.(Page 3 of file note, copy in file).He said the Board needed to answer the question about whether there is a need to supplement the financing of that project and if there was a better method of financing.

 

Dwyer asked what the implications were if the Board didnít approve the application.

 

Towery noted that County Administratorís perspective was not clear from the staff report.He said they are a general reference to other projects in the capital improvement plan.He added at the public information meeting last week, there were general references to other projects in the capital improvement plan and it was not clear which additional project would be funded if a grant loan application were successful.He said it was hard to evaluate that without more specific detail.He noted that in his conversations with the OEDD, the information they received leads them to believe this project is eligible.

 

Gleason said they would not go any further if the County didnít want to be the applicant.

 

Towery said the question before the Board is whether or not they proceed with the application.He added it didnít bind the Board to accept the loan or grant or a combination.He said if the Board thinks these are important questions that need to be answered, he would work with the Fair Board to answer them before a final decision is before the Board.He noted the Board Order that was prepared for the Board referenced a 1998 Board Order that was subsequently rescinded.He stated the recommendation from County Administration and County Counsel is that proper reference be given to the Board Order from earlier this year, and that the County Administrator sign the application.

 

Assistant County Counsel Marc Kardell reiterated the Board was agreeing to the findings in the order with the amendment to be made.

 

MOTION: to move that the Board authorize the County Administrator to be the applicant on behalf of Lane County for a loan and grant from the State of Oregon Economic and Community Development Department to fund the storm water connector project at the Lane County Fairgrounds.

 

Sorenson MOVED, Green SECONDED.

 

Green asked what the debt ratio was regarding the accumulation of the loans.

 

Gleason responded the equity that the County owns is approximately $70 million.He noted the investment they were looking to make is a contribution room tax.He said it is about $865,000 they hold in reserves. He said that money is used as the first payment.He added if they get no money from the state that would be all until they receive the next payment of room tax.He noted they had already spent $250,000 getting this project out of their operating account.He stated they couldnít wait, that they have to build the project. He said if they are going to continue to operate the convention center and other areas, they must continue to have the capital subsidy because the normal repair/replacement is over $1 million per year on a facility of that size.

 

Green asked what the repayment schedule would be.

 

Gleason commented he didnít know there would be a loan.He noted the way this money is applied is they do a portion as a loan and a portion as a grant.His goal was to get a grant.Green stated he was hesitant to apply for a loan.He supported a grant.

 

Gleason said if they are not in the long-term business of using the room tax for subsidizing the capital on the fair, convention center and youth opportunities, then they should get out of that business relationship and operate only a fair.He commented that the Lane County Fair Board was the only board that wasnít taking operating and capital subsidies and they are able to use the operating account to pay for a facility.

 

Sorenson said they should follow through by having a partnership that involves three major entities:the people of Lane County, the government of Lane County and the convention and visitors industry.He added in order to benefit the constituents, they will invest public dollars into the fair by means of the transient room tax in part to benefit the people within the County who use the facility.He agreed with Gleason that if the Board didnít want to pursue investing in the facility and using the TRT as the method by which they invest in the facility, then they should rethink the whole project.He didnít want to go back to just a fair.

 

Morrison was concerned about the loan.She was not opposed to applying for the grant.She said she has a hard time figuring where the money is and how the project amounts fluctuate at times. She was also concerned that if they apply for the money, what they would do if they find out they are way underfunded.She asked how Lane County would come up with the difference.

 

Gleason responded they take the $700,000 for repair of the roofs to fix the plumbing or try to get the state to give them more than $650,000.He said if they donít get the grant, there would be more room tax going into this project and less room tax going into other projects.He noted when the Board allocated the $890,000 they said if they donít use all the money they would use it on the rest of the capital projects.He didnít understand why there would be any concern on the part of the staff as to whether they would get grant money.

 

Dwyer stated if the state offered the money he would be willing to take it.He said the County needed to be the applicant because it has to be a general purpose government.He said they could authorize the County to apply and they would see what happens with the application.

 

VOTE:4-0.

 

Morrison wanted Item 4. on the file note to take place so they would have clear direction as to what they would do the next time.

 

There being no further business, Commissioner Dwyer adjourned the meeting at 4:56 p.m.

 

 

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary