BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS'
April 29, 2003
Commissioners' Conference Room
Commissioner Peter Sorenson presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bobby Green, Sr., Tom Lininger and Anna Morrison present. County Administrator Bill Van Vactor, County Counsel Teresa Wilson and Recording Secretary Melissa Zimmer were also present.
1. ADJUSTMENTS TO THE AGENDA
A discussion will take place under Emergency Business with County Counsel on state contracts and indemnity clauses.
2. PUBLIC COMMENTS
3. PUBLIC HEARINGS
a. PUBLIC HEARING AND ORDER 03-4-29-1/In the Matter of Receiving Comments from the Public About Community Development Needs, Proposed Projects to Meet These Needs, and Lane County's Performance of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Projects and Authorize Application for Funding.
Peter Thurston, Economic Development, explained this is an annual process, as the County is an eligible applicant for competitive community development block grant funding to the State of Oregon. He noted there are funds that come from the federal government and the Housing and Urban Development Department through the state that are applied for by counties and cities that are non-entitlement. He added that Lane County has to compete with many of the cities throughout the state for about $16 million for a variety of different eligible projects. He said the purpose of the hearing is to let the Board know what the needs are in the community for projects that would serve low and moderate-income families in Lane County. He added it could be in either the cities or unincorporated areas in Lane County. He noted that all of the small cities in the county are eligible applicants for certain types of projects. He said only Oakridge and Westfir are currently recognized under the 2000 census results as being fully eligible. He explained they could apply for projects community wide. He noted it is a determination based upon income. He noted a family of four would have to have an income of less than $30,000 to be of moderate income. He passed out letters. (Copy in file.) He noted they were input for the hearing process. He explained the packet summarizes the variety of the projects Lane County had been involved with over the years. He added the order is at the Board’s discretion after hearing from the public as to whether or not they want to apply for funding. He said the board order would authorize an application before the end of May for potential receipt of continued dollars.
Morrison asked about the housing centers funded from last year.
Anne Williams, St. Vincent de Paul, responded there are four housing centers funded last year that are pilot projects. She said there might be a new round of housing center money. She noted the four centers are in Bend, Tillamook, Medford and Ashland. She asked the state about the probability of continued funding to help their regional consortium identify whether or not they want to pursue a housing center application.
Sorenson opened up the Public Hearing.
Joan Shay, 1520 Balboa, Eugene, President, Board of Oregon Council for Business Education, reported over the past five years they had provided educational training for micro and small businesses in Lane County and they have served over 500 businesses during that period of time. She said the past year they had looked at ways of developing the economic base of their micro businesses. She explained an Oregon Economic Community Development Survey found that 90% of the smaller micro businesses wanted to develop programs in cooperative marketing business management training and the development of cultural and heritage tourism. She said that OCBE proposes to replicate a program called “Hand Made in America” a highly successful cooperative marketing program located in western North Carolina. She said the geographic area and the economics of western North Carolina are similar to those of Lane County. She noted they lost their manufacturing and agricultural business through tobacco loss. She said it is for tourists to spend more dollars and build the economic base of the micro businesses. She noted initially OCBE would target the substantial handcraft industry of Lane County by developing an Oregon specific cooperative marketing program.
Anne Williams, St. Vincent de Paul, 2055 Elanco, Eugene, stated St. Vincent de Paul is the grant administrator for the Lane County Regional Rehabilitation Consortium comprised of Oakridge, Westfir, Creswell, Cottage Grove, Florence, Lowell and the unincorporated areas of Lane County. She said they are finishing up their first CDBG grant for $500,000 targeted for the rehab needs in the Row River Valley. She noted they are completing 21 houses and the impact on the homeowners had been profound. She said they learned the importance of being able to leverage additional resources from their community partnership. She added they had been successful at streamlining the application process for eligible homeowners who could apply for either rural development grants or loans. She said what they found in Row River was a mix of housing conditions but what they found universally were septic systems and wells that required a great deal of work to be brought up to health and safety standards.
Williams said in working with Oakridge, there are non-compliant wood stoves that are the primary heating source in the household. She noted it adds a significant amount to the rehab budget for the individual homeowners. She said Oakridge is representative of the need that existed in rural communities for a long time. She noted the first Oakridge grant was to provide rehabilitation opportunities for between 10 and 12 homeowners. She stated there are 47 households on their waiting list from Oakridge and three from Westfir. She added there are 13 homeowners who reside in mobile home parks for whom they cannot provide any service.
