BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS' WORK SESSION

August 13, 2002

1:30 p.m.

Commissioners' Conference Room

APPROVED 9/11/02

 

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

 

#12.PUBLIC HEARINGS

 

a.PUBLIC HEARING AND ORDER 02-8-13-5/In the Matter of An Election Authorizing Lane County Planetarium and Learning Center General Obligation Bonds.

 

Wilson explained the process was dictated by statute.She said the commissioners are required to hold a public hearing before they could place a measure on the ballot.She added there is a lengthy advertising process that has to take place before the public hearing.She noted (concerning the request presented by Lane ESD to the Board of Commissioners in July), August 13 was the earliest day a public hearing could take place.She stated the matter before the Board is whether or not to place on the ballot for the November election a question of authorizing general obligation bonds for the Lane County Planetarium and Learning Center.

 

Wilson noted that in the agenda cover memo and packet is a proposed order with the ballot title that would place the measure on the ballot.She added the ballot title has word limitations.She stated the advertisement was run at a $10 million figure and that served as an upper limit.

 

Wilson said another issue for the Board is whether or not this matter should be placed in the voterís pamphlet.She said if the measure were not going into the votersí pamphlet, there would be more time to decide on a ballot title.She added if the measure is to go into the votersí pamphlet, the decision and explanatory statement must be filed by August 27.

 

Van Vactor explained why County Administration thought there was a need for a file note.He said when he reviewed this matter, it caused questions and significant policy issues.He noted that the other Lane County ballot measures had gone through the internal process.He stated that didnít happen with this proposal.He discovered in reading the material that this item had been publicly discussed between the Lane Education Foundation and the Fair Manager since March 20, 2002, but it hadnít been brought to the attention to the Board or him.

 

Van Vactor noted the first issue of significant concern was who would be operating the Planetarium long-term.He included in the packet of information to the Board about 27 background documents with a file note.He stated one document was a financial analysis that the managing director of the fair, Warren Wong prepared.He reported that the Fair Board has significant financing and operational issues.He noted due to fiscal limitations, Wong was recommending that the Fair Board concentrate on core services and one or two special projects.Van Vactor stated he had not seen any affirmative statement from the Fair Board (in the form of a resolution) that they want this project to go forward.He recommended that if the Board of Commissioners wants to go forward, they get a clear policy statement from the Fair Board that they(the Fair Board) wanted it and would accept long term responsibility.

 

Van Vactor asked who was currently in charge of the project.He noted in an e-mail exchange between Wong and county counsel, Wong indicated he was not responsible for the Planetarium, he was the managing director of the fairgrounds.It was his understanding that the responsibility had been assigned to a part-time consultant.He noted the management issue for the Board is that this is a significant public investment of $10 million.He said the project requires management with full-time responsibility.

 

Van Vactor noted the only business plan was the one that was prepared by Kim Short on June 6. He stated they had been promised a final business plan, but that had not arrived until last Thursday, the date the agenda material was due as well as the file note.He added they prepared the file note on the June 6 business plan.He noted they had an opportunity to review the new business plan.He stated with the June 6 plan, they couldnít tell who carried the operation cost after the loan the Board gave the Fair Board of $330,000.He calculated the loan was about $80,000 short to carry it through.

 

Van Vactor stated the Board needed to have a discussion with the Fair Board about whether or not they could handle this financially.He stated Wong in his analysis (Tab 18, schedule B) indicates that the Fair Board had not covered operational costs in six of the last seven years.He noted that one rainy fair season and they could be in trouble with covering basic operations.

 

Van Vactor said the proposal is to place this on the ballot before operational deficits are covered.He noted that past commissioners had expressed (as a matter of policy) placing items on the ballot when operational expenses are covered and the expenses are unknown.He added that the people responsible for raising the money had indicted their goal was to raise $3 million but after they raise $1.5 million, that would trigger the target at which point they wanted to have the bond sold.  He asked if $1.5 million was the correct figure or if $3 million was the trigger amount before the bond is sold.

 

Van Vactor recalled that state law is clear that the Fair Board is the exclusive manager of the fairgrounds.He noted it would be the Lane County Board of Commissioners placing the item on the ballot, but the Board of Commissioners would have no control over its management, that would be in the exclusive hands of the Fair Board.He asked the Board if they were comfortable with not having any operational control.

