LANE COUNTY BUDGET COMMITTEE
Tuesday, May 7, 2002
6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Harris Hall Main Floor
Vice Chair David Crowell presided until 8:00 p.m., when Chair Marie Bell took over with Budget Committee members Verna Brown, Bill Dwyer, Bobby Green, Sr., Angel Jones, Anna Morrison, Peter Sorenson and Cindy Weeldreyer present. Mary Ann Holser was excused. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
David Crowell, Vice Chair called the meeting to order.
MOTION: to elect Marie Bell as Chair and David Crowell as Vice Chair.
Crowell MOVED, Morrison SECONDED.
Bill Van Vactor, County Administrator, gave his 2002 Budget Message.
Sorenson asked about the policy for programs that are grant-funded (including the County payments) that the Board would not be authorizing unless they advocated for a program that demonstrated there would be funding beyond the grant.
Van Vactor responded that he didn’t mean that the Board wouldn’t accept the grant and operate the grant when it was applicable, he meant to say that when the grant funds end--unless some funding is found from some other source--the program would end. With regard to the Secure Rural Schools and Community Act of 2000 (which is like a grant program) he suggested that they consider a development of reserves so they could deal with the transition, on the assumption that they would not be able to backfill the large amount of money and keep the programs operating all at the same time working for renewal of the act, but give room to cover the transition period.
Vice Chair Crowell opened up the Public Hearing.
Sister Monica Herran, of Volunteers in Medicine, 3321 W. 11th Eugene, explained that the Volunteers in Medicine Clinic is devoted to giving free medical care to the low income, uninsured in Lane County. She said it is based on a successful model in South Carolina from 1992. She determined that there are 28,000 uninsured people in Lane County and 13,000 of those have an income level of between 100% and 200% of poverty level. She said they recognize the dignity of the persons they see and they created a clinic that has a professional atmosphere. She noted they do not charge patients for their service, but given them an opportunity to donate discretely to support the clinic. She said their services are the same as what would be provided in a primary care physician’s office, but in addition, they assist with prescriptions and arrange for people to have laboratory work. She said they broker the free services from specialists in the community. She noted all of this was possible because they have a community of volunteers and donors.
Fred Hamlin, Board Member, Volunteers in Medicine, 3321 W. 11th Eugene, noted the Volunteers in Medicine started on February 1, 2001, and they completed their first year and they were totally self-sustaining from the benefits of the community. He said they were advised to start looking at alternative ways of fundraising. He said they needed to continue with their community sponsorship, create an events committee (to solicit funding for events), working to secure grants and create a business outreach chaired by Steve Duffy. He stated that more employers cannot afford health insurance for their employees. He noted that the Business Outreach Committee had created a poster so people can start coming to the clinic for health care and to solicit donations. He added they created an endowment. He said they are keeping the program active, leveraging Lane County’s health benefit situation.
Brown asked how the White Bird Clinic differs from the Volunteers in Medicine Clinic.
Hamlin noted the differences in services is that they take appointments and hold the clinic open in the evenings for people who are working on a longer term basis so they could come in after hours. He added they work in conjunction with White Bird where they are referring patients back and forth to each other. He noted in their first year of operation, they saw the equivalent of 25 patient visits per day. He said since the economy had changed, they are now seeing close to 50 patient visits per day. He said there is an increased need for their services due to the economy.
Travis Chapin, 3321 W. 11th Eugene, stated he is a volunteer and a University of Oregon pre-med student. He said the educational experience at the clinic has been wonderful in working with the volunteer physicians. He stated the patients tell him it is the best health care they had received in years.
Delesa Meashintubby, 3321 W. 11th Eugene, stated she is the front office coordinator at Volunteers in Medicine Clinic. She said she makes the final determination for eligibility based on the criteria that their Board had set up. She said in order to qualify as a patient for Volunteers in Medicine; they have to be a resident of Lane County, Monroe or the Harrisburg vicinity. She said the medical condition can’t be caused by a motor vehicle accident, covered by insurance or a work related illness, or injuries that involve workers comp coverage. Also, if the patient doesn't qualify for the Oregon Health Plan or has other health insurance. She said the household income has to be less than the 200% of the federal poverty level. She stated the patient has to show eligibility proof. She noted they are seeing a diverse group of patients. She added they treat all patients with dignity and respect to make sure they have a pleasant experience.
Rebecca Chaite, 3321 W. 11th Eugene, stated she was a patient at the Volunteers in Medicine Clinic in March. She has post polio syndrome and she had to retire early. She added that medical care became a luxury and she was thankful that the clinic was there.
Jo Ann Lozar, 3321 W. 11th, Eugene, reported that a poll was taken and they learned that 40% of the patients that had come to Volunteers in Medicine had not been to a doctor in two years or more. She noted that for every dollar spent, that $2.50 worth of services are rendered. She hoped the Budget Committee finds this project worthy of support.
Green asked under what conditions could someone not qualify for treatment.
Meashintubby responded that a person could not make more than $1,476 gross per monthly income. She added if someone was eligible for the Oregon Health Plan, one visit could possibly be given to a patient but they didn’t want to duplicate services. She noted that some veterans are also eligible. She said it took a lot not to be eligible.