Williams explained the other Lane County grant they are currently working on is for the 79th Street neighborhood. She said this grant was unique in that it is targeting water and septic issues. She said they hope to provide loans to qualified homeowners in that area and the rest of the homeowners association could pay for some of the other improvements. She noted the issues in Marcola are wastewater issues. She said in looking to see how these grants work, she would support a two-pronged approach if Lane County were to submit a third CDBG grant for owner occupied rehab. She said it would be up to the Board. She noted if Lane County were to target part of the CDBG owner occupied rehab grant for West Lane County, to reserve a portion of an award to target the emerging needs throughout the unincorporated areas of the County. She said those needs would be identified by HACSA’s weatherization program and by the utility companies doing the weatherization. She said they wanted to have a certain amount of rehab funding that was available anywhere in unincorporated Lane County where the partners were able to go in. She noted for the Row River Valley, they were able to bring $3,000 to each of the rehab programs. She commented there is tremendous poverty and urged the Board that if they decide to submit another CDBG grant, that they do targeting and reserve a portion of the grant to meet emerging needs for eligible homeowners anywhere in the unincorporated area of Lane County.
Terri Hartzell, 250 Highway 101, Florence, stated she works in the Community Development Department for the city. She added she staffs the housing rehabilitation loan program. She said there is a need within Florence, but outside the city limits where they are not able to help them. She commented she had a lot of calls from Mapleton, Deadwood and the surrounding areas for rehabilitation. She said they were in favor of this.
There being no one else signed up to speak, Commissioner Sorenson closed the Public Hearing.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 03-4-29-1.
Dwyer MOVED, Green SECONDED.
Morrison asked what applications they were authorizing for funding in this motion.
Thurston responded the way the order was written, it was to apply for housing rehabilitation program applications. He added the Dexter project was not ready to go forward.
4. COMMISSIONERS' BUSINESS
a. ORDER 03-4-29-2/In the Matter of Adopting and Implementing the Public Safety Coordinating Council Task Force Final Report.
Gretchen Pierce, Chair, PSCC, supported the recommendation to restructure the PSCC. She noted the PSCC has existed since 1995, which was a result of the passage of SB 1145. She said what came with the formation of the PSCC was folding in the juvenile side for both planning and prevention programs. She noted they expanded the membership. She reported they currently have a membership of 32 and the mandated membership is only 15. She added they expanded to include all parts of the County, parts of public safety, schools and more citizen members than what was originally called for in the statute. This was in the belief that they could bring other skills and experience on how they might improve the entire community corrections system. She said they leveraged their resources into over $18 million in grants for safer school programs that are still in operation. She explained they had accomplished several projects with data management that had been useful. She commented that they are one of the most successful PSCC’s in the State of Oregon. She said Lane County had implemented more best practices, better tools and formed a model for the rest of the state.
With regard to either putting money to direct services or to staffing costs, Pierce said they had to rethink their plan to redirect those funds and that is why there is a recommendation for restructuring. She noted a task force was formed under the auspices of the PSCC policy group to review ways of restructuring the PSCC, to make it more efficient and to cut down on the need for staffing and dollars. She said what was important is that they all came together in unanimous agreement for a streamlined approach that had been through several reviews.
Pierce explained the recommendation reduced the membership from 32 to 17 for the people who will sit on the PSCC. She noted the statute only calls for one lay citizen and they have seven citizen members. She added they needed representation from both Springfield and Eugene specifically, and an at-large member. She said they reduced the number of committees from four to two and they had eliminated both police services and research and evaluation She added they had done away with all subcommittees and put the work into the main body of the standing committees, one for adults and one for juveniles.
Pierce noted the recommendation also allows the formation for ad-hoc task forces so they don’t start adding on other committees. She said they are reducing staffing to 1.5 FTE. She said the full time person would be a higher-level analyst type who could add assistance to the committee. She commented it might turn out that they don’t need a full-time for that. She said it would reduce the PSCC budget from approximately $422,000 to $120,000. She stated if the Board approves the recommendation, they would come back for approval for an order that would immediately request the resignation of everyone that currently serves on the PSCC so they could begin the process of starting over.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 03-4-29-2.
Dwyer MOVED, Morrison SECONDED.
Lininger suggested geographic diversity in the newly constituted membership.
Pierce said the Board could pass on what they would like to see, but they could appoint whomever they approve.
Green supported this. He didn’t think the PSCC failed. He said when they started putting measures out for public safety is when things started to go sour. He said they made a strong effort as a Board and PSCC to bring in the rural community. He said times are changing and going to a committee structure where task forces work well is the way to do it.
b. ORDER 03-4-29-3/In the Matter of Requesting Resignations from All Public Safety Coordinating Council Members, and Appointing Citizens and Officials to the Council to Fill Vacated Positions.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 03-4-29-3.