 

Van Vactor asked whether the Planetarium would be available for Lane County school children.He noted in the June 6 business plan prepared by Short, he forecasted revenue of $3.00 per school child.He questioned whether or not the school districts in Lane County would have the funds to transport as well as pay the $3.00 cover charge.

 

Van Vactor appreciated the Jaqua pledge, as it is a great gift to the community that would be beneficial for the citizens.He wanted to make sure that the conditions of the pledge are all filled.He stated the Jaquas had fully fulfilled their requirement, but he was concerned that other parties had not.He noted a concern was that in the pledge agreement.The Lane Education Foundation makes the commitment that the facility would be named the Robin Jaqua Planetarium.He wasnít aware if the Fair Board had that policy for taxpayers paying for a facility but having a private name.

 

Van Vactor noted on page 5 of the Intergovernmental Agreement, the signatories believed that the Lane County Commissioners and Fair Board were working on an IGA, which would deal with the rights and obligations of the construction of the facility.He stated he had seen no IGA to that effect.

 

With regard to taxable versus tax-exempt bonds, Van Vactor said they had to outsource their food service and if any portion of the Planetarium and Learning Center were to be operated by a non-profit or profitable corporation (because they couldnít use public employees) county counsel advises that would make the status of the bonds taxable.He added that would raise the interest rate and significantly change the amount that needed to be levied each year.He recommended they publish both rates so it could be disclosed to the citizens.

 

Van Vactor was concerned the Planetarium measure might jeopardize other measures.He reiterated the Board had already placed five measures on the ballot and he was concerned they would get lost in the glitz of a Planetarium.

 

Van Vactor noted the project started at $1.5 million and had grown to $10 million.He asked if $10 million was the correct amount.He added there was a possibility of appropriations from congress and the opportunity for grants.He recommended having a discussion if the Fair Board would be successful in obtaining congressional appropriations or grants.He asked if these funds were in addition to the $10 million.

 

With regard to the new business plan, Van Vactor noted there was a significant change in the time frame for fundraising.He stated besides the Jaqua pledge, only $92,000 had been raised.He thought it was difficult--given the economy--to raise funds.He stated the business plan identifies the primary source of revenue as attendance by school children at 25% of their total revenue.He noted there were about 48,000 students enrolled, with most schools having a declining enrollment.He stated the projection is that 42 to 63% of all students or 20,000 to 30,000 would attend each year.He added that was 83 children per day.He asked what the basis was for that recommendation.He said they also increased the admission fees from $3.00 to $5.00. He said if there is trouble with $3.00 per student, he didnít see where school districts could afford $5.00 per person.

 

Van Vactor said the business plan also anticipates receiving significant revenues from school districts by providing professional development conferences for teachers.It was his understanding that most school districts (because of their financial constraints) have to do most of that at their own facility to avoid rental charges.He said having a plan for the Lane County school children to attend is critical because it would be citizensí tax dollars that would fund this.

 

With regard to financing, Van Vactor stated the current cost estimate is $9,987,000 and that does not include the repayment of the new loan at $50,000 to the transient room tax.He asked what portion of the Planetarium would be cut back to come within the limitation of the $10 million.

 

Van Vactor said the proposal assumes in trying to cover the operating deficit, earnings at 4.5% from the Oregon Community Foundation.He asked if that had been verified.†† With regard to cash flow, he noted the interest payments from the endowment would come at the end of the year, but the business plan doesnít reflect any costs to cover the loans for that period of time.He noted there wasnít any acknowledgment in the business plan about drop off in attendance.

 

Van Vactor noted the marketing efforts at the facility anticipated the use of current Lane Events Center marketing staff.He asked if the management director was committed to that support to make the staff available.He added in year one and two, the expense of projection showed a decrease in staffing and total expenses from the current operation.He said it related back to the Jaqua pledge because in that agreement it specifically stated that any reduction in the Planetarium funding below current operating levels at any time within the three years of the date of the execution of the agreement by all parties hereto shall be evidence of an intent by Lane County or the Lane County Fair Board not to fund development until a timely completion.He asked how the business plan accommodated the staffing requirements prior to opening.

 

Van Vactor said because there were so many loose ends, he recommended that this be forwarded for more detailed work and for consideration on the 2004 ballot instead of 2002.

