BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'
July 24, 2002
Commissioners' Conference Room
Commissioner Bill Dwyer presided with Commissioners Bobby Green, Sr., Anna Morrison and Peter Sorenson present. Cindy Weeldreyer was excused. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, Assistant County Counsel Marc Kardell and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
11. PUBLIC HEARINGS
a. PUBLIC HEARING AND ORDER 02-7-24-6/In the Matter of an Election Authorizing Lane County General Obligation Bonds.
Commissioner Dwyer opened up the Public Hearing.
Tom Hoyt, 460 Palomino Dr., Eugene, stated he had been active in finding a way to move the Planetarium to the fairgrounds that would be economic and fiscally responsible. He stated he would be making a full presentation to the Board on August 13.
1) New Jail Intake Center
Lt. Bob Hickok, Sheriff’s Office, explained that the proposed bond would replace the existing 35-bed intake center at the jail with a new 100-bed facility. He said this is necessary because the current intake center has structural problems caused by the building slowly sinking. He added it was too small for the size of the jail. He stated the bond also includes funds for remodeling and expansion of the medical unit in the jail that was built during the original jail construction in the 70’s. He said building this 100-bed facility would help alleviate the problem of matrix releases.
2) New Communication System for Sheriff's Office
Captain Bret Freeman, Sheriff’s Office, reported the bond measure represents to the Sheriff’s Office a positive step in leadership. He said there is a need for a radio microwave network for public safety communications in Lane County. He noted the inability to provide appropriate communication was recognized in 1985 but the cost was a factor. He added the cost is a factor today in looking at all the agencies that could use the system in emergency management. He said it would solve the Sheriff’s communication problems specific to the police and emergency management function. He added other users would be able to use their system. He stated they couldn’t afford to purchase the system themselves. He noted for the average cost per household (over 20 years) would be $4.28 per year.
Morrison asked if this communication system could qualify under the homeland security monies from the federal government.
Freeman responded they had no rules regarding the homeland defense money. He noted $3.5 billion would be coming to the system including counties and cities. He stated the money would be spread among first responder equipment. He said that there is a domestic preparedness grant and it doesn’t allow computer equipment unless it were connected to bioterror and agent identification regarding safety clothing, respiratory devices and personal communications equipment used under the bioterror aspect.
Morrison asked if this communication system was part of the state’s plan for homeland security.
Wilson said the question about the homeland security funds would be whether the money could be used for the communication system. She added if it couldn’t, then they could use the homeland security money to purchase a piece of the system and not sell bonds. She said there was an opportunity to do more before they decide on bond issues. She explained that bond issuance is an act that the Board has to approve. She noted if the voters approved this, it would be authority, not an actual issuance for the bond.
Morrison wanted to fund this with federal dollars.
With regard to project coordination, Freeman stated they would be recommending a phased implementation that would allow the bonding and the timing of the bonding to occur.
Dwyer stated to the extent allowed by law, Lane County would buy the portions of the system allowed under federal law with those funds and not with the bond fund. He said it would result in Lane County having the funds and not issuing bonds for a portion of the system that might be paid by another source.
With regard to the homeland defense money, Freeman noted there are other public safety partners in Lane County with municipalities. He stated they are working on a countywide emergency management team to do an assessment of critical needs. He noted the radio system was on that and they would have to seek agreement with the partners to ensure that the focus is countywide.
Dwyer requested that Tony Bieda, Intergovernmental Relations Manager, find out who is in charge of the homeland security for the State of Oregon and how they analyze the bill for the greatest flexibility for Lane County’s needs.
3) Courthouse Plaza, PSB, and Sheriff's Office Access and Entry
David Suchart, Management Services, explained the measure was in three parts. He stated the first part is the Plaza, incorporating the Wayne Morse free speech area and leveling it up to deal with safety and accessibility issues. He said the second part is the courthouse front door dealing with security issues and to provide better and improved accessibility for the handicapped people who try to get into the courthouse. He stated the third part was the improvement in the Sheriff’s Office to provide security and a one-stop area for the public.
Dwyer asked what the cost would be on a 30-year bond to the taxpayers that own a $125,000 home per year.
Wilson responded the average cost is $1.97 per year.
4) Park Improvements
Rich Fay, Parks, gave a presentation on parks and what is needed to improve them in Lane County. He noted the revenue deficit they faced resulted from the drought and the low water level in Fern Ridge Lake that affected the moorage funds, camping and day use. He stated they were $170,000 short. He said they determined that playground improvements were most needed.
Green asked if Lane County’s efforts would be to acquire land to develop soccer fields and work with organizations to provide the tournaments. He asked if a program director would be needed in the future to coordinate the soccer games.
Wilson explained there was a concept called private activity regarding tax-exempt bonds. She noted if Lane County sells bonds that are tax exempt, then only ten percent or less could be committed to private activity use. She said private activity use is for non-profit, for profit or the federal government. She added if more than ten percent of the use is by those types of entities, it converts the bonds to taxable. She said bonds could be sold as taxable and not have the problem. She was working on identifying what the revenue streams are for each of the items in the bond measure. She said if it turned out that the soccer fields or concession booths would be managed best by contracting with a non-profit or other entity, then they would look at selling enough taxable bonds to support that use. She explained if the Board approves putting this measure on the ballot, they would be asking the voters to approve up to $20.7 million of bonds. It would be up to staff to determine the best bond.