Dwyer MOVED, Morrison SECONDED.
Lininger supported this. He asked if any members had concern about resigning.
Pierce responded that some lay members are concerned that they won’t be on the PSCC in the future. She thought there should be some term limits on the committee.
Dwyer stated his motion to support does not impugn the integrity of any member who may be asked to resign. He commented it was based upon restructuring
c. ORDER 03-4-29-4/In the Matter of Giving Notice to the State of Oregon of Lane County's Intent to Discontinue Participation in SB 1145 Programs.
Wilson explained she was asked to do an analysis of process to give notice to opt out of SB 1145 and what the implications were. She said if the Board decides to give notice, it would trigger action on staff’s part to get ready to implement. She noted there would be a commitment of resources at an organizational level to be able to implement.
Jan Clements, Sheriff, commented all counties of Oregon have these concerns with a varying degree of action. He noted before SB 1145’s passage, it was the understanding on the part of those involved that this would be a partnership that was founded on the desire to move community corrections to the local level because they could do a better job. He added it would require up front capital to build the space to accomplish that. He noted it would require ongoing money on a biennium basis to enable them to house the offenders who have moved from state custody to local custody. He stated there was an introduction of an opt out clause. He said this had been under-funded since its inception but it had legally triggered the opt out provisions. He believed from a fiscal standpoint that it is compelling. He noted the state had not identified what level of funding they would have pursuant to SB 1145 activities. He said because of that, Lane County could end up defunded. He said the original prioritization of the state funded activities was to serve as a discussion platform, meaning there would have been no money going to local jurisdictions if that was the final cut. He stated they are facing another $1.3 million annual cut, above which they had already experienced. He said that is putting into jeopardy their ability to address the needs of local offenders. He said the question remains whether the state would step up to their side of that partnership. He said in being fiscally responsible and giving the 180-day notice, they start the clock. He added they could rescind if the state steps up in an acceptable fashion. He said because the issue is going to get lost with other funding issues, this had to be brought to the Board’s attention. He thought the opt out notices starting to be given by counties was effective.
Wilson explained the Department of Corrections had administrative rules that stated a county could elect once a biennium to participate or not. She noted the way the statute and the administrative rules are written, Lane County would still have a PSCC. She said if a county had been participating and chooses to no longer participate, the administrative rules are written so that the DOC would develop the plan and bring it to the local PSCC for comment. She said there would still be an opportunity for the local PSCC to have a role in the SB 1145 components.
Lininger commented he hoped the PSCC would continue, as they do important work.
Clements reported that in 2002, it was projected for local patrol and custody of 1145 offenders with a 132 average daily population. He noted in 2002 their experience was 207 in custody. He commented it has been a drain fiscally and capacity wise. He hoped this is resolved continuing community corrections service at a local level.
John Clague, Sheriff’s Office, explained if Lane County opts out, the state will take back the facility under the sublease agreement and they will operate what they purchased. He said they built 92 beds in the jail plus an additional 29 in the Community Corrections Center. He said what is difficult is the facility they built also has federal money in it. He said it was hard to extract 92 beds that belong to the state and the other 60 Lane County owns to contract out a portion to the federal marshal. He thought this could exacerbate the local problems if the state issues rules about the local control population and how they are to be managed.
Wilson commented it would be imperative to have an operating working relationship with either DOC or whomever they chose as a tenant. She said they would have to find a way to make it work at a practical level.
Clements stated they were giving notice to protect their fiscal situation in the hope that it will be addressed favorably or that they don’t lose too much ground in the next fiscal year if the funding is such that it is to their disadvantage. He said in the meantime, they could rescind the notice to opt out if they are not too far along of the responsibilities. He commented that there was always the leverage on the side of the state. He explained the governor put the money for SB 1145 into the DOC’s budget and every dollar they gave to Lane County, was a dollar less for their own budget. He said within the next 180 days they will be diligent to keep track of what is going on with the legislature.
Morrison commented that Lane County needed to be able to demonstrate its cost and why they are doing this. She was in support for moving forward with this.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 03-4-29-4.
Lininger MOVED, Green SECONDED.
5. COMMISSIONERS' REMONSTRANCE
Dwyer explained he had been working on the petition to repeal the transportation utility fee and they will turn in signatures next Tuesday. He noted that they expect to see it on the September ballot.
6. EXECUTIVE SESSION as per ORS 192.660
To take place after the meeting.