 

Joe Berney, Chair, Lane Education Service District Board, 1200 N. Highway 99, Eugene.He said they were concerned not only about the educational development but also about creating opportunities for students.He said they as a governing board have their own policies and procedures to implement and none in the evolution of the Planetarium Learning Center fit their time frame. He said this was too huge to let go of because of the momentum in the community. He noted $1 million had been appropriated toward the project.He added the Planetarium and Learning Center would have a special relationship with NASA.

 

Dwyer asked if the Educational Service District was willing to commit to any operating shortfalls this entity might have.

 

Bierney couldnít make the assurance that the Educational Service District could help.He urged the Board to have an open mind and listen to the wishes of the people.

 

Green asked what the Lane ESD financial commitment was.

 

Francisca Johnson, Fair Board President, 25474 Milo Road, Veneta, stated the Fair Board requested help on a project that would benefit many children in Lane County.She said this education center was core to what they do at the fairgrounds.She was supportive of the Planetarium being at the fairgrounds.She stated the management of the Planetarium would be under the supervision of the fairground and the managing director and its staff.She said it would be run as they run the fair, the convention and sports center.

 

Morrison asked if there was a draft IGA between the Fair Board and the Board of Commissioners.

 

Warren Wong, Fairgrounds Manager, stated there was an IGA between the Fair Board and the ESD.

 

Morrison stated the pledge agreement discussed an IGA with the Lane County Commissioners and the Lane County Fair Board that would deal with the rights and obligations of the two entities with regard to construction of the facility.

 

Johnson responded the only IGA they have was the one between the Fair Board and the Lane ESD.She noted it was created at the time that they needed to assume responsibility for the Planetarium.

 

Morrison requested a breakdown of the endowment money on an annual basis and what the money would pay for.

 

Johnson stated they were not only looking at endowment funds to create opportunities for youth, they were looking to businesses within the community to help sponsor the project.

 

Dwyer commented if the Fair Board wanted to make a commitment, then he wanted the Fair Board to sign a resolution regarding what the commitment was and how they plan to meet the commitment without coming back the Board of Commissioners for money.He also asked if the Fair Board was willing to commit a portion of the growth of the roomtax revenues to any operating deficit.

 

Johnson explained the operations at the fairgrounds had been through their efforts.She said they were asking for help for the capital projects.She added they have managed and will continue to manage the operations.

 

With regard to the deficit years of the Fair Board, Dwyer asked if they should be in the black until they go with the next project.

 

Johnson stated they had made adjustments over the past six years.She said things improved but it had cost them money.She said they continue to improve the way they do business.

 

Charles Warren, Fair Board, said he and the rest of the other Fair Board members take great pride in the fact that they are one of the few fairgrounds that operates within its operating budget.He stated they receive no subsidies for their operations.

 

Morrison asked why the capital had not been listed as an expense.

 

Wong responded that he provided Van Vactor a copy of a report wherein he did an analysis of the past ten years of the financial activity.He stated the operating budget, as is,has operated as a deficit the past six out of seven years.He noted this past year the Fair Board operated with a profit.He noted his charge was to operate the fairgrounds like a business and he needed to make adjustments. He said his underlying criterion was to avoid putting the Board of Commissioners or the Fair Board in needing general funds.

 

Wong noted he had been working with their auditor and they are in agreement that expenditures at the fairgrounds henceforth would come out of the transient room tax and the auditor will audit that and certify to the Board of Commissioners that it was an appropriate capital expenditure

 

Dwyer asked for a resolution from the Fair Board committing to absorbing any operational costs of the Planetarium within their existing revenue base.

 

Warren explained that he was for the public bond measure that would provide enough money to build the Planetarium on a timely basis and the benefit it would be to the people of Lane County.He stated he was concerned about the deficit but Tom Hoyt came forward and has guaranteed to raise up to $3 million of endowment for the facility.He added the $3 million at a conservative figure would generate $150,000 of interest and should be able to subsidize any type of deficit.

 

Dwyer asked if the federal appropriations were included in the $10 million.

 

Johnson responded the appropriations were not included in the $10 million.She noted it was written for technology and the ability to do long distance learning.

 

Weeldreyer noted there was education that could go on at the facility without having to bus children to the facility.She said that was noteworthy, as they had to start thinking non-traditionally about education services.She said this was a way to provide high quality education without having to bring children to the Planetarium.

 

Dwyer stated that raised his concern because the business plan is based on gate receipts and contributions and if distance learning is done then he asked what impact distance learning would have on the Planetarium.