Fay reported he had conversations with the City of Eugene’s recreation division about helping with some of the programming and maintenance.
Roxie Cuellar, 2053 Laura St., Springfield, represented the Home Builders Association. She said they worked out their differences with the County and they approve of the bond measure because the County is able to do things that it couldn’t do alone with SDC’s. She stated the Home Builders Association supports the bond. She had been a resident of Lane County for 45 years and she had never once paid anything to Lane County Parks. She asked the Board to put this bond on the ballot.
Dick Lamster, 30495 Fox Hollow Road, Eugene President of Mt. Pisgah Arboretum. He stated that the Board of Directors of the Mt. Pisgah Arboretum voted in favor of the bond measure. He encouraged the Board to put it on the ballot.
Dennis Morgan, 36249 Peel Lane, Springfield, President of the Horse Animal and Livestock Association of Lane County. He stated their Board voted to endorse Lane County’s Parks bond measure and will campaign in favor of it. He encouraged the Board to put this bond measure on the ballot.
Emily Schue, 3122 Willamette, Eugene, stated she is a member of the Lane County Parks Advisory Committee. She noted Lane County has wonderful parks but they need upkeep, maintenance and improvements. She said new facilities needed to be added. She urged the Board to support the bond measure. She added the Parks Advisory Committee would be supporting it.
Mark White, 3531 Spring Blvd., Eugene, brought his soccer group, McKenzie United. He noted there was a need for soccer fields. He said that Monaco has donated their front yard for soccer play. He encouraged the Board to support the soccer fields.
Ali Boyom, 1414 Victorian Way, Eugene, stated being on this soccer team has given her the opportunity to travel. She noted that Eugene is the second largest city in Oregon and it has no place to play soccer. She stated if the Board put this measure on the ballot that all youth would be appreciative.
Garrett Staples, 2684 River Pointe Dr., Eugene, stated that Eugene is one of the only major soccer cities that doesn’t have a tournament quality sports complex. He stated that the youth of Lane County needed a quality complex.
Chris Orsinger, 2914 Adams, Eugene, stated he represented the Friends of Buford Park and Mt. Pisgah. He noted that Friends of Buford Park Board’s voted to support the parks improvement bond measure. He said their committee would help to pass the measure. He urged the Board to put this on the ballot.
5) Public Health Building
Rob Rockstroh, Health and Human Services, explained the annex building those houses public health services also houses alcohol drug offender services and Elections. He said the building was never designed for either clients or staff, as it does not afford privacy to clients and is not set up well for clinics. He didn’t want to put money into an old facility that wasn’t working well for staff or clients. He wanted to consolidate the services by building a large building and moving several other Health and Human Service functions into one location.
There being no one else signed up to speak, Commissioner Dwyer closed the Public Hearing.
Dwyer noted the president of the Lane County Medical Society and Dr. Hendrickson (Lane County Public Health Official), asked to consider the very poor conditions that are associated with Public Health. He stated they would advocate and support the effort to build a new building.
Dwyer supported putting these measures on the ballot.
MOTION to approve ORDER 02-7-24-6 with the revised exhibits.
Morrison MOVED, Green SECONDED.
12. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
13. OTHER BUSINESS
a. ORDER 02-7-24-7/In the Matter of Directing that the Lane County General Obligation Bond Measures be Placed in the State Voters' Pamphlet and Appointing a Committee to Draft an Explanatory Statement. (PULLED to 7/30/02)
Green stated he had received e-mail and voice mail about the measures. He said with the economy the way it was that now might not be the best time to go forward and ask the public to support the money measures. He said it was important that the County try to maintain and improve upon assets as they have value. He supported sending the measures to the voters with the menu approach.
Morrison noted the majority of voters in her district are not supportive of new taxes. She supported the menu approach. She was opposed to packaging two measures together.
Sorenson questioned how much the constituents could afford. He wanted a more equitable and income oriented approach other than a property tax. He would be willing to place these measures on the ballot.
Dwyer supported sending the measures to the voters. He stated the Board has the responsibility to provide their best judgment in being stewards of the public’s fund and their property. He said the community needs to understand that Lane County hadn’t asked for anything over the years. He noted if they went out on a 30 year bond, the total collective costs of the measures is less than $27 per year for the owner of a $125,000 home, assuming no revenue streams to help retire the bonds and it assumes that Lane County would receive nothing from homeland security.
b. ORDER 02-7-24-8/In the Matter of Approving a Budget for a Public Information Campaign Addressing Lane County General Obligation Bond Measures on the November 2002 Ballot.
Melinda Kletzok, Public Information Officer, stated since the Board voted to put the measures on the ballot, Lane County has a responsibility to provide the factual information to the public. She said in doing the plan, they had considered not only past ballot measure campaigns, but other campaigns that were done from other AOC members. She said what has been considered best and effective in reaching the public is household mailings and radio. She added for this public information plan with five measures, radio was not recommended.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 02-7-24-8.
Morrison MOVED, Green SECONDED.
There being no further business, Commissioner Dwyer adjourned the meeting at 3:30 p.m.