7. COUNTY ADMINISTRATION
Van Vactor stated he attended a CVALCO meeting as an ex-officio member. He noted that CVALCO passed out information and discussed the Hunter Interest Group. He said it raises issues regarding competition with existing facilities as well as the fairgrounds. He said CVALCO voted to provide funding for Phase 2, at $15,000.
8. HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
a. ORDER 03-4-29-5/In the Matter of Approving Exhibit A, the Lane County Annual Health Plan for FY 2003-04.
Rockstroh explained this was a pro-forma item. He noted there was not much of a shift in the budget. He noted that the school-based clinics are being cut. He added this was a list of services showing what would happen in the next biennium. He said the only unknown is tobacco use prevention. He noted this plan has gone to the Health Advisory Committee for review and comment and brought to the Board for adoption before it goes to the state.
MOTION: to approve ORDER 03-4-29-5.
Green MOVED, Morrison SECONDED.
9. COMMISSIONERS' ANNOUNCEMENTS
Morrison reported she and Green attended the AOC Legislative Meeting in Salem. She commented out of the 118 commissioners, there were only 43 people who responded to a survey. She said they had given AOC staff the authority to pursue support of the increases in the beer and wine tax. She noted the bill on the kicker fund made it, but everything else did not.
Lininger reported he had been attending regular meetings of the task force on the rural justice courts. He said he has a concern about budget priorities in that they are cutting rural services. He said the rural justice courts are slated to be cut by $100,000 and rural health care clinics are slated for several hundred thousand in cuts.
Green noted it was Back to School Week and he was principal for the day at Churchill High School.
Sorenson reported he was principal for a day at Spencer Butte Middle School.
10. EMERGENCY BUSINESS
DISCUSSION/County and State Relationship as it Applies to Certain Types of Mutual Indemnity Clauses
Wilson explained the State Department of Human Service is about to send out the contracts on May 2 to all counties. She noted that Trina Laidlaw, Assistant County Counsel had been working with a group of county counsels in trying to work out the language in the contract. She said the DHS is taking a position that this is the way it would be. She reported the state can terminate the contracts unilaterally, the County can’t. She said the state could reduce a line item in the budget to zero and still require the County to provide the service that the state funding was for. She added the state is requiring that the County indemnify the state if they make a mistake, but they are not willing to indemnify the County in a reciprocal type of arrangement. She noted in the recent past, Multnomah County has been sued for ceasing to provide a service that was funded by the state. She explained it wasn’t a position she would take unless she discussed it with the Board.
Laidlaw noted there is a deadline of May 2 with comments or concerns back to the Department of Human Service on their financial assistance agreement. She explained those agreements cover services like developmental disabilities, mental and public health and addiction services. She added the contract provides some additional serious legal risk and there are two different contract provisions they are concerned with. She reported the state wants to only include a unilateral indemnity provision, only requiring the County to indemnify the state. She asked if the Board would be willing to agree to execute this year’s contract only if they also get a reciprocal indemnity provision that would say “subject to any applicable limitations, the state will indemnify and hold the County harmless from any claims arising out of state budget cuts.”
Laidlaw noted another provision is a determination provision. She said they currently have a termination provision for convenience, but they have to give the state 120 days advance notice. She added on the other hand, they could terminate immediately if there is a lack of funds budgeted. She asked if the Board would be willing to execute this contract, only if they also include a provision such as the County may terminate with 30 days notice if the state reduces funding below a certain percent from the appropriation that was first set in the contract and they would negotiate what the percentage is. She added upon termination by either party she wanted a provision that says the County would have no further contractual obligation to provide the services that are subject to the contract.
Laidlaw asked if the Board would refuse to sign contracts if neither of the provisions is included or if one provision is sufficient. She asked if they would only refuse to sign contracts if other counties joined in a united front in refusing to sign with either one or both of the provisions. She added the state has asked the County to agree that any ambiguity from the construction of the contracts not be construed against the drafting party. With regard to the indemnity provision, she said there is a suggestion that it is not subject to the County’s debt limitation in the constitution. She wanted those provisions changed.
Lininger supported Laidlaw’s approach. He stated he was for provisions one to three and was against number four.
Dwyer concurred with Lininger.
Morrison also supported this.
Sorenson asked Wilson to brief Tony Bieda, so he would be aware of it for the next legislative report.
Wilson explained a lot of the direction for this is coming out of the Attorney General’s office. She said they would do what they can and speak with Bieda.
There being no further business, Commissioner Sorenson adjourned the meeting at 3:00 p.m.