 

Johnson stated that the ESD would help them develop the curriculum to make the long distance learning a reality

 

Green asked if there would be a cost for the ESD developing the curriculum.

 

Johnson responded it was part of the resolution that the superintendents participate in.She said they review the services with the funding they receive.

 

Green requested that they provide a copy of that resolution to the Board of Commissioners spelling out their commitment.

 

Stub Stewart, former president, Bohemia, stated he testified for Mr. Pitman and himself.He said he had always been strong on educational issues and the Planetarium was a good project.

 

Russell Donnelly, 2175 Olive St., Eugene, favored the Planetarium bond measure. He hoped the same spirit of cooperation the Planetarium had in the past would reign in the future.

 

Tom Hoyt, 460 Palomino, Eugene, stated his guaranty is that they would hold a meeting on the first and third Wednesday of every month until the $3 million is raised for the Planetarium.He stated if the bond measure doesnít pass in November he would still continue to raise the money for the Planetarium.He hoped the Board would vote in favor of putting this on the ballot.

 

Kim Short, 1587 Victorian Way, explained the first draft business plan was really a memorandum to the Fair Board to inform them of how they were progressing with the plan to fund the capital improvements for the Planetarium and the Learning Center through community donations.He noted his memorandum to the Fair Board was not enthusiastic about it being an appropriate way to fund the Planetarium.He stated the Fair Board took over the operation of the Planetarium with the full faith and knowledge that it was losing $80,000 to $100,000 per year.He noted the second business plan was written based upon the fact that the capital improvements would be funded through a $10 million general obligation bond. He said in looking at the timelines, if they could get it on the ballot for this year and if it passes, it shortens timeline funding.He estimated that it could save between $730,000 and $966,000 in construction costs.

 

Sorenson asked why the project continues to grow in size with the capital projects.

 

Short responded from pages 5 through 8 of the business plan (copy in file) there is a description of why the project had grown.He explained when the Fair Board took over operation of the Planetarium, they anticipated they could move the dome and relocate the equipment inside the Wheeler Pavilion and upgrade it for about $1 million.He added as they went through the process of evaluating that, they determined it was not feasible, as the building couldnít sustain the dome without major structural improvements.He said the Fair Board uses every facility they have for multiple purposes, and to support the dome and build inner walls, would preclude use of the star machine.He stated they net about $80,000 per year for rental of the building and couldnít use it for other purposes.

 

Short reported the second concept was to construct the Planetarium adjacent to the Wheeler, putting in classrooms with a cost of $3.9 million.He said during the process of trying to collect the money in considering the Planetarium, $3.9 million wouldnít take advantage of technology that could lower education costs throughout the county.

 

Short explained the third option was for $10 million and included substantial renovations to the Wheeler Pavilion, a substantially upgraded Planetarium, the ability to bring in equipment that would become part of the Planetarium and to bring in distance and interactive learning.

 

Morrison asked why there was an adjustment increase per student, but there was no adjustment for the general population.She asked what happens if the funding gets below a certain level.

 

Short responded that they surveyed other Planetariums and most have a $3.00 fee per student, but the bulk of them didnít have interactive learning centers.He said that curriculum and programs would have access to the Planetarium and the Learning Center.He noted they are separate services versus the old plan forecasted at $3.00.He hoped through grants they would be able to bring students to the Planetarium.He noted they made a provision in the plan for a full-time marketing assistant to work with civic organizations, school districts and businesses to help underwrite the costs.He added there are also other school districts outside of the county that would want to access it.

 

Tom Hunton, representing the Fair Board, noted there was no agreement with the Oregon Community Foundation and it needed to be written and agreed upon.They asked the Board to put into the bond that there would be no draw against the bond until there was $1.5 million raised with the Oregon Community Foundation.He said they were pledging to help raise $3 million that would go to operating shortfalls for the current plan.He didnít see any of that money being used to finance transportation from Florence, Mapleton, or Oakridge to the Learning Center and back.

 

Morrison noted the pledge agreement stated, ďthat any reduction in Planetarium funding below current operating levels at any time within three years of the date of execution of the agreement by all the parties hereto shall be evidence of an intent by Lane County or the Lane County Fair Board not to fully fund development for the timely completed.ĒShe said in looking at their projections, there was a decrease in staffing and total expenses from the current operation.She asked if that violated this pledge agreement.

 

Short responded that it required a legal opinion and he was not able to do that.He said they would carry out the current operation and look at how they could balance staffing to make that work.He noted they were making some reductions.

 

Jon Jaqua, 34320 McKenzie Dr., Eugene.In response to Morrisonís question about a reduction, Jaqua said that clause was there as a result of his involvement in drafting the pledge agreement on behalf of his parents.He said they drafted it in a way where it does give control of where the sky vision would go if the Planetarium were not built.He stated they gave three years as the maximum amount of time before they could exercise that option.He didnít want to be in a position where nothing would happen and the technology loses some of its value.He said the pledge agreement was tied into the memorandum of understanding with the LSD.He said there would be some flexibility as long as there is movement forward.

 

Jaqua stated he was representing his parents, John and Robin Jaqua, in their continued interest and commitment to building a Planetarium in Lane County, utilizing the state of the art sky vision that was purchased with their donation of $450,000 to the Planetarium project.He read a statement from his mother.He said when his mother supported interest in this project, naming it was not of interest to her.He said his father thought this might be a way to honor his motherís life commitment to expanding childrenís consciousness, and asked if it was a possibility.He added it was represented in this negotiation that the correct process was followed and the gift of $450,000 in private money justified the name.He said they would be willing to re-address the issue if there was another process that should have been followed.He asked the Board to make sure this happened.

 

Sorenson asked if the education aspect of the Planetarium was significant for the visitor economy

 

Jaqua stated there has to be change at the fair in its format and operation in order to generate increased revenue.He said there would be risks and if there was a public/private partnership between the County and the private sector to put the Planetarium in (whether the learning center is there or it develops over time) it was the best business option to generate revenue that would make this into a self-sustaining operation.

 

Bob Zagorin, CVALCO board member, 4525 Shadowood,Eugene, stated he had attended meetings with others on this project and understands all the issues. He supported the Board of Commissioners placing this on the ballot.He noted when CVALCO had their last board retreat, they identified the need for a regional destination attraction to generate room nights and room tax revenues.He said it would take serious marketing to get the hotel properties and CVALCO to cooperate and market together.He said there was potential and their Board will be supportive and be involved in the marketing.He said he was a member of the Metro Partnership and believed the Planetarium and science learning center will be an asset for the Metro Partnership attempting to site businesses that provide living wage jobs.He hoped the Board of Commissioners would put this on the ballot.

 

Sorenson asked if the Planetarium would be a major destination factor.

 

Zagorin didnít think the Planetarium would generate a tremendous amount of destination traffic.He thought with the appropriate type of marketing, through hotels and family oriented marketing, people would extend their stays.He stated it would give them something to market.

 

Morrison asked, if there were operational costs in the future, CVALCO would be willing to put some of the TRT money on the table.

 

Zagorin said they were supportive of the project and were surprised by the way the money came.He said they expect the money to be reconstituted and freed up as a result of the bond refinancing.He said they were supportive of the marketing.

 

Jeff Boiler, 84754 Hilltop, Pleasant Hill, stated he is the secretary/treasurer of the Lane Education Foundation.††† He said he worked for John Jaquaís dad.He reported that he drafted the budget agreement from an educational point of view. He noted that as a private foundation they have a unique perspective on the business community. He didnít think there was ever a ballot measure that had capital assets paid for in advance.He said with the conditions and pledge agreement, funding had already occurred to a certain extent.He said they have seed money and that is momentum in a capital sense. He noted this was unique because it is an income-producing asset. He said this was one of four facilities in the nation that had a sky vision.

 

June Cole Toll, 4800 Brookwood, Eugene, stated she had been a teacher since 1973 and had been involved with the Planetarium from the early days.She commented the value of the Planetarium as a teaching tool and a supplement to the classroom is immeasurable. She said the Planetarium is needed to be maintained and made available to all of the teachers in Lane County.†† She said if they didnít have the Planetarium it would be a loss to the educators in Lane County.

 

Ralph Haines, 27547 Fruitway, Alvadore, stated he was a retired priest.He announced that their daughter, Wendy Laurence., is an astronaut and has made three flights into space.He encouraged the Board to put this on the ballot.

 

Ann Haines, 27547 Fruitway, Alvadore, stated teachers and adults encouraged her daughter and her dream of becoming an astronaut came true.

 

Tom Hutton, 92194 Perkison Road, Junction City, stated it was the Fair Boardís commitment to operate the Planetarium like the convention city and ice arena are operated.He said if there is a deficit, the Fair Board is responsible.He noted that any of the transportation expenses going to the Planetarium are 70% reimbursable by the state department of education.He said they were comfortable with WGBSís construction estimate and with Kim Shortís business plan.He urged the Board to put this on the ballot.

 

Green asked about the deficits in year one to three.

 

Hutton responded the Fair Board planned to use the balance of the $330,000 to cover the current $80,000 annual deficit.He added they have a time frame of April 2003 in raising $1.5 million.Once the endowment is in place, it would take a year before the interest starts to supplement part of the deficit.

 

Short explained that under the plan (if the public approves the bonds) by the end of June 2003, the Fair Board would have drawn all of the money on the $330,000 loan.He said they would be able to start repaying the loan with the first payment due next year.He noted there was discussion about pushing this off for a couple of years.He said for each year they wait, the Fair Board would have to come up with $200,000 to operate.He said the Fair Board was concerned about drawing the remaining $100,000 on the loan knowing they are going to face a $200,000 deficit.He said there is no money to operate for the next two years so the Fair Board has to face either suspending operations or closing down.If the Board didnít want to put this on the ballot, then it sends the issue to the Fair Board.They would have to figure out where the $200,000 would come from.

 

Morrison asked who would be running the Planetarium.

 

Hutton responded that Warren Wong is the current managing director over all operations at the facility.He added that Mike Gleason is an independent contractor who works on special projects.

 

Wong explained the Fair Board has a contract with Gleason as a consultant.One of his assignments is to work on the Planetarium.He said he is assisting Tom Hoyt in raising the endowment.He noted day-to-day operations and administration of the Planetarium are his responsibility.He envisioned that if this ballot is approved he would be the person in charge.

 

Morrison asked who would oversee the actual capital construction of the project to see and that it is done on time and on budget and that the Board of Commissioners has a say as to where the Planetarium is going.

 

Dwyer said they didnít want Gleason to do anything that might be prohibited by law in terms of advocating for this issue.He said the objective facts need to be put out for the public to make a decision. He added they couldnít use public employees or people under contract to the public to raise money from the private sector.

 

Wong stated if the Board of Commissioners places this on the ballot, that Gleason would be prohibited from expending any time or resources working on the ballot measure.He said that Gleasonís assignment was fundraising.He said as part of his [Wongís] obligation to County Administration and due diligence he raised the issue about private activity of the use of the bonds.He said it needed to be addressed.He was not recommending it.

 

Wilson said it might be reasonable to have a small part of the Planetarium contracted out.She added they might issue a small amount of taxable, and a large amount of non-taxable, bonds and there would be issues developed over time.She said in terms of making representation to the public when they are considering a ballot measure, they canít promise they would all be non-taxable.

 

Dennis Morgan, 36249 Peele Lane, Springfield, said the concept is needed for the community but he was concerned about how it came about and the loose ends.He asked why there was a change in the business plan and advancing the contribution period from 18 months to a six-month period of time.Regarding the letter to Mike Gleason dated March 20, 2002 from ESD,it stated the lease at the current facility would be up in March 2003.He asked where the Planetarium would move to at that time and who would cover the costs.He was concerned about the campaign funds to get the ballot measures out.He asked if the Fair Board had passed a resolution in support.He noted there were potential funding shortfalls of the operation and he asked if the Fair Board would fund those.He said he would work with Tom Hoyt to develop a foundation to make this a joint public partnership even if the bond measure failed.†† He encouraged the group to raise more than $3 million.

 

There being no one else signed to speak, Commissioner Dwyer closed the Public Hearing.

 

Weeldreyer thought the issues of the file note could be worked out.She said it was important to continue being a partner and keep the public/private balance as a model for other projects.She wanted to make sure that Lane County is footnoted in the process, that they made it possible to have this ballot measure and to fund it with a public bond.

 

MOTION: to approve ORDER 02-8-13-5.

 

Weeldreyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.

 

Green favored putting this on the ballot with certain conditions.He requested withdrawing Lane County from the memorandum of understanding and making the Planetarium a County project like the Mental Health and Youth Services buildings.He noted that Jaqua discussed the Planetarium and the support for the Planetarium, but he didnít hear the discussion about the Planetarium/Learning Center.He suggested putting the Planetarium out for a vote and not the Learning Center, giving the committee two years to tie all the loose ends together.

 

Morrison didnít think any of the questions were adequately addressed.She fully supported this as a County project and having David Suchart manage it. She wanted to see the IGA with the Fair Board and the Board of Commissioners about the pledge agreement.She wanted to see the resolution from the Fair Board and instead of $1.5 million, she suggested $2 million before they went out for the bond.She supported having the Planetarium on the ballot with County control.

 

Dwyer also wanted to see the Memorandum of Understanding and the resolution.He was concerned about the process, as this didnít go through the normal committees.He said this would have an impact on the measures the Board did have direct responsibility for.He thought this was a worthy goal.He noted if this ballot measure doesnít pass then it doesnít have support and shouldnít continue.He hoped that this could be a link with parks in a marketing program as it could benefit everyone.He noted the message needs to get out to the voters that the cost is minimal to the average homeowner and the County has the responsibility for a legacy for the children of Lane County.

 

Sorenson declared he was a proponent for this.He thought local officials needed to supply leadership in the absence of state leadership.He thought the project was worthy because it is educational and has a business rationale for the Lane Events Center to provide for people staying in Lane County.He wanted this to be put on the ballot because it could benefit the community.

 

Green said this should be allowed to be given to the voters.He said since this would be a regional project, the Board of Commissioners should back this and have operational control.

 

Morrison stated the Fair Board had a lot to deal with and adding this project was neither in their best interest nor the taxpayers.She supported adding the additional $500,000 for the fundraising.

 

Sorenson said it was important to show that having this at the Lane County fairgrounds is integral to the functions of the Lane County Fair Board.He said they have to be clear that this is a Lane County project for the Lane County Fair Board and it is appropriate for them to head it up.

 

Weeldreyer said the Board of Commissioners agreed to let the Fair Board take responsibility for providing opportunities for children and families.She said they are a better organization to run this.She didnít think it was more than they could deal with.

 

Dwyer said this belongs to the public.He stated that under the time constraints, they need to go forward in good faith.He said they should amend the motion to address Morrisonís concerns with the endowment as part of the title, but the rest of the mechanics could be worked out.He suggested putting Green and Morrison on a committee to work with the Fair Board to address the concerns.

 

Hoyt stated the additional $500,000 would be hard to raise.He said it was a stretch to get to $1.5 million by April 2003.

 

Hunton said during year two, they would be dealing with a $1.5 million endowment.He said in 2005 it is moved up to a $2.5 million endowment and in year four of the plan, it moves to a $3 million endowment.He said they donít need a $2 million endowment to meet the budget projection, they could do it with $1.5 million.He said putting the condition about raising an additional $500,000 (when it is not needed) makes their job harder.

 

Short explained he developed the plan with Wong and his staff.He added he spent eight years on the Budget Committee for the City of Eugene and one of the reasons he was willing to work on the plan was because of Wong and his fiscal responsibility.He said Wong knows how to manage big fiscal projects.

 

Dwyer asked if Green and Morrison would be on a subcommittee to work out the concerns with the Fair Board.

 

Sorenson thought all the commissioners who had interest in this should be involved.

 

VOTE: 5-0.

 

13.OTHER BUSINESS

 

a.ORDER 02-8-13-6/In the Matter of Directing that the Lane County Planetarium and Learning Center General Obligation Bond Measure be Placed in the State Voters' Pamphlet and Appointing a Committee to Draft an Explanatory Statement.

 

Wilson noted the Explanatory Statement needed to be filed and at the Secretary of Stateís office by 5:00 p.m. on August 27.

 

Sorenson recommended Denny Morgan as con.

 

Other names mentioned were Tom Hunton, Francisca Johnson, Joe Berney, Michelle Holman and Tom Hoyt.

 

Dwyer stated Denny Morgan would be the opponent and Tom Hoyt as the proponent.

 

Wilson recommended rolling this matter to tomorrow.

 

14.COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

None.

 

15.CORRESPONDENCE TO THE BOARD

 

None.

 

16.EMERGENCY BUSINESS

 

None.

 

There being no further business, Commissioner Dwyer adjourned the meeting at 5:30 p.m.

 

 

Melissa Zimmer

Recording Secretary