Joy Marshall, 5166 Alpine Loop, Eugene, stated she was with Stand for Children, a project of the Children’s Defense Fund. She noted there are 140 members who are concerned with early care and education (age 0-5). She said if resources could be put out now there would be less required in the future. She stated that for every dollar spent that $7.00 in public expenses could be saved in the future. She said the funds would be spent to raise the level of teaching and the profession. She noted their proposal is based on North Carolina’s model. She added they were also asking for funds from the Cities of Eugene and Springfield and from federal child care dollars. She said they have to change the level of environment and make the children more ready for school. She said with their proposal, the money goes to training, education and financial incentives. She didn’t want any funds removed from any other projects regarding children and families. She hoped the Budget Committee could find reserves to support their cause.
Gibby Bridge, Lane Family Connection, stated they provide specialists for resource and referral work with childcare providers. She explained they help parents find childcare, and provide training for child care providers. She noted they had seen an increase in the need for more training. She said that providers need incentives beyond the mandated training. She explained that early childhood experiences share entire futures. She was supportive of Lane County Cares and thinks it would be a solution to the problem of helping children and parents in Lane County.
Jane Wagner, 1183 Van Buren, Eugene, stated she works in early childhood education and is a consultant member of Stand for Children. She said their support is important and the community has to come together for the needs of children and supporting early childcare and education. She noted it takes people who are committed and who keep up with training. She added that people in the field are paid $7.00 to $8.00 an hour and children are at risk. She asked the Budget Committee to Support Lane County Cares, as it is important to look at childcare jobs as being significant. She said it requires people to make a difference for the next generation.
Davis Wilson, 271 N. Grand, Eugene, stated she is a toddler teacher with EWEB. She stated that Lane County Cares has a proven track record for quality child care. She was concerned about the attrition rate and the affect on children. She noted it was a challenge to make ends meet in the industry. She urged the Budget Committee to support this, as it is important to get decent people in the field and pay them well.
Freddie Tryk, 1855 Olive St., Eugene, stated she was with Food for Lane County. She urged the Budget Committee to support human services in Lane County. She said what is needed are strong partnerships. She noted that the USDA rated the State of Oregon number one in hunger. She said conditions are putting stress on families in Lane County. She noted that Food for Lane County contains 80 agencies throughout the county. She said since they have moved to their new location, they went from distributing 2.2 million pounds of food to over 6 million pounds. She said Food for Lane County has made a difference to Lane County families with financial resources and urged the Budget Committee to continue to support the basic needs of Lane County families.
There being no one else signed up to speak, Vice Chair Crowell closed the Public Hearing.
Brown asked how much Food for Lane County was asking for food distribution.
Tryk responded that $105,000 goes into the food distribution. She said it allows them to warehouse the food and transport it to programs in rural areas. She said it is the money that actually helps deliver the food to the client.
Steve Manela, Human Services, noted the total that the Human Services Commission gives Food for Lane County is $215,000 but the portion that Tryk discussed was for food distribution. He added the other amount goes into the food-purchasing fund that allows them to buy food that is not donated.
V. APPROVAL OF LANE COUNTY BUDGET COMMITTEE MINUTES
May 8, 2001, 6:15 p.m. meeting
May 10, 2001, 5:15 p.m. meeting
May 15, 2001, 5:15 p.m.
August 6, 2001, 11:30 a.m. meeting
December 12, 2001, noon meeting
MOTION: to approve the minutes of all of the meetings.
Dwyer MOVED, Morrison SECONDED.
VI. REVIEW BUDGET PROCESS AND THE SCHEDULE
Brown had concerns about the schedule, as the committee had never gone into June before. She suggested meeting on May 23 and canceling the June 6 meeting.
Dwyer noted that it was a down week for the Board and there wouldn’t be a quorum.
Tanya Heaton, Senior Management Analyst, noted there are only scheduled budget activities through May 28, with May 30 open for any discussion. She suggested waiting until the May 9 meeting to decide how many more meetings would be needed.
Bell thought they could get the work of the whole committee done in the framework projected. She didn’t think they would have the time to have all their questions answered. She suggested adding more question and answer time on May 16.
Jones wanted to stick with the schedule and stay on task to make sure they are prepared. She had other commitments and couldn’t come on May 16. She said if extra dates were needed, there were some reserved in June.
Bell wanted a pre-meeting on May 16 so they could ask any add-package questions at the pre-meeting on May 28.
Green said if staff were available he would be in agreement.
Heaton stated she would send e-mails out to the departments about the meeting on May 16. She said in fairness to the departments, if the Budget Committee wanted responses to their questions they should be given to her by May 9.
V11. STRATEGIC PLAN UPDATE
Heaton gave a Strategic Plan Update. (Copy in file).
VIII. HUMAN RESOURCES
Greta Utecht, Human Resources Manager, gave a presentation on Human Resources. (Copy in file).
Utecht stated they had done 12 major internal investigations within the past year and developed an investigation protocol which is being sent to other counties.
Utecht explained that they have an aging employee population base and benefits would be used more. She added that 50% of the workforce is close to retirement and costs are higher. She noted that benefits are going to be the major issue that needs to be resolved from the bargaining units. She said they are going to have to study the cost of living increases, given what the benefits are projected to cost. She said if they were to implement a 2% cost of living over the course of the next five years, they would be looking at $11 million dollars in costs.
IX. INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
Tony Black, Information Services Department Director, gave a presentation on information technology. (Copy in file).
Black stated that access to data is getting easier with more information available. He noted the goal is to get fiber optic infrastructure throughout the county and for each of the partner agencies to share the same fiber when appropriate. He stated that portal technology was the most significant change. He said he was having someone investigate portable hand-held devices that could be used to access e-mail and calendars anywhere in the world. He is also working on Forest Work Camp satellite connectivity.
Chair Bell adjourned the meeting at 9:30 p